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Mar 25th, 2012
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How to check headspace #6990848
12/10/17 08:25 PM
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David Stidham Offline OP
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My dad gave me a 30.06 on a Mauser platform. Gun kicks like no other. A older gentleman told me to check the headspace. Any idea if I can do this myself or does a gunsmith need to?

Re: How to check headspace [Re: David Stidham] #6990865
12/10/17 08:38 PM
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They have headspace gauges you can buy. I don't think most brick & mortar stores would carry them, but any of the big name online retailers will have them.

Re: How to check headspace [Re: David Stidham] #6990870
12/10/17 08:40 PM
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Head space gauge's. It shouldn't cost much to have a gun smith check it.

Depending on the style of stock the rifle has,that may be the hard kicking issue.The stock designs of the 1950-60's weren't very ergonomic,my first deer rifle was a 1903 sporter that my grandfather had built by Paul Jeager. That rifle would HURT you before I installed a muzzle brake,and I hate muzzle brakes.

Re: How to check headspace [Re: David Stidham] #6990892
12/10/17 08:53 PM
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I do think the stock may be some issue. It's a synthetic stock. Was thinking s muzzle brake. The gun has broke 3 cheap scopes already. They said the headspace is a dangerous issue. Just wanted to make sure before I changed everything.

Re: How to check headspace [Re: David Stidham] #6990898
12/10/17 08:57 PM
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What event prompted the suggestion to check the rifle headspace? Unless you're an FFL dealer who buys and sells in bulk, it's not a routine task, unless there's some symptom of a problem. Recoil has nothing whatsoever to do with correct/incorrect headspace.


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Re: How to check headspace [Re: syncerus] #6990908
12/10/17 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted By: syncerus
What event prompted the suggestion to check the rifle headspace? Unless you're an FFL dealer who buys and sells in bulk, it's not a routine task, unless there's some symptom of a problem. Recoil has nothing whatsoever to do with correct/incorrect headspace.


+1. Head space has nothing to do with the recoil. A 30-06 with full power ammo in a solid wood stock with no butt pad has a lot to do with the recoil. If you need some reduced 30-06 loads, let me know. I can tame it down to gentle recoil.



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Re: How to check headspace [Re: David Stidham] #6990932
12/10/17 09:25 PM
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Agree with the others about headspace and stock. Go/nogo gauges are how most check headspace.

A good indication of headspace can be checked from a fired case. Check SAAMI specs and the head space datum point measurement point is given along with the +/- acceptable amount. Your fired case should be within that acceptable amount.

A stock that does not fit the shooter is a big part of felt recoil. Poorly fitting scope rings can kill scopes, especially some of the less rugged ones.

Re: How to check headspace [Re: David Stidham] #6990956
12/10/17 09:56 PM
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Ok great info, thanks. I only brought up head space because someone mentioned it, and it could be the culprit. Any suggestions on a decent stock blank that I can fit. I searched and found companies like Boyd's and so on, but all replacements either seem to fit the exact rifle ( like a R.E.M. 700) or they are target/tactical stocks. I'm not looking for a custom one off 10k stock. Just decent and I think I can fit it

Re: How to check headspace [Re: David Stidham] #6991638
12/11/17 02:39 PM
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Yes incorrect headspace can be dangerous. But there are two ways it can be bad.

Too little headspace and you are creating excessive pressures. But too little headspace is generally pretty evident when you have to jam the bolt closed on the loaded round. If the bolt is closing easily on factory ammunition your chamber is not too short. In essence you are using a factory round as a "Go" headspace gauge.

Too much headspace (or excessive headspace) and you will get misfires, split necks, case separations and pierced primers. If you aren't experiencing those symptoms you MAY still have excessive head space that effects accuracy but not enough to be dangerous. Only way to know for sure is to check with a "No-Go" gauge.

Checking headspace on an old rifle made from a milsurp action is probably a good idea. But as others have said it has absolutely nothing to do with the amount of recoil. (unless the head space is so excessive that the case isn't getting a good seal in the chamber, but that would result in lighter recoil and in most cases if it's that bad the firing pin wouldn't hit the primer)

The gauges are about $30-$50 ea and you need a "Go" and a "No-Go" gauge. The $30 ones are out of stock at Midway an Bownells right now so you would spend $100 to check it yourself. For the .30-06 they will also work on .25-06, .270, .338-06 and .35 Whelen. If you are buying and selling rifles, are into collecting milsurp rifles, or have a Savage action you like to swap barrels on getting a set of gauges is probably worthwhile. Otherwise a gunsmith should only charge you a few bucks to check it. If you are a member of a gun club I would bet someone around has a set of gauges and will help you check headspace.

Just putting a decent recoil pad on the gun will help, as will building up the cheek piece so you can see through the scope properly. I agree those old stocks were not set up well. But they can be modified cheaper than buying a new stock.

Last edited by VAFish; 12/11/17 02:47 PM.

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Re: How to check headspace [Re: David Stidham] #6991669
12/11/17 03:01 PM
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Agree with everyone that I wouldn’t pay a penny to check the headspace unless there’s another reason than some guy said so.

However, go/no-go gauges can be rented if you don’t feel like buying.
https://www.reamerrentals.com/searchresults.asp?cat=26

Re: How to check headspace [Re: Korean Redneck] #6991785
12/11/17 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted By: Korean Redneck
Agree with everyone that I wouldn’t pay a penny to check the headspace unless there’s another reason than some guy said so.

However, go/no-go gauges can be rented if you don’t feel like buying.
https://www.reamerrentals.com/searchresults.asp?cat=26


On a factory made rifle, that appears in good shape I wouldn't bother checking headspace unless there was some evidence of a problem.

But, on a rifle that has had some custom work done by an unknown, possible self trained, gunsmith like re-barrled, re-chambered, sporterized military surplus riles, or any military surplus rifle for that matter (very common to have swapped parts) I'd be willing to pay $10-$20 to a gunsmith to stick a set of gauges in it just for the piece of mind before I took it to the range.

In the OP's case he said it is a Mauser in .30-06. So I'm guessing it was sporterized military surplus rifle. I would have checked headspace before firing it. (but I also have friends I can borrow the gauges from) He has been shooting it already if there is no indication of a problem, I know I wouldn't spend $60-$100 to buy the gauges. The rental, depending how much shipping adds to the cost, is a pretty small price to pay I might do that.


"If your plan is for one year, plant rice.
If your plan is for ten years, plant trees.
If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children."
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Re: How to check headspace [Re: David Stidham] #6991804
12/11/17 04:26 PM
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Yall are getting off topic. The question was checking the head space because the gun had heavy recoil. One has nothing to do with the next. It's like checking the air in your tire when the low fuel light is on. It's pointless.



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Re: How to check headspace [Re: ChadTRG42] #6991911
12/11/17 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted By: ChadTRG42
Yall are getting off topic. The question was checking the head space because the gun had heavy recoil. One has nothing to do with the next. It's like checking the air in your tire when the low fuel light is on. It's pointless.


Not to be too technical, but...

the original topic was does he need a gunsmith to check his headspace, regardless of the reason. The answer is yes, and furthermore you don't have to buy the go/no-go gauage because you can rent them.
Nw if he finds out the rifle is headspaced wrong, then yes probably need a gunsmith to correct but NOT to merely check if you have proper gauges.

Re: How to check headspace [Re: David Stidham] #6991922
12/11/17 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted By: David Stidham
My dad gave me a 30.06 on a Mauser platform. Gun kicks like no other. A older gentleman told me to check the headspace. Any idea if I can do this myself or does a gunsmith need to?


The way I read this, is that he wants to check head space because of heavy recoil. If you want to check the head space, check the head space. Every gun smith should have some '06 gauges. If it's 2 separate topics, then it's misleading.



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Re: How to check headspace [Re: ChadTRG42] #6991977
12/11/17 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted By: ChadTRG42
Originally Posted By: David Stidham
My dad gave me a 30.06 on a Mauser platform. Gun kicks like no other. A older gentleman told me to check the headspace. Any idea if I can do this myself or does a gunsmith need to?


The way I read this, is that he wants to check head space because of heavy recoil. If you want to check the head space, check the head space. Every gun smith should have some '06 gauges. If it's 2 separate topics, then it's misleading.


I think it could be read either way. It is three separate sentences.

But I think we all agree.

1. Headspace does not affect felt recoil. If the only reason he has for checking headspace is the statement from some old guy that it could be affecting his recoil, the old guy is wrong.

2. You don't need a gunsmith to check headspace, you can buy, rent, or borrow the gauges. But if you take the gun to a gun smith it shouldn't cost that much to have it checked.

3. He's been shooting the gun already, absent any indicators of a headspace problem there isn't a reason to spend a lot of money having his headspace checked. But if he wants the peace of mind go get it checked.


"If your plan is for one year, plant rice.
If your plan is for ten years, plant trees.
If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children."
-- Confucius
Re: How to check headspace [Re: ChadTRG42] #6992103
12/11/17 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted By: ChadTRG42
Originally Posted By: David Stidham
My dad gave me a 30.06 on a Mauser platform. Gun kicks like no other. A older gentleman told me to check the headspace. Any idea if I can do this myself or does a gunsmith need to?


The way I read this, is that he wants to check head space because of heavy recoil. If you want to check the head space, check the head space. Every gun smith should have some '06 gauges. If it's 2 separate topics, then it's misleading.


I was just pointing it out so, to paraphrase one of my favorite shows, to be technically correct. Which is the best kind of correct. That's all. It's Monday and I'm cruise control until the new year at work.

Re: How to check headspace [Re: David Stidham] #6992839
12/12/17 12:04 PM
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Go and No Go guages to check the head space. Simple matter of getting the guages to check your headspace.
Your recoil issue most likely is due to a light weight sporerized rifle or a stock that does not fit you well. Likely a combination of the two. Weigh the rifle and it should give you an indication as to what to look at. If it's down around 7 pounds, then a 30-06 is just gonna have a bit of recoil. A lot of the old mausers that were sporterized, were rigged up to be trim lightweight carry rifles and are very desirable.
The rifle breaking three cheap scopes should tell you that only the wealthy can afford to outfit his rifles with disposable scopes. Put a decent scope on your rifle and quit complaining about cheap scopes going t!ts up. That's why they are cheap.


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Re: How to check headspace [Re: Smokey Bear] #6992963
12/12/17 02:08 PM
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^^Well stated.



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Re: How to check headspace [Re: David Stidham] #6996218
12/14/17 06:38 PM
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The gun was purchased for my dad by my mom for a birthday gift. someone put a .06 barrel on it. sporterized the bolt, and put it into a synthetic stock. my dad gave it to me because it would not repeat a shot and kicked to hard for his shoulder. It came with a scope and that was the first to break, the gun shop who retailed it replaced it at no charge, then he put some other scope on, a Simmons i think. I am wrong about breaking 3. it is on its third. the company did not bed the stock at all. action was not sitting flat in the stock. i have done some work to it to make the stock fit better, but decided to put another stock under it, prefer wood to add weight to it. i do understand about cheap scopes but don't want to invest a lot of money in a gun that is not right or will damage good parts. i feel like it is a Frankenstein rifle that some company threw together and sold them. I have never had a issue with the bolt closing, or jamming. gun cycles fine, just does not like to repeat a shot very often. i have other 30.06 and do not have issues with, but also higher quality. thanks for all the replies.

Re: How to check headspace [Re: David Stidham] #6996395
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David, the accuracy problem sounds like a bedding issue. The rebarelled Mauser action in a sporter style stock can make a very nice rifle. Whatever action you have in a factory rifle will be of no higher quality than the Mauser. If you are comfortable with the process, bedding the action may solve your accuracy problems. If not it is a simple and inexpensive job for a gunsmith. If you do it yourself and you are a first timer, use plenty of release agent, plug any holes with clay, and cover all moving parts to avoid a mechanical lock.

Last edited by Smokey Bear; 12/14/17 08:40 PM.

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Re: How to check headspace [Re: David Stidham] #6997492
12/15/17 03:55 PM
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why is headspace dangerous

Re: How to check headspace [Re: David Stidham] #6997539
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Originally Posted By: killen
why is headspace dangerous


Too tight headspace can cause hard bolt closure, jam the bullet into the lands causing it to grasp the bullet too tightly which can cause a delay during the firing process in releasing the bullet = excessive chamber pressure.

Too much headspace can cause bulged, cracked or case head to separate, sometimes it can split the case neck.
In worse cases it can cause light primer strikes, primers popping out of the primer pocket, fail to fire.
If it all goes wrong ~ catastrophic case failure, hot gasses and maybe some pieces of brass escape, could blow back on the shooter or folks around.

Re: How to check headspace [Re: David Stidham] #6997606
12/15/17 05:09 PM
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they don't come apart when I fire form 6 dasher brass and they are .100 short when they are 6br

Re: How to check headspace [Re: David Stidham] #6997654
12/15/17 05:46 PM
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You're picking nits & splitting hairs, I never said they would or will, just they can if all goes wrong.

Fire forming brass shouldn't cause catastrophic case failure unless you have no clue of what you're doing, it would be considered in the least detrimental / dangerous bulged case realm.

Re: How to check headspace [Re: David Stidham] #6998530
12/16/17 12:42 PM
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Wylie Coyote method



You can follow up checking your brass with your bump gauge.


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