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Topic: Switch-barrel rifle thoughts (Read 234 times) previous topic - next topic

Switch-barrel rifle thoughts

To say that I'm attracted to mousetraps might be a understatement, lol.

I've always been fascinated with switch-barrel rifles; those where it's easy to switch barrels within the same bolt face, easy to switch bolts when required, and one that uses familial magazines. The most obvious benefit, to me, is the receiver doesn't change. This dials out fitment issues, the trigger is the same, the scope needs a simple dope sheet to get it more-or-less on track with a minimal amount of fine tuning. Cost savings may be substantial since barrels are generally cheaper than buying one rifle in each caliber.

I wonder though, are switch-barrel rifles inherently accuracy-compromised?

Figured I'd throw it out here to see what you guys think. 
Chris

Re: Switch-barrel rifle thoughts

Reply #1
I have no switch barrel rifles and have never managed one, so no experience or insights to offer other than what I have researched and read. Take a look at the MPA offering as well as the LPR offering.

The reason I never pursued this rapid barrel change system is I have the same reservations regarding loose tolerances that could affect ultimate accuracy. That may be a reasonable concern but I don’t know. I do know I will always put accuracy above convenience in my priority list.
Further thought along these lines brought me to the conclusion my best option was to work with one gunsmith of high quality who could thread barrels and turn chambers such that 60-70 foot pounds of torque on a barrel change on the same action would guaranteed proper and consistent head space on every barrel that I screwed on. With the right action wrench and barrel vise it just doesn’t take that long to do, even at the range. For me, I decided I  might not be ahead to chase the quick easy approach.

Maybe someone who has some experience here can make a strong case for the switch barrel system beyond its quickness and convenience.

Re: Switch-barrel rifle thoughts

Reply #2
What brought the switch-barrel to mind for me is a review I read recently of a Strasser rifle. I thought I'd found my perfect prom date until I got to the target results which were ordinary at best. I suppose I should take into account it's a hunting rifle, not something designed to set bench rest records. Anyway, the rifle appears to be an exquisite example of European design and manufacturing, at $4k for the first rifle and $850 or so for barrels, it's not insanely priced. If I added up all the money I have invested in rifles of different calibers, plus the glass sitting on each one, it wouldn't take long to hit $4k ($1k if I'm talking to the missus :)).

On the other hand, I have a sort-of switch-barrel rifle with my SIG SSG 3000 but, I'm limited to barrels made by Benchmark, it's a short-action, period, and just one bolt-face family. I do have to remove the action from the stock in order to change barrels but it's certainly easy enough to do, even this bubbasmith can do it.


 
Chris

Re: Switch-barrel rifle thoughts

Reply #3
No experience with one but watched some videos on them.. pretty cool.. looks like you can get behind the mpa version of one for around 3,500..
After looking around a little more trying to find a set up being shot i run across this video.. for all the things he changed around on it im suprised how repeatable it was..
https://youtu.be/aP-bwBFSjiU
Grant

Re: Switch-barrel rifle thoughts

Reply #4
Great video find Grant!

I'll have to check my SIG to see I need to remove the scope for a barrel change. I've only switched it once from .308 to 6.5 Creedmoor, that was quite a while, and one pandemic back in time. No matter what though, the scope would have to be adjusted for POI unless a person was very lucky.
Chris

Re: Switch-barrel rifle thoughts

Reply #5
I used to shoot with a guy (actually his whole family...wife, son & daughter were all good).  He purchased some high-end rig (high end because he paid a lot for it) that would allow him to exchange barrels very quickly.  He would slide them in, give them a quarter turn and then tighten down a bolt on the action.  He shot well at the 100/300 yard ranges.  He liked to shoot steel at a mile and participated in a number of Milk Jug matches.  His son was in Gunsmithing school when they decided they had had enough of CA and left.  I don't remember the name of the rifle but I seem to remember it was north of $6K...for a single barrel.  
Bob
If everything seems under control......you're just not going fast enough

Re: Switch-barrel rifle thoughts

Reply #6
No experience with one but watched some videos on them.. pretty cool.. looks like you can get behind the mpa version of one for around 3,500..
After looking around a little more trying to find a set up being shot i run across this video.. for all the things he changed around on it im suprised how repeatable it was..
https://youtu.be/aP-bwBFSjiU

Grant these targets were shot at just 100 yards. Even if the orange dots are just 1”, that rifle is shooting > 1/2 MOA in just 3 shot groups and > 1 MOA groups when the 3 shot groups are combined. To me if that is to be considered repeatable, I would call it repeatable poor precision especially for a custom rifle.
This video only strengthens a concern (for me) that precision is being lost in exchange for convenience.

It sure wouldn’t be fair to formulate an opinion on switch barrel systems on this one video. But this one doesn’t instill much confidence for me.

Re: Switch-barrel rifle thoughts

Reply #7
My original MPA purchase was a switch-barrel.  While waiting on it, I shot a match with Phil from MPA.  Told him I had ordered the switch action from one of his suppliers (quicker than waiting on MPA production).  Without getting into a long discussion here, Phil just told me that the Switch was not what I needed.  He never told me why--and I asked numerous times.  He told me when it arrived, to send it directly to him and he would send me a non-switch replacement.  I took him at his word, the swap was made at no cost to me with exception of shipping the rifle to MPA. 
Jeff
First impressions are forever.....you don't get a second chance

Re: Switch-barrel rifle thoughts

Reply #8
Grant these targets were shot at just 100 yards. Even if the orange dots are just 1”, that rifle is shooting > 1/2 MOA in just 3 shot groups and > 1 MOA groups when the 3 shot groups are combined. To me if that is to be considered repeatable, I would call if repeatable poor precision especially for a custom rifle.
This video only strengthens a concern (for me) that precision is being lost in exchange for convenience.

It sure wouldn’t be fair to formulate an opinion on switch barrel systems on this one video. But this one doesn’t instill much confidence for me.

Ok... for what looks like more of a hunting style rifle i was expecting it to have a inch or two spread in the two different groups.. with changing the barrel and scope.. and i didnt expext any one to form an opinion on this video jerry.. just post it for chris to check out.. i personally wouldnt own one but thats just me.. im sure that paticular set up is good enough for a lot of folks..
Grant

Re: Switch-barrel rifle thoughts

Reply #9
With respect to the video, it's hard to know what an acceptable outcome should look like. For example, if I take just two different caliber rifles to the range, it seems as if I don't have a great day with either one, I'm somewhat of a scatterbrain though.

I wouldn't imagine using a switch-barrel the way the video depicted. In other words, repeatable mediocrity may be the result of the experiment, not the equipment.
Chris

Re: Switch-barrel rifle thoughts

Reply #10

“I wouldn't imagine using a switch-barrel the way the video depicted. In other words, repeatable mediocrity may be the result of the experiment, not the equipment.”

Good point Chris.

Re: Switch-barrel rifle thoughts

Reply #11
Blaser r8 bolt actions have a quick change barrel system and scope system. And they gaurantee no point of impact shift or loss of accuracy. But at that price point I personally dont know anyone who has one. Quite the rifle.

https://youtu.be/8lBI2kzLBwQ

I think rifles with swappable barrels like that are more common in Europe. Merkel and Voere come to mind of the top of my head.

Re: Switch-barrel rifle thoughts

Reply #12
Wow that price knocked my socks off!! I would love to have an hour to examine one of those up close.

Re: Switch-barrel rifle thoughts

Reply #13
Wow that price knocked my socks off!! I would love to have an hour to examine one of those up close.

Supposedly their action has been laboratory tested to withstand 210,300 psi piezo pressure. Pretty crazy stuff for a straight pull bolt action. Should be able to get a few extra fps from my creedmoor at those kind of pressures.

Re: Switch-barrel rifle thoughts

Reply #14
LOL 😋

500 round 6.5 CM barrel but the action will handle it. Seems like there is always a trade off. One good point though - if that action Will handle that kind of pressure it will last forever at standard pressures.

I was not familiar with this rifle until your post and I know I will never purchase one in that price range but it sure intriguing. I’ll say it again, I would really enjoy an opportunity to handle and examine one.