Graybeard Outdoors banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I know this question has probably been asked many times before but I could not find it. I have a 1903 Springfield with a serial number 118xxx. I can remember when my dad bought it, we were in Woolco (anyone remember them) and they had a barrel of military surplus 03s for about $45 or $50 dollars. He got the grease out of the barrel and tried to shoot it. It fired a couple of times but most of the time it just went "click". It has now setup for about 45 years and I would like to shoot it if possible. I think the problem was grease in the bolt, that is now clean. But is it safe to fire? It looks like it was rebarreled in the 1940's. If this is a repeat question just give me a time frame and I will search further for the entry.

Thanks
jlgwiz
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,526 Posts
jlgwiz: I would first have the rifle checked by a competent gunsmith to determine if it still has the proper headspace. If it is good, then it should work.

It is known that rifles that have been stored in grease, or cosmoline, require a lot of cleaning to get the stuff out of every niche and cranny, including the bolt and firing pin channel, and you may have rsolved the problem by cleaning the bolt.

If the rifle checks out as having good headspace then it should be safe to shoot. If this is an 03, and not an 03A3, check to see if the serial number is above 82xxxxxx, which is when they began heat treating the receivers differently. If the rifle was rebarrelled in the 40s, it could be a WWII veteran. Mikey.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
From what I can tell is is not an 03a3 (has the latter sights) and the serial on the receiver is low, 118xxx but the barrel has a 194x date on it.

jlgwiz
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
720 Posts
It appears you have an early, low number rifle fitted with a later barrel. I think if it were me, I would take it to a gunsmith to have the headspace checked, in case that barrel was not installed properly. If you have one of the old cases fired in the rifle I would take it along, also.
Ask the gunsmith his opinion on shooting it. I have heard both sides of the story; early ones should be wall-hangers, vs. hundreds of thousands of them were used, with very little problems, and of those that had problems, most were probably due to obstructed bores.
If given the go-ahead from the gunsmith, I would definitely use only mild loads, like managed recoil, or reloaded equivalent.
Mark
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,282 Posts
The problem of the heat treatment of Springfield rifles had to do with receivers, not barrels. Because of the need for rifles in WWII, 03A3's were built on 1917 receivers in 1942. I don't know if any of the bad receivers were used, but the receivers were not destroyed, and those in service were not withdrawn from service. Following is a quote from an article on the question:
The heat treating method was immediately changed to a double heat treatment, and pyrometers were used to determine the temperature of the heated receivers. The change in heat treating was instituted between serial number 750,00 and 800,000 at Springfield and by serial number 285,506 at Rock Island Arsenal. Rifles manufactured after these serial numbers are referred to as "high numbered" receivers and are commonly stated to be safe to shoot. Here is the url of the article: http://m1903.com/03rcvrfail/

Your rifle receiver is below the number range for either arsenal, so it should be safe, but it is still a good idea to have it checked out. There were burst receivers outside the number ranges that were linked to various manufacturing errors.
All this said, you have a fine rifle. They were proof tested and found to be safe with loads up to 125,000 psi. If the gunsmith OK's it, I would not hesitate to use any modern ammo, though using lighter loads will reduce the wear and be just fun to shoot. Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
60 Posts
ACCORDING TO THE SERIAL NO IT IS NOT SAFE TO SHOOT.guns were turned in to arsenal and receivers were replaced.I do have a low no and shoot it but but I shoot lead bullet reloads of red dot at 13 gr and 311291 Lyman.I think it was a retreved parts gun by a employee.the case hardning on those guns went right thu the receiver. :eek:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
91 Posts
Oldtimer said:
The problem of the heat treatment of Springfield rifles had to do with receivers, not barrels. Because of the need for rifles in WWII, 03A3's were built on 1917 receivers in 1942. I don't know if any of the bad receivers were used, but the receivers were not destroyed, and those in service were not withdrawn from service. Following is a quote from an article on the question:
The heat treating method was immediately changed to a double heat treatment, and pyrometers were used to determine the temperature of the heated receivers. The change in heat treating was instituted between serial number 750,00 and 800,000 at Springfield and by serial number 285,506 at Rock Island Arsenal. Rifles manufactured after these serial numbers are referred to as "high numbered" receivers and are commonly stated to be safe to shoot. Here is the url of the article: http://m1903.com/03rcvrfail/

Your rifle receiver is below the number range for either arsenal, so it should be safe, but it is still a good idea to have it checked out. There were burst receivers outside the number ranges that were linked to various manufacturing errors.
All this said, you have a fine rifle. They were proof tested and found to be safe with loads up to 125,000 psi. If the gunsmith OK's it, I would not hesitate to use any modern ammo, though using lighter loads will reduce the wear and be just fun to shoot. Good luck!


HUH?

It's your face. Shoot it.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top