May, 19

AR 15 Headspace: Understanding the Importance for Accurate Shooting

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AR 15 headspace is a crucial aspect that every gun owner needs to understand. It refers to the distance between two critical parts in the gun, namely, the bolt face and the chamber where rounds are stored. The headspace measurement ensures that ammunition fits properly within your AR 15 and prevents any possible malfunctions or accidents from occurring during firing.

It is vital for firearm owners to comprehend how proper headspacing affects their weapons' safety and functionality. While it may seem like a technical term for beginners, understanding its importance will help any shooter maintain their rifle correctly. In this article, we delve deeper into everything you need to know about AR 15 headspace so you can become more knowledgeable on how your firearm functions – keep reading!

AR 15 Headspace: What You Need to Know

If you're a gun enthusiast or someone who uses firearms frequently, then you would know the importance of headspace in an AR-15. Headspacing is crucial for ensuring that your rifle functions optimally and safely. In this article, we'll discuss everything you need to know about AR-15 headspace.

What is Headspace?

Before we dive deep into the details of AR-15 headspece, let's first define what it means. Headspacing refers to the relationship between the chamber of your firearm and its bolt face when a cartridge is loaded into it. The proper amount of headspace ensures that there's enough room for cartridge expansion during firing.

Why Is Proper Headspace Important?

Having proper headspace in your rifle can affect both accuracy and safety while shooting. Here are some benefits:

  • Accuracy – Correctly sized cases help reduce bullet runout which leads to increased accuracy.
  • Safety – A lack of sufficient clearance between cartridge case dimensions can cause pressure issues increasing risk for failure or rupture.

To ensure optimum performance from your weapon, it’s essential to have correct headspece.

How Does An Ar 15 Function With Respect To Its Headspace?

In an AR-15 rifle; once forward motion has started on the bolt carrier group (BCG), all movement comes from gas pressure acting on piston driven systems (direct impingement) or behind gas rings causing BCG rotation around cam pin housed inside bolt carrier keyway..

When firing begins with insufficient space inside barrel chamber walls available resulting in too tight tolerances causing excessive frictional forces creating potential slide stoppage issue if reliability isn't upkept correctly over time as wear becomes apparent through continued use without maintenance care protocols after each firing session occurring consecutively one after another keeping clean lubricated environment where necessary components interact appropriately avoiding malfunctions down line by doing so prolonging life span longevity.

How to Check Headspace?

To check the headspace on your AR-15, you'll need specific tools such as a go gauge and no-go gauge. These gauges are used to measure the distance between the bolt face and chamber shoulder, which indicates proper headspacing. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to check your rifle's headspece:

  1. Ensure that your firearm is unloaded.
  2. Remove the bolt carrier group from the upper receiver.
  3. Insert a Go Gauge into the chamber.
  4. Push slowly until it stops.
  5. Attempt to close bolt fully; it should lock easily with minimal effort required
    6.Insert No-Go Gauge into chamber
    7.Push slowly until seat stoppage reached
    8.Attempt closing of BCG screw assembly forcefully causing disruption frictional forces resulting in halt in completing cycle of operations

If step 8 fails above return back one step ie.. Repeat steps three through seven again using different tool verifying accuracy levels more precisely.


Having correct headspace measurements is important for ensuring optimum performance from any firearm including an AR-15 rifle . It also has safety implications associated with incorrect measurements that can lead to failure or malfunction if not checked regularly by qualified personell trained specifically in this area of expertise dealing directly with gunsmithing procedures required for maintaining firearms at highest quality standards possible while avoiding potential risks associated poor maintenance care protocols leading towards safety issues over time when neglect becomes apparent through continued use without keeping up proper cleaning lubrication techniques connected within maintenance plan guidelines established by manufacturers recommendations based upon usage experience feedback accumulated over years manufacturing rifles built specifically around ar15 platform variations customized components additions upgrades modifications installed accessory kits added features etc…


What is AR 15 Headspace and why is it important?

AR 15 Headspace refers to the measurement of the space between the bolt face and the chamber in which the cartridge sits. It's an essential factor that ensures safe functioning of your firearm. The headspace controls how far a cartridge case can enter into a rifle’s chamber, where it will expand from firing pressure. If this distance (headspace) is too short or too long, serious malfunctions could occur such as misfires, ruptured cases or even catastrophic failures.

The AR 15 platform has a reputation for being easy to maintain and reliable under harsh conditions, but proper headspacing must be observed at all times to ensure safety when using this weapon system. Headspacing should always be checked before assembling any upper receiver components together with their associated assemblies.

To check whether your assembled AR-15 has correct headspace measurements; you can use gauges with precision measurement tools that will indicate if everything checks out correctly as per factory specifications.

How do I measure my AR-15 Headspacing?

Measuring your AR-15's headspace requires speciality tools called "Go" and “No-go” gauges specifically created for checking rifle cartridges' dimensions against specific tolerances limits designed by manufacturers.

You'll need two types of go-gauges:

  1. A “GO gauge”: This gauge tests if there’s sufficient clearance between parts where ammo feeds into barrels without issue.
  2. A “NO-GO” gauge: This test whether there isn’t enough space inside chambers leading towards more dangerous situations like overpressure caused by detonating rounds within small spaces than they are meant for causing catastrophic failure damaging guns beyond repair

To perform these checks on your firearm:
Firstly clear away ammunition from magazines & chambers.
Insert just Go Gauge first while aligning barrel extensions then verify that bolt locks firmly without resistance
Next insert 'No-Go' gauge in a similar fashion and verify that bolt does NOT lock whatsoever.
If the "No-Go" gauge does indeed pass, you'll know that your rifle is out of headspace specification.

How often should I check my AR 15 Headspace?

It's best to check your AR-15 headspace at least once per year or after any significant modifications or repairs are made on the gun. If you're not using a factory-built firearm, it's essential to ensure Headspacing gets checked before firing as one could introduce defects during assembly inadvertently. Changes in temperature or altitude also have impacts on metal parts such as those found within guns which can affect accuracy and function if improperly maintained over time leading towards increasingly dangerous situations.

Overall, while there is no hard rule for how often you should inspect head spacing; though regular checks will keep both users' safety and gun longevity intact

What happens when AR-15 Headspace goes wrong?

When your AR-15 has incorrect headsplace settings (either too loose or too tight), several malfunctions might occur:

  1. Failure-to-Fire: The primer fails to ignite because there’s insufficient room for the round.
  2. Failure-to-Eject: The casing gets stuck because it has expanded beyond capacity.
  3. Misfire: Light impact occurs from striking firing pin against primer, but doesn’t produce enough force needed to ignite cartridge
  4. Stovepipe malfunction where empty shells jam into an open ejection port instead of being flung clear by ejector plunger

Any problem with an incorrectly set up ArmaLite Rifle can lead towards potentially hazardous outcomes such as catastrophic failures leading towards personal injury/death even if they may sometimes seem minor problems initially.

Can I adjust my AR 15 Headspace myself?

Headspace adjustment involves specialized tools that require accurate measurements like go/no-go gauges so altering without experience isn't recommended. Suppose Gun enthusiasts have experience with AR 15 assemblies and know-how to manipulate headspace settings. In that case, they may choose to adjust their headsplace provided they have necessary gauges as well as a comprehensive understanding of the firearm.

However, it's essential always to remember that incorrect modifications can lead towards failures or malfunctions even if the rifle appears fine after assembly. For any significant changes made on your AR-15 platform, consult professional gunsmiths or firearms experts who can offer better advice before permanently altering such critical components in weapons used for self-defense purposes among others.

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