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January 13th, 2010

Blaser Unveils new R8 Rifle with Detachable Magazine

Blaser, popular German builder of deluxe straight-pull hunting rifles, has released a new rifle with a unique, to say the least, detachable magazine system. The magazine is integrated with what would be the trigger guard/bottom metal on a conventional rifle. Pull out the R8’s magazine and the trigger guard and trigger shoe come with it — it’s all one unit.

Blaser R8 rifle

This short video illustrates how the unique magazine/trigger works:

YouTube Preview Image

Presumably, combining the external trigger linkage with the magazine offers a safety advantage. This way, if you have a round still in the chamber, even after removing the magazine, you can’t pull the trigger to fire the round. Blaser states: “When removing the magazine, the R8 automatically de-cocks and once the magazine is removed, the cocking slide cannot engage anymore. Today, this is a very important safety feature securing the rifle against misuse by unauthorized persons.” It sounds like a good idea, but we wonder how practical this system is. Murphy’s law dictates that some hunter will travel half way around the world for his “hunt of a lifetime” only to find he forgot his magazine and now he has a rifle without a trigger. Most conventional rifles with detachable magazines can still be used as single shots even without the magazine.

Blaser R8 rifle

The one real advantage we see to the R8 design is that the whole action/receiver is extremely short, allowing a more compact rifle length. Blaser claims: “The design of the R8 magazine above the trigger allows the overall length of the rifle to be 9 cm (3.5 inches) shorter than conventional bolt action rifles.” Another nice thing about the R8 is that the trigger pull is crisp and light right out of the box. The Blaser R8’s trigger breaks at just 1 5/8 pounds, and lock time is extremely fast. And the R8’s cocking mechanism is something new. According to Blaser, the R8 does not rely on a spring to reset the trigger after firing. Instead it uses a “desmodromic trigger mechanism” for improved reliability in wet or dusty conditions. (For those of you who don’t ride desmo-valved Ducati motorcycles, a “desmodromic” design typically employs a rocker arm and cam lobe to achieve reset.)

All the interesting new features of the Blaser R8 are illustrated on Blaser’s German website via an interactive Product Gallery. CLICK HERE to view the Product Gallery.

Blaser R8 rifle

Starting in February 2010, the Blaser R8 will be available from Blaser dealers in a variety of models: Professional, Jaeger, Luxus, Attaché, Baronesse, Safari PH and Safari Luxus. In addition a custom-engraved R8 Custom class model will be offered. For more information, visit

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting, New Product 4 Comments »
January 13th, 2010

Americans Purchase over 14,000,000 Guns in 2009

NICS FBI ChecksMake no mistake about it, despite the tough economic times, gun sales are still going strong. In 2009, Americans purchased over 14,000,000 firearms, based on NICS Background Check statistics from the FBI. The FBI logged 14,033,824 NICS checks in 2009, a 10% rise from the 12,709,023 checks in 2008.

The raw number of NICS checks may actually under-count the total number of guns sold last year. This is because when a buyer purchases multiple firearms at the same time, a single NICS check can apply to multiple sales.

Shooting Sports Are Big Business
Let’s compare gun sales with other sporting items. According to the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA), Americans spend more on guns than on ski equipment or tennis equipment. Moreover the $5.5 billion shooters and hunters spend each year on guns, ammo, and equipment dwarfs the $3 billion golfers spend on equipment. Given the BILLIONS of dollars that shooters spend, why are shooting sports largely ignored (or trivialized) by the mainstream media? The answer appears to be political/philosophical bias. The general news media simply refuses to acknowledge that sporting use of firearms is a widespread, popular activity in our culture.

The Important Truth Revealed by Gun Sales Statistics
Ironically, while the mainstream news media attempts to marginalize the shooting sports as a “niche” activity by “unprogressive” elements in society, Americans are buying more guns and ammo than ever. What is the message behind verified gun sales statistics? First, gun ownership is hardly a niche activity. Secondly, gun ownership is so widespread that gun owners need not be apologetic about exercising their Second Amendment rights. While the “talking heads” on news networks may mock “gun-totting rednecks”, the reality is that all segments of society own and use firearms for sport, hunting, and self-defense. Be proud to be a gun owner, along with tens of millions of other law-abiding Americans.

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