View Full Version : Good news on the L1A1...and a headspace question..

K. Funk
September 24, 2001, 19:38
For those of you who have been following the saga of my rounded flats L1A1 re-barrel attempt; good news!!With some shoulder peening and shimming of the barrel wrench, I got her on and timed fairly well. Now for the question:

A check of headspace (locking shoulder was never removed) shows that she will not close on a GO guage. I am making an assumption (perhaps a bad one) that the headspace was okay before un-barreling. You would think that peening a barrel that was already shooting in an over-timed condition would guage at least "GO" and perhaps "NO-GO". Anyways, no sweat off the nads, I'll just file it down a tad. At least I don't have to buy a new one (yet). Since I didn't actually ask a question yet, any comments?

Any input welcome.



September 24, 2001, 22:13
Just the same old tired ones some board members may disagree with. General comments not specifically directed at you, K. Funk, by the way. "If you're going to do a job, do it right." In my not-so-humble opinion, setting headspace is perhaps the most critical step in assembling a rifle... if it's off, either your boomstick is just a stick (too tight, won't chamber) or is a major danger to you and nearby spectators when it explodes (waaay too loose, case rupture or catastrophic failure).

The cost of the proper tools for this job is INSIGNIFICANT compared to the price you might have to pay if something bad happens. A set of GO and NO-GO gauges will set you back about $35; ZZ pin gauges from MSC (.254 to .265) will cost $25, even less if you skip every other size (even or odd). These tools will allow you to measure EXACTLY what headspace THAT PARTICULAR rifle demands. You will also have the means to insure that rifle REMAINS safe over time as the headspace opens up due to parts wear. YOUR FACE AND EYES are just a few INCHES from each and every exploding round!! Shouldn't you do everything possible to make sure your rifle is SAFE???

As to the locking shoulder, some guys hack away with a file or stone to thin out one that's too thick, but I think such a practice is taking the "backyard" aspect a little too far. Tell me how confident you are to be able to maintain the 11-degree surface against which the bolt seats. Tell me how even the new thickness will be (not .261 on the right side, .259 on the left). Tell me how pounding the locking shoulder in and out as you trial-fit again and again won't open up the hole in the receiver. All this on a critical part that has to hold against circa 50,000 psi, to save $15??? Good grief, people, buy the correct-size locking shoulder or at least swap out your old one for the proper one at vendors who allow that.

Like I say, old rants. I know you are not me, but regarding certain subjects I truly don't understand the efforts some people go through to unnecessarily cut corners.


September 24, 2001, 22:25
I would recommend that you check the head space, the rod that you can use with your headspace gauges arent very much, here is a link to some being sold. Locking shoulder guage (http://www.l1a1.com/cgi-bin/forums/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=2&t=006474)

K. Funk
September 25, 2001, 21:19
I'm not as hack prone as I appear (rounded flats excluded). I have sizing rods and a full set of guages, and, I understand the headspacing process fairly well. So I'm not gonna pound her in and out. As it turns out, upon further inspection, .262 shoulder only had to go to .259, not a big deal. The real problem now is that it appears that the smith who originally put it together TURNED DOWN the shoulder so it would fit better, so how much the shoulder has to go down is im-material, I need a new one. This is the kind of crap that gets me mad. The two I built myself-no problems. The two I had built by smiths, nothing but problems. I'll be buildin' my own from here on out.

But back to the original question; on second thought, forget it. I don't know how the rifle headspaced from the original smith, so asking a question on how it changed is a moot point. I'll save up for a really good question later.

Thanks for the responses.


September 26, 2001, 06:51
K. Funk
I agree with you whole heartedly. If a "smith" isn't real familiar with the FAL style rifles, they can screw them up just as bad as a newbie doing his first assembly. That's the reason I build ALL of my FALs - I trust me, and I know they're right.

Jim Z