Is Switch barrel feasible for top accuracy?

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by AJ Peacock, Nov 24, 2011.

  1. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2005

    I have a Rem 700 I've been shooting for 30+ years (7RM) and we've become somewhat accustomed to each other. The barrel is almost done, it still shoots sub 1/2 MOA, but the throat is going fast, the bullets are seated about as long as I dare to catch up to the throat.

    The question:

    In a perfect world, I'd have 2 barrels (7mm Rem Mag, and 375 Ruger) and they'd both shoot 1/2 moa or so. Is this feasible, or a pipe dream? (standard ADL contour, 24" long)

  2. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

    Jan 20, 2004
    Feasible? Yes!

    With the proper smith I'd say it's pretty much a certainty.

    There's was a switch barrel 308/6br LRH/6BR Benchrest barrel that did just fine.

  3. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2004
    AJ .
    This has been a long time debate and probably continue to be a Chevy versus ford debate and
    it boils down to what you want to try.

    There are pros and cons with a switch barrel. the main advantage is cost. In theory all you
    need is another barrel and preferably two cartridges with the same case head size, plus a
    very good smith to set the barrels up where they can be set up precisely each time.

    The down side to me is the fact that every time you change barrels you will have to spend
    time and ammo to re-zero the rifle and with different calibers, harmonics will be different
    even with the same contour barrel because of the bore diameter and bullet weight,
    requiring different action screw torques possibly for maximum accuracy and a very durable
    bedding job to maintain its fit after many swaps.

    I am not against switch barrels but my experance with them has not been as good as two
    rifles special purpose built that are not disturbed by taking them in and out of the stock.

    Most of the time if you take a great shooting rifle apart (out of the stock) you have to verify
    the zero and they will not normally shoot the same group size. (It may be larger or smaller
    though not by much) And torque values may have to be changed for the very best accuracy.

    As a hunter. the accuracy difference is not that much of a problem, but if it is a match rifle
    or long shots are the norm every few thousandths can mean success of failure, so personally
    I don't like messing with a fine shooting rifle.

    So again , In my opinion if you have /want two different calibers for hunting you may be satisfied
    with a switch barrel, especially if you switch barrels only once a year for different hunting seasons
    (Varmints then big game).

    The other down side that I found to a switch barrel rig was the requirements for optics were so
    far apart and a compromise was needed (It was not the best for ether caliber).

    Just my opinion.

  4. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2005
    Thanks guys, you summed up what I had supposed.

    I guess I'll just re-barrel when it's time and keep looking for a good donor action for my 375

  5. ultraedge

    ultraedge Well-Known Member

    Aug 17, 2011
    A.J., I have four different Rem. 700 switch bbl. rifles that will shoot one half moa or less with several different bullets. These are magnums in .338 EDGE, 300 RUM,and 7STW built by Whidden's Gunworks.
  6. rscott5028

    rscott5028 Well-Known Member

    Apr 18, 2010
    By some definition, all 700's are switch barrel rifles. Switching the barrel once or twice a year is no big deal. More often than that may become a PITA.

    Sauer, Blaser, and a few others make real takedown/switch barrel rifles that are qucik/easy to change out, accurate, and retain POA/POI fairly well.

    Of course, you can own several Rem 700's for a much smaller investment.

    -- richard