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Frequency on Checking Head Spacing

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Frequency on Checking Head Spacing

Postby Grindl » Thu May 07, 2015 8:52 pm

Been reading a lot of different topic posts lately regarding head spacing and interchange of bolts/models , and it came to me that maybe I should consult the "knowledgeable members" here , regarding a related issue of head-spacing.
If you are shooting frequently ; and reasonable round count , How often should you check head-spacing ? I normally shoot the following in a session .
1. 35-50 rounds of 148gr mil-surp at 100yds.-200yds. Split between distance . (Just gettin my mind "right")
2. 10-20 rounds of 174gr-SMK / 53.5 gr of A-4350 at 300 - 500 - 600 - 800. Sometimes more ; depending on how bad I'm doing on a "distance".
3. 10-20 rounds of 174gr-SMK / 44gr Varget at 800 yds. *GOAL* is to acheive 85-90% hits on a 18"x 24" sihloute by years end at this distance.

I get to shoot this three to four times a month , and think it wise to ask . How often should head-space be checked for this amount of "rounds out" , and these loads ? And if I increase the number of "Varget" rounds , should I check it more often ?
If not me.....Who ?
If not now ....When ?
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Re: Frequency on Checking Head Spacing

Postby Marauder 1 » Thu May 07, 2015 10:38 pm

Well unless you change the bolt head or the barrel you shouldn't need to check it more than once a year. I doubt that you'll see any difference unless your firing thousands of rounds. Normally these were checked once and then sent into combat. They wouldn't get checked again until they were sent back to the arsenal.

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Re: Frequency on Checking Head Spacing

Postby Grimstod » Fri May 08, 2015 9:43 am

Like Mark said you do not have to check unless you change the bolt or the barrel.

Now if your shooting supper hot hand loads like some people who shall remain nameless. :?
You should never have to check it, especially with factory loads. The Mosin action is nearly indestructable.
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Re: Frequency on Checking Head Spacing

Postby Grindl » Fri May 08, 2015 10:30 pm

Thank you for easing my mind on this issue . After seeing enough pictures of blown up chambers , and bent bolts , I'd rather ask , than become a casualty over lack of knowledge .
I think my 44gr Varget load might be considered "warm", but certainly not hot, and I try to be careful about anything I'm loading . You guys have always put out good , safe and reliable information , and I've read , and followed the guidance offered.
Like it is always said ; "The only stupid question is the one not ask". :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:
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Re: Frequency on Checking Head Spacing

Postby ShootnMathews » Sat May 09, 2015 11:06 am

If I remember correctly, you should be able to load up to 47 grains of Varget before it is HOT. But don't quote me on that. I shoot 42.5 grains and I know that is right near the minimum
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Re: Frequency on Checking Head Spacing

Postby Grindl » Thu May 14, 2015 12:34 am

I've noticed ; from reading a lot of your posts , that you tend to load on the "soft" side on many loads . Is it based on your preference for FPS/muzzle velocity in relation to barrel length ?
Or have you found that "magic" number that works in that particular rifle ? Inquiring minds want to know . :)
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Re: Frequency on Checking Head Spacing

Postby Shepard » Fri May 15, 2015 1:22 am

Grindl wrote:I've noticed ; from reading a lot of your posts , that you tend to load on the "soft" side on many loads . Is it based on your preference for FPS/muzzle velocity in relation to barrel length ?
Or have you found that "magic" number that works in that particular rifle ? Inquiring minds want to know . :)


Muzzle velocity ---- speed isn't always that important. Hand loading is an adventure to find what shoots best out of YOUR rifle. I can tell you what I shoot and it may not group out of your particular gun. I know this thread is a question on head spacing and I make every rifle I build as tight as possible on Lapua brass. Once set it should not have to be checked again. At a time you change bolt heads or barrels -- then of course it needs checking.
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Re: Frequency on Checking Head Spacing

Postby ShootnMathews » Sat May 16, 2015 3:54 am

Grindl wrote:I've noticed ; from reading a lot of your posts , that you tend to load on the "soft" side on many loads . Is it based on your preference for FPS/muzzle velocity in relation to barrel length ?
Or have you found that "magic" number that works in that particular rifle ? Inquiring minds want to know . :)

I shoot the charge weight that groups the best out of my gun. Regardless of the speed. I have found that a large number of Mosins seem to have an accuracy node Around 2400 fps. Some a little faster, but around that. Which IS on the slow/low side of the charge bracket for a Mosin. Some of my other guns are loaded to the high side, my Marlin 243 is loaded above book maximum. That's where it groups best.
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Re: Frequency on Checking Head Spacing

Postby Shepard » Sun May 17, 2015 12:59 am

ShootnMathews wrote:
Grindl wrote:I've noticed ; from reading a lot of your posts , that you tend to load on the "soft" side on many loads . Is it based on your preference for FPS/muzzle velocity in relation to barrel length ?
Or have you found that "magic" number that works in that particular rifle ? Inquiring minds want to know . :)

I shoot the charge weight that groups the best out of my gun. Regardless of the speed. I have found that a large number of Mosins seem to have an accuracy node Around 2400 fps. Some a little faster, but around that. Which IS on the slow/low side of the charge bracket for a Mosin. Some of my other guns are loaded to the high side, my Marlin 243 is loaded above book maximum. That's where it groups best.


I agree with Jared - I've hand loaded for over 40 years for rifles I shoot a lot. The best performance is gained through experimentation. Pick a good quality bullet that you can afford to buy. I would suggest the 174gr SMK in boxes of 500 [closer lot numbers]-- figure out what powder you want to run and buy 8 lbs. The reason for buying large amounts is less variation in batches, powder or bullets. I use old school IMR4350. It has some limitations as to not liking the cold. I don't like the cold either so it doesn't matter.
Run "Latter Tests" and load 5 rounds 1 gr different to start with. I started at 48gr and stopped at 56gr IMR4350. As you shoot them you should see the grouping close up and then open up again. Where it closes up is the "SWEET SPOT" for that particular barrel. Then after you find the Sweet Spot you can fine tune it by .01gr at a time to perfect it further. You can see in the picture that my Sweet Spot is at 50gr and my fine tuned load is 50.3gr. I achieve a velocity of 2350 FPS.
You can buy a one cartridge load manual off EBay called Loadbooks for 762x54r. http://www.ebay.com/itm/7-62-x-54-7-62x ... 43bdc97a2b -- Its less confusing then a complete manual and the information copied from standard reloaders books from Lyman - Lee - Hornady - Sierra so it can save you some money over buying all the complete books.
Be careful using someone elses load data -- vet it before you shoot it.
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Re: Frequency on Checking Head Spacing

Postby ShootnMathews » Sun May 17, 2015 6:30 pm

+1 on Jerry's last line. Never just load another persons load. Make sure it is within book listings then work your way up and down.
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