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  1. #1
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    Default Springfield 1903 receiver

    I have a sporterized Springfield 1903, not an A3, just plain Jane 1903. I checked the serial number and looked up the history and it looks to be in the safe range but it was made in 1911 @ RIA and was in service until sometime in the 50's.

    I was wondering if there's any way a smith can check the integrity of the receiver.

    I'm concerned with what type of pressures this can handle because it is a well aged beauty; great receiver, barrel, stock(I'll be refinishing this shortly), and a set of lyman peep sights. I want to use this rifle for a number of purposes and I want to make sure I don't blow my face off

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    NES Member vellnueve's Avatar
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    What's the serial? Over 800,000 for SA is supposed to be fine. It might be 880K...

    Mine's in the 1.4 mil range, very close to the end of the 03 line. I have no qualms about using anything .30-06 in it.
    Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and thus any interpretation or statements about the law that I might make should be taken with a grain of salt and mixed with your own legal research as well as advice from actual legal counsel. I cannot be held responsible if you find yourself somebody's "friend" in federal, state, or local prison should you act on my opinions on the law. My interpretations of the law will generally be on the conservative side.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ephemeratta View Post
    I was wondering if there's any way a smith can check the integrity of the receiver.
    I'm not an expert on the subject, and most of my knowledge comes from Hatcher's Notebook, but it sounds like a low number Springfield. He says that production of RIA receivers prior to Feb 1, 1918 run from serial number 1 - 285,507. If yours was made in 1911, I would not fire it. The problem was with the heat treating of the receivers. They are super hard, but they can also shatter. There is no non destructive way that I know of to check if the things are ok with that particular receiver. Hence the reason they destroyed hundreds of thousands of low numbered Springfield rifles.

    The 1918 date is important because Ordinance issued orders to destroy all receivers that had the old heat treating process on March 2nd 1918.

    If you want to know more, got to Steve's Pages and download Hatcher's Notebook and read chapter nine.

    Sorry,

    B

  4. #4
    NES Member vellnueve's Avatar
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    Doh, I didn't see the 1911 RIA date. That is not a safe rifle to shoot. It may or may not have been properly heat treated, but you can't be sure, which is why they took them out of service.
    Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and thus any interpretation or statements about the law that I might make should be taken with a grain of salt and mixed with your own legal research as well as advice from actual legal counsel. I cannot be held responsible if you find yourself somebody's "friend" in federal, state, or local prison should you act on my opinions on the law. My interpretations of the law will generally be on the conservative side.

  5. #5
    NES Member ScottS's Avatar
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    There's a well-researched and -reasoned article on the low-numbered 1903 problem here. He puts the failures into perspective, and examines the reported causes and fixes.

    You shouldn't have dessert before you eat your vegetables, but here is his conclusion (emphasis added):

    Conclusions

    The problem of Springfield receiver failures was a rare event throughout the service years of the Springfield rifle despite statements to the contrary. It was also concentrated in certain years of manufacture suggesting that an important component of the failure was human error in heat treatment. The heat treatment problems had been present long before the manufacturing pressures of 1917. The receiver failures were also compounded by a design flaw in the support of the cartridge case head in the Springfield rifle, and this problem was exacerbated by uneven manufacturing of brass cartridge cases during 1917-18.

    Eleven receiver failures in 1917 prompted an investigation and a change in the heart treatment of the receivers. The decision in 1928 to replace the low numbered receivers as rifles were returned to arsenal for repair was an effort to provide soldiers with a greater degree of safety. The board of officers recommended that the low numbered receivers all be withdrawn from service, but the general responsible for reviewing this decision did not concur with the board's decision, and left most low numbered receivers in service until replaced by the M1 Garand in the early 1940's. He took a calculated risk, and the risk paid off. There were no further receiver failures after 1929.

    It also suggests that ammunition manufactured during World War I likely played a major role in receiver failures.
    As a reminder, the USMC never replaced their low-numbered receivers at all until the 1903 was replaced by the M1, and there were no receiver failures after 1929.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottS View Post
    There's a well-researched and -reasoned article on the low-numbered 1903 problem here. He puts the failures into perspective, and examines the reported causes and fixes.
    An interesting article with much merit.

    B

  7. #7
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    Thank you guys for your help. Much appreciated. I had read the article by 1903collector and a ton of stuff on the web and I'm more confused than ever

    The 1903 is an RIA with a serial of 425619 but I'm not finding the links I used before to find info and what I am finding now is stating that RIA stopped at 346 000. And, RIA's with serials over 246000 should be fine. Grrrrrr!

    my beauty





    **ETA** I found my bookmark for one of the sites that gave me some good info and after backtracking over the site... my head hurts worse. Thanks again for your help everybody, sincerely appreciated.
    http://home.att.net/~vishooter/m1903.html
    Last edited by ephemeratta; 11-25-2008 at 01:57 AM.

  8. #8
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    That is a high number Springfield. You should be fine.

    B

  9. #9
    NES Member 1903Collector's Avatar
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    I agree, it's well above the cutoff range. BTW; those numbers come right out of Brophy, in my opinion one of the best references on 1903 rifles. If you would like to borrow my copy for a while your more than welcome to.
    "Nothing wrong with shooting..........long as the right people get shot."
    Harry Callahan

  10. #10
    NES Member vellnueve's Avatar
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    Not necessarily.

    There have been cases where a number was added before the five or six digit serial number to make a low-number rifle appear high.
    Last edited by vellnueve; 11-25-2008 at 10:24 AM.
    Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and thus any interpretation or statements about the law that I might make should be taken with a grain of salt and mixed with your own legal research as well as advice from actual legal counsel. I cannot be held responsible if you find yourself somebody's "friend" in federal, state, or local prison should you act on my opinions on the law. My interpretations of the law will generally be on the conservative side.

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