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  #1  
Old 05-21-2012, 4:22 PM
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Default 5.56 Headspace Gauge Set

I'm in the middle of my 1st AR build. I've looked around and it seems that most of the gauge sets are .223. Midway has a 5.56 set but one of the reviews of the product mentioned that they are really .223,

Can .223 be used to headspace a 5.56 chamber or does anyone know where a good 5.56 set can be purchased?
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Old 05-21-2012, 4:36 PM
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As I understand it the .223/5.56 gauges are essentially interchangeable. The difference being the 5.56 has only a minimum and maximum as opposed to the usual go/no-go/field reject. The 5.56 is a military cartridge and they aren't building match rifles. So the go gauge gets replaced by what would be equivalent to a .223 no-go. remember no-go doesn't mean un-safe just the larger side of what's generally considered "desirable". The max/field gauge remain the same(or damn close). They just want the rifle to chamber everything under the sun(clean/dirty/muddey...etc.) and not blow up.
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Old 05-21-2012, 4:57 PM
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.223 Rem and 5.56 have the same minimum chamber headspace datum of 1.4636". Things get a little blurry after that, but if you use the 223 gauges you will be fine.
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Old 05-21-2012, 5:15 PM
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Thanks guys. Looks like I was overly concerned about nothing.
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Old 05-21-2012, 5:16 PM
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Basically like Toes said go, no go, Field reject.
Civillian .223 is .000" to .004"
Military is .004 to .010"
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Old 05-21-2012, 7:19 PM
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Actually, SAAMI .223 is 1.4636" to 1.4736" (.010" from go to field) based on the chamber spec. That about covers all the commercial and nato chambers. I have a JGS 556 nato print and they only show the minimum dimension on that.
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Old 05-21-2012, 8:38 PM
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Thanks guys. Looks like I was overly concerned about nothing.
Better safe than sorry...Especially since "sorry" in this instance could mean pulling bits of aluminum out of your FACE.
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Old 05-21-2012, 11:18 PM
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Ive often wondered what that ment exactlly, "go- no go" someone put link in the thread so I can read up on it. Something as close to laymans terms as possible with a little specs thrown in.
Or should I just "Google" it?
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Old 05-22-2012, 5:13 AM
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I don't think you're going to find much on headspace specs with out getting technical.

Basically a go gage is the Saami Minimum chamber dimensions.
A no go gage is usually .004" longer this is considered the maximum chamber dimension for commercial use. There is also a field gage that is .008" to .010" longer then the go gage. That gage is used for an absolute max dimension and still considered safe. Now the civilian world doesn't use the field gage much as by the time your rifles chamber has worn to that point the rifling is usually gone.

The Military does the same thing except they start out longer to begin with. Because as Toes said they want that rifle to chamber anything under the sun and still be safe.

Either way if your rifle closes on a no go gage it doesn't mean it's unsafe but it should be checked with a field gage to determine if it is beyond the field spec and is unsafe at that point.
What will most likely happen in a long chamber situation is case head separation. Meaning the shell of the case will stay in the chamber but the head will come off when the bolt tries to extract.
This is why it is very important to look at you shell casings and know what you are looking for. Headspace problems can be seen early on the brass.

You rifle will also have a problem if it does not close on a go gage. This is a chamber that is to short and will increase the pressures in the chamber and could possibly blow a primer.
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Old 05-22-2012, 6:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcstott View Post
I don't think you're going to find much on headspace specs with out getting technical.

Basically a go gage is the Saami Minimum chamber dimensions.
A no go gage is usually .004" longer this is considered the maximum chamber dimension for commercial use. There is also a field gage that is .008" to .010" longer then the go gage. That gage is used for an absolute max dimension and still considered safe. Now the civilian world doesn't use the field gage much as by the time your rifles chamber has worn to that point the rifling is usually gone.

The Military does the same thing except they start out longer to begin with. Because as Toes said they want that rifle to chamber anything under the sun and still be safe.

Either way if your rifle closes on a no go gage it doesn't mean it's unsafe but it should be checked with a field gage to determine if it is beyond the field spec and is unsafe at that point.
What will most likely happen in a long chamber situation is case head separation. Meaning the shell of the case will stay in the chamber but the head will come off when the bolt tries to extract.
This is why it is very important to look at you shell casings and know what you are looking for. Headspace problems can be seen early on the brass.

You rifle will also have a problem if it does not close on a go gage. This is a chamber that is to short and will increase the pressures in the chamber and could possibly blow a primer.
Good explanation. I believe a chamber that is too short is by far the most dangerous situation, especially with gas guns. You can fire a rifle all day long with a chamber that swallows a field gauge. You will have short brass life and lousy accuracy. Too little headspace can contribute to an out of battery fire or partial lockup fire which can cause catastrophic failure (also known as Kaboom)
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Old 05-22-2012, 7:44 AM
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I think I found what I need.

http://www.forsterproducts.com/store.asp?pid=27204

Do these specs look OK?
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Old 05-22-2012, 7:54 AM
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90% of my gauges are Forster. They work fine. I called them last month and asked if their gauges are made in-house and they assured me they are, contrary to some notion that they are made by a contractor.


Never mind the sales blather at the top of the ad page, the spec they quote for 5.56 is 1.4636" Min to 1.4736" Max. SAME as SAAMI .223. The military has different requirements for gauging, but they are still in that range. My commercial gauges have a .007" spread from go to field, with the go being 1.464". The max dimension in the Forster ad for nato gauge is 1.4736". This is SAAMI maximum for a .223 chamber.

Last edited by kendog4570; 05-24-2012 at 4:28 PM..
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Old 05-22-2012, 9:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kendog4570 View Post
90% of my gauges are Forster. They work fine. I called them last month and asked if their gauges are made in-house and they assured me they are, contrary to some notion that they are made by a contractor.


Never mind the sales blather at the top of the ad page, the spec they quote for 5.56 is 1.4636" Min to 1.4736" Max. SAME as SAAMI .223. The miltary has different requirements for gauging, but they are still in that range. My commercial gauges have a .007" spread from go to field, with the go being 1.464". The max dimension in the Forster ad for nato gauge is 1.4736". This is SAAMI maximum for a .223 chamber.
Got it - I'll order a set today.

Thanks
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Old 05-22-2012, 1:50 PM
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90% of my gauges are Forster. They work fine. I called them last month and asked if their gauges are made in-house and they assured me they are, contrary to some notion that they are made by a contractor.
Forester and Clymer have two of the best equipped cutter grinder shops around.
Clymer will also sharpen just about any cutting tool made. We had some Gate reamers we needed sharpened and we shipped them off to Clymer, Got them back in a week like brand new.
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Old 05-22-2012, 5:28 PM
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this might be a good place to ask.

I just built my 9mm ar pistol. I got a set of go and no-go from Brownells.
When I insert the go, the bolt closed just fine.

with the no-go, the bcg did not go all the way, pretty easy to tell since the BCG was sticking out pass the upper receiver in the rear.

now the question, is it necessary to remove the ejector on the bolt to perform the test? I did not.

thanks!
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Old 05-22-2012, 5:37 PM
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Anytime you are head spacing a rifle for the purposes of perfect "feel" the bolt should be completely striped.

This is done so that you can feel the bolt lock up and feel how much pressure it takes to lock up the bolt or attempt to lock up the bolt.

It is not completely necessary but it is the correct way to do it.
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Old 05-22-2012, 5:47 PM
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Originally Posted by kcstott View Post
Anytime you are head spacing a rifle for the purposes of perfect "feel" the bolt should be completely striped.

This is done so that you can feel the bolt lock up and feel how much pressure it takes to lock up the bolt or attempt to lock up the bolt.

It is not completely necessary but it is the correct way to do it.
thanks. I'll do it again with the bolt stripped. usually the correct way = the safest way, and safety first!
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Old 05-22-2012, 5:53 PM
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Well it's done that way so you are only feeling the lock up of the bolt. Not how hard the ejector is pushing on the gage, Not how tight the extractor is holding the gage.
On bolt rifles especially claw extractor type rifles it's so you don't feel the extractor rotating as you close the bolt.

It's all there to remove influence of what you are feeling as the bolt locks up.

If you guys think this is fun try timing a rifles cam extraction (bolt rifle)
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Dick.
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I fear that even though as tough as life has been for me I have only begun to pay for my sins.
Don't forget to have your Liberals spayed or neutered !
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Old 05-22-2012, 7:41 PM
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9mm AR = blowback operated so it doesn't lock.

But yes you should strip the bolt to remove any variables when headspacing.
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Old 05-22-2012, 9:26 PM
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9mm AR = blowback operated so it doesn't lock.

But yes you should strip the bolt to remove any variables when headspacing.
Yeah I just pulled up some images and yep pure blow back.

Well in that case ignore the bolt locking part. It just should not slam home on a no go.
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Dick.
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Need prints for your build? Need reference materials for Gunsmithing projects, Click Here
I fear that even though as tough as life has been for me I have only begun to pay for my sins.
Don't forget to have your Liberals spayed or neutered !

Last edited by kcstott; 05-22-2012 at 9:29 PM..
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