New Savage Belted Mag Closes on No-Go Gauge???
On a learning curve with belted magnums - I've got a 116 in 338WM new from Savage. It has one of the new squishy recoil pads on it, so I think it was made this year. It was bought as new from a shop that I've done business with, and they had to special order it (it is a lefty), all the stuff was wrapped up in the box, it doesn't appear as though it has been monkeyed with.
Anyway, I checked the headspace with a set of Forster gauges and found that the bolt will close on the no-go. In a non belted cartridge, I would be a little concerned about this (never happened before). There is some drag on the no-go making, in my experience with non-belteds, the actual headspace just a little more than the gauge. The gauge is marked .223, (the go gauge is marked .220), so the headspace is probably .224 or .225.
I did some research and found headspace figures of .220" Min, .227 Max.
If the headspace is actually .224 or .225, that would seem to be OK, per above.
I know belteds are famous for stretching the heck out of brass. This seems to imply setting headspace closely is less of a problem in belteds - the engineering trade off was made to stretch brass but get a wider tolerance for headspace. We have to make up for it in reload techniques. My plan is to neck size, and bump the shoulder when chambering gets tight.
The reason I checked the headspace is because I am going to take the barrel off to have a brake installed. The brake requires a top-dead-center mark so it can be properly indexed. If I'm going to change the headspace, I want to do it before I mark TDC (duh). I normally set headspace to be as tight as possible (just close on the go gauge), should I do that here?
Seems like this would likely help the brass stretch situation - if I move headspace down by 2 or 3 thou, that would shorten the chamber by the same amount - meaning less stretch. I do not want to move the headspace out of the spec range to manage brass. If I sell the rifle, I do not want to do it with an out of spec chamber. I guess the concern would be that a factory round (or one FL sized by my die) would still chamber.
Any comments? Is this thing safe? Is a call to Savage in order?
Thanks in advance...