One of the most common things I kept running into at the 2017 SHOT show were rifles equipped for switching barrels quickly and with a minimum of tools. It seems to be all the rage today, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise. Investing in a really solid action, stock/chassis, and optic is a big chunk of change. And even though I love my heavy barreled .308, it wouldn’t be my first choice for a precision rifle competition. Similarly, hot 6 mm loads are the hotness this year with the introduction of the barrel burning 6 mm Creedmoor, so the ability to swap out for a new barrel without spending an arm and leg in labor is welcome.
Jonathan Rubio from West Texas Ordnance was sharing some space with the folks from Hawkins Precision and was nice enough to show me his SwitchLug setup. The SwitchLug replaces your traditional recoil lug, and allows the end user to swap barrels back and forth as necessary. At the moment, WTO’s lug is designed for most Remington 700 pattern actions as well as WTO’s Claymore HD and Stiller’s Spectre. He was happy to demonstrate a swap for me, and I was pleased to see that it took right at a minute for him to remove the old barrel and replace it with a new one. Simply loosen the Torx, unscrew the old barrel, screw in the new barrel hand tight, and tighten the Torx. All this without removing the scope.
The SwitchLug will not work with a standard Remington 700 barrel as it requires a slightly larger diameter shoulder and a 1 degree taper. Due to the larger shoulder, it might be necessary to relieve a bit of material from the stock of your existing rifle as well. Due to the thicker diameter (.350″), Jonathan also advises that some stocks need to be opened up around the recoil lug and bedded. This is especially true for chassis rifles.
As to repeatability, Jonathan says that they see a maximum of +/- .5 MOA shift between the same barrel with some barrel/action setups doing much better. At $135 for the lug and $375 for the lug and labor to have WTO true your action, the SwitchLug is a fairly attractive option for those looking to turn their Remington 700 or similar into a true switchbarrel setup.