Before going to the top headspace gauges list, it is essential to understand what the headspace of a gun is and what a headspace gauge does.
Headspace is the blank space between the bolt face and a fixed point on the chamber. This point may vary depending on the cartridge. The headspace makes adapts with slight variations of the cartridge length. A barrel marked as 5.56 can shoot both 5.56 and .223 gauge. However, A .223 barrel can’t shoot 5.56 gauge. So, we need to measure correctly.
A headspace gauge kit measures the distance and helps you choose the correct cartridge for your gun. It holds back any possible mishaps. Therefore, selecting an accurate headspace gauge is a must.
Cartridge length will determine the choice of the measuring gauge. However, you may use the parent gauge for similar magazines.
Best Headspace Gauge Reviews
Whichever headspace gauge kit you choose, our suggestions will help you pick the “one.” Read the in-depth stipulations thoroughly to understand the ins and outs of each product.
1. Lyman Reloading Headspace Gauge | Maximum Safety
Headspace gauges are necessary to inspect if the firearm is befitting of use. They also play a vital role in ensuring user safety. The Lyman Case length gauge provides these particulars, impressive execution.
Accuracy is a vital facet in the case of any firearm tool. Any ignorance may lead to mishaps. So special care is necessary for this sector. Lyman suggests cross-checking the brass length after resizing for the exact measurements.
On that account, this gauge inspects the length of the bottleneck case post-reformation. As a result, you can look into the exact size of the case and apt for use. And your re-loader will not exceed or fall behind the expected length.
It will be wise for you to immediately diminish any excessive space in the case and then shoot. Elsewise, the brass may stretch longer and can cause failure in the shot.
- Accurate measurement
- Assured security
- Measures the pre and post-shoot barrel
- Easy insertion
2. Hornady HK66 Headspace Gauge | Multiple Bushing
There is no alternative to the Hornady Lock-N-Load headspace gauge to ensure long-lasting brass life. And it gets the assigned job done in a pretty decent manner.
No matter how multi-dimensional features a gauge may have, it must get its primary job of measuring accurately. If not, a shorter headspace area can increase chamber pressure. HK66 measures the brass explicitly and allows the user to compare the fire-formed and resized brass.
For professional gunsmiths, it is essential to have gear with multiple measuring options. With five bushing options, the Hornady headspace gauge kit can be a perfect choice for experts.
Almost every bottleneck case can be measured with these bushing options. A chamber improved to use with Ackley bushing size similar to the parent casing. You can use the size chart provided to get cartridge/bushing size details.
If you cannot match the size accurately, you can divide the sum of neck and shoulder diameter by two and use the nearest bushing count.
- Guaranteed longevity
- Five different bushings
- Ackley bushing for further adjustment
- Facile manual
3. Forster NATO MIN and MAX Headspace Gauge | Ground Precision
We will agree that the reliability of a product increases by manifolds when it is made by good headspace gauge manufacturers and authorized by standard organizations. Hence, ISO-certified Forster gauges will be a safe choice to go for.
However, the International Organization of standardization does not only recognize the Forster headspace gauge; gunsmiths have a high opinion about this tool. The accurate precision ground and solid steel are built to give the shooter a smooth user experience.
Forster NATO consists of two rifle chamber gauges- NATO MAX and NATO MIN gauge. The 1.4736 MAX gauge looks into the maximal length of the chamber. On the contrary, a 5.56 MIN gauge ensures the minimum dimension for ammunition cases.
There are three lengths in caliber for each kit – GO, NOGO, and FIELD gauge. These three gauges will be enough to get all tasks related to measurement done perfectly.
The gauge grounds strictly at ±.00015″ to ensure explicitly with every use.
- Error-free precision ground
- ISO certified
- Stainless steel built
4. Bylot HK66 Headspace Gauge | Long Brass Life
Lock N Load pattern can be considered one of the top headspace gauges for extending brass life. Bylot HK66 Lock N Load is no exception from that.
Besides ensuring longer brass life, this headspace guarantees accuracy. It also reduces the chances of any unwanted situation to a greater extent.
Bylot gauge kit comes with five individual bushing settings. These five will be enough for measuring all types of brass headspaces. It is capable of measuring the shift of brass before and after resizing or firing.
You can make the measurement task more convenient by following the standard size chart. The conventional calculation method will be helpful as well.
If you are looking for improved accuracy and safety with multiple bushing options, you can quickly get a Bylot Lock N Load gauge kit. Plus, the cost is reasonable. With this specific model, you will see the features no less from any high-end Lock N Load headspace gauges.
- Amplified brass life
- Five bushing options
- Guarded measurement
5. Manson NATO Go Headspace Gauge | Precision
5.56 mm Manson headspace gauges can be an excellent firearm tool for anyone and everyone. From professional gunsmiths to novice shooters- all of them found this gauge to be practical and impactful.
Like all other 5.56 mm headspace gauges, Manson NATO is a versatile and handy measurement tool for barrels. The fidelity of the gauge is unmatching. With these tools, you can measure the distance from the case head to the datum line and take necessary actions to eliminate poor accuracy.
There are three individual chamber gauges in the kit- FIELD, NOGO, and GO gauge. They have different sets of tasks to make your magnitude determination easier. A brief discussion on their facets will make it easy to understand.
After inserting a new barrel, “GO” gauges are used to reposition the chamber. If the bolt completely closes, there is enough space for the ammunition to sit without crashing. No go gauges, and field gauges check on the empty and maximum headspace, respectively. You may also like some of the diesel fuel additive for duramax from our list, so take a moment to check them out.
- 3 separate gauges
- 5.56 mm length
- Suitable for all
Frequently Asked Questions & Answers
1. Can I use the headspace gauge kit for a semi-auto rifle?
Yes, you can use headspace gauges for semi and single firearms. However, the accuracy level is more precise when used in single-action rifles.
2. Are the Ackley improved cases appropriate for Shoulders of 40 degrees?
Most of the time, these cases will do the job. But it is necessary to remember that headspace gauges are not absolute gauges. They do a comparative measurement. It would be best to take the give and measure the case individually.
3. What is the difference between GO and NOGO gauges?
The GO and NOGO gauges have two different functions. GO meters are used to resize the barrel and insert a new cartridge. Again, NOGO gauges check on eliminating extra headspace.
4. Will these headspace gauges are appropriate for Wilde barrels?
You can easily find the size of the cartridge using the size chart provided with the gauge. To do the task manually, you must add the shoulder and neck diameter and divide it by two.
5. What is the proper way to pick cartridge size?
To prevent tolerance stacking, you need to buy all your gauges from the same brand. Mixing manufacturers is known to cause tolerance stack-up.
We hope our list made your search for the best headspace gauge feasible. We will ask you to invest in a good quality gauge kit as a further tip. The equipment will serve you for years.
Don’t get fooled by the unrealistic promises of an “All in one” gauge. Instead, go for a kit with three separate gauges. Each of them will come in handy for all your measurement chores.
I, Mike K. was born on August 25, 1992, in Abingdon Virginia. Our family relocated to Santa Monica, California after middle school.
I received an electrical engineering degree from U.C. San Francisco. While looking for work, he was guided by an engineering position at the company where he is working for. Besides working, David and I are started blogging about the latest developments of electrical stuff and enjoy sharing my thoughts with readers.