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Recently purchased 40 year old 336 in 3030...had a few minor issues discussed here recently,but all and all gun seems very good internally for its age..here's my question...I read now and then about the possible danger of incorrect head spacing..should I fire the first shots with gun in a vise and 100 feet of string tied to trigger,or should I rush to my nearest smith and have it checked...what do most guys do??...I'm not adverse in just going for it and taking my chances, what are my chances..
 

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All kinds. Enamored of their mechanisms!
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If it is not obviously abused and you know what to look for shoot it! Of course while wearing eye protection and hearing protection. If you do not have the expertise or someone you know who has, consult a gunsmith and pay his inspection fee for peace of mind. I've bought 40-100 year old guns that after inspection went straight to the range with excellent results. My favorite was what appeared to be an unfired 71/84 black powder bolt action 11mm Mauser. I waited until it was on it's 100th anniversary (1888) and shot it a 4th of July range picnic party. What a hoot that was! Folks line up to shoot her. Make sure the gunk is out of the action, firing pin, etc., and the bore is clear of grease and oil. AC
 

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The 30 30 is a rimmed cartridge and it headspaces off the rim. If the bolt contacts the base of the cartridge and stays there without any play, there is not a headspace problem.

Is your bolt tight against the cartridge base without any bolt movement? You could check by using a " no go" gauge. Or you could put a small pellet of modeling clay against the bolt face and close it on a case. It should either not close or end up paper thin after being squashed. The clay will at least give you an idea if you don't have a "no go" gauge.

Do you have reason to suspect the this rifle has a headspace issue?
 
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a 40 yr. old 336.. don't think of problems, unless, the previous owner was the problem.. what I do is, take a piece of scotch tape and put it on the head of an empty casing..( cut away access ) place a VERY SMALL amount of gun grease or type of grease.( a dot if you will)..around the primer hole the pin made.... place it in the chamber and run the lever shut. wait... open lever slowly to the point you or a co-partner can catch the casing and inspect.. if the grease is evenly spread to the outer casing. no problems.. if it stays within the primer range.. need to add some iron to the bolt stop...

you can also check the firing pin at this point with casing in there to see if it goes through the tape... AFTER inspection
 

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best thing i have found is plasti-gauge, on rimless it works better with the extractor removed
 
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