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Which ammo for 1903 Springfield rifle?

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All,
Greetings and good day. I may have the opportunity to buy a 1903 Springfield rifle (1937 vintage, serial number 1,49x,xxx) from an estate sale. I know the Garand has to use specific ammo because of the pressures involved with the gas system. Does the 1903 Springer have the same sort of restriction? Thanks in advance.
 

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Mountain

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You can feed it any commercial 30-06. An economical option is PPU M2 ball type ammo that is not loaded that hot. It's OK in Garands and a little easier shooting in a 1903. Greek HXP surplus is GTG also. DO NOT use Korean surplus 30-06.

Roll your own is best.
 
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Thanks to all who replied. I knew about the reputation of PPU "Garand" fodder ... just checked ammoseek.com - in bulk the stuff is running almost $1.25 a round before shipping - about what I expected.

Reloading, while probably what I'd need to do for the long term, is not of particular interest right now. I have very limited work space, limited storage space for additional supplies, and most importantly I don't have the time nor the inclination for another hobby.
 
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Careful testing over the years has revealed the same load that works well in my Garand hammers even better in my 1903A3. YMMV.

Regarding a reduced load, I am running 125gr TNT bullets in both rifles. Again, same load both rifles.
 

moojpg2

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I'd avoid super hot, heavy hunting ammo, especially if it's an earlier receiver, otherwise shoot whatever flosts your boat. They do best with middle of the road bullet weights since they are designed for 150gr military ammo.
 

mac1911

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Thanks to all who replied. I knew about the reputation of PPU "Garand" fodder ... just checked ammoseek.com - in bulk the stuff is running almost $1.25 a round before shipping - about what I expected.

Reloading, while probably what I'd need to do for the long term, is not of particular interest right now. I have very limited work space, limited storage space for additional supplies, and most importantly I don't have the time nor the inclination for another hobby.
limited space is a BS excuse...... No inclination is a good reason.
I have a few friends who have bought reloading presses and some supplies........still in the boxes STILL!
 

mac1911

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I'd avoid super hot, heavy hunting ammo, especially if it's an earlier receiver, otherwise shoot whatever flosts your boat. They do best with middle of the road bullet weights since they are designed for 150gr military ammo.
eh , the 1903 actually originally shot the 30-03 , 220gn round nose at about 2300 fps , 30-06 the spitzer bullet was introduced and the 1903s where re chambered and made for the 30-06 which has a flip flop of bullet weights over the years 150 gn then 174 gn then 150 gn ....oh my.

I still like my Ranch dog 165s best in my 1903a3
 

mac1911

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Its more of a don't shoot ppu in general guideline... that stuff has a higher propensity to blow up than other ammo
No no and no
PPU is fine its the KOREAN stuff thats bad along with Pakistan and India. Im sure there are more.

Korean surplus M2 Has some bad lots and TWO types of head stamps
P S stamped is non corrosive and from all the stories the better of the two
KA-_corrosive and has more bad lots reported.
What i have seen personally with K A is the cases split and they split low near the head.

Google korean surplus lot number informatio n.
Its out there on some known bad lot numbers.

FWIW what surplus M2 is selling for these days there is NO reason not to buy new production ammo.
Keep your eyes open.
There was a good deal of GOOD M2 ball for sale right hear on NES just a few weeks ago. BUY all you can when you can.
THE PPU ammo is FINE
 
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PappyM3

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All,
Greetings and good day. I may have the opportunity to buy a 1903 Springfield rifle (1937 vintage, serial number 1,49x,xxx) from an estate sale. I know the Garand has to use specific ammo because of the pressures involved with the gas system. Does the 1903 Springer have the same sort of restriction? Thanks in advance.
For a further explanation beyond “the 1903 will be fine with commercial loads”, the reason Garands can’t shoot modern higher pressure loads is because of their gas system. Too high a pressure can bend the op rod. A bolt action doesn’t need to worry about that. But the softer/reduced load recommendations are good for such an old receiver/chamber just to extend the enjoyment of the rifle.
 

mac1911

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For a further explanation beyond “the 1903 will be fine with commercial loads”, the reason Garands can’t shoot modern higher pressure loads is because of their gas system. Too high a pressure can bend the op rod. A bolt action doesn’t need to worry about that. But the softer/reduced load recommendations are good for such an old receiver/chamber just to extend the enjoyment of the rifle.
Drift off subject
M1 garands need a certain gas pressure and volume at the gas port to function correctly.
It IS NOT the Chamber pressure
For example there are no high pressure 30-06 loads like 9mm+P.
Max chamber pressure for 30-06 ammo is SAMMI spec of 60,000 psi-
Slow powders produce a "lower" chamber pressure but maintain the pressure and volume along the length of the barrel which can be more than the M1 or any gas operated system needs.
Now on the extreme end FAST powder s can create enough chamber pressure to destroy your reciever but not even enough pressure and volume at the gas port to even unlock the bolt of your M1.

IMHO - there is zero reason to be shooting any commercial ammo that could potentially hurt your M1 or in a 1903/a3 thats loaded with a heavy bullet and slow powder.

This is were the rub is.
Most commercial ammo that has the potential to damage your op rod /bolt/reciever tail is
Heavy bullet 175gn+ loaded with a slow powder.
Or "hunting" ammo. Just no need to run this stuff. Well unless your hunting moose,elk at distance with your 1903 or M1.

The commercial ammo with heavy bullets and slow powder in my experience has always cost more than any "m1 safe" ammo.

Not to mention 175s+ are harder on you also.

If your just punching paper
Any of the commercial offerings for "m2 " clone ammo will work nice.
Or reload?

Old timer once described it to me like a pogo stick.
Ride a pogo stick just right its a smooth bonce up and down. Go to high/hard it bottoms out.
This is basically what happens to your op rod.
Its the pogo stick.
 
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Mountain

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Its more of a don't shoot ppu in general guideline... that stuff has a higher propensity to blow up than other ammo

Huh?

PPU is NOT Korean surplus. PPU is fine, never heard of it blowing up. I am aware of multiple examples of the Korean surplus 'M2 Ball' blowing up and this winter was competing next to a person who had a round go kaboom. Problems with Korean M2 ammo are well documented. There's a list of known bad head stamps, but I am not going to be the one to tempt fate and add another head stamp to the list.

broken-garand-jpg.100077
korean-kb-3006-jpg.100078


Danger in Using Korean .30 M2 Ammo
 
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Huh?

PPU is NOT Korean surplus. PPU is fine, never heard of it blowing up. I am aware of multiple examples of the Korean surplus 'M2 Ball' blowing up and this winter was competing next to a person who had a round go kaboom. Problems with Korean M2 ammo are well documented. There's a list of known bad head stamps, but I am not going to be the one to tempt fate and add another head stamp to the list.

broken-garand-jpg.100077
korean-kb-3006-jpg.100078


Danger in Using Korean .30 M2 Ammo
That picture hurts me more than the pictures of the last McGregor fight.
 

PappyM3

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Drift off subject
M1 garands need a certain gas pressure and volume at the gas port to function correctly.
It IS NOT the Chamber pressure
For example there are no high pressure 30-06 loads like 9mm+P.
Max chamber pressure for 30-06 ammo is SAMMI spec of 60,000 psi-
Slow powders produce a "lower" chamber pressure but maintain the pressure and volume along the length of the barrel which can be more than the M1 or any gas operated system needs.
Now on the extreme end FAST powder s can create enough chamber pressure to destroy your reciever but not even enough pressure and volume at the gas port to even unlock the bolt of your M1.

IMHO - there is zero reason to be shooting any commercial ammo that could potentially hurt your M1 or in a 1903/a3 thats loaded with a heavy bullet and slow powder.

This is were the rub is.
Most commercial ammo that has the potential to damage your op rod /bolt/reciever tail is
Heavy bullet 175gn+ loaded with a slow powder.
Or "hunting" ammo. Just no need to run this stuff. Well unless your hunting moose,elk at distance with your 1903 or M1.

The commercial ammo with heavy bullets and slow powder in my experience has always cost more than any "m1 safe" ammo.

Not to mention 175s+ are harder on you also.

If your just punching paper
Any of the commercial offerings for "m2 " clone ammo will work nice.
Or reload?

Old timer once described it to me like a pogo stick.
Ride a pogo stick just right its a smooth bonce up and down. Go to high/hard it bottoms out.
This is basically what happens to your op rod.
Its the pogo stick.
Fantastic drift.
 

mac1911

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Huh?

PPU is NOT Korean surplus. PPU is fine, never heard of it blowing up. I am aware of multiple examples of the Korean surplus 'M2 Ball' blowing up and this winter was competing next to a person who had a round go kaboom. Problems with Korean M2 ammo are well documented. There's a list of known bad head stamps, but I am not going to be the one to tempt fate and add another head stamp to the list.

broken-garand-jpg.100077
korean-kb-3006-jpg.100078


Danger in Using Korean .30 M2 Ammo
Exactly the splits I got, was not a kanoom but the Hatcher hole helped! Did get alot of blow back
 
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Hooo Nellie ...

Thanks again to everyone who replied.
PPU .. I've used their ammo in other guns, found it very consistent.
Korean surplus bad ... noted. I have a bud w/ a Garand .. I'll have to remind him to check his ammo stores for Korean stuff and get rid of it.
.. His rifle is WW2 vintage production, 1943 or 1944. Wouldn't want that destroyed
@mac1911 - we'll "agree to disagree" like gentlemen on whether or not having enough space is / is not a valid reason for me not wanting to reload ammo.
For those who commented about M2 ball ammo and the Garand gas system - thanks - I knew about that but was a good reminder none the less
@Martini ... I also knew about the "low serial number" 1903s having an issue with poor heat treating on certain critical parts.

Thank you again to all who replied.

Mods .. I think we can consider this thread closed.
 

mac1911

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Hooo Nellie ...

Thanks again to everyone who replied.
PPU .. I've used their ammo in other guns, found it very consistent.
Korean surplus bad ... noted. I have a bud w/ a Garand .. I'll have to remind him to check his ammo stores for Korean stuff and get rid of it.
.. His rifle is WW2 vintage production, 1943 or 1944. Wouldn't want that destroyed
@mac1911 - we'll "agree to disagree" like gentlemen on whether or not having enough space is / is not a valid reason for me not wanting to reload ammo.
For those who commented about M2 ball ammo and the Garand gas system - thanks - I knew about that but was a good reminder none the less
@Martini ... I also knew about the "low serial number" 1903s having an issue with poor heat treating on certain critical parts.

Thank you again to all who replied.

Mods .. I think we can consider this thread closed.
Nice,
I will agree to disagree , BUT…..
Its all good and fun
 

jkelly1229

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Huh?

PPU is NOT Korean surplus. PPU is fine, never heard of it blowing up. I am aware of multiple examples of the Korean surplus 'M2 Ball' blowing up and this winter was competing next to a person who had a round go kaboom. Problems with Korean M2 ammo are well documented. There's a list of known bad head stamps, but I am not going to be the one to tempt fate and add another head stamp to the list.

broken-garand-jpg.100077
korean-kb-3006-jpg.100078


Danger in Using Korean .30 M2 Ammo
I thought you were talking about ppu the blue box stuff my bad
 

PappyM3

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Hooo Nellie ...

Thanks again to everyone who replied.
PPU .. I've used their ammo in other guns, found it very consistent.
Korean surplus bad ... noted. I have a bud w/ a Garand .. I'll have to remind him to check his ammo stores for Korean stuff and get rid of it.
.. His rifle is WW2 vintage production, 1943 or 1944. Wouldn't want that destroyed
@mac1911 - we'll "agree to disagree" like gentlemen on whether or not having enough space is / is not a valid reason for me not wanting to reload ammo.
For those who commented about M2 ball ammo and the Garand gas system - thanks - I knew about that but was a good reminder none the less
@Martini ... I also knew about the "low serial number" 1903s having an issue with poor heat treating on certain critical parts.

Thank you again to all who replied.

Mods .. I think we can consider this thread closed.
4D58CB2C-D272-4B87-B5A7-525106E603F4.jpeg

Tiny Boston, shared, apartment setup I had. Portable to be stowed away when not in use. Reloading can be done with very little space. But I can understand not wanting to hear a wife/significant other complain that you’re adding more “stuff” to the house. Somehow, tools are always just “stuff”/“crap”/“junk”.
 

jkelly1229

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View attachment 507923

Tiny Boston, shared, apartment setup I had. Portable to be stowed away when not in use. Reloading can be done with very little space. But I can understand not wanting to hear a wife/significant other complain that you’re adding more “stuff” to the house. Somehow, tools are always just “stuff”/“crap”/“junk”.
Eh i always said she goes first
 

dhuze

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Very low serial number 1903s have been known to have issues failing. Your vintage should be fine.
Some Springfield 1903's below serial Number 800,000 were not heat treated properly which is what caused the failure in some of them. Rock Island had some problems with low numbers also, but I don't remember what the SN range was.

As for the OP's question on the ammo, any 30-06 can be used. The reason M1 Garand's have to use M1 specific ammo is it has a lower C.U.P. pressure. If there is too much pressure the op-rod can bend or break, and can be dangerous.
 

Uzi2

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Some of it goes BOOM. There are occasional overloaded rounds.

With 50-53 grains of powder that fill the case right to the bottom of the seated bullet, I don't think it is even possible to over charge a 30.06 round with factory loaded military powder.
 

Mountain

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With 50-53 grains of powder that fill the case right to the bottom of the seated bullet, I don't think it is even possible to over charge a 30.06 round with factory loaded military powder.
I think the issue with the Korean stuff is weak brass that will fail plus over pressure loads. Who knows what kind of powder was used. Anyway, it's well documented.
 

Uzi2

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I think the issue with the Korean stuff is weak brass that will fail plus over pressure loads. Who knows what kind of powder was used. Anyway, it's well documented.

Yes, I think weak brass is the issue too.

A couple of grains over military load A. wouldn't fit in the case and B. wouldn't even approach military proof load pressures.
 
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