Switch Barrels

Tim Behle

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2002
Messages
367
Location
McNeal, AZ
You fellas are just about to drive me<UL TYPE=SQUARE><LI>A) into the Poor house
<LI>B) Into the nut house
<LI>C) Both[/list]

So many options, so little funding. And all of this latest talk about the new WSSM is just about enough to push me over the edge.

I'm trying to think of some ways try out a few ideas I have, and some existing cartridges, with out having to spend $1,500 on each one.

Are switch barrel rifles a viable option? I've never been around one, but the idea of simply unscrewing one barrel, screwing in another and switching bolts seems a lot cheaper than building a new rifle from
the ground up.

I'm thinking that once I have a long magnum action, bedded into a good stock, I should be able to shoot everything from a .338 Lapua down to a .17 Mach 4.

Would this work?

Or should I just start looking for a second job?


[ 10-18-2002: Message edited by: Tim Behle ]
 

Steve Shelp

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 3, 2001
Messages
351
Location
NC
Tim,
I use this concept on my 1000yd HG competition rifle... 2 barrels, 2 bolts = twice the fun. The calibers are 6.5x55AI and 338 Lapua Improved. The 6.5 case looks VERY small inside a BAT 2"x10" action but the feeding is fine and ejection isn't a problem. BUT this is a single shot setup. If your talking about a magazine feed rifle with such drastic differences in cartridge length you may end up with feeding problems without some other special considerations in magazine length, feed rails, etc.

One drawback is if you get multiple barrels (meaning more than 2 or 3) is keeping a good zero point on your scope. If you have a top notch scope that will repeat the clicks exactly everytime then it is not a problem. My 338 zero is set to zero on my Nightforce elevaton turret and my 6.5x55 zero is 3 1/8 up at 100yds. This has repeated so far when I've fired these at 100yds.
But if you had 5 different barrels then that's a lot to remember and your windage could vary a lot also. So you can see the importance of repeatability in your scope unless you plan on rezeroing everytime you want to shoot.

Steve
 

bgordon

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2002
Messages
73
Location
Tulsa Oklahoma
Tim,
I use a switch barrel system that is probably what you are envisioning. It started out as a Remington 700 in 243 with a varmint weight barrel. I have had 3 other barrels done for the rifle in various calibers.
There are positives and negatives to the concept. The biggest difficulty associated with a switch barrel setup based upon anything other than Savage actions is that it still takes a gunsmith to initially set up the barrel. The second drawback, as has already been mentioned, is that the rifle effectively becomes a single shot without quite a bit of additional time and money expended, at least most of the time.
It is also a bit of a pain to be switching barrels, stocks, and scopes on a whim because of the problem of rezeroing. Once I even grabbed the wrong ammunition because I forgot that I had switched barrels the previous time out shooting.

The only way I would consider it a viable option is as a special purpose target rifle similar to the function filled by the Tubb 2000 rifle. For anything else it such a pain that I would much prefer to have multiple rifles. In case you were wondering, my switch barrel setup is a tactical style stock similar to the McMillan A4 except for being made from a laminate blank. The action is a Remington 700 short action with a single shot carrier welded in place. The barrels are the factory 243 varmint barrel, a 22-250 varmint barrel, a 22-250 Ack Imp 1-8 twist target barrel for 600 yard target use, and a 6.5-08 (260 Remington) 1-8 twist barrel for 1000 yard target use.
 

MAX

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2001
Messages
263
Don't know if this is viable or not, but the Blaser 93 has a good reputation as a switch barrel concept though it looks a bit odd and is not cheap. I think their barrels are too short as well, but if you can find a 'smith that can build barrels for one you can do the wildcat thing and even have a longer tube. I seem to recall that there is an option for a different bolt face size as well. Possibilities are boggling, expense limited only by your wife...
 

Tim Behle

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2002
Messages
367
Location
McNeal, AZ
Steve,

Thanks for your thoughts. I'm not too worried about feeding, I do most of my shooting one shot at a time. I mostly kill lots of paper, with a few coyotes thrown in from time to time.

I noticed you use a BAT action, are some actions better suited for this than others? As much as I like, M70 actions, I was thinking I could probably find bolts easier (Cheaper) for M700 actions. Would either of these actions work for a switch barrel, or would I be better off going with a custom action?

Keeping a zero on the scope so far doesn't seem to be a problem with my 6.5-20. I use at least three different loads frequently in one rifle. Each box of ammo I make has a drop sheet folded up inside with the zero point for that load written on it. So far, it's worked great for me.
 

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