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Reloading Berger Bullets


Using cases as headspace gauges.

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Unread 09-14-2013, 02:45 PM
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Re: Using cases as headspace gauges.

Originally Posted by Clay Target Guy View Post
I tried the tape on the back of a go gage one time and the bolt smears/tears it up. After that one time I swore I would never do it again.
The way I figure it, gages are cheap and if you can't afford the gages you most likely need to think about a cheaper hobby.
This is just my $.02
try getting your hands on some plastic shim stock (you can even buy it on an assortment). Then cut out whatever you need and epoxy it to a case head (something like Loctite FS454 or similar). It won't come off! Tape will run anywhere from .004" to as much as .010", and I just wouldn't trust it anyway as it will crush.
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Unread 09-14-2013, 07:05 PM
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Re: Using cases as headspace gauges.

Max Heat be careful not to put a Carriage in front of the horses.
A barrel finisher uses go/no-go gauges in chamber finishing. With this, they may match his/your chamber specs, or not.
So will any ole gauges you pick up actually be right for YOUR chamber?
You might want to be sure.

Personally, if I were planning to swap a lot of DIY-headspaced barrels, I'd go ahead and pick up the finish reamer at least, along with HS gages for it. And I'd make sure my barrel finisher used them to match my chamber specs.

If you just order a set of 'SAAMI' type gages, and given wiggle room in chambering, you're less likely to meet results desired. JMO..
That said, there is nothing wrong in setting HS with a shimmed master case. I'm sure there are plenty of Savage gurus who do fine with it. But you might as well expect changes to FF'd brass in doing this.
Where with matching gages you can get enough precision, even in DIY barrel changes, to keep on using the same brass/die settings.
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Unread 09-15-2013, 07:42 AM
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Re: Using cases as headspace gauges.

On a savage or a remage conversion if its the first time installing the barrel use a go gauge, you can cut a piece from a .004" thick feeler gauge and stick it to the back of the go gauge with plain ole grease and make a no go gauge. For the ones ripping tape, try removing the ejector! Once the barrel has been fired on a specific action, take a piece of the fired brass and size it the way you intend to always size it when reloading, then use it as a go gauge, and stick the same .004" thick piece of feeler gauge to the case head and the bolt shouldn't go more than 2/3s closed without excessive force. This is the best way, especially if you have the barrel back off, but you have rounds loaded for it like I mentioned earlier and your about to put the barrel back on. There is a simple reason for this, you will be firing cases, not headspace gauges. Also there are differences in gauges from one company to another, with most cartridges Forester allows .002" more on there no go than PTG. Another reason to use a case would be for a belted magnum, simply because the belted magnum headspace gauge is the same for all, but not all brands of cases have the same belt thickness, so use the brand of case you will be firing, in this instance its more accurate than headspace gauges. Btw, I'm not sure how many of you have taken any courses on gunsmithing, but you should know that depending on the type of firearm you can have .040-.085" excessive headspace before a case rupture. Good luck to y'all, happy bickering!
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Unread 09-15-2013, 05:18 PM
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Re: Using cases as headspace gauges.

You're painting with a pretty wide brush there benchracer!

I never use a factory headspace gauge on a belted chamber. The spec says the headspace is set off the belt and I want it off the shoulder. I make my own gauges, I don't think that makes me a moron or cheapskate or anywhere near the idiot you seem to think I am. I chamber and fit most of my own barrels and have been for several years, I make my own gauges 90% of the time because I want absolute minimum headspace. I don't want industry standard tolerance stacking taking place with my rifles, in the rare instance that I use a factory gauge it is made by the same company as the chamber reamer is and I check it very carefully and adjust it as necessary before I use it. I make most of my living sizing parts to .0005" or less, I have the equipment and the capability so I make my own!

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Unread 04-26-2014, 10:18 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2014
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Re: Using cases as headspace gauges.

Originally Posted by WYcoyote View Post
What I have started doing is setting my headspace with a gage first, then firing one round with my new brass. I then take that case and full length size it in my die, and reset my headspace to that resized case. I make a no-go by sticking a .002" piece of SS shim stock to the case head. You end up with your headspace custom set to your die to minimize brass flow and possibly extend case life. Maybe not the best method to use if you are going to shoot factory cartridges also but I handload only.
Thanks WYcoyote. This is exactly the information I was looking for. I agree with you; the tighter the headspace tolerance, the less abuse/stretching of brass will occur. An added benefit is an increase in precision.

The only things I do slightly differently is, use tape on the case head in stead of a shim but I then follow up with the no-go gauge.

Process -- I set initial headspace with the go gauge to establish a safe baseline then I insert the sized case. Using the re-sized case, I typically find that tolerances are quite close and very little adjustment is needed. At this point, I also check to make sure my factory loads fit in the chamber. If I back tolerance off, I'll recheck with the go gauge as a safety measure but have never taken the adjustment further out than than SAAMI (indicating factory cases are shorter than SAAMI anyway...). Then as mentioned, I follow up with the no-go just gauge as a safety measure (and for liability reasons).

Is anyone else using this method? I'm not a gunsmith so don't take this as expert advice. For those who are experts, any issues, safety or otherwise, with this method? Thanks!

BTW - Hello all. I'm new to the forum!
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