After much hair pulling ( what little I have left) I ended up scrapping my wallmart gage because it had a different thread, possibly metric, inbetween the gauge body and the dual head chuck.
I found a Milton service gage, made in the USA model s976, that used NPT on the pipe running from the gauge body to the chuck. I then went to a plumbing supply house and got a 9" black pipe nipple, which I wire brushed to remove the black coating and then painted it silver. A bit of locktite blue to seal the threads (thought it would look neater than teflon tape) and I now have an extra long gauge that reaches the valve with plenty of room to spare.
10 bucks for gauge, 2 bucks for black pipe nipple (guy at the supply house took pity on me I think) , and about 12 bucks gas running around
I think I have solved the problem.