AR Build/Headspace

twain55

Texan
Apr 10, 2009
365
43
San Antonio
I'm going to be doing my first AR build soon. Although I'm experienced in the operation and maintenance of AR style rifles I have never built one.

I've done a lot of research and it generally appears to be a straight forward process. Especially with the right tools, which I believe I have most of.

My one concern is with confirming correct headspace. Since this rifle is not assembled and tested by the manufacturer it seems like this should be an important step to be taking to ensure safe operation.

What is y'all experience with checking headspace?

I don't anticipate building more rifles. This is mostly just a learning experience for me so I don't want to spend additional money on go/no go gauges.

Some of the information I've found says it's more convenient to check headspace before the barrel is installed so I would like to do this before I get started.

Do local gunsmiths here in the San Antonio area do this? How much do they charge?

Are there any fellow TGT members that own the go/no go gauges that can assist with this?

Thank you.
 

Bozz10mm

TGT Addict
TGT Supporter
Oct 5, 2013
7,204
113
Georgetown
My thoughts are: Go ahead and build it. If you are concerned about the head space, take it to a gunsmith and have it checked. Not much you can do to correct it anyway, other than switching bolts.

99.44 per cent of the time, you will not have headspace problems.
 
Last edited:

Mikewood

Well-Known
Jan 8, 2011
2,163
83
Houston
Exactly. Headspace is almost never a concern unless you are using very old parts. If everything is new or almost new the gun will headspace. If you are still worried about it buy a field gauge. You should have one anyway. You don't need the go or the no-go since your not cutting the chamber. If the bolt closes on the field you need a new bolt. It's very easy to use the field gauge. Finger pressure only.


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ed308

Well-Known
Dec 31, 2013
1,763
83
DFW
I've never head spaced any of my builds and never had a problem. And the only way to fix it is with a different bolt or remove some of the barrel where it meets the barrel extension. If you're concerned about head space, consider buying a barrel and bolt from a supplier that will check head space for you. The only supplier I know that does that is AR15 Performance out of Tennessee. Excellent quality barrels and bolts. His super bolts rarely break since they have redesigned the bolt it to make it stronger plus use a stronger alloy compared to most AR bolts. Their barrels are very accurate too.
 

TAZ

Well-Known
Oct 17, 2008
1,241
113
Round Rock
I don't measure headspace per say, but I do have a Colt 556 field gauge from Brownells. Every maker can make a lemon here and there. At 50000 psi next to your face the $25 and 30 sec to do a safety check is well worth it IMO.
 

twain55

Texan
Apr 10, 2009
365
43
San Antonio
Out of curiosity, I called a few places around town to get an idea of what a gunsmith would charge to check headspace.

Here are the prices:

Dale Wise, $22
Dury's, $55
Texas Guns, $40
Ranger Firearms, $30
Nagles, $100
Gun Shack, $35
 

Mikewood

Well-Known
Jan 8, 2011
2,163
83
Houston

twain55

Texan
Apr 10, 2009
365
43
San Antonio
Thanks for posting and doing the leg work.
A field gauge is $30.00 at MidwayUSA

http://ads.midwayusa.com/product/38...ter-_-383456&gclid=CKX7vOjCrtACFdY6gQodruAO0A


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
Thanks.

I was surprised at the prices some of these places charge. I was honestly expecting to hear people say $15-20 considering how quick and simple the task is.


Oh well.
 

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