Petzal Reviews the Blaser R8 Jaeger

A while back, I reported on the Blaser R8, a radically different type of hunting rifle that employs a bolt head on a carrier instead of a bolt, and a cocker/decocker sort of like that on a double-action automatic. The rifle is radically different in many other ways as well--too many to go into here. Over the past month, the folks at Blaser loaned me an R8 in Jaeger grade, a .30/06, to shoot at length. Here's how it did:

Federal 165-gr. Trophy Bonded Tipped .893

PMC 150-gr. SP 1.138

155-gr. Berger handload .798

180-gr Nosler Part. handload .708

165-gr. Swift Scirocco handload .596

165-gr. Hornady GMX handload .987

Some other observations. The R8 is very easy to get used to, and once you learn how to cycle the bolt, you can get aimed shots off about as fast as you can with a semi-auto. The trigger is terrific, general fit and finish superior (lovely Turkish walnut for the stock), and its short length, fine balance, and ideal weight of 8 pounds mit scope made it a fine handler.

If you can come up with the money, this is a hell of a gun.