The R8 Silence from Blaser is an integrated solution for hunters, a rifle and a silencer in one. It looks like a “bull barrel”, but is actually an integrated suppressor.
From the start, the R8 Silence was only available in .308 Winchester, which can be a great round to suppress. I have a traditional hunting rifle with a quick-detach suppressor at the end of the barrel, and with subsonic rounds it is amazingly quiet. Hearing protection is definitely not needed.
According to Blaser the R8 Silence is also available in 8×57 IS and 9.3×62 with barrel lengths 42 or 47cm, and .30-06 with a barrel length of 47 cm. .300 Win. Mag. and .300 Blaser Mag. are available with a barrel length of 52 cm.
The background is to protect the hearing for both the hunter and the dog. Blaser specifies a noise reduction of 28 dB with 308 Win. I am sure this can be lowered with the use of subsonic ammunition, however you have to beware that the energy delivered by a subsonic round may be lower than normally (and in a lower class than you’re allowed to hunt with, if you’re going for big game).
If you want to dig deeper, Lapua has a great subsonic round and factory ammunition and it’s what I’m using.
Suppressor Design and customization
Due to the design, there is a better balance in the rifle as the distribution of mass is more even that with a suppressor mounted at the end of the barrel. Another benefit with the silencer’s design, apart from the weight distribution, is that the suppressor will cool down quicker than a conventional suppressor.
The contour of the barrel and silencer has been designed as a so-called “bull-barrel” which gives the R8 its signature look.
The Blaser R8 series models can be customized almost into infinity, and the R8 Silence is no exception. Unfortunately the price tag will follow into said infinity, but it will be your individual rifle.
For instance: the top picture is a R8 Silence in .308 Win, priced from Euro 5 089 without the attached Zeiss optics shown at IWA earlier this year. By the looks of it, it was a basic rifle.
If you dislike recoil, you can order the Kickstop which is a stainless steel cylinder, filled with tungsten beads, which is inserted into the stock and reduces recoil by about 20%.
The R8 Silence is not legal everywhere, that would be too easy. Depending on national or local legislation there may be issues with either the suppressor itself, or that the barrel length becomes too short for it to be allowed on a hunting permit. Due to some laws (in Europe at least) that will calculate the barrel length regardless of the suppressor and you normally need at least an 18″ barrel (45.7 cm) for a hunting rifle to be legal only some versions of the R8 may be legal.
Below: R8 Success Individual (top)
Below you can see the bull-barrel look closer.
R8 bolt-action Success Silence in .308 Win, from Euro 6 425. (top rifle, with “pistol” grip). Bottom rifle is Euro 5 089.
Barrel length 420 mm, total length with silencer 625 mm.The barrel length will be too short for a lot of EU countries, but other calibers should be legal (for barrel length) in at least some European countries.
Example of where in Germany sound suppressors are legal, black areas.
As you can understand the subject of legality is very, very complicated and more or less in-explainable as it can differ not only over national borders but also from county to county.
Another option from Blaser if you want to go silent and protect your and your dog’s hearing. A short, suppressed rifle for “after search”. Great if you’re handling a dog tracking down an animal.
The suppressor is made by A-Tec from Norway. As you can see you get a very short design – again there may be issues with legality due to the rather short barrel length.
Described by Blaser
Short length thanks to Blaser CompAction
Compact Engineering – the magazine is located right above the trigger unit which makes the R8 much shorter than conventional bolt-action rifles while having the same barrel length. That way you can experience the advantages of a rifle with a moderator while not missing out on the familiar pointability renowned for a Blaser rifle.
Below: Conventional bolt action rifle vs. Blaser R8
A project even cooler is my friend’s Blaser in .458 SOCOM (not pictured) with a conventional suppressor. I haven’t field-tested the R8 Silence, but I’m pretty sure it would be considered loud in comparison.
In 2016 we did an article about the Blaser Exclusive, we’re talking rifles and shotguns when money is no object. You should check that article out as well and enjoy some of the finest firearms.