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Springfield 1903 receiver

Discussion in 'Mil Surp Collectors' started by ephemeratta, Nov 9, 2008.

  1. ephemeratta

    ephemeratta Member

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    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 [grin]

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. vellnueve

    vellnueve Member

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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.
     
  3. bpm990d

    bpm990d Member

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    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
     
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  4. vellnueve

    vellnueve Member

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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.
     
  5. ScottS

    ScottS NES Member

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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):

    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.
     
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  6. bpm990d

    bpm990d Member

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    An interesting article with much merit.

    B
     
  7. ephemeratta

    ephemeratta Member

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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[grin]

    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
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    **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: Nov 25, 2008
  8. bpm990d

    bpm990d Member

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

    B
     
  9. 1903Collector

    1903Collector NES Member

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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.
     
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  10. vellnueve

    vellnueve Member

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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: Nov 25, 2008
  11. bpm990d

    bpm990d Member

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    All else being equal, I'll go with it being a high numbered Springfield.

    B
     
  12. ephemeratta

    ephemeratta Member

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    Are you trying to make me eat a whole bottle of Tylenol [grin]

    Thank you very much everybody for your input. Very much appreciated.

    I think I'm going to work some light loads through it tomorrow or Friday.
     
  13. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Moderator

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    That is a very high number RIA. Shoot the snot out of it... It's actually one of the last made.

    It would have been assembled by Springfield armory using leftover RIA parts that were transferred to SA after WWI. If it has an original barrel, it would probably be marked SA and probably dated in 1928-30 range.

    SA assembled several thousand using RIA receivers and SA parts.

    I have RIA #403xxx which was assembled in 1927 with a barrel marked accordingly.

    I think the highest of these MUTTS is numbered in the low 430,000 range.

    These oddball mixes of RIA/SA bring a small premium over straight RIA or SA units.

    It is definitely as safe to shoot as any 1903.
     
  14. ephemeratta

    ephemeratta Member

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    YAY!!!!! Some good news. At this point I'm ready to believe anything positive, even if it weren't true[smile]. I was bashing my brain over this one.
    The barell has a stamp with a bomb and below the bomb is a 2<space> 44. It looks like there are some markings under the front sight that poke out a little but not enough to make out. The front sight might be an aftermarket, it's a nice redfield.
     
  15. 1903Collector

    1903Collector NES Member

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    The 2-44 is the barrel date, the flaming bomb is a typical stamp. If it's the original sight the markings my be an A, B, or C on the sight blade. The rifles were sighted at 200yds and the letters corrospond to different blade heights and this is how the zeroed the elevation. If you ever have to change the front sight blade you should replace it with the same letter.

    oops, sorry did not read the post carefully enough. I don't recall ever seeing any markings under the front sight and I have owned quite a few 03s.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2008
  16. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Moderator

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    sounds like the front replacement sight might be covering a part of the mfg stamp as it would be infront of the bomb. A 2-44 date would mean that the barrel has been replaced.

    It most definitely IS true.
     
  17. ephemeratta

    ephemeratta Member

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    Wouldn't even insinuate otherwise. Just stating this has been exhausting [grin]

    Does this make clearer my description?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Thanks again to all of you for your help.

    Here's another monkey to throw in the wrench... does anyone think I should restock it with an original style stock?
     
  18. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Moderator

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    compare it to this and you'll see that your sight covers the Mfg marking

    [​IMG]

    If you're going to keep the original sights on it, I wouldn't restock it, but I wouldn't keep those sights, so I would restock it.

    It's worth considerably more original.

    It really depends on what you want to do with it. If you want a target gun, then you have a good one. I collect Military stuff and I'd want it correct, for the historical aspect and financial considerations.

    Don't hold me to a fire over this but I'd guess your rifle, as is, is worth about $300, tops. Put back to original, $500-700, depending on the condition of the parts you add.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2011
  19. m44

    m44 Member

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    I say return it to military configuration, not only is it worth more. But it also looks a heck of a lot better.
     
  20. ephemeratta

    ephemeratta Member

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    Pilgrim, Thanks for the info.

    What do I do with this peep sight if I go back to original?

    [​IMG]
     

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