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Old April 21, 2000, 06:49 AM   #1
Fred S
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Join Date: July 2, 1999
Location: New Baltimore, MI
Posts: 569
HankL replies to the "Dies" thread with this is his meaasage: "...Get a headspace gauge for the autoloader and learn how to use it to make safe ammo. Neck size for the bolt gun, I do, and watch out for case wear on all.
I'm with Art, "If it ain't broke don't fix it" but slightly over headspaced ammo in a semi might get it and you "broke" quicker than you want."

Please explain the use of the headpsace gauge in more detail. What is it used for? Why? What may happen if you don't?

How do you slightly "overheadspace" ammo and what are the consequences.

I have 3 Garands and and AR that I've been reloading for for over a year now. I set my dies to make the cases fit the specs in the manuals (and trim accordingly). And I full length resize 9before trimming) So what am I missing by not using the headspace gauge?

Thanks in advance

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Old April 21, 2000, 05:26 PM   #2
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Location: Mississippi
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Headspace gauges such as those made by Wilson work fine. But I prefer the Precision Mic that RCBS makes. It will measure to the 1/1000 of an inch and is avail in most popular calibers, incl the 30-06 and 223.

Put simply, headspace gauges help you set your sizing die so that your brass is sized only the mininum amount needed to function and fit your chamber.

Over sizing brass will lead to shorter case life. Also, by pushing the case shoulder back further than necessary, the case, upon firing, will stretch more as it reforms to your chambers dimensions. This is bad - the area where the brass stretches is just above the case head... can potentially lead to case head separation.

someone can do a better job explaining this than me, but this is a start.

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Old April 21, 2000, 11:33 PM   #3
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Join Date: November 7, 1999
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I use a Wilson gage for my .223, when loading for my Bushmaster. Fireform and necksize for the bolts.

Wish somebody made a headspace gage for .400 Cor-Bon. I'm having to use the barrels as a gage.
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Old April 22, 2000, 02:06 AM   #4
Bud Helms
Join Date: December 31, 1999
Location: Middle Georgia
Posts: 13,155

All reloaders end up looking for that magic setting of the resizing die that reworks the brass the least and insures chambering. Somewhere between neck-sizing only and full-length resizing. The headspace gauge insures the round will chamber and not exceed max overall length. The Precision Mic is more accurate, but more expensive. A method (there are many) using the Mic gauge is to "shoulder bump". Just pull the sizer down far enough to bump the shoulder a thousandth or two. BUT, all that is for non-autos and not considered kosher for ARs and the like.

If you can find a setting to use and decrease the amount of work done on the brass and still fully chamber, like Walter is doing, then accuracy usually improves and case life definitely will.

[This message has been edited by sensop (edited April 22, 2000).]
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