View Full Version : One Gun-10 calibers-Am I nuts?

October 12, 2006, 08:58 AM
OK, here's the story, I've been looking at a new rifle, the prime movivator being that we now have an overabundence of coyote on the area. I've looked at and like the Savages (with some drawbacks), was originally looking at a .22-250.

HOWEVER, due to the fact that its relatively easy (with the proper tools and gauges) to change out the barrel on the Savage's I got a bug up my butt to see if I can create a "do everything rifle".

So, I keep the action, and get a new stock, that I really like, as well as a good scope to put on it. Then all I have to do is re-barrel, checking the headspace carefully.

Now, I'm pretty sure if I start out with a "short action" that'll cover alot of different calibers, from .22-250 up to to maybe .308.

BUT, If I start with a long (30-06) length action, can I still use short action cartridges (say .243 or .308) from the magazine?

The calibers I'm considering MIGHT be:

8mm-06 (and AI)
Maybe .338-06

These all have a .473 bolt head, but that could be changed, as well, if I wanted to expand the list. Now I KNOW some of these wouldn't feed without modifying the magazine, but "single shot" is OK, in many instances (I'll probably be shooting alot more paper than anything else.)

So, to all you expert gunsmiths out there, is this doable, or just a really dumb idea?

Jim Watson
October 12, 2006, 09:10 AM
I don't know about magazine capability but it is certainly possible to put all those barrels on the same Savage action and they will shoot.
Ask around over at

There is one guy there who has, I think, five actions and eleven barrels which he seems to swap around kind of promiscuously.

I think I'd go nuts trying to keep track of all that stuff, not to mention the expense of that many sets of dies and components. Plus the corolary to Murphy's law that says if you have a caliber convertible firearm, it will never be set up in the caliber you want to shoot today. But it's your dream.

October 12, 2006, 10:00 AM
I can’t think of a purpose to do that.

That said, I do have some guns that have
interchangeable barrels.


charlie in md
October 12, 2006, 11:14 AM
I would think it would be much easier to go with something like a Thompson Center Pro hunter or previous TC iterations in this case.

October 12, 2006, 11:35 AM
If you just have to have a bolt gun with interchangeable barrels, look at SIG rifles. 5 minutes to change a barrel, no barrel wrenches or headspace gauges needed.

October 12, 2006, 12:03 PM


James K
October 12, 2006, 08:22 PM
"Then all I have to do is re-barrel, checking the headspace carefully."

And sight it in. Only in the movies do people screw in a barrel and have the gun hit a dime at 1000 yards.


October 12, 2006, 08:24 PM
I can do it with the Blaser :)


October 13, 2006, 09:53 AM
If your government or wife imposes gun control, switching barrels on a Savage may be a good idea.

Here is a barrel vise I made for a guy to get around his wife with his Savages



October 13, 2006, 06:05 PM
Just my two cents,

I have a Savage 110 long action that was chambered from the factory for 243 Win., and I haven't had any issues feeding rounds from the magazine. I'm pretty sure it will hold 4 rounds. I don't know if the follower in the magazine is different though...

Hope that helps

October 14, 2006, 09:20 AM
That this is a "low budget" project...Saving the money up for the gun will even take a while. Blaser is just too expensive for me.

I figure I can get a Savage, and as money allows, all different barrels, headspace gauges, and reloading equipment.

Yes, I understand that every time I change the barrel I would have to re-sight the gun. Not a movie sniper, nor do I play one on TV.

But, this way, I can keep the action, have a really nice stock that fits me (and a configuration that I like), and a good scope, and still be able to change calibers for a reasonable cost, as money allows.

44 AMP
October 17, 2006, 10:01 AM
Contender, I guess the Encore if you want big rifle cartridges, the new G2 if not.

Plus: Changing barrels is quick and easy, no headspace guages needed. Same stock and action. No need to resight each time. And, either more barrel length (more velocity) for the same size rifle as a bolt gun, or a shorter handier rifle with the same barrel length as a bolt gun.

Minus: Different scope for each barrel. Single shot.
If you are willing to resight in each time you change calibers, you can use just one scope, each barrel has the same base. So that makes the only negative; Single shot, and you asid you are not dead set against it, so really, where is the drawback?

Not sure how the overall cost would work out, you'd have to check into that. That could be the drawback, but be sure to figure in the time and effort (and the cost of tools) you spend changing barrels and headspacing the Savage. Contender takes maybe 30 seconds, and all you need is a screwdriver and maybe a non marring punch and the equivalent of a small hammer.

October 17, 2006, 10:43 AM

nuff said.

October 17, 2006, 10:45 AM
Yep, too much hassle.

If you must do the one-gun-many-calibers thing, then do it with a Thompson/Center, so that the scope/optics are on the BARREL, and not on the RECEIVER, and thus they will stay zeroed with the barrel swap. Way to much trouble to re-zero every swap, not to mention the time in swapping itself. And especially as cheap as used savage actions are - you can mixed & match with barrels, yet leave them as completed rifles once everything is matched up to your desires. Buy a host of .270 and .30-06 complete rifles at gunshows for $150 or so each, then replace with the barrels you want, then leave be once they are completed.

The only limited circumstances in which I could imagine this being worth the effort is the fool-the-wifey scenario mentioned above, and/or live in an apartment with very limited space, and only room for one small gunsafe. Or perhaps if the budget is so extremely limited as to make it a necessity.

But hey, if it's what you want to do, it sounds feasible, once you get the barrel vice.

I like to have complete rifles though - even on something as easy to swap out as an AR15 type rifle, I don't like it just because of the hassle of messing with it prior to going to the range. Again, if you're gonna do it, do with an Encore or Contender, IMO. Those are easy swaps, with optics going with the barrel, for zero-retention. Lot more $$ however.

As for the slightly separate matter of just having a lot of calibers close together ballistics-wise, I completely understand the appeal, but go look at Busgunner's thread right now in General or a thread I started a few months back about simplifying - you'd probably change your tune and go back for simplicity (caliber elimination) eventually anyway, and then who's going to buy those extra barrels? At least there is a ready market for T/C barrels if/when you change your mind.