Question about having multiple bolts/barrels for same rifle.


Well-Known Member
Dec 6, 2016
I’ll try to make my question simple. I want to buy a used SA rifle. I haven’t seen the exact thing I want but close. Here’s my “plan” the used one and shoot the hell outta it for practice. Then buy a different bolt and barrel for the caliber I want, and use that for hunting.
Example: I buy a nice 6.5cm, or 260, practice with that all year like a trainer, then a few months before season switch the bolt/barrel to a 6.5 SAUM OR 6.5 SS and hunt. Any potential issues?
The ones I’ve looked at are custom actions, would the second bolt I ordered fit perfectly? Or would it need to be trued to the action? I hoped being a custom it would be plug and play.


Well-Known Member
Oct 2, 2007
With a custom action it would be plug and play, and there are a couple ways to skin that cat. 1st regarding the action, it is probably cheapest to pick an action where you simply swap the bolt face to a magnum bolt face as opposed to buying a complete bolt. Good example: Bighorns or Curtis Axiom/Vectors, etc.

Barrel swapping will come down to either using a shouldered barrel that simply mates up to said action and is headspaced appropriately. The smith will need your action to do this, OR with a Bighorn (due to their excellent machining consistency) you can buy shouldered barrels without sending action in and you torque it on with a barrel vise and action wrench. Some are even using low torque and wrench flats on end of the barrel.

The other option is to use any number of barrel nuts these days, or thread loading devices such as the ARC Barloc, west texas switch lug. Etc. The Curtis Vector action has an integrated quick lock system. This method will require that you use headspace gauges to ensure proper head space before locking the barrel nut/thread locker down.

There are numerous threads on Snipershide about a variety of these options. There are a lot of "prefit" barrels out now that allow the use of the barrel nuts so people like that convenience. At the end of the day I would go with a Bighorn and traditional shouldered barrel, but they are all easy systems, and they will all be more accurate than you. That has been proven. Rest assured quality options exist for what you want to do, you'll just have to pick what suits your fancy.