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Old January 16, 2010, 02:28 PM   #1
Kawfeegod
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Excessive Head Space - need advice

I have a winchester model 1917 30-06 that has been sporterized. The job was well done and is a nice looking rifle. All numbers match and it has a weaver model 330 scope. I just got it back from the gun smith for a head space and safety check and he said it has excessive head space. About .015 out of spec is what he said. Here is my question... He said that I could re-chamber it for about $150 or I could fire form brass to use specifically in that rifle. I am thinking the cost is about the same. So I guess I have three choices; 1. fix it. 2. fire form the brass and shoot it. 3. sell it.

I paid $200 for the rifle and I do really want a 30-06 but I don't want to throw good money after bad. Any advice would be helpful.

-Tom
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Old January 16, 2010, 02:58 PM   #2
Bud Helms
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I am thinking the cost is about the same.
I'm thinking cost is not the factor here. Fire-forming brass entails the exactly the same situation you are trying to avoid. You have to stick SAAMI spec ammo in there and pull the trigger. I'd expect 1) less than 100% yield from that process and 2) a possible random catastrophic failure, unless you are using virgin brass. 'Might not hurt the rifle, but then again ... Fire-forming doesn't require full power loads, but they do need to be stout. If I was going to do that, I'd just sight the thing in and go hunting.

Rechambering for $150 is not a bad deal. I wonder if he (the gunsmith) knows what he's in for ... does he have a good reputation? That is the way to go. Fix it.
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Old January 16, 2010, 03:49 PM   #3
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Typically, fire-forming is done with reduced charges in new brass...

But, at $150 to turn down the shoulder, properly timing the barrel and finish reaming is pretty cheap. Then you can just buy ammo over the counter.

If you already handload, it may not be worth the money on an old rifle.





-tINY

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Old January 16, 2010, 08:18 PM   #4
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If the P17 is in good shape you can also sell it as a project action. Would be a nice starting point for a rebarrel, those actions are desirable (today, I still kick myself for telling my mom to throw out a project rifle 20 years ago 'cause I didn't want to pay shipping and she wanted it out of the house).
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Old January 16, 2010, 08:26 PM   #5
r.w. schrack
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Think I would get a second opinion.
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Old January 16, 2010, 08:39 PM   #6
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I would also shop around. A smith near here will rechamber almost anything in standard calibers for about $80. Did he also check the bolt face and locking lugs? If someone took too much off the lugs when squaring the action before course chambering, they would have had to set back the barrel and regage before finish chambering the job. -7-
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Old January 16, 2010, 09:15 PM   #7
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In our local shop, chambering a new barrel, threading, and crowning costs $150 or less, and that is a lot more work than just setting the barrel back one thread and recutting the chamber. The extractor cutout will have to be deepened but not done from scratch. I agree, find a different smith.
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Old January 16, 2010, 10:27 PM   #8
blu97
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headspace

Had the same problem with my winchester 1917.

Bought 3 winchester bolts from springfield sporters, ( $15 ea.) and got one to

headspace, sold the others on E-bay for 3 times what I paid for them.
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Old January 16, 2010, 10:37 PM   #9
blu97
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headspace

Just checked springfield sporters site, bolts have gone up to $20 + $10 for

winchester, still cheeper to try first , can always sell them.
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Old January 17, 2010, 12:33 AM   #10
F. Guffey
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Again, Reloading is about firing first to determine the effect the chamber had on the case, outside or beyond reloading there is determining the effect the camber will have on the case, the gun smith determining the chamber has .016 thousands head space is a good start, now what?

I have an Eddystone with .016 head space with minimum length (full length sized) 30/06 cases. Cases fired in a chamber with .008 thousands head space have shoulders moved forward .007 thousands, that leaves .004 to go before I can have a case that will chamber in my Eddystone with .005 thousands head space. Rather than fire first to move the shoulder forward I find cases that have the shoulder forward of the 30/06 and move the shoulder back. The first option is the 280 Remington, it is longer by .041 thousands and has a shoulder forward of the 30/06 by .051 thousands. I use forming die, to me the forming dies have always been a better option than tools that are nice to have.

Forming 30/06 cases from 280 Remington cases: the case will require necking up, if using the 30/06 full length sizer die lube the inside of the neck and case, adjust the gap between the top of the shell holder and bottom of the sizer die with a .016 thousands feeler gage, then start sizing (forming) if the effort increases back off (a little) then continue.

Necking the case up will shorten the neck and could squat the case, this will change the case length, the 280 case will require trimming, even though is is .041 longer than the 30/06 the neck will be shorten when necked up (I know it is said when sizing the neck it gets thinner or thicker, when you hear this, SMILE, keep walking) and do not forget the chamber is longer by .016 thousands therefore the case when measured should be .016 longer between the the face of the bolt and it's shoulder. Adjusting the gap between the shell holder and die with the ram up automatically adds (controls) the .016 to the case length between the head of the case and shoulder.

After forming, trim then seat a bullet and attempt to chamber, if the test case chambers with resistance decrease the gap to .014 thousands size a few cases and attempt to chamber again, if the cases chamber without resistance load 10 rounds, primer powder and bullet, forget reduced loads, start with standard published loads for the 30/06, forget fire forming, the cases are formed (first) then fired.

After firing and before sizing the cases remember to adjust the gap between the shell holder and die.

Lubing cases, when sizing do not lube the outside of the neck or shoulder, this rule changes when forming the 280 to 30/06, part of the neck becomes part of the shoulder, part of the shoulder becomes part of the case body, I know it is said the shoulder is moved forward or back, that just does not happen when forming, the formed case will have a shoulder it just isn't the same shoulder.

http://www.z-hat.com/Hawk%20Forming.htm

best option, new unfired brass, it does not get better, then once fired or R-P cylinger brass for everything else when the shoulder needs to be moved back and the hand loader knows how to get the most use out of the press, dies available and shell holders.

http://www.z-hat.com/Cylinder.htm

Bolts and head space, it is possible to determine the effect your bolt has on head space, the problem has always been trying to convince someone it can be done, problem, I do not have a M1917 bolt I am willing to give up, and, I have 40 03A3 bolts, there is not .003 thousands between all of them and that is determined without a rifle.

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Old January 17, 2010, 12:47 AM   #11
F. Guffey
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I purchases a thousand 30/06 cases, I necked up 400 of them to 35 Whelen, at the time I did not have a Whelen but knew I would be forming cases for wildcats and chambers like your M1917 with .016 head space, with the 35 Whelen cases I would, again, adjust the die off the shell holder (for my Eddystone) .016 and form/size cases with a small secondary shoulder ahead of the 35 Whelen shoulder. After sizing I would seat a bullet and chamber, regardless, when fired my Eddystone has less than .002 head space.

Necking up shortens the neck, after necking the 30/06 cases yo to 35 Whelen the case length shortened .035 thousands, necking the case down recovers some of the length but not all of it, consider some of it could be contributed to compression of the case body.

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Old January 17, 2010, 12:58 AM   #12
F. Guffey
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http://www.auctionarms.com/search/di...temnum=7309186

I bid and won this rifle, my thinking? no one could get a rifle in this shape without knowing what they were doing, sure enough, with mounts, rings, scope and a trip to the range this rifle leaves nothing to improve upon........when it comes to accuracy, something like a poor mans bench rest rifle.


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Old January 17, 2010, 03:11 AM   #13
Kawfeegod
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I do appreciate all the info. I don't think I am in to making wildcat cases. I would consider the fire forming route with new brass and reduces loads. I was planning on taking the rifle to another smith on monday to get a second opinion. The first smith has done work for me before and has a good rep in this town. It seems he primarily does semi-auto stuff. I think If I could get the price around $100 I might consider the rechambering. Would anyone have an idea of what this rifle is worth - ballpark? It is in good shape no sights, the "ears" have been removed, but looks good.

Quote:
Had the same problem with my winchester 1917.

Bought 3 winchester bolts from springfield sporters, ( $15 ea.) and got one to

headspace, sold the others on E-bay for 3 times what I paid for them.
So what you are saying here is that this could fix my problem? Also, how hard is it to check head space on my own?
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Old January 17, 2010, 03:12 AM   #14
Kawfeegod
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http://www.auctionarms.com/search/di...temnum=7309186

I bid and won this rifle, my thinking? no one could get a rifle in this shape without knowing what they were doing, sure enough, with mounts, rings, scope and a trip to the range this rifle leaves nothing to improve upon........when it comes to accuracy, something like a poor mans bench rest rifle.
That is one fugly rifle.....I hope you got a good price for it.
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Old January 17, 2010, 03:36 AM   #15
rimrockhunter
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FIRE FORM

You can't just stick in a SAMMI spec sized case and pull the trigger. It does not fireform, and in fact will create a case that is to short. This is a dangerous situation. When fireforming a rimless case such as the 06-270-308 ect. the shoulder of the case must come into contact with the corrresponding surface in the chamber. When you close the bolt you should have to push down just slightly on the bolt, you should feel it make contact. You can take a 270 case and size it out to 308, then create a slight shoulder that is just slightly ahead of where the 06 case shoulder is located. Start out by makeing the cases to long, then keep moving ithe shoulder back until you can just feel the bolt close with tension. Before starting this be sure that the OAL of the case is not to long. If it is then the top of the neck will contact the end of the rifling and will screw up the way the bolt feels when it closes. It must close not loose but must have some tension. You will be able to feel it. Put in a "almost full load" and fire form the brass. Check for splits in the neck and the OAL. You are now good to go.
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Old January 17, 2010, 09:48 AM   #16
mapsjanhere
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how hard is it to check head space on my own?
You need a set of go/no go gauges.
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Old January 17, 2010, 12:43 PM   #17
kraigwy
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So what you are saying here is that this could fix my problem? Also, how hard is it to check head space on my own?
It can fix your problems assuming you get the right bolt. The unknown is you dont know how many you are gonna have to get, Plus the cost of the headspace gages.

I took of a National Guard unit one time that use to take the bolts out of rifles for security reasons. Most units taged the bolts with the Serial numbers of the rifles, this one didnt, they just dumped then in a box and issued "a" bolt with a rifle. Took me for ever to match them up, going through several bolts until I found one that would head space to the gun. Got it all straightened out and engraved the serial numbers on the bolt.

The point of this little story is, you never know how many bolts you are gonna have to buy. Even at the $10 figure, plus shipping, plus headspace gages, it isnt gonna take long to eat up $150.

I'm not real impressed with a smith telling someone "just shoot it, fireforming the brass and keep using it. Somebody somewhere sometime just might put something else in the rifle. But thats just me.

Just something to think about.
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Old January 17, 2010, 01:49 PM   #18
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Unless you just enjoy doing it, making brass to fit your rifle will eat up a ton of time and I don't see that it gains you anything other than avoiding a relatively inexpensive gunsmith job where you will know exactly what you have.
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Old January 17, 2010, 01:52 PM   #19
Kawfeegod
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In the smiths defense, he did say that he in good conscience could not say the rifle was safe to fire. but he added a couple of ifs to go along with it. I have decided that the fire forming is out. Too much effort. Still anyone have an idea of the value of this rifle? I could not find it in my price guide.
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Old January 17, 2010, 04:17 PM   #20
F. Guffey
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Not sure why someone would choose the 270 case over the 280, the distance from the head of the case to its shoulder is the same as the 30/06, no matter what, the shoulder must be moved forward by forming or by firing, the 280 Remington case is longer by .051 from the head of the case to it's shoulder than the 270 or 30/06.

Anyone can move the shoulder forward by firing, the complicated and difficult part is knowing how to moving the shoulder without firing.

The value of the head space gage is exaggerated, it is a tool that is nice to have, we all know the head space gage will chamber, it is +.005 longer from the head to it's shoulder than a full length sized case is from the head of the case to it's shoulder, beyond that is the no-go gage, it is useless when measuring a chamber that has .016 thousands head space, after the no-go gage is the field gage, again it will chamber is in a chamber with .016 head space by .002.

I make gages, I can make one gage that replaces the go, no and beyond gages for the M1917 or a set that would cover all the numbers from -.017 below the go-gage to .011 beyond to infinity.

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Old January 17, 2010, 04:39 PM   #21
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Do you know if the rifle was checked with a field gauge? Since its a ex-military rifle it would have a more generous chamber to be able to function in the grit and grime of combat.While a no go gauge reveals excessive headspace a field gauge may show that the rifle is still safe to shoot.
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Old January 17, 2010, 08:31 PM   #22
F. Guffey
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no-go gage indicates excessive head space, new unfired cases are shot in rifles with excessive head space ONCE, after that apply the 'LEAVER POLICY' once the case has been fire formed to the chamber and the shoulder has moved out LEAVER OUT, do not size the case back to minimum length, that constitutes travel, I am a big fan of reducing case travel.

If a rifles is said to have excessive head space declaring the chamber field reject length does not make it safe and on the 30/06 there was no generous chambers, the M1 Garand had a generous chamber, it did not use small base cases, instead the chamber opening was .0002 thousands larger in diameter than the 03 and M1917.

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Old January 18, 2010, 01:29 AM   #23
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I make gages, I can make one gage that replaces the go, no and beyond gages for the M1917 or a set that would cover all the numbers from -.017 below the go-gage to .011 beyond to infinity.
F. Guffey, what would you charge for a set?

I guess I am still at a loss. I will try another smith to see if I can get a better price, otherwise I guess I will try to sell it.
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Old January 18, 2010, 08:02 AM   #24
F. Guffey
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If you do not reload most of what has been said is foreign to you, I determine head space first then form cases to fit and then fire, I do not have a clue what a 'ton of work' is. I will form cases for your 30/06 chamber that will be marked in '+', starting at +.010 (no-go gage +.001) to +.016 (field reject gage) +.002).

If you were familiar with depth micrometers or the versatile dial indicator I could send you ONE +.020 instead, with the dial caliper or depth micrometer head space can be determined in .000 (thousands) from .000 to +.020 on the M1917. simple reason, head space is A - B = C or the difference between two measurements, I am not particular as to how or where these two measurements come from.

If you have a dial caliper or height gage you can determine the effect the bolt has on head space, knowing this AND convincing someone it can be done when ordering a bolt that could fit is the though part, all that is required is to have the ability to measure the distance from the bolt face to the back of the lugs, to do this requires a cylinder that would allow the bolt to stand on it's face and a flat surface and or course a depth gage or dial caliper. The measurement is for comparison meaning the information is nice to know when done on one bolt, the information becomes useful when compared to the information of another bolt as in 'does one bolt have more or less effect than another bolt when compared, the effect will be in thousands.

E-mail ( if I can help PM)

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Old January 18, 2010, 12:01 PM   #25
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I do not have a clue what a 'ton of work' is.

That's not exactly what I said. But,

More work than I want to do. And, I already have everything to do it with. Might have done it 30 years ago just to be doing it though.

Last edited by ZeroJunk; January 18, 2010 at 01:32 PM.
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