Cartridge-based Headspace Gauge

A close look at how to make a custom Go headspace gauge from a cartridge – in this case using a 223 Remington cartridge.

by Norman E. Johnson

Attention to detail must be observed in forming the headspace gauge from a cartridge, but basically it is an uncomplicated procedure. Begin with a new or fired case of the chosen cartridge – brand is not critical. Run the case through a body die or full-length sizing die if fired. Leave the fired primer in place by removing the decapping pin if a full-length die is used. Be sure the primer is seated flush with the primer pocket. If using a new case, seat a used primer in the pocket.

Remove the entire case neck to the forward neck-shoulder datum line juncture. Be sure not to alter case dimensions while holding onto case. This should shorten the case length to 1.557 inches. I use a medium grit grinding wheel for this and square it to-length at the exact neck-shoulder juncture. Remove any sharp edges from the case mouth.

Strengthening the Case

I strengthened the case by using…

Read more in the December 2020 issue.

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