AR Build/Headspace

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  • twain55

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    Apr 10, 2009
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    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

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    Oct 5, 2013
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    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

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    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

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    Dec 31, 2013
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    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

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    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

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    Apr 10, 2009
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    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

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    twain55

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