Anybody have headspace gauges for 303 British? | Carolina Shooters Club

Anybody have headspace gauges for 303 British?

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing | Firearm Assembly | Troubleshooting' started by weaver01, Mar 30, 2021.

  1. weaver01

    weaver01 Registered Member

    May 24, 2010
    Garner, NC
    I just picked up an interesting SMLE no1 mk3 and need to check headspace as it is not an original “factory” rifle. Can anyone lend out “go” “no go” or “field” gauges for a 303 British? I’m asking because Midway and Brownell’s and every other vendor on the internet are out of stock....
    My rifle is all real tight. I’m concerned it might be too tight. Want to check it out before I spend lots of time trying to smooth out the action or try to fire it. I’m located in Garner (Raleigh area) Thank you much.
  2. gunwonk

    gunwonk Not Subscribed

    Apr 11, 2011
    Durham, NC
    If your no1 mk3 is a parts mix, and feels tight, there are things to check besides headspace. Maybe your bolt is bent? Or the action? (Look up How Enfields Fail.) Maybe the bolt head doesn't screw in far enough? (Look up Proper Fit of Enfield Bolt Head.) I'd suggest you get on some of the Enfield forums and ask there. There's one on, for example.

    If it's just headspace, and you're a reloader (or have a friend) -- and you still can't find headspace gauges -- you could take an empty case with a partially seated primer (fired primer works fine here), chamber the case, and see how far the primer gets pushed in. The amount by which the primer still sticks out is the amount of fore-and-aft slack of that cartridge in your chamber, which is one of the definitions of headspace.

    Of course the best thing, if you have any doubt, would be to take it to a gunsmith (not me) :) and pay them to check it out.

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