Springfield 1903

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by RWBlue, Dec 9, 2019.

  1. RWBlue

    RWBlue Mr. CISSP, CISA CLM

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    I don't understand something.

    The low serial numbered guns are not suppose to be shot.

    Looking on gun broker, there are arsenal refinished 1903 rifles with 1943 barrel on it. So it survived several years of war being shot, but now it is not safe to shoot?
     
  2. DocCasualty

    DocCasualty Wolverine

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  3. J_Rico

    J_Rico

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    Lots of talk on the internet about this. Here is some info.

    http://m1903.com/03rcvrfail/


    I have read that it was suggested that ammo was more to blame than the heat treatment. It had been pointed out that many stayed in service and the failures stopped.

    I feel the danger is exaggerated, but easy for me to say. I do not own one. Mine is a 1903A3.
     
  4. RWBlue

    RWBlue Mr. CISSP, CISA CLM

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    I have read the info.
    I don't know.
    I was leading to the idea that low number serial numbered guns are not the problem.


    I am also hoping that a reloader gets on here and say, they shoot reduced loads without issue.
     
  5. Deltic

    Deltic

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    IIRC the early ones were made with poor quality steel. You might shoot one for years with no problem or have one blow up in your face on the next shot. Why bother with it? Any firearm over 100 years old should be on display not being worn out on the range.
     
  6. phonejack

    phonejack

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    I have a sporter with a 1904 receiver. Remington bolt and Remington ‘43 barrel, scant stock. The highest pressure load I use equals 30/30 velocity. This morning I’m going to resight the rifle for berrys 150 gr. plated bullet using Unique powder. Velocity will be in the 1550 FPS range
     
  7. Rusty Guns

    Rusty Guns

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    I guess mine is ok, it is a 1903-A3.
    Been in use as a Deer Rifle for a long time, and for many years Carried the Reputation of One Shot One Kill. Dad was a good shot. He carried that Rep. for Many Years. Not many years before he died he changed over to a 6mm Remington.
    Dad bought The 1903-A3 from his Bro-in-Law, in early 1959. We don't have any earlier History of it. It has a Sporting Stock, with a Good Recoil Pad. "Thank You Someone" Lol.
    I have not shot it in many years, Probably at least 30 years.
    I may never Shoot it again. I do most of my Deer Hunting with my Old Winchester Model 94, 30-30, and haven't done that for over Twenty Years. The last Deer I killed was with a Glock G-23, in my yard. I worked the Midnight Shift, and it was in season. With 400 acers out back usually I just hunted from my Kitchen. It was warmer, and The Coffee was fresh. Can't shoot in my yard now.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2019
  8. Maxw

    Maxw

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    The biggest problem was inconsistent heat treating. I have a 1934 A1 and shoot cast bullets through it with abandon. I would look to see if it has a Hatcher hole in the receiver in the 9 o'clock position looking from the rear. The poor heat treatment specimens were very brittle and would be difficult to drill the Hatcher hole. There is a lot of discussion on the Cast Boolit forum on this topic.

    Get the Lyman cast bullet hand book if you decide to reload for this rifle. I have two loads for my 03, 17.5 gr 2400 and 27 gr of IMR 4895 and are now developing a load for my M1. I am including a 5 shot group at 100 yards that I shot during load development. My rifle has a 3-9 scope on it.
     

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  9. RWBlue

    RWBlue Mr. CISSP, CISA CLM

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    #1. You are wrong in principle. There is no reason not to take a gun out and shoot it if it is functional that is over 100 years old. There may be some unique examples out there which should be in a Museums, but in general, no. A gun is designed to be shot and should be shot at least a little. I have seen too many guns in my lifetime which were put away for safe keeping only to rust away or gunk up.
    #2. I have put thousands of rounds down range with an old rolling block my grandfather owned. I have put maybe rounds down range with an old trap door. These were my grandfathers. So he shot them. Then my dad shot them. Then me and my brother. Now my niece and nephew have shot them. It is like holding history in your hands and even though he passed a long time ago it ties the family together.
    #3. The steel is fine. The heat treat may be the issue.
     
  10. RWBlue

    RWBlue Mr. CISSP, CISA CLM

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    By the year you mentioned I assume it wasn't in the low serial number range, but....is it?
     
  11. RWBlue

    RWBlue Mr. CISSP, CISA CLM

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    Low serial number range?
     
  12. Valmet

    Valmet M62/76 Silver Member

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    If it’s below 800000 it is questionable, if above you’re good to go.
     
  13. Glocks and Garands

    Glocks and Garands CLM

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    It is approximately 800,000 for Springfield armory and Rock Island Arsenal at exactly serial number 285,507.
     
  14. agtman

    agtman 10mm Philosopher

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    Cast Boolit Forum.

    That gets said and discussed a lot over there. Tons of threads going back years. Here's one:

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?356667-Springfield-1903-Low-Number-Reloads

    Consensus on the CB site seems to be that shooting low pressure cast loads in a low serial # 1903 *should* pose no risk, ... but it's your risk if you do.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2019
  15. Critch

    Critch

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    There were 2 million rifles that were suspect, but in reality there were very few failures,,,,too bad cars aren't made that reliable. The USMC was still issuing the low number 03s early in WWII, but with the caveat that none would be used to launch grenades.

    I also developed a suspicion that collectors of 03s kept that idea ginned up to keep the prices down on the low number 03s. That's just me. I had a low number Rock Island, with a Hatcher Hole. I wasn't scared to shoot it. A collector made me an offer that was insulting, when he realized I actually knew something about low numbers 03s, he suddenly jumped the price up.

    I got a chance to talk to Dr. Lyon many years ago about his paper. He researched that problem very well. I still would have no problem with a low number 03.
     
  16. AK_Stick

    AK_Stick AAAMAD

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    They were made to be used, should they be forsaken?


    My 8 bore was made in 1881. If everything goes to plan, it will back in Africa in 2021 to take a Cape buffalo.
     
  17. AK_Stick

    AK_Stick AAAMAD

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    I own a customized low # 1915 1903, which I still shoot to this day. The only thing I don’t do is run hot ammo like the Hornady Superformance through it.

    When I looked into it, there had never been a documented failure of a 1915 gun. Some years were worse than others. Also, questionable ammo was also suggested.


    Personally, I would make a chamber cast, and inspect the gun. If it mics out within specs and hasn’t suffered lug setback or some such, there’s probably a reason it hasn’t failed.
     
  18. MurrayNevada

    MurrayNevada USMC (MOS 0369) (RVN 69-70)

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    I have a Springfield Armory model Ser#7447xx with my WWI firearms. I have a note on it saying it is for display and not for shooting. The note is there for my grandson who will inherit my guns when I die and I believe it's better safe than sorry. That said, I don't believe I would have a problem with shooting it. Over 50 years ago I hunted with a low numbered sporterized 1903 and never had a problem. I shot it much.
     
  19. quantico

    quantico 1911 lover Millennium Member

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    I have none with the potential issue.. but i download for my garands .. as the 150 grain ammo used back then was lower power than current ammo.

    The 03 is a beautiful machine with great history..
     
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  20. flyover

    flyover

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    I bought a low serial numbers 1903, tied it to a tire and ran a box of 220 grain Federals through it. It didn't come apart. I shoot low pressure cast through it just to be safe.
     
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