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May 12th, 2007

New Barrel? Be Safe–Check Your Headspace!

A friend of ours recently took delivery of a new barrel which was chambered by a smith who had done the original build on the rifle, but who had not headspaced the barrel on the action itself this time. The smith headspaced based on his old records. Our friend happily screwed on his nice, new barrel and headed to the range. After the first few rounds, with known, safe loads, he was seeing deep craters on his primers, and then he even pierced a few primers with loads that should never have done that. Interestingly, the brass was not showing any of the other pressure signs. This was with bullets seated .015″ out of the rifling.

We were thinking maybe too much firing pin extrusion or maybe he got a hot lot of powder. Then I asked him to email me dimensions off his fired cases compared to new, Lapua brass. He emailed me that his shoulder moved 0.0105″ forward. I sent an email back saying, “hey, that must be a typo, you meant 0.0015″ right–so your shoulder moved one and a half thousandths correct?” The answer was “No, the shoulder moved over TEN thousandths forward”. Ahah. This explained some of the cratering problem in his brass. His cases were able to bounce forward enough in the chamber so that the primer material was smearing over the firing pin. And now he has brass that is “semi-improved”.

The point of the story is always check your headspace when you receive a “pre-fit” barrel, even from the smith who built the rifle. Purchase Go/No Go gauges for all your calibers. Headspace is not just an accuracy issue, it can be a safety issue. Pierced primers are bad news. The debris from the primer cup can blow into the firing pin hole or ejector recess causing a myriad of problems.

go no-go field headspace gauges

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May 12th, 2007

Egg Shoot in New England on May 27

New Englanders, head up to Woodcock, MA for some fun shooting on May 27th. Roy Bertalotto tells us: “Get them varmint and target rifles out and join us to scramble some eggs at 100, 200 and 300 yds. Savage Arms has donated a 50% off gift certificate for the winner of the 200-yard factory rifle class. Lots of other door prizes to be given away. There are even rimfire class for the youngsters. The range is located in Southeastern Massachusetts, 30 minutes from Cape Cod. One hour south of Boston. Bring the “other half”! A number of women shoot in this event. And there is great outlet shopping within 10-15 minutes plus a Whaling Museum. Click HERE for directions to the Woodcock range.

Want more info?
— Here Roy explains “What the heck is an Egg Shoot“.
— Find your questions answered on the Egg Shoot Q & A Page.

Roy reports: “Rebarreled, custom varmint rifles are quite popular now. But any Savage or Remington 700 / 40X with a fine tuned handload can hold it’s own. Remember, factory barrels shoot against factory barrels, aftermarket barrels against aftermarket barrels. Here are some hints–Bring two guns, or only shoot at one distance. If you shoot 200 yards and tie but then resight your gun for 300 yards you will need to resight for 200 to compete in the sudden death. I’ve seen guys really blow it messing around with those scope turrets.”

Massachusetts Egg Shoot

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