1. The Topic of the Month for October is "Make this the Perfect Bugout Location". Please join the discussion in the TOTM forum.

Checking headspacing on older rifles....

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by dragonfly, Nov 6, 2008.

  1. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    Specifically: the Moison-Nagant's of the 7.62 x 54 R calibers.
    I recently purchased 3, and found that they come with a warning that they need to be checked by a "competent" gunsmith, for correct headspacing, etc.
    Now, I am an semi-amateur gunsmith...(never a pro)
    In other words: I was an armorer for the B Co. 23rd Engr. Bn., 3rd Armored Division, in Hanau, Germany in 1969-1970.
    I have also done considerable machining on various weapons, from time to time, in a machine shop.
    'Nuff said.
    Now I found there are different types of gauges, some better than others, as the "long" cartridge styles have a tendency to give inaccurate readings, if ,your chamber and bore are NOT absolutely clean.
    Whereas, the disc styles give you JUST the headspace readings.
    I looked for a gunsmith in my area, which there are a lot of them, BUT they want from $75.00 to $125.00 to check each rifle.
    The gauges run from $25.00 to $27.00 each, and you'd only need 2...
    The No-Go, and the Field gauges.
    Due to these rifles being used and of questionable quality, they do need to be checked out.
    The Importer: "Century Arms imports" of Vermont do NOT check anything, just ship them as is.....
    Now, I purchased mine from a local dealer, "J&G sales", in Prescott az.
    They don't check anything either.
    They had me contact their "gunsmith", just to be told he dosen't do that either. ???
    I did see that 1 of the rifles had been "BADLY" counter-bored, at least 1 7/8 inches into the bore.
    Also, the lines on the bolt safety knobs did NOT line up correctly.
    Not a good sign!
    I took the bolts apart and with the exception of excess oil, they were in very good condition.
    However, it will now be required to put a 'primed only' cartridge into the rifles, to check the depth of the firing pin, to insure the pin dosen't puncture the primer cups.


    All in all, 2 of the rifles are in darned good condition, even though 1 is dated 1931, and the other 1933.
    Very little cosmoline, and nearly perfect stocks.
    Now, I had paid for $20.00 additional for "Hand Selected" for overall condition as well as for "Bore Select".
    I wonder how that 'counter bored' one got through?
  2. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    Some of the gauges, not the disc styles, require that you disassemble your bolts, removing the firing pins and the extractors!
    Another problem for some!
  3. SuperTico

    SuperTico Yawn !

    There used to be a 'smith in Springvale (sp?) Utah named Wheeler, I knew years ago.
    Call 411 and ask for a gunshop up there, He may still be around.
    He's a REAL gunsmith.
    For guages Brownells dot com
  4. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Firstly, a set of go no-go gages cost less than the price quoted to you for a smith to do the checking on only one. Buy the gages is the message, you have enough experience to do the checking yourself. Clean the chamber thoroughly first. (But you knew that.)
    Second, CAI (and others) often counter bore muzzles due to badly worn rifling. Both of mine are that way. "They say" it has only a minor effect on accuracy. I haven't tried for groups yet, but they ring the hell out of a manhole cover at 125 yards. Still, you might call them on it, but I suspect you'll not get far.
    Setting the firing pin is also easy if you have the tool that was issued with the rifle initially (it has go no-go gage on it.) If you don't, the tools are easy to find. CAI used to ship with the oil bottles, cleaning gear, sling and the tool. If they didn't for yours, buy one. Classic Arms, Inc., usually has the kits. www.classicarms.com.

    Take a bit and visit 762x54r.net, more info than you thought you needed.

    If buying the gages doesn't ring your chime, do it anyway, and I'll take them off your hands.

  5. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Adventure Riding Monkey Founding Member

    In the real world, 99.5% of all Mosin buyers take the rifle to the range after a good cleaning&inspection, load, fire, check shell for any funkyness.

    Maybe not the 'proper way' to do it - but it's the normal way. I ahve NEVER seen a set of guages, and neither have any Mosin (or other milsurp) owners I know. Sure, might cause a problem sometime - just saying, few shooters do that level of checking.

    I do strip, clean and check for anything 'unusual' when I buy a milsurp. None goes to the range straight from the gunshop or show.

    Only problem I ever encountered was some Bulgarian ammo - half the primers were seated too deep, and I had to adjust the firing pin of my then-only Mosin out a tad to insure consistent firing.
  6. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    Found the tools, hidden in newsprint wrapped around the oiler cans!
    I checked and reset those pins accordingly! 1 was short, 1 was way tooo long!
    Now, I am not too worried, but it's nice to know they do make the gauges.
    I suppose, if you change bolts and/or barrels they'd be handy to have!
    Soon as I get the time, I'm looking for a couple of recoil pads.
    Not as young as I was once, long long ago, in a place far far away!
    I Just got my 500rds.-203 gr. soft points and 2 tins, (880rds.) of the mil-surp ammo.
    So far, everything on 2 of these look great, except, (always something right?), the finish on one could be cleaned up with some #0000 steel wool, and carnuba wax!
  7. whichfinger

    whichfinger Monkey++

    I have a Pachmayr small recoil pad on mine. Works fine, and it was cheap.
  8. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Adventure Riding Monkey Founding Member

    Of my current seven Mosin rifles, the only bad shooter is the very pretty Finn M39. I bought it before I really knew what to look for, and she's the "Prom Queen With bad Teeth".... gorgeous tiger-striped stock, good blueing but a badly pitted bore, especially up near the muzzle!
    Shoots like a shotgun with both light-weight Czech silvertip, and the Hungarian heavy ball. BUT.... she likes the very heavy 203 grain SP! I guess Peg (named after the mom on Married With Children) likes her 'bonbons'..... [lolol]
survivalmonkey SSL seal        survivalmonkey.com warrant canary