It was one of the most dramatic launches in the gun trade, but does the Blaser F16 pack the punch expected? Rupert Blackwall finds out
When Blaser launched the Blaser F16 at the Stonely Shooting Show back in February we can all honestly say the after burners were fully on, I could feel my eyebrows smoldering with one of the most dramatic gun launches I have seen in the gun trade. The question is: “Does the Blaser F16 pack the punch that we are all expecting?” Well, let’s find out!
Firstly, when I heard Blaser was launching the F16 as its mid-range entry-level gun I was a little worried. As a company renowned for premium high quality products, all I was hoping for was that it did not cut any corners, as other companies in the industry have done when lowering their prices. Well I can honestly say with some excitement that they have done quite the opposite.
Blaser has kept it simple with two models – the F16 Game, by distinguishing itself with a silver logo, and F16 Sporter, with the logo in red. Both models only come as a 12-bore and both are multi-choked with no fixed choke option available. Both models are not auto safe, but Blaser has informed me that it is planning to bring in an auto safe option soon. They both come as standard with grade 2 wood, which is fairly plain, I would spend the small premium and have the grade 4 wood upgrade, which I can see being fairly standard once the orders start coming in.
The gun certainly has some characteristics to the F3 with a modern and contemporary look, but also keeping some classic gun making lines, especially with a well shaped rounded fore-end. The F16 has one of the narrowest 12-bore profile actions I’ve seen. Being a semi- rounded action this also helps to make the shape flow through to the stock and fore-end. As the depth of the action is shallow, the gape is less, especially compared to a Browning. The gape is the distance the barrels have to drop when the gun is fully opened, thus helping when reloading. The materials of the action are certainly hard from my in-house inspections. This sounds like a minor point, but this is one of those sure signs of a gun made to last. The ejector system only cocks fully once the gun has been fired, this is based on the Blaser F3 and this is a proven system that certainly ejects reliably.
Blaser has kept the barrel selector in the same place as the F3, just forward of the trigger. Blaser rifles are renowned for their safety system, the Blaser F16 also has a well thought-through safety, which does two things. Firstly, it holds back the selector block so the trigger cannot engage the sears. It then cleverly hinges down the secondary part of safety, which is the intercepting sears, so if it’s dropped badly the hammers/tumblers get held in position and thus cannot be fired. The safely button on the Blaser F16 is very smooth and positive, which is another area that I get problems with from other manufactures.
Internally the Blaser F16 has been put together at a very high standard. The machining is very clean and crisp. The mechanism is not complicated and the coil spring powered mechanism is seated on a trigger plate, which is seated into the skeleton framed action.
The trigger pulls are fantastically crisp and are far more refined than most other guns in this price range, weighing 3lbs 10ozs. The Game version has a fixed trigger and the Sporter comes with an adjustable trigger, which certainly helps to set your hand to the palm swelled grip. Talking of the grip, I find it well shaped with the comb swept smoothly into the grip.
Blaser F16 measurements
The stock measurements for the F16 Game are as follows:
Drop at comb: 1⅜in
Drop at heel: 2⅙in
The cast is ⅛in at heel
These measurements are fairly good, but some people could find the drop a little high. The pad is a simple rubber pad that is about 5/8″ thick. If you need a longer stock this does leave you the ability to extend with a thicker pad. I would certainly advise on paying for the wood upgrade – the cost is no more than £250 pounds – this certainly enhances the whole look of the gun, which looks a little plain with the grade 2 standard timber.
The barrels on the Blaser F16 Game gun come either 28 or 30in with three briley multi-chokes as standard. The Sporter, weighing 7lbs 14oz, comes in either 30 or 32in with five multi-chokes and has a barrel weighting system as standard, so you can balance the barrel weight to your specification by adjusting a couple of Allen keys.
The bores measure 18.6mm, with the 3inch chambers and having very long combs to reduce the recoil. The side ribs are solid with a top rib that has 9mm to 7mm taper to it.
Blaser F16 on test
I decided to go to West Oxfordshire Shooting School to test the F16. One area I am most interested in was how the Game gun, weighing 6lbs 12oz, would recoil. Being a Game gun, I decided to use two types of cartridges the Hull high pheasant extreme 32g 5s and a Hull inter comp 24g.
Shooting some traditional driven targets, I found the gun to be very alive, and even with the 32g load the recoil was at a very comfortable level. The Blaser F16 ejected the cartridges about five feet from the stand even when hot. The smooth trigger pulls certainly made a huge difference when shooting a lighter weight gun, ensuring that there was little chance in pulling off line.
The stock measurements were very close to my actually measurement, which helped me mould to the Blaser F16 quickly. Finally, the grip, with that palm swell, certainly set my hand in a comfortable position to give me maximum control.
Importer: Blaser Sporting
The F16 is a shotgun built to a very high standard. Blaser group certainly has made a shotgun that will last.