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Thread: SMLE Headspace Problems

  1. #21
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    Well, Ed, I see you're still tending to uncontrolled ranting when someone points out a possible flaw in one of your posts. I sure wish you'd try to control that behavior on these forums. It's sad that you've chosen not to; you've done heaps of very good work on these subjects but it sometimes gets lost in the explosions.

    Stated as simply as possible, you have made the very common error of confusing headspace with cartridge end-play. Simply substitute "end-play" for "headspace" in those parts of your first post on this topic that deal with the remaining unoccupied space between barrel and bolt face when a cartridge is in the chamber and there's very little to quibble about - except maybe the assertion that US .303 cartridges are loaded to lower pressure than "British military standards". Could be true or not - I don't have the tools or resources to know for sure. Do you?

    Nobody participating in this topic said a word about case lubrication - until you chose to go off on that overworked tangent. I suspect we'd all have a better time if you gave it a rest unless it's actually being discussed.

    Come on, Ed. I know you can be better when you want do.
    Last edited by Parashooter; 07-20-2010 at 09:07.

  2. #22
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    That wasn't a uncontrolled rant, I have been telling you for over six years that you are wrong and you decided to get your little zinger in about a "possible flaw" in my posting.

    If you were never wrong Parashooter then why did you change "Headspace 101" from telling people to lube their cases to using weed whacker cord and dental floss to wrap around their cases. The original o-ring idea was posted at the old Jouster forum by a Canadian and we both read his posting.

    Once the case is fired using the o-ring method without grease, lube or oil on the case or in the chamber the word headspace becomes meaningless.



    And Parashooter even the European CIP the equivalent of SAAMI in the U.S. claims the .303 British has "problematic headspace" for the cartridge cases being manufactured.


    Delta L problem or "One size doesn't fit all"

    Many times I have said something was wrong with our American .303 British cases now even the European CIP seems to agree.
    ("practical incompatibility with ammunition made for the corresponding chambering")

    Delta L problem

    The delta L problem (ΔL problem) is a condition that occurs regarding certain firearms chambers and their practical incompatibility with ammunition made for the corresponding chambering. The ΔL refers to a Commission Internationale Permanente (C.I.P.) geometric dimensioning and tolerancing definition for firearms cartridge cases which are longer than the chamber they have to fit in.

    Conflicting industry standards

    The main cause for the ΔL is that the two main civilian ammunition and firearms industry standards organizations C.I.P. and SAAMI have assigned different standards for the same cartridges. This leads to officially sanctioned conflicting differences between European and American ammunition dimensions and chamber dimensions. Since C.I.P. and SAAMI do not rule nor control civilian ammunition standards worldwide other causes for conflicting standards leading to ΔL issues are also possible.

    Firearm cartridges with otherwise problematic headspace

    There are also some firearm calibers with problematic headspace listed by C.I.P.[2]
    The headspace defined by:
    Depth of rim recess
    .303 British
    .38 Sp AMU
    6.35 Browning
    7.65 Browning
    9 mm Browning long

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta_L_problem

    Parashooter, this means:

    "Headspace is determined by the type cases you shoot and not the rifle."

    2002 Canadian headspace standards for the No.4 Enfield rifle.

    .064 GO
    .070 NO-GO
    .074 FIELD MAX



    Here Endeth Today's Lesson Parashooter...(from published facts and NOT myths or assumptions)

    "Come on, Ed. I know you can be better when you want do"

    Parashooter, when you make postings telling me I misspelled a word or I don't know the difference between headspace and head gap clearance its more than just nit picking. You decided to make it personal in this posting because YOU don't like being wrong and decided to get even with your comments which were not needed or called for.

    My personal rant Parashooter is garbage information shouldn't be handed out in forums when you have NO official printed data to back up your incorrect assumptions.

    Below from the 1929 British War Office Manual the "Textbook of Small Arms" on the Enfield rifle.



    Your telling everyone to lube their cases is more than a little "possible flaw" in your postings and your own "misconception" in "Headspace 101" Parashooter.

    On top of this you can check Enfield headspace with an unfired case and a set of feeler gauges, by placing the feeler gauge between the receiver and the right locking lug.







    Add the feeler gauge thickness to your rim thickness and you have your Enfields headspace setting.

    Goodbye Parashooter I'm going on a weeks vacation, I'm meeting the Dalai Lama and we are going to reach headspace Nirvāna..................
    Last edited by Edward Horton; 07-21-2010 at 05:22.

  3. #23
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    I have been reloading the 303 for more than 40 years and have never had a hadspace problem to cure shooting 50 to 100 rounds a week. I do have problems with rubbish cases separating as low as the second fireing. They all came from the same country which appears to have this headspace phobia. Buy the proper mil spec guages find the real problem and fix it. ED did and has.

  4. #24
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    Just a little clarification from the British War Office in 1929.





    I took a 0 (zero) bolthead and lapped the bolt head (wet sanded it on a piece of glass) and set the headspace on one of my Enfields at slightly over .084 or .010 over maximum headspace.





    Using the rubber o-ring method of fire forming cases with the case being held firmly against the bolt face I fired factory loaded and my reloads with absolutely no ill effects.

    Using the rubber o-ring to fire form your cases makes the word headspace meaningless with the Enfield rifle, without worrying about case head separations and excess bolt thrust from oiled or greased cases.

    Below in the top photo is a South African 1982 military surplus .303 ammunition resting in a Wilson case gauge. The American made Wilson gauge is nothing more than a "American" SAAMI .303 chamber. The South African made .303 round is .002 below the gauge markings as it should be.

    In the bottom photo is a new unfired Remington case and it is over a 1/4 of an inch short of where it should be in the gauge. (American made .303 British ammunition is NOT made to British military standards)



    American made commercial .303 cases were not designed to British military standards and fall apart quickly when reloaded at over 43,000 CUP.



    The best cases you can presently get for your .303 British Enfield are Prvi Partizan cases, they ARE made military heavy duty and will last much longer. In another forum one member did a destruction test after fire forming his cases with the rubber o-ring method and got over 30 reloads before the first case failure.



    Below a Prvi Partizan case reloaded 3 times, the rims are thicker, the base diameter is larger and the case walls are thicker than ANY American made .303 British ammo.



    Headspace is governed by the cases you shoot and NOT the rifle.
    Last edited by Edward Horton; 08-01-2010 at 10:44.

  5. #25
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    The NO-GO is the wrong gauge for checking headspace on a used rifle. The GO and NO-GO gauges are used by factories and gunsmiths when installing a barrel or a bolt. The proper gauge for checking out headspace on a used rifle is the FIELD GAUGE, which takes into account a reasonable amount of wear. Almost any rifle that has seen much use will accept a NO-GO gauge and falsely indicate a dangerous condition.

    Jim

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim K. View Post
    The NO-GO is the wrong gauge for checking headspace on a used rifle. The GO and NO-GO gauges are used by factories and gunsmiths when installing a barrel or a bolt. The proper gauge for checking out headspace on a used rifle is the FIELD GAUGE, which takes into account a reasonable amount of wear. Almost any rifle that has seen much use will accept a NO-GO gauge and falsely indicate a dangerous condition.

    Jim
    When buying a new Enfield the first gauge I use is the .067 gauge.

    When proof tested the Enfield had its headspace set as close to .064 as possible, after the oiled high pressure proof round was fired the Enfield was checked with a .067 headspace gauge. If the bolt closed on the .067 gauge the Enfield developed too much lug setback and failed proof testing.

    All my Enfields that are new, low mileage or have gone through an FTR have headspace below .067 and were untouched by me.

    The book below by Ian Skennerton tells you to set your Enfield headspace .003 over your rim thickness.



    The Mk.2 below has two bolt heads fitted, the original at below .067 and a newly lapped bolt head with the actual headspace set at slightly below .062. The rim thickness of my Remington and Winchester cases are around .058-.059 and this give me .003-.004 head gap clearance.



    These are the headspace gauges I use to check an Enfield.



    American made commercial cases are NOT made to British military specifications and have lower or tighter headspace limits.

    Headspace is governed by the cases you shoot and NOT the rifle and this is why American cases do not last as long when reloaded. On top of this American .303 commercial cartridges are loaded to LESS than 43,000 CUP to ensure they are safe to shoot in all .303 models. The original .303 smokeless cartridges were loaded to 16.5, 17.5 and 18.5 tsi and this why the American factories load the .303 to pressures lower than the last rated cartridge pressure of 18.5 tsi or 46,000 cup for the .303 British.

    If you use the .074 headspace gauge and American made cases you can have as much as .020 head gap clearance or air space between the bolt face and the rear of the case. And this is what causes case head separations unless the cases are properly fire formed.

    If you haven't noticed the people who say the least about headspace are shooting military Greek HXP ammunition, and the people who complain the most are shooting American made cases.


  7. #27
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    Hey Ed. I have that brace and screwdriver bit for removing stock bolts.

  8. #28
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    Mr. Sukey

    The same book shows all the older No.1 Armourer tools.

    Photo from above book of an older No.1 Stock Collar Gauge/filing jig.



    And my Canadian made No.4 Stock Collar Gauge/filing jig






  9. #29
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    Hi, guys. You all seem to know about this problem. I don't. I have a #5 carbine made at Fazakerley, and I have trouble chambering rounds prior to firing. I have to force the bolt closed. After firing I really have to force the bolt to open. Sometimes I have to whack the bolt handle against some immovable object to move the bolt to the rear. Needless to say the cases are all scratched up. Is this a headspace problem or something else? I'm using Australian military ammo from the 80's. I used to have a 1915 dated #1 MkIII* and had no such issue. The action was as smooth as butter-and fast. I know enough about guns not to fire this one until whatever this problem is gets corrected, but since I live in NYC, finding a gunsmith might be a problem. Any input is appreciated.

  10. #30
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    DaveP

    1. Move out of NYC (my son did)
    2. As closely as possible examine your chamber for defects, corrosion, embedded material in chamber walls, and possibly the remains of a case that separated near the shoulder.

    The .303 Enfield military chamber is "longer" than a civilian SAAMI chamber to allow room for the mud of Flanders at the shoulder area of the chamber. The chamber also has a larger diameter neck area than standard civilian commercial chambers. This leaves ample room for "excess" garbage that doesn't belong in the chamber and could explain your hard chambering.

    Posting photos of your scratched and damaged fired cases would be a good starting point for our long range psychic repair of your Enfield rifle.




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