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I need to check headspace on a 1903. Buy my own gauges? Login/Join 
Frangas non Flectes
posted
I called a few local places. One guy said he couldn't do it, and the local shop that does gunsmithing, the guy quoted me a minimum bench fee of $75. The kid that works there annoys me, so I'd rather do it myself. I think I could come out better just getting my own gauges but I don't want to just buy random stuff and find out it's not what I need. So... maybe one of each of these?

https://www.amazon.com/Chamber...-06-GO/dp/B00PYU7CYI

https://www.amazon.com/Headspa...e%2Caps%2C125&sr=8-6

Will a set of these be adequate to make sure a bolt I bought for my rifle will work? Do I need a field gauge? It's an A3 that was converted to A4 config but the bolt handle on the existing bolt has been bent in a way that looks pretty off. I found another that's not exactly like an A4, but much closer and would like to use it. That's the basis of my inquiry. Any input would be appreciated, thanks.


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Posts: 14010 | Location: Seattle-ish | Registered: February 10, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of sigcrazy7
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Isn’t the field gauge more important than a No-Go gauge because it tells you if you have excessive headspace?



Demand not that events should happen as you wish; but wish them to happen as they do happen, and you will go on well. -Epictetus
 
Posts: 7426 | Location: Utah | Registered: December 18, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Fighting the good fight
Picture of RogueJSK
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quote:
Originally posted by sigcrazy7:
Isn’t the field gauge more important than a No-Go gauge because it tells you if you have excessive headspace?


Yes.

It's basically:

Go = Minimum headspace gauge, used to tell if you have insufficient headspace and rounds won't chamber.

No-Go = Intermediate headspace gauge, used to tell if you are nearing maximum headspace. (This is used more for installing new barrels than checking the safety of old rifles.)

Field = Maximum headspace gauge, used to tell if you have excessive headspace and the rifle is unsafe to fire.

If a rifle closes on No-Go but doesn't close on Field, it can still be used safely. But if all you have is a Go and No-Go gauge, and the bolt closes on both, you won't know if your headspace is just nearing max (safe), or over max (not safe), without then buying a Field gauge.

So if you're only wanting to check headspace after swapping the bolt on your used M1903, just pick up a Go gauge and a Field gauge. Skip the No-Go gauge. Make sure it closes on the Go gauge (so it's above minimum headspace), and doesn't close on the Field gauge (so it's below maximum headspace).

Be sure to strip the bolt, including unscrewing the bolt sleeve/striker assembly and removing the extractor, before testing with the gauge and the stripped bolt body. And only use light pressure when closing and rotating the bolt with the gauge inserted in the chamber... Don't force it or use anywhere near the same amount of force you'd normally use when working the bolt during firing. Using excessive force can damage the gauge and/or give you a false reading.
 
Posts: 28230 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have a complete set of 30-06 gauges but the way I usually check if I need to swap a bolt, which I have done many times with '03 Springfields, is to use a few different loaded rounds as a Go gauge. Due to variations in sizing, you may have some that are a little tight but as long as the bolt closes with minimal effort, it's going to be OK. Then I check the stripped bolt with a Field gauge. With some experience you can get a pretty good idea with the Field how close you are to the limit.
 
Posts: 2155 | Location: WI | Registered: December 29, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Old rifle, the work done on it a long time ago? I would think it extremely unlikely that you'd need a Go gauge.

Since you're look on Amazon, and how fast and easy things are to get from them. I wouldn't buy a Go gauge unless nothing else fit.
 
Posts: 19272 | Location: 18th & Fairfax  | Registered: May 17, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Frangas non Flectes
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So… it sounds like I need a field gauge and I can get by with using live ammo as a go gauge, all with a stripped bolt. That about the size of it?


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Posts: 14010 | Location: Seattle-ish | Registered: February 10, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Not all ammo is created equal.

There were a number of Greek return Springfields that had short headspace and will not chamber all ammo (especially some HXP) without a little work with a chamber reamer.

I've also seen rifles that took trying 10-12 bolts to find one that would NOT close on a field gauge. Thankfully I have a buddy with a 20MM ammo can full of bolts to experiment with.

Yes, I own my own gauges.
 
Posts: 688 | Location: Midwest | Registered: April 13, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Frangas non Flectes
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quote:
Originally posted by M1Garandy:
Not all ammo is created equal.


A fair point. I have a little bit of M2 ball, I'll have to see if I can find some affordable (laughs) .30-06 hunting ammo, hopefully a couple different kinds.

quote:
Originally posted by M1Garandy:
There were a number of Greek return Springfields that had short headspace and will not chamber all ammo (especially some HXP) without a little work with a chamber reamer.


I don't know when that was, but this one's been in country since at least 1999, so hopefully it predates that. Also, I think my friend would've noticed since he used to hunt with it.

quote:
Originally posted by M1Garandy:
I've also seen rifles that took trying 10-12 bolts to find one that would NOT close on a field gauge. Thankfully I have a buddy with a 20MM ammo can full of bolts to experiment with.


Ugh. That's discouraging. Well. I got two. Hopefully the one I want to use works.

I'll get a field gauge for starters. I didn't like the scant stock that was on it, so I got a nice repro C stock and I need to file a notch in the stock so the bolt handle will fit. I'm slow with projects, so it's gonna be a minute. I'll update when I finally get a chance.


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I believe in the 25th amendment.
 
Posts: 14010 | Location: Seattle-ish | Registered: February 10, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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As for hunting ammo, if you get desperate and are a reloader, you could pull the 150gr FMJ's from your M2, save the powder, clean the sealant out of the case necks, neck size with your decapping rod removed, charge the case with your saved power and seat some replacement 150gr hunting bullets instead. Using all proper safety precautions, load data, not mixing powder lots, etc., etc.

47,000 Springfields were returned from Greece in 2001, so you may be OK there if the timeline is correct.

That said, 4-5 years ago I rebarreled a Garand with a well used 1943 SA barrel and it headspaced perfectly but would not chamber a round. The throat was just a little short, and it had likely been since the day it was originally installed on the rifle it was shipped on. A couple of twists with a chamber reamer and I was back in business. Reamer never touched the shoulder of the chamber, only the throat.

Some HXP seems to run a little on the long side, USGI surplus seems to be a touch shorter on average. At least in my experience.

The rifle in question that needed an ammo can full of bolts was WELL used and the barrel was "NOS" when I got it but not in the wrap. My suspicion is that someone reamed the headspace a touch too long, pulled the barrel and resold it as new. Luckily, tolerance stacking works in two directions and I was able to find a bolt that worked with the combination of receiver lug wear, chamber length and bolt lug wear that I was dealing with.

Oh, there is a fella on the CMP forum turning out some pretty good replica M1903A4 bolts. If memory serves, GI A4 stocks were notched with a ball mill.
 
Posts: 688 | Location: Midwest | Registered: April 13, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Frangas non Flectes
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I don't reload, and that's going to have to change. I'm meticulous enough that I need to get into it.

Thanks for the info, we'll see what shakes out. About the ball reamer, my friend got ahold of a couple good reference pictures I'm going to work from to try to duplicate. It's a rounded section with straight walls on the sides. I've got a small selection of ball shaped diamond coated bits, I'll have to see if one of them is large enough. If that works, then I can square out the shoulders with a file.

What I need to do is take pics of this project.


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I believe in the 25th amendment.
 
Posts: 14010 | Location: Seattle-ish | Registered: February 10, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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