German firearm maker Blaser has introduced a 10-round magazine option for its R8 straight-pull rifle, more than doubling its magazine capacity and answering the major criticism of the original design.
Currently available only in the R8 Ultimate model, the 10-shot version is designated the Ultimate X and retains the Blaser’s switch-barrel design in a range of magnum and standard centrefire calibres.
The double-stack box magazine comes in two sizes, depending upon the cartridge length, and in the case of the shorter cartridges they include a bolt catch to minimise bolt travel during ejection and chambering.
Blaser has had to redesign the R8 to create the X, moving the receiver and magazine well forwards so they sit in front of, rather than above, the trigger group. In the X, the magazine and trigger group are no longer a single unit.
In the standard R8, the magazine insert is combined with the trigger group and the assembly drops out as one piece.
In the new Ultimate X, the box magazine drops out while the trigger remains in place.
The quick-cycling R8 is excellent for fast follow-up shots on wounded game or when culling mobs of pest animals. It has been very popular among European hunters on driven hunts.
While it is quick to shoot, a standard R8 is just as quick to empty its magazine but comparatively slow to reload. Magazine capacity varies from 5+1 in smaller cartridges such as the .223 to 3+1 in many larger and magnum calibres.
The R8 Ultimate is Blaser’s up-spec synthetic-stocked model, with thumbhole stock and various options for adjustment to fit the shooter.
Blaser’s release of the R8 Ultimate X follows the introduction of the new Savage Impulse straight-pull rifle, which comes standard with detachable box magazines of up to 10 rounds capacity.
Blaser is distributed in Australia by OSA Australia.