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militbuff

Help with Recent M1903 Springfield Rifle Pickup

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I just recently picked up a M1903 Springfield Rifle that came with a whole bunch of other items.  I’m not a rifle collector and know nothing about them but I think it’s very cool.  It appears that the manufacture date is 1918 based on the serial number.  Can anyone verify that?

 

Also, the receiver doesn’t want to push all the way into the slide (I’m sure I’m saying this wrong!) and I don’t want to force it.  What am I doing wrong?  
 

Finally, can anyone tell me anything else about the rifle in terms of condition etc.  It seems to be in very good overall condition and it’s amazing it’s over 100 years old.

 

Thanks!

Dan

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THE 305TH BOMB GROUP FROM WWII.

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doesn't the safety (behind the bolt handle)have to be in the up position to back into the receiver?

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The bolt is improperly assembled. Easy to remove and correct, I’m sure there are some videos on youtube showing this.

 

Steve


What dreams he made for us to dream

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Pull that round knob at the rear of the bolt back and rotate to the right 1/4 turn then let the knob return. You want the part the knob rides in to sit upright so you can rear the word “fire” on the safety lever. Once done the bolt should ride home as designed. 

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Nice rifle! What makers name & date is on top of the barrel about an inch or so from the front sight?


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Thanks!  It says U.S. Springfield Armory Model 1903 940797.  I looked it up and it means a 1918 manufacture date.

 

It’s a real beauty. It weighs a lot too.  I can’t imagine lugging it around in combat. I’m tempted to bring it to an armorer and see if can be fired or if it first needs to be restored.  I imagine the latter.  I would love to fire it.

 

 


LOOKING FOR ANY AND ALL ITEMS RELATED TO
THE 305TH BOMB GROUP FROM WWII.

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Thanks Rhscott also for helping me try to put the bolt in properly.  I tried pulling the bolt back and putting the safety up but no luck.  I’m going to look at some you tube videos, as ottodog8 suggested, and see if I can figure it out.


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I would suggest having a reliable gunsmith go over the rifle before you fire it.  I can't see that much, but there is something about what I can see which would make me be careful with it.


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18 minutes ago, thorin6 said:

I would suggest having a reliable gunsmith go over the rifle before you fire it.  I can't see that much, but there is something about what I can see which would make me be careful with it.


Definitely.  I wouldn’t want it to blow up in my hands!


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14 hours ago, militbuff said:

Thanks!  It says U.S. Springfield Armory Model 1903 940797.  I looked it up and it means a 1918 manufacture date.

 

 

Yeah I get that but what does it say on the barrel? 

Here is a barrel picture from another '03:

 

 

RA 1903 barrel.png


A member of this fine site since December 16, 2006....Member # 60

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One thing to be aware of on early M1903 rifles is that some had bolts/receivers that may not have been hardened properly.  Good news! Yours is a high enough serial number so you there's no reason to not shoot it if it checks out functional.  Here's the excerpt from the CMP website.... 

 

WARNING ON “LOW-NUMBER” M1903 SPRINGFIELDS

M1903 rifles made before February 1918 utilized receivers and bolts which were single heat-treated by a method that rendered some of them brittle and liable to fracture when fired, exposing the shooter to a risk of serious injury. It proved impossible to determine, without destructive testing, which receivers and bolts were so affected and therefore potentially dangerous.

To solve this problem, the Ordnance Department commenced double heat treatment of receivers and bolts. This was commenced at Springfield Armory at approximately serial number 800,000 and at Rock Island Arsenal at exactly serial number 285,507. All Springfields made after this change are commonly called “high number” rifles. Those Springfields made before this change are commonly called “low-number” rifles.

 

Link... https://thecmp.org/sales-and-service/m1903-m1903a3-rifle-information/

 

Stay safe!

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I forgot that the bolt should be checked too... read the CMP info.  I think your bolt is OK as it looks like it is swept back at a slight angle. I can't be sure though. 

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2 hours ago, kfields said:

Yeah I get that but what does it say on the barrel? 

Here is a barrel picture from another '03:

 

 

RA 1903 barrel.png


Here’s a pic of my barrel.

 

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LOOKING FOR ANY AND ALL ITEMS RELATED TO
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Nice barrel date, possible original to the rifle. The only thing I see of possible concern is what looks like a ground weld at the top rear of the receiver bolt bridge. Could be just the photos but this area usually does not show this contour as seen in the pix. 

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Great barrel! Looks like an original receiver/ barrel combination from wartime. These have additional value for that reason!

Kim


A member of this fine site since December 16, 2006....Member # 60

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Nice rifle. Looks to have possibly been refinished at one time.  Also appears to maybe have a MKI stock, but hard to tell from the limited photos. 

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It appears to be a great rifle, but I just want to bring up the endless debate on if it is or is not safe to shoot. 

 

Yes, The army recognized an issue with the heat treats and implemented a double heat treat some time around serial number 750,000 to 800,000, but if you really study the investigation into the failed receivers and the sample lots tested, there were castastrophic failures even at serial 808,792

 

The receiver design was then changed at Springfield around serial 1,275,767 where they then used nickel steel alloy and changed the heat treat process. This may be the benchmark on what is considered a safe receiver. 

 

 I know this is a highly contested debate and I'm sure many people will disagree with me since the unsafe range does not mean a manufacturing defect, but rather the possibility of one. I personally own many 03's and my lowest one is in the 49,000 range. As a gun collector, I would say you would take a calculated risk in shooting it as only 60 or so rifles were documented as failing in the report, but if you asked me as an Engineer who runs a R&D machine shop and testing facility, I would have to say 1,275,767 is the safe benchmark to ensure a proper designed and manufactured receiver. 

 

I welcome anyone to read read the reports on these receivers the gov did on them as they are interesting and realavent to the scope of this forum. 


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Many thanks to all for your comments.  It’s greatly appreciated.  


LOOKING FOR ANY AND ALL ITEMS RELATED TO
THE 305TH BOMB GROUP FROM WWII.

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