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The Handloaders Bench > Metallic cartridge reloading > Learning to Handload? > Hornady LokNLoad Headspace Gage set or Wilson Case Length Gage

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Hornady LokNLoad Headspace Gage set or Wilson Case Length Gage
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 Posted: Fri Jun 24th, 2016 04:30 PM
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DocScott
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Opinions please. I'm about to buy either a Hornady Headspace Gage set or a Wilson Case Length Gage for my .223 bolt gun reloading. (Yes, I realize these are comparators rather than gages.) I have the Wilsons in .30-06 and .243 and a Lyman in .308 so I am familiar with how to use them. The question is... continue w. Wilson for the .223 or switch to the Hornady setup. I'm probably going to eventually want to load additional calibers, so I'm leaning a bit toward the Hornady. I'd appreciate your opinions on which to get. While I'd love to have one of the more expensive versions (Redding, etc.), that isn't in the budget at present.



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 Posted: Fri Jun 24th, 2016 05:06 PM
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Jeremy McLean
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Why switch? I'd say stick to what you already have if it's working for you and you are making safe quality ammo but thats just my opinion.



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 Posted: Fri Jun 24th, 2016 09:05 PM
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DesertMarine



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I would prefer the Wilson. Believe it to be a more precision tool. I have the Hornady set.

But like Jeremy says, if the Hornady works for you, why switch unless you are a benchrest shooter.



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 Posted: Fri Jun 24th, 2016 09:21 PM
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CharlieG
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I'm on the band wagon also. I have both, Both do the job.
If Wilsons works for you, go that way.
Any new calibers are going to cost you a new tool, no matter what
way you jump.
Hornady caliber specific cases are less expensive but you have to factor in the cost of the tool.

Wilson is caliber specific and is more expensive, but no tool.

One is designed to head space your loaded round for C.O.A.L.
The other is designed to measure your case length.
Two different things.

Your call.



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 Posted: Fri Jun 24th, 2016 11:57 PM
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varmintcaller



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I use the Hornady,..Have for years, no complaints



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 Posted: Sat Jun 25th, 2016 02:36 AM
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RobertMT
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I went with the Hornady and added bullet comparators. It allows you to check both headspace measurement and sort bullets. It's not as accurate or fast as Sinclair tool, but price is better.

If you want to go with gauge, I recommend Sheridan over Wilson. Ammo that passes Wilson, may not work in match chamber. http://www.sheridanengineering.com/index-1.htm
The slotted version, allows you to see better, but IMO is not worth the extra cost.



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 Posted: Sat Jun 25th, 2016 03:02 AM
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Ruffian
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Been using the Wilsons, must have some 45 of them started with them since the 60's and still going strong.



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 Posted: Sat Jun 25th, 2016 03:50 AM
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DocScott
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Thanks for the responses/opinions. Appears that Hornady users are just as happy with them as are the Wilson users.

To clarify, I will be buying either Wilson (or Sheridan) or the Hornady set to use with .223. I am talking about the "case length" set from Hornady (not the COL set).



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 Posted: Sat Jun 25th, 2016 04:08 AM
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RobertMT
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I have http://www.midwayusa.com/product/479704/hornady-lock-n-load-headspace-gage-5-bushing-set-with-comparator and http://www.midwayusa.com/product/231904/hornady-lock-n-load-bullet-comparator-basic-set-with-6-inserts

I had made one of this type, from 1" nut and it worked OK, just not as fancy.
http://www.midwayusa.com/product/746974/ptg-bullet-comparator-22-24-25-26-28-30-calibers



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 Posted: Sat Jun 25th, 2016 05:49 AM
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DocScott
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Thanks RobertMT... I only realized after my initial post and from some of the responses that the Hornady COL gauge was muddying the water a bit. Your response cleared that up and is what I should have done to begin with...thanks.

The homegrown "nut" type is an option I hadn't considered but is certainly interesting. Did you just drill the holes in the nut faces and chamfer them a bit?



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 Posted: Sat Jun 25th, 2016 01:06 PM
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RobertMT
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I looked for drill bits, as close to, but smaller than the bore's land diameter IE: for .308", used .300" as desired, 19/64th is .297", N size .302", would've worked too. I then slightly chamfered hole. The chamfering, was more to avoid marks on bullet, than a necessary step. I used a on-line drill bit chart, but simple math would work too.

In truth, hole size isn't critical, as long as it's repeatable. IOW it doesn't matter where on bullet you measure, however just like making/modifying seating stem, the closer you are, the more consistent results will be, with different bullet styles.



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 Posted: Tue Jun 28th, 2016 08:38 AM
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HighBC
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I can't answer your question, I've yet to find a gauge that meets my expectations regarding repeatable results.

When I first started reloading bottle neck, which was probably about 35 or so years ago, I was immensely bothered by not being able to know with absolute certainty where my shoulders were in relation to the chamber. And just as annoying, was not knowing where zero jump to the lands was, or how far jammed I was concerning olgive point of contact with the lands. this right here is probably one of the hardest measurements to obtain. But it's also not one we can usually rely on anyway being that bullet olgives are almost always inconsistent from the manufacturer to begin with. but even that can be some what addressed if performed carefully.

So I began fashioning various tools and methods, and after a few failed attempts, I finally came up with a DIY tools and methods that have worked 100% down to .001" with 100% repeatable results that I've incorporated into my process for decades. And if a reloader really wanted to measure down to the .0001" of an inch, it could be accomplished if it was actually necessary.

I know of a hand full of old BR amd other similar competitive shooters who have made similar, yet maybe slightly more elaborate and easier to use methods, but their tools and methods are based on the same identical concepts.

HBC



 Posted: Fri Aug 12th, 2016 01:17 AM
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7mmreloader
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Wilson



 Posted: Sat Aug 13th, 2016 04:52 PM
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For measuring case length, I prefer a good caliper.
That way I can trim to whatever length I want rather what Hornady/Wilson say it should be. I go by my rifle as to what case length I want.



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 Posted: Tue Apr 18th, 2017 11:47 AM
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ireload2
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I have both and use both. I have had Wilson gages about 30 years and the Stony Point predecessor to the Hornady tool about 15 years. The Hornady tool will give you a lot more information and will make your handloading much more precise.

Since you are loading a .223 get the Hornady tool and get a Forster Go Headspace gage for it. Use the Go gage to set your caliper to exactly the dimension marked on the gage.
Then you can measure your cases and you can see the amount of shoulder set back that you get when you size each and every case.

I mention each case because the speed that you size, the dwell time at the top of the press stroke, the amount of lube and several other things can cause sizing variations. You can detect these variations with the Hornady tool that you will never find with the Wilson gage unless you use a dial indicator and a surface plate too.

Using the Hornady gage you can measure fired cases and write down the length from head to shoulder. You cannot do that with the Wilson because you don't know how long the Wilson tool is.



 Posted: Wed Apr 19th, 2017 09:08 PM
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DesertMarine



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ireload2 wrote:
I have both and use both. I have had Wilson gages about 30 years and the Stony Point predecessor to the Hornady tool about 15 years. The Hornady tool will give you a lot more information and will make your handloading much more precise.

Since you are loading a .223 get the Hornady tool and get a Forster Go Headspace gage for it. Use the Go gage to set your caliper to exactly the dimension marked on the gage.
Then you can measure your cases and you can see the amount of shoulder set back that you get when you size each and every case.

I mention each case because the speed that you size, the dwell time at the top of the press stroke, the amount of lube and several other things can cause sizing variations. You can detect these variations with the Hornady tool that you will never find with the Wilson gage unless you use a dial indicator and a surface plate too.

Using the Hornady gage you can measure fired cases and write down the length from head to shoulder. You cannot do that with the Wilson because you don't know how long the Wilson tool is.


I do basically what ireload does. That is what I meant about letting the rifle telling which way to go. I used to use the Stoney Point (Hornady now) gauges but now I use the Sinclair Headspace comparator and inserts. I feel that the Sinclair guage is better made than the Hornday.



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 Posted: Wed Apr 19th, 2017 09:53 PM
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trouble
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I have a bunch of the Wilson gages. They will check case length and headspace OK but they don't measure the body so I bought the JP case gage for .308 Winchester. The JP gage is cut with an actual chamber reamer so if your ammo drops in and out of the JP gage, you know its good to go in any SAAMI spec chamber.

After buying it, I realized that my full length resizing set up wasn't sizing the cases all the way down to the base. I know they'll fit into my rifle's chamber fine but they aren't resized back to SAAMI specifications.

These cases fit in the Wilson gage just fine but they stand proud in the JP gage.

The JP gage is stainless steel too incidentally so no rust issues to worry about.

http://www.jprifles.com/buy.php?item=JPCG-308

Last edited on Wed Apr 19th, 2017 09:54 PM by trouble



 Posted: Wed Apr 19th, 2017 10:48 PM
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gwpercle
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No matter which gauge you purchase, remember to use your rifles chamber as the final gauge. Just because a case will fit a gauge, it doesn't mean it will fit your riles chamber.
A lot of people buy a gauge thinking if it fits the gauge it's good to go...WRONG ! The case fit my gauge just fine, but it wouldn't chamber in the rifle. I could have saved money and just used my rifles chamber as the gauge.
Gary



 Posted: Wed Apr 19th, 2017 11:15 PM
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DesertMarine



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gwpercle wrote:
No matter which gauge you purchase, remember to use your rifles chamber as the final gauge. Just because a case will fit a gauge, it doesn't mean it will fit your riles chamber.
A lot of people buy a gauge thinking if it fits the gauge it's good to go...WRONG ! The case fit my gauge just fine, but it wouldn't chamber in the rifle. I could have saved money and just used my rifles chamber as the gauge.
Gary


So true.
A good practice is to insert your resized case in the chamber, close or attempt to close the bolt. If you cannot close the bolt easily, readjust your resizing die (FL) and try again until the bolt closes easily.



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 Posted: Thu Apr 20th, 2017 09:03 AM
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trouble
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With bolt guns, there's a lot of focus on minimally working the brass in order to promote longer brass life and that's fine but if you're loading for a semi-auto assault rifle-your first concern should be producing rounds that are guaranteed to not jam up your rifle.


Most gauges only gauge headspace and case length and the Hornady headspace gauge only measures headspace. That's probably acceptable if your ammo will only ever be used in the same bolt action rifle. The same is true of using the chamber for a case gauge. As long as you don't plan on ever shooting the ammunition out of a different firearm, you'll be fine doing that.


If, however, you're loading for a semi-auto or, worse yet, multiple semi-autos of the same caliber, a standard case gauge doesn't tell you everything you need to know nor does dropping the resized case into the chamber of just one of your rifles. The Hornady headspace gauge, though a very useful device, also doesn't tell you everything you need to know.

You could drop the resized cartridge into all of your rifles to make sure they fit but what if you wanted to let your buddy shoot some of your reloads in his rifle? No guarantee they'll fit. What if you were loading up thousands of rounds to store for a SHTF scenario? You would probably want those rounds to fit any rifle of the appropriate caliber. IOW, you would want your rounds to be SAAMI spec. to guarantee function in any SAAMI spec chamber.

That's where the JP enterprise gauge comes in. It actually gauges the body diameter as well as headspace and case length. As such, it is, IMHO, an all around better QC tool for reloaded ammunition that will be fired in a semi-auto rifle. It will tell you if you have truly returned your fired cases back to factory/SAAMI specifications. If it passes this QC test, it will function.



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