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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm having a .358 Winchester built on a Mauser M48 action. How would a gunsmith approach this project if the customer wanted to purchase additional barrels and use the gun for different calibers? I've been told that having a separate bolt and barrel for each caliber is all that is required? Is that correct? Also, how much work is involved in actually switching barrels? Is there a way for attaching the barrel in some sort of "quick release" manner so that switching barrels doesn't have to involved screwing them in and out?

Lots of questions but I'd like to know some of this before I actually approach the 'smith' who's doing the work.

Thank you very much, in advance, for your advice.
 

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What's needed to set up a 'switch barrel' r

There are myriad ways to create a switch barrel rifle. The old Savage M99 used the 2 most commonly used for high power rifles. The early rifles used an interrupted thread that allowed a partial turn of the barrel to free it from the receiver. These tended to loosen with use and were replaced in later rifles with a simple screw out barrel and they both used the forearm to hold the barrel against unwanted rotation. Some of the winchester levers used interupted threads and the magazine tube screwing into the action provided the barrel retention. In bolt action rifles I've seen the forearm as a seperate part of the stock fixed to the barrel. To remove the barrel a catch was pressed(pulled, depressed etc.) and the barrel/forearm assembly was rotated to unscrew it from the action. Only barrels HAVE to be different. The headspace is set for the common bolt and the barrel is indexed to the receiver. Only if the case head was different would a seperate bolt be needed. Building these is a very timecomsuming activity and thus quite expensive. What calibers do you envision for this project. You may also consider scope mounts that allow a scope to be removed and replaced and retain it's zero. Nice to have when switching barrels, a pre-zeroed scope. Just install the barrel and clamp on the scope. A cheaper method would be to set up the barrel as the Savage 110 series rifles are with barrel 'jam' nuts. This would mean each barrel would have to have it's headspace set each time it was installed and would involve more tools and time to change calibers but would be immensely cheaper. On the plus side the stock could remain 1 piece but the rifle would need rezeroing after each barrel change..
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
What's needed to set up a 'switch barrel' r

Gunnut69, besides the .358 Winchester, I'm considering either a 7mm-08 or a 25-08. The .358 would be for a deer/elk hunt while the 25 or 7mm barrel would be for a deer/pronghorn hunt. Since I apparently wouldn't need a second bolt, it looks as though all I'd need to do to move between one barrel and the other is to have the 'smith' change the barrels and align the scope. Right?
 

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What's needed to set up a 'switch barrel' r

Smokey

I wanted a switch barrel rifle for years and years. Finally got one but it's a single shot. Barrel changing is rather simple and it takes me about 2-3 minutes to accomplish. The barrels are fully threaded with a set or locking screw in the bottom of the action. Since I'm shooting 218 Mashburn Bee, 30-40 Krag and 38-55 Win I also have to change the extractor when I change my barrel. I also use a Lyman 20 Super Target Spot scope (actually have two) that uses Unertl blocks mounted on the barrels. The forearms are glassed and screwed to the half round barrels.

jeff

 

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What's needed to set up a 'switch barrel' r

For the most part you are correct. There are still a lot of questions to answer but in essence all you should need will be barrels and a means to change them.. which will depend on how the rifle is set up. Scopes can also be set up in quick detach mounts and then seperate scopes zeroed for each caliber or just rezero the scope mounted each time a barrel is changed out. It takes a lot of careful craftsmanship to build such a rifle and probably won't come cheap but should be do-able. good luck from the gunnut69
 

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What's needed to set up a 'switch barrel' r

Smokey,

I recently saw a switch barrel job that was really slick. The barrel was srcewed in hand tight to an index mark and had a flat that a set screw tightened against to lock the barrel. It involved removing the stock to change barrels. The targets the gunsmith showed me were very good. I can get their phone number if you like. I just moved, so their business card they gave me is packed in a box some where. They are local, so I will stop by and see them today.

With this set up you could have any number of calibers from 22-250 up to 358 Winchester on a short action. I found a LH Weatherby with 2 barrels (340 and 375 Wby) that I might pick up to do the same thing with. I could add a 300 or 257 Wby and have a neat package.

Good luck and good hunting. Mart
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
What's needed to set up a 'switch barrel' r

Mart, if you do find the card for this gunsmith, kindly send the info to me at [email protected]

The setup you describe sounds very user-friendly. I talked to my gunsmith today about the general concept of a switch-barrel rig but he was less than enthisiastic about doing it. I'd much prefer someone doing it who really enjoys the idea.

Could a novice buy a barrel vice and an action wrench, and learn to switch barrels the conventional way?
 
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