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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I was reading through the sticky on broken bolts, and even thought my SBR is just a range toy and I would pick my AK way before my AR if I had to leave in a hurry, I'd still like to have an extra bolt around in case one broke at the range or in a class.

My question is - do you have to worry about headspace? How many of you actually check headspace on your extra bolts? I'm guessing you install the bolt w/o the extractor, check it for proper headspace and stow it away? What do you do if you don't have proper headspace? Do you shim the bolt, or do you toss it for another?

Just curious about the proper way to go about getting spares. Thanks!
 
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
For AR's Headspace is not really an issue. It is set from the factory when the barrel is put on the barrel extention.

You can check it, but if headspace is off, then there is really nothing you can do about it as you can't make adjustments, you either have to buy a new barrel, or buy a new bolt.

Generally if you get a new bolt, you can just slap her in and shoot it. For AR's headspace issues are extremely rare. If you get your barrels, rifles, or bolts from a reputable manufacturer than it is safe to say it is most likely in spec. If you do buy another bolt, I would recommend LMT or BCM bolts. LMT and BCM bolts are easily obtainable and considered among the best.

To check headspace you have to make sure the bore, chamber, and bolt is immaculately clean. Then you use the Colt field gauge to see if it meets at least the minimum requirement. This is called a "No Go Gauge" If Bolt closes on a no-go gauge then it means you are a "No Go". Here is the gauge: 5.56mm (.223) HEADSPACE GAUGE at Brownells

If you don't have the gauge, I would not worry about it and just shoot it. I myself have have installed a couple of new barrels, and used a couple of new bolts with old AR's, even mixed up bolts between AR's and have never had headspace issue.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys. I'm familiar enough with how to check headspace, but I also know how critical it is to proper function and safety of a rifle. It's surprising to me that people seem to just accept that the bolt is going to match the barrel, especially if you've shot it enough to actually break the first (or second or whatever) bolt.
 
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