Enfield Headspace

Ok IV8888 posted a vid on StewTube about headspace that talked about Enfields being bad for this issue.
Here it is because they didn’t put on Full30 for some reason.

So anyway I thought it might not hurt to get an Enfield 303 gauge and check my number 5.
So I ordered up a Field Gauge and checked it out today.
It failed and closed on the field gauge.
I never have had a case head separation with this rifle or any issue I could not attribute to the ancient ammo I shoot thru it.
It has a 3 marked bolt head on it and I understand that is the largest head.
But I was curious what could be done to correct this?
Could a spacer washer be placed between the head and bolt body to stop the bolt head from turning in one less turn?
This would make the bolt head fire against the bolt body as opposed to on the threads.
Essentially moving the bolt head forward that amount.
If I turn the bolt head out that one turn and use the gauge it allows the bolt handle to only close half way like it should on a field gauge.
Any comments or ideas?


there is also a No4 bolt head…
been a long time since checking or dealing with the headspace on a .303 (by the way how sure are you that you have a No5, considering the high precentage that were converted No4s or even worse No1s.that were “imported” into the States.


Ive been looking today for the 4 but haven’t found one yet.
It is a true number 5. An Ishapore refurb.
There is a thread here about it:

I need to get a No-Go gauge to make sure there really is an issue but thinking ahead regardless.


you can also do a folded paper test = basically fold a strip 5 layers (std 20lb copy paper) and the bolt should not close on a “new” round.


You can use scotch tape for the same test.

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talked to my father who used the 303 in both competition and as a battle rifle prior to FN C1A1. Unless you are getting primer issues (light strikes with a protruding firing pin or deforming) or ruptured cases who cares. And should you get a ruptured case and ripped the rim off and do not have the extraction tool simply chamber a new round (forcefully). Doing some research - what gauges are you using (Actual MOD or Saami), the military gauges were close on .064 and not close on .074

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That video from IV8888 and this thread gives me second thoughts about getting an Enfield to shoot…

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Thanks for the info and links. We shoot Pops often.
Great rifles if you find one that hasn’t been beat up by the Redcoats.
BTW Sam @sgammo keeps me supplied w/.303
PS — Gun Stories just has a good episode on the Enfield.


The one gauge I have is a SAAMI Field Gauge. (Forster)
I am not over concerned at this point because I have experienced no issues with shooting it.
I have had some burn thru’s on the case neck but I attribute that to the milsurp I shoot being pretty old.
Never has one burned thru the body so that is most likely just old corroded brass.
I have never seen a gas escape either.
Dont reload it so no biggie there.
I will get a No-Go gauge and see what that says before I get really concerned about that.
I have shot my number 5 close to a thousand rounds with no issues.

It is funny that new parts for these Enfields are not being made.
There are literally millions of these out there.