Every year, an increasing number of rifle manufacturers enter the marketplace offering their version of the ultimate hunting rifle. The rifle industry has become saturated with the “me too” rifle companies all building rifles with similar features, with just enough of a spin or twist to make it their own. It was time for someone to offer a unique rifle to the market, allowing the user to have one rifle and optic platform with a variety of barrel offerings that could be changed at home without a trip to the gunsmith.  

Quality optics are key to ensuring an accurate rifle setup, but with quality glass reaching prices of $3,000 these days, most of us can afford only one high-quality scope. Thus, we are then cornered into using “lesser” quality scopes and having to convince ourselves it’s good enough for the money. I personally would rather have a single rifle optic that is the best money can buy and switch it from gun to gun depending on what my current mission dictated, as opposed to having an army of weapons fitted with lesser glass that wasn’t worth the box it was shipped in.

 

Engineering & Versatility

Enter the Proof Research Switch rifle. This new rifle system allows the user to purchase a variety of pre-chambered barrel options, making it more affordable to own a custom-built rifle with multiple uses, and is priced well below most custom rifles on the market.

Switch rifles are offered in .223 Rem., 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, .260 Rem., and .308 Win., with additional barrels chambered in .22-250 Rem., .243 Win., and 7mm-08 Rem. in both carbon and steel barrels. The barrels are threaded similar to a Savage barrel nut system for fast and reliable barrel changes.

The Switch rifle is one of those rifles you just can’t stop shooting. It’s also very photogenic.

The action has an interchangeable floating bolt head, which allows for repeatable bolt lug lock-up as well as multi-caliber versatility offered in .390 and .480 bolt faces. It features control round feed with a mechanical ejector and accepts AICS pattern magazines for fast, reliable feeding.

The barrel and action are then set in a carbon fiber stock, which is pillar bedded and features a vertical grip. The vertical grip is extremely comfortable and lends itself to precision shooting due to the proper hand position it allows the shooter in a variety of shooting positions. The carbon fiber shell produces a lightweight stock that is extremely durable and will hold up to season after season of use and abuse. To top of the list of upgraded features, the Switch has a Trigger Tech trigger installed and tuned to 3 lbs. If you haven’t yet experienced a Trigger Tech trigger, you’re missing out!

Once I set the initial zero on my optic, I found the stock bedding to be exceptional. The superiority of the bedding was evident after weeks of traveling across Montana, Idaho, and Washington. The zero never shifted.

Furthermore, after removing the barreled action for cleaning and inspection, the impact shift was less than ½” when I reset my zero. Coupled with their carbon-wrapped barrel, this rifle is extremely durable; one of the most reliable rifles on the market today.

The Switch rifle comes with a ½ MOA guarantee from Proof Research. I found this to be a generous guarantee, with my rifle averaging ¼ MOA with several different brands of ammunition.

The majority of my shooting was with Hornady Precision Hunter 6.5 Creedmoor 143-gr. ELDX and Hornady Match 6.5 Creedmoor 140-gr. ELDM. Both loads provided consistent five-shot groups well under ½ MOA under a variety of atmospheric conditions – from blowing volcanic dust at 100 degrees to 15 degrees and blowing snow – without any accuracy degradation. This uncompromised accuracy is a result of the highest quality components and engineering produced by Proof Research.

The author built this rest with techniques gathered from the Backcountry Hunter Course he attended and reviewed. The Outdoorsman pack and trekking poles built a solid rest that he used to harvest his mountain goat.

I was fortunate enough to use my Switch rifle during the Backcountry Hunters Course review (Western Hunter, Fall 2017) where I fired 250 rounds through my rifle without cleaning the weapon (purposefully). I experienced zero failures during the five-day course.

During this time, I witnessed several rifles experiencing failure-to-feed and failure-to-fire malfunctions due to the blowing volcanic dust. The Switch rifle’s accuracy held true, with consistent hits on small steel plates out to 900 yards, with a couple hits at 1200 yards. All shots were made from tripod-assisted shooting positions.

 

Proof on the Ground

My summer was spent shooting the Switch rifle and establishing my data card. I did this at higher elevations and colder temperatures in preparation for my Montana mountain goat tag.

After two days of observing a lone goat on a rocky slope, I was able to confirm it was a legal nanny for my nanny-only tag. The goat finally presented a brief shot opportunity at 435 yards on a rocky ledge 45 degrees upslope from my shooting position. My rest was constructed of my Outdoorsman pack frame and two trekking poles as my rear support. A single shot was all it took to safely anchor the goat on the ledge to prevent it from plummeting off the mountain.

October found me in eastern Montana in pursuit of antelope and mule deer, and also finishing up my season of testing the Switch rifle. After success on my mountain goat tag, I was anxious to fill the three remaining tags in my pocket.

On day one, I was able to harvest a healthy mule deer buck with a deformed antler with a perfect shot from a standing, tripod-supported shooting position with a 12 mph crosswind gusting to 20 mph. Another single-round harvest had me believing I couldn’t miss with the Switch rifle.

The next morning I confirmed my thought by belly-crawling within range to harvest a buck and doe antelope at 300 and 380 yards. They were each taken with a single round fired from the suppressed Switch rifle from the flank of the 20-head herd, none of which ever reacted to the shot. It was refreshing to harvest two animals and leave the herd calm and “unspooked” to remain doing what antelope do.

Switching Barrels

After my successful big game season hunting with the Switch rifle donning the carbon-fiber 6.5 Creedmoor barrel, it was time to switch out barrels for a .223 barrel to tackle winter coyotes. The system was foolproof, and after watching the brief video online, I was ready to start wrenching. The process is simple and took less than 15 minutes to finish.

Instead of explaining each step of the process here, just go to www.proofresearch.com and watch the six-minute video. It’s more beneficial to watch the process than for me to explain in text. The .223 barrel I tested shot well with Nosler Varmageddon 55-gr. and Hornady 55-gr. V-Max. Both loads are atop my favorites for the majority of my predator hunting.

 

The Short List

Needless to say, after a successful precision rifle course and four shots fired to punch four tags without a single malfunction or point of impact shift, I was quite impressed by the performance of the Proof Research Switch rifle. Whether you’re looking for a utilitarian rifle system or just a new rifle to add to the safe, the Switch rifle should definitely be atop your list of rifles.

The myriad of unique features, technology-driven engineering, supreme accuracy, simple ergonomics, and the ability to swap barrels at your house should be sufficient in getting the point across of the application potential of the Switch Rifle if I didn’t give you plenty of reasons already.

As always, keep the gun conversation alive by following me @papwinkle on Instagram or email me at colton@westernhunter.net. Never stop training, and never stop evolving your skill.