Much as he appreciates high-tech long-range varmint rifles and synthetically bedded guns, Mike George believes that a simple design often works out best when you analyse what you need in a stalking gun.
The Blaser K95 Luxus rifle really lends itself to strenuous stalking in alpine locations or the Highlands, thanks to being light and highly portable.
Of course, in a stalking rifle, complete reliability and accuracy are also crucial – as with all rifles.
The K95 is offered with varying levels of luxury and with a little more adornment to the metalwork or an upgraded walnut it would be a true gentleman’s rifle. But it’s also a good choice for the professional stalker who wants a no-nonsense arm.
The ease of stripping the K95 also works in its favour when it comes to storage, cleaning and transportation. The quick-detachable scope-mount and swift barrel change allows instant calibre or fitment in the field if desired or when necessary for the quarry that presents itself.
Strenuous stalking might mean some climbing. If that’s the case, you can disassemble and carry the K95 in a roe sack or backpack to keep your hands free.
Barrel and sights
Depending on the model, the barrel configuration can be a Sporter profile as with the test rifle or an octagonal profile, which looks immaculate.
It is available on the Stutzen and Baronesse models and adds not only visual lines, but fits with the overall impression the K95 gives the owner of quality.
Calibre range is also impressive, with a small game calibre in the often neglected .22 Hornet followed by a series of standard calibres such as .222 and metric .22 centrefires of which the 5.6×50 mag is typically Germanic.
Deer are catered for with .243, 6.5×55, .308 and some metric cousins – 6x70R, 6.5×57 and .30R Blaser to name but a few.
Concluding with the heavier weights, the .30-06, 8×57 and 9.3 x74R all stand out.
These calibres have a standard 23.75in length but magnum calibres are also catered for in a 25.5in barrel length, with .270 and .300 Weatherby magnums and a 7mm Rem mag as well as .300 Winchester magnums. There is also the underrated 8x68S, a hard-hitting round.
Handling a variety of quarry
Regardless of quarry species, the K95 can handle it, and an odd 27in barrel having the 10.3x60R round is for the really adventurous. Being a single-shot, the barrel is removed by taking the fore-end off with a shotgun-style release lever and pushing the action-opening lever to the right.
The barrel can be removed in a trice by gently sliding back the barrel from the hinge pin. As it is attached to the left side of the chamber wall, having the extractor with the barrel means that any calibre simply fits straight in without needing a magazine change or matching bolt head for differing sizings. Very simple and straightforward.
Sights are furnished as a highly visible pair of open sights, with the rear sight possessing a vertical white bar that guides the eye into the foresight post. This is good as a backup, but most shooters will fit a proprietary one-piece quick-detachable scope mount.
This is the same as the R93 Blaser straight-pull models and with no receiver to attach a set of scope bases, the scope is attached directly on to the barrel.
There is the option of 1in rings or rail mounts with the base swiftly attaching to precision-cut recesses on the barrel. The mount is positioned on the right side and then tightened with twin-camming clamps to the left side, making speedy changes a cinch with little or no zero shift.
Choose from 11 different wood grades
Quality wood always adds that warmth and can transform a rifle into a much-loved piece. The K95 is available in 11 different wood grades, with ever-increasing figure and colour, though the increasing quality is reflected in the prices.
This K95 on test was a Luxus model and the quality bore a striking contrast to the price. It had a good overall colour, which matched both butt and fore-end well. In fact, the Luxus model adds enough extra figure, but not so much that it will trouble you if you scratch it.
The butt section is typically European, with a low comb and semi-hog’s back profile with an attractively defined cheekpiece with ribbed detailing.
A thick black rubber butt-pad absorbs recoil from this light rifle and the pistol grip has an inset oval of your choice depicting animal or scroll motifs – in the test rifle showing a lion.
The chequering is skip line and well executed, and the overall grip was according to my personal preference, being more upright than most rifles. The fore-end is elegant – very slim, but befitting the K95 design with a semi-Schnabel tip and inset release mechanism to detach from the barrel hanger.
Action, trigger and safety
Standard K95 actions have a simple grey finish with stippled panels, but as the models progress so do the adornments. The Luxus model can be ordered with either animal engravings or scroll motifs according to personal preference.
Being of alloy, the engraving is less defined than it would be on a steel action. However, the wild boar and chamois on this model added to the overall sense of style and true purpose of the rifle.
At the front of the action is a sizeable hinge pin to locate the barrel assembly, and this protrudes on both sides of the action face.
There is a large, tilting locking block that gives a precise lock-up on closure and helps maintain the K95’s good accuracy. The large engraved top-lever to open the barrel is on the top tang, and behind this sits a long tang-operated safety sliding catch. It is manually operated, but automatically selects safe if you open the action with a round in it and is both conveniently sited and silent in operation.
The trigger is the same as other Blaser types, being a direct pivot system that eliminates trigger-sear engagement and thus gives a trigger with a delicate light let-off and zero creep. It is single-stage in operation, which suits me fine, though the trigger blade is slim.
Testing in the field
The rifle on test was a rifle in at a local gunsmiths for a muzzle-threading job, so I dispensed with the usual intensive reloading regime and stuck to a few factory loads.
Chambered in 6.5x55mm makes for a good all-purpose cartridge that is capable of taking any deer on the British Isles without being too tough on the shoulder.
It is also viable as a fox gun with lighter bullet weights.
From the 23.75in barrel and with Norma 120-grain Ballistic Tip loads, the K95 shot a five-shot average of 2,832fps and 2,137ft/lb energy, and at 100 yards, the bullets grouped into 0.65in. Heavier soft-point bullets of 139 grains in the PMC ammunition also grouped well, at just over 1in, and shot a velocity of 2,512fps and 1,948ft/lb energy.
What also struck me, apart from the good accuracy from this light rifle, is that the recoil is remarkably mild, which I was not expecting, and this must be thanks to the straight line and well-designed stock. With a moderator fitted, the K95 became a little muzzle heavy and an optional recoil reducer fitted in the butt would certainly solve this.
With a quality scope such as the Swarovski Z6i fitted, the K95 is the epitome of a gentleman’s rifle, but in practice is a dandy, light stalking rifle that will not fatigue any type of shooter, however arduous the terrain.
I was struck just how fast and naturally the K95 came to the aim and handled. With the bonus of a barrel-change system and good accuracy, and the reliability of a single-shot, the only drawback is the price which will put some people off – or lend it exclusivity.
Value for money: 3/5
Really lends itself to strenuous stalking, where a light and highly-portable rifle saves the legs