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Switch barrel?

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Unread 09-06-2007, 04:46 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Chelan Co, Washington
Posts: 554
Switch barrel?

How hard would it be to set up a Model 70 CRF action as a switch-barrel rifle?

Rifle is currently a 7mm Rem mag, and I think it would be kind of fun and interesting to have several pre-threaded/pre-chambered barrels set up for it that I could swap here at home with little more than a barrel vise and an action wrench. Say a .257 Wby, 7mm mag and .338 Win mag... Or something like that.

Would this be a horribly expensive project, or relatively inexpensive, sort of like just having the barrel replaced a couple of times?

Thanks, Guy
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Unread 09-06-2007, 08:55 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Texas
Posts: 7,189
Switch barrel

It is very possible as long as you used the same recever and
set up head space for each barrel .BUT each time you make
the barrel up you will lose some head space and eventually have

All of the actions that make up hard aganst the barrel will have
this problem so this looks like a good place for a Savage with the
barrel nut so you can head space correctly every time.

Cost would probably be between $600.oo an $800.oo dollars each
depending on the barrel used.

If you could find take off barrels with the right chamber this could
save lot's of money. (gunsmith's often take new or like new barrels
off to change caliber or to go to a heavy premium type barrel.

Good Luck
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Unread 09-07-2007, 01:11 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Chelan Co, Washington
Posts: 554
Interesting, thanks.

I got the idea because a few years back I bought a used Model 70 match rifle from another shooter, along with several spare barrels he'd already had threaded and chambered (all were .308 Win) for the same rifle. When I wore out the first one, it was a very quick and easy procedure for me and the local gunsmith to unscrew the worn out barrel, and screw on one of the other barrels. The rifle shoots great after the swap too...

So, got to thinking that it might make an interesting setup for a hunting rifle as well.

Thanks, Guy
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Unread 09-16-2007, 02:48 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 723
JE, could you explain the loosing the headspace? Do you mean this would happen in a very tightly screwed ( pressed hard against action) barrel??

could this be avoided or minimized with a good threading , or maybe pinning the barrels?

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Unread 09-16-2007, 04:54 PM
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Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 27
Originally Posted by J E Custom View Post

BUT each time you make the barrel up you will lose some head space and eventually have
I've got a couple of commercial Mausers and push feed Winchesters that I've had for years.

I've rebarreled them time and again for whatever cartridge struck my fancy at the time.

I've kept the rest of the barrels around, with the brass, dies, etc. In a way, I guess they are "switch barrelled".

Although, every one of those barrels has been on and off the receiver no less than three times. First, checking headspace and test firing after fitting and chambering. Second, removal of the barrel for caliber engraving. Third, removal for replacement of something else.

The receivers haven't changed a bit. I kept measurements from the first time I squared them up, nothing has changed.

I've experienced no galling of the receiver shoulder or barrel shoulder on the Winchesters, or the inner torque shoulder or face of the barrel on the Mausers. Always assembled with moly grease.

Headspace hasn't changed for me on any of them.
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Unread 09-16-2007, 06:55 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Texas
Posts: 7,189
Head space

Loss of head space is very gradual and if you are only going to change
2 or 3 times it probably would not matter ,But I assumed you were going
to change once or twice a year for different types of game.

All of the rifles I build have less than .002 and depending on what type
of action I use I calculate .001 to .002 crush or strech on the first make
up of the barrel to action.At 90 to 100 ft/lbs.

No mater how well the thread fit there will be some ware/upsetting
of the thread's it may be only .0002 each time but this will add up
over time and with only .001 head space that would be 4 or 5 times.

Of course if your rifle has .004 to.006 head space it may never give
you problems.

A case in point , Some rifles have a extractor cut in the barrel .To make
this setup you have to make the barrel and recever up several times to
take the initial stretch/crush out and then lay out the extractor groove
and index the barrel then remove and mill the extractor groove ,then
make up the barrel and the action per the index mark .

If the action has no threads and is pinned the head space remains the
same same . But most high power rifles are threaded.

Long winded and I hope this explained it.
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Unread 09-19-2007, 12:38 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,075
I used to barrel up M1 Garands, M-1A's, and FAL clones. Setback becomes very apparent because all of them have to be clocked to the receiver. If one of them made up properly the first time I torqued it in, I left it alone. If it under-rotated a few degrees, I broke it loose and repeated the makeup. Sometimes only once was enough to bring it into time. They definitely wear, stretch, crush (or something) with repeated making and breaking. If a barrel ever over-rotated, it didn't matter which time, it was unusable. (The Brits did have a "breeching washer" arrangement on L1A1's that accomodated rotation and headspace, mostly rotation). The M1 and M1A could adjust headspace a little by changing bolts, and FALS and L1A1's a lot by changing locking shoulders.

I'm not sure how many times it would take to materially shorten headspace by breaking out and remaking a sporter barrel, but I agree with JECustom that the first few times it should be measurable. The thinnest shimstock that I have is 1 mil and I have seen that much difference on a go gage with repeated makeup and breakout of the same barrel in the same receiver. I do not like hand finishing a chamber, so sometimes I have to go back to the lathe (sometimes more than once) to get it exactly where I want it. And always break it out at least once for a breech that requires an extractor cut.

I have been tempted to use a good E/P grease on barrel threads, both square and V threads, but don't because of the potential for over-torqueing. Instead, I just use a light gun oil. Torque comes up smoothly, quickly, and holds where I stop without creeping. No galling so far.

I sure get long winded. Some of this is experience, some opinion. I do not believe that it is the only way, just my way.

Texas State Rifle Association Life Member
NRA Endowment Life Member

A big fast bullet will beat a little fast bullet every time
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