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Headspace Gauges Review

Let’s face it! Inadequate headspace can bring problems like building too much pressure in your rifle that can damage its locking system.
It is essential to make sure that your gun is within the appropriate gauge before anyone uses it.

If otherwise, it is also possible that cartridges may not chamber properly. Thus, having accurate measurement is necessary for the safety of gun owners and the people around them.

You would want to ensure that the weapon you choose is always safe to use. So, you better grab the best headspace gauge that will answer to your firing needs.

Typically used by gunsmiths when building a gun, the tool checks if a pistol or rifle exceeds the standard of measurement and therefore, needs adjustment.

Top Headspace Gauges Comparison

Last update on 2020-08-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Headspace Gauges Review 2020

Best Headspace Gauges

This material is a must-have tool to guarantee the safety of your firearm before using it. So, if you’re asking what is the best one for you, here are the top six from which you can choose.

Clymer Headspace Gauge No-Go

Clymer Headspace Gauge No-Go

This product is crucial to ensure that you are working with chambers accurately and safely. It can precisely measure and test the length of your weapon’s chamber. This no-go gauge is needed for a new barrel to have a tight chamber.

Clymer gauges follow the specifications as required by the Small Arms Ammunition Manufacturer’s Institute (SAAMI). It means that the bullets were loaded to a marginally higher pressure; thus, safe for use in guns.

Also, you can quickly identify the caliber and gauge, which are marked on the product. This gauge, machined from steel, is interchangeable for all gauge types.

For shooters who own multiple guns that need proper measurements, they can use this measurement tool for all of their weapons.
For a versatile, easy to understand gauge, you can look for the Clymer No-Go.

PROS

  • With well-labeled carrying case
  • No need to see a gunsmith; thus, saves you money, time, and energy
  • Interchangeable for all kinds of gauges
  • Easy to use

CONS

  • Some people may find the etchings a bit difficult to read

Related Review: Concentricity Gauge Buying Review.

Clymer Headspace Gauge Go

Clymer Headspace Gauge Go

The only way to accurately measure the length of a gun chamber is by using this gauge. This procedure is vital to ensure that you have an accurate, safe, and working chamber before using a pistol. It is necessary to always check the gage before firing a new or used gun.

These gauges have etched markings to identify its name and caliber easily. Further, this “go” type tool can help you determine whether or not you have the proper measurement for your rifle to work. And, just like other Clymer gauges, this product is made according to SAAMI specs.

If you require a tight chamber, this “go” type gauge can help you do just that. This machined steel gage can save you money and time from going to a professional gunsmith.

PROS

  • Flawlessly works with most guns and rifles
  • Easy and quick performance
  • Saves time and money on headspace adjustments
  • Perfect to measure and chamber a new barrel

CONS

  • Not as interchangeable as other models

Manson Precision – Rimless Rifle/Shotgun Cartridge

Manson Precision – Rimless RifleShotgun Cartridge

This one will help you determine the correct standard measurement to ensure that your firearm is safe before use. Its “go” gauge gives the SAAMI-recommended minimum chamber depth.

On the other hand, the “no-go” one is a little bit longer than the SAAMI models, which can help you identify excessive chamber depth and hazardous conditions.

The Manson material is made from M7 high speed hardened steel in-the-white. This feature gives the gauge durability and longer service life. So, if you are after longevity, this gage will be the best choice.

Additionally, the etched “go” or “no-go” gauge identifications are easy to read and quickly tell if a gun is ready for use or not. This robust gauge can help you save time and money. You are sure that you can use your firearms for a dozen rounds with this Manson Precision product.

PROS

  • Can last for years
  • Saves time and money for adjustments by gunsmiths
  • You won’t have to disassemble the bolt on your weapon to fit this headspace gauge

CONS

  • Does not fit with some guns and rifles

Related Guide: Rear Bag for Benchrest Shooting

Forster – Match Rifle Gauges

Forster – Match Rifle Gauges

This product can help you know the exact measurement in any chamber. It can get the precise size from “go” to “field” in .001-inch measurements.

Armorers, shooting sports athletes, and match shooters can rely on this measurement device to precisely track locking lugs on match grade barrels. Each set contains hardened and ground high-speed steel gauges in different lengths.

Just a tip, never mix and match the Forster gauges with other brands. Each brand works within a range specified by SAAMI, which might vary in tolerance stacking. You don’t want to get an inaccurate measurement reading, which is possible if you use various brands.

PROS

  • Conforms with SAAMI standards
  • Precision gauges to maximize safety and accuracy
  • Available in different lengths

CONS

  • Cannot be used with other product brands

Brownells Maximum Gauge

Brownells Maximum Gauge

This gauge, made of hardened and ground steel, can measure the maximum acceptable factory measurement, which is essential to assess brand new, used, and re-barreled guns.

It gauges factory specified measures of Colt M16/AR-15 firearms. You want to achieve the accurate standard of measurement to avoid bolt lock-up, cartridge case separation, or misfire.

Professional gunsmiths use commercial gauges that are made to industry standards and are generally ideal for checking sporting firearms. But, to measure the maximum acceptable measurement of an AR-15/M16 rifle, these gauges may not be befitting.

Additionally, Colt firearms need a unique “field” gauge, which is quite different. This gauge from Brownell is specifically designed to match the Colt “field” measurement of the AR-15/M16.

PROS

  • Measures the maximum acceptable headspace on the AR-15/M16 rifle
  • Made from hardened and ground steel
  • Ideal for brand new, used, or re-barreled specified rifles

CONS

  • Can only be used for Colt firearms of “field” dimensions

Forster – 7.62 NATO Maximum Chamber Gauge

Forster – 7.62 NATO Maximum Chamber Gauge

By verifying the safe chamber length, the Forster NATO can ensure that your rifle will not cause any harm or damage when fired.

This product checks whether the gun will accept the longest dimension of the currently manufactured NATO ammunition cases. Professional armorers and gunsmiths understand the importance of these features in the performance and safety of any firearm.

Finally, two gauges are available per caliber, which is for the minimum and maximum headspace. The minimum chamber gage ensures that the rifle will accept the longest NATO ammunition cases. On the other hand, the maximum rifle chamber gage checks if your gun does not have excessive measurements.

PROS

  • Really simple to use
  • Ensures the gun’s performance and safety before use
  • Comes with a durable plastic storage case

CONS

  • No midrange length is available

What to Look for Before Buying a Headspace Gauge

All gauges are manufactured for the same purpose in mind. However, this doesn’t mean that all of them are made the same. Even if two gages are from the same material, they may be of different types and designs.

Finding the right one for you will depend on various factors. So, to find the quality product, here are things you need to consider before buying a gauge.

Material

Knowing the material of any equipment and its accessories are always necessary. The same rule applies if you are looking for the best headspace gauge.

It is best to choose gages made from steel, which is unquestionably robust. Lastly, durable materials can give you a long-lasting product that you can use even after firing off your gun several times.

Etching

The etchings on the sides of gauges can help you understand what they are for specifically. Also, these etchings will let you know how the material works.
Just read these printed impressions to identify its caliber and gauge and ensure that you are using the proper product. It will also let you distinguish if it is a “go” or “no-go.”

Go, No-Go, or Field Style

Go, No-Go, or Field Style

One of the critical characteristics of a gauge is that you can quickly identify if it’s a “go” or “no-go” style. Remember that if the gauge measurement fits, then it is a “go.”

But, if it is excessive or below the required measurement, then it is a “no go.” Here are the specific details about the three gauge types for better understanding.

“Go” Gauge

It is the minimum chamber dimensions that will accept ammunitions made according to SAAMI specifications. The “go” gauge is essential in checking newly-reamed chambers for the safety and accuracy of your weapon.

“No-Go” Gauge

It is the maximum standard of measurement recommended for chambering new rifles. However, this is not a maximum SAAMI measurement. If the bolt closes on a “no-go” gauge, then you have more than the allowable standard of measurement.

“Field” Gauge

This gauge matches the longest safe measurement. If your rifle closes on a “field” gauge, then the chamber is close to, or longer than the SAAMI spec, which is dangerous. Weapons with excessive headspace must be checked by professional gunsmiths to ensure that they are safe before firing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Before purchasing a gauge, here are the answers to some of the questions you might have in mind.

What is the best headspace gauge?


Manson and Clymer are two of the most trusted brands when it comes to shooting equipment and accessories. However, it is still prudent to make some research and read forums about shooting equipment. What actual users have to say can sometimes be vital before making a purchase.

When should I check the headspace?


Generally, the standard of measurement of brand-new rifles has already been checked before these weapons leave the factory. However, it is still wise to check it yourself even if the gun is brand new. Furthermore, you must always check the measurements in any of the following instances:

● After chambering or changing a barrel
● After changing the bolt
● Before firing any purchased gun

When should I check the headspace

What is an ideal headspace?


You can say that you have achieved an ideal measurement if the bolt closes on the “go” gauge and does not close on the “no-go” gauge.

Can I mix brands for Go and No-Go gauges?


You must always use gauges from the same brand and manufacturer. Therefore, you should determine the caliber and measurement of your rifle before choosing a gauge.

What will happen if I have excessive headspace?


You may never want to have excessive measurements. It can lead to any of the following catastrophic consequences that can injure you and other people:

● Bulged cases and failures (cracks, splitting of the case neck, case, and head separation)
● Light primer strikes
● Failure to fire
● Popping out of primers from the pocket
● Shortened case life

Final Words

Gages are essential because it helps you determine whether your weapon is safe for use or not. If you don’t have enough time, money, and resources to regularly check with a gunsmith, then having the best headspace gauge is the best alternative for you.

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