Brand new Arsenal SLR104UR- Possible Headspace Problem?
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    Brand new Arsenal SLR104UR- Possible Headspace Problem?

    I just received my Arsenal SLR104UR from my FFL a few days ago. Looks great. But when I went to check the headspace with my Manson 5.45 go and no go gauges, I found that it swallows both of them... like without barely any pushing. I've used these gauges to verify headspace on my last two OG bulgarian barrel builds and the original headspace on those shows a good GO and a good NO GO reading after aligning with the original pin, so I can't think it's my gauges. I emailed Atlantic Firearms asking them about it since I bought it from them. Am I missing something? I don't have a field gauge.

    I just submitted SBR paperwork on this guy, so if it gets replaced, I'll have to change that up... .

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    take a live round and find some thin scotch tape, thinner the better.
    apply one layer of scotch tape to the case head, trim off excess from the edges and do headspace check as if round was a headspace gauge. it will close on one layer of tape. add another layer and repeat. if it still closes add another layer. and so on and so forth until it doesn't close anymore. count layers as you add them. after you built up enough layers that bolt no longer closes you can multiply number of layers by thickness of the tape and you will know how far off is your gun.

    different gauges from different manufacturers will have different tolerances. some are tighter than others. another way you can do this is to fire a round and then use hornady headspace comparator on fired case vs unfired to measure the difference. you can then judge if if brass growth is within spec or not. it'll stretch a little and it'll be evident if brass stretching excessively.

    i'm 100% positive your rifle is fine. your gages probably just more conservative than the ones bulgarians used.
    Last edited by dnepr0mike; 01-28-2019 at 10:00 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dnepr0mike View Post
    take a live round and find some thin scotch tape, thinner the better.
    apply one layer of scotch tape to the case head, trim off excess from the edges and do headspace check as if round was a headspace gauge. it will close on one layer of tape. add another layer and repeat. if it still closes add another layer. and so on and so forth until it doesn't close anymore. count layers as you add them. after you built up enough layers that bolt no longer closes you can multiply number of layers by thickness of the tape and you will know how far off is your gun.

    different gauges from different manufacturers will have different tolerances. some are tighter than others. another way you can do this is to fire a round and then use hornady headspace comparator on fired case vs unfired to measure the difference. you can then judge if if brass growth is within spec or not. it'll stretch a little and it'll be evident if brass stretching excessively.

    i'm 100% positive your rifle is fine. your gages probably just more conservative than the ones bulgarians used.
    That’s what I’m thinking too. I’ll do the tape test tonight and report the findings. I’ve read a few reports of guys getting Arsenals that had bad head spacing. But that was years ago. Thanks for the help!

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    Well, I asked Arsenal about it, specifically about headspace gauging and the results I guess were concerning enough that they want to look at it. So I'm guessing it will go to them on their dime and see what happens.

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    Update!
    After Arsenal initially responded to me about my concerns, they went missing for about four days. Atlantic Firearms stepped in to help get a hold of them also. I did get to them finally and when I explained what I was seeing over the phone, the rep agreed that there may be a problem and that they want to look at it. So it's going back on Arsenal's dime on Tuesday. Big props to Matt from Atlantic for the assist and props to the Arsenal rep for helping me get these handled. I guess my response to their initial email was in a mess of communications from Shot Show. Anyways, it's getting handled.

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    Not throwing any rocks here, but it would not have occurred to me to gauge a brand new gun from a maker with a reputation for quality like Arsenal. They make and use their own gauges. The gun was gauged as it was assembled. Maybe your after market gauges are accurate, maybe they are not, but they are not the original Bulgarian factory gauges.

    Whether a gun is new or used, I load a single round into the magazine, and then chamber and fire it. Inspection of the primer and the spent case will show any problems. If the gun's action is also smooth and positive on chambering and extraction, good to go.
    Last edited by tsmgguy; 02-16-2019 at 10:38 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsmgguy View Post
    Not throwing any rocks here, but it would not have occurred to me to gauge a brand new gun from a maker with a reputation for quality like Arsenal. They make and use their own gauges. The gun was gauged as it was assembled. Maybe your after market gauges are accurate, maybe they are not, but they are not the original Bulgarian factory gauges.

    Whether a gun is new or used, I load a single round into the magazine, and then chamber and fire it. Inspection of the primer and the spent case will show any problems. If the gun's action is also smooth and positive on chambering and extraction, good to go.
    Except even Arsenal stated that it might be a problem... as did Atlantic. It wouldn't be the first time I've read of an Arsenal having headspace issues from the factory. If it comes back fine, that's great, if they find it's an issue, I wouldn't feel bad for going through it. If it was just me shooting it, I wouldn't worry about it as much. But my wife and boy will also be firing it.

    And quite honestly, I don't care where the AK is coming from, I'd still check headspace on a new rifle. AR15s are a little different.
    Last edited by bluedog09; 02-19-2019 at 03:18 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tsmgguy View Post
    Not throwing any rocks here, but it would not have occurred to me to gauge a brand new gun from a maker with a reputation for quality like Arsenal. They make and use their own gauges. The gun was gauged as it was assembled. Maybe your after market gauges are accurate, maybe they are not, but they are not the original Bulgarian factory gauges.

    Whether a gun is new or used, I load a single round into the magazine, and then chamber and fire it. Inspection of the primer and the spent case will show any problems. If the gun's action is also smooth and positive on chambering and extraction, good to go.
    While it would never occur to me either Arsenal isn't exactly known for quality. They do make quality guns but a lot of stuff goes out their door with the 90s HK mantra of YOU SUCK AND WE HATE YOU!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arik View Post
    While it would never occur to me either Arsenal isn't exactly known for quality. They do make quality guns but a lot of stuff goes out their door with the 90s HK mantra of YOU SUCK AND WE HATE YOU!
    Yes, and it's well known that their CS can be slow to respond to you.

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    any update on this, OP?
    i'd be curious to find out if rifle was OK or flawed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dnepr0mike View Post
    any update on this, OP?
    i'd be curious to find out if rifle was OK or flawed.
    Still waiting. I told them that if it was fixable, fix it and not just send another b/c it has a tax stamp for it. I just haven't gotten around to chopping the barrel yet. Took 3 weeks to get the stamp. I wasn't expecting it so quick. I hope to have an update before the end of tomorrow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bluedog09 View Post
    Yes, and it's well known that their CS can be slow to respond to you.
    Because you suck and we hate you
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arik View Post
    Because you suck and we hate you
    $1260 rifle... it better be solid out of the gate. And the CS should be there for it too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dnepr0mike View Post
    take a live round and find some thin scotch tape, thinner the better.
    apply one layer of scotch tape to the case head, trim off excess from the edges and do headspace check as if round was a headspace gauge. it will close on one layer of tape. add another layer and repeat. if it still closes add another layer. and so on and so forth until it doesn't close anymore. count layers as you add them. after you built up enough layers that bolt no longer closes you can multiply number of layers by thickness of the tape and you will know how far off is your gun.
    You can do this, but adding up the thinkness of all those layers after they've been compressed introduces too much variability. I wouldn't do it this way unless I had the Hornady headspace comparator (which I do).

    BTW, I applaud the OP for checking headspace. It can be off in either direction and it's good to hold manufacturers accountable.

    different gauges from different manufacturers will have different tolerances. some are tighter than others. another way you can do this is to fire a round and then use hornady headspace comparator on fired case vs unfired to measure the difference. you can then judge if if brass growth is within spec or not. it'll stretch a little and it'll be evident if brass stretching excessively.
    The problem here is that there's no brass. It's all steel. Unfortunately that method won't work with steel. It does work well with brass, especially when you're setting a sizing die when reloading.

    i'm 100% positive your rifle is fine. your gages probably just more conservative than the ones bulgarians used.
    I'd bet my paycheck that the Manson gauges are good and the headspace is off. I'd also bet that Arsenal is going to say it's ok and provide no other information. Hopefully I'm wrong, but their communication sucks. Reality is that you can probably get away with excessive headspace because of the steel cases. Regardless, a new firearm should never have excessive headspace. There's no way that I'd accept this rifle unless they prove to me that the headspace is correct or they've fixed the headspace. The only way that I know to fix the headspace here is to push out the barrel pin, press in the barrel to the proper point, and then install an oversize pin. We'll see...
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluedog09 View Post
    $1260 rifle... it better be solid out of the gate. And the CS should be there for it too.
    I read all the posts above and I understand what everyone is talking about and they all have a valid argument .. but head space gauges are all made in a specific spec range.. just a example .01-.03 go and .04-.06 no go and so on.. those numbers are just a example not real but u get what I mean.. if the bolt/ carrier is closing all the way on a certain gauge it may be safe to shoot the gun since lets assume it didn't eat a field gauge.. and lets assume the barrel won't ever move and the metals are hard enough to hold up for a long time .. gun might be ok to shoot but the head space is still too loose for long term use.. in my opinion .. its dangerous on these new usa guns because when its loose and the metal is weak it deforms and looses more headspace but on the bulgy were assuming the metal is to spec and it may fire forever with out loosing any more space.. it can go anyway if it were my gun id have it tightened up a bit Just to be on the safe side.. I hope you Get what I mean..
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