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Gold Bullet member
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been looking for one of these for a few years, and haven't found one that I could afford, that wasn't beaten to death.
A few weeks ago, this beauty was hanging in a local shop, and came home with me. The bluing is better than it looks in the pics, bore is good, but being a low number, she won't be a shooter for me.
Special thanks to Rick the Librarian for his patient answers to my questions, and John Beard for fixing the rear sight, and helping me out with a couple of missing small parts.
Enjoy the pics, questions and comments are welcome.
 

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Rick - I don't have one either. Somehow doubt that makes you feel any better.

wrench - That is one gorgeous rifle. I havn't seen one that "crisp" offered for sale in recent years. Congratulations !
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the nice comments, and offers of trades, guys. ;) I also struggle with the shoot/no shoot thing. I handload with cast bullets, so it would be easy to make some light loads to try her out. Someday in the future, I may not be able to resist.
I have other 1903's that are shooters, though, so for now she'll stay indoors.
I'm tickled about this one.
 

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From a modecum of research I did a few

years ago , the U S Marines used their

RI's hard through WW2 with no known

failures . There's a lot of pro and con on

them .



FIVESHOT
WRONG .The USMarine Corps had a total of 68 burst 1903 Springfield receivers (known) with many injurys and loss of eyes.See Hatchers and US Arsenal notes. Most were Rock Island but some were also Springfield mfg.even after double heat treating there were a few failures.This is not including thousands of civilian accidents including Jack O'Connor (twice) and Warren Page.Also Hatcher said the older the rifle became the more chance of failure.The earlier Springfield 03's were death traps and I wouldnt shoot it!
 

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WRONG .The USMarine Corps had a total of 68 burst 1903 Springfield receivers (known) with many injurys and loss of eyes.See Hatchers and US Arsenal notes. Most were Rock Island but some were also Springfield mfg.even after double heat treating there were a few failures.This is not including thousands of civilian accidents including Jack O'Connor (twice) and Warren Page.Also Hatcher said the older the rifle became the more chance of failure.The earlier Springfield 03's were death traps and I wouldnt shoot it!
The USMarine Corps had a total of 68 burst 1903 Springfield receivers (known) with many injurys and loss of eyes during WWII?

 

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The USMarine Corps had a total of 68 burst 1903 Springfield receivers (known) with many injurys and loss of eyes during WWII?

The Marines only carried the Springfield mostly in one encounter in WW2;Guadalcanal.Even before that battle was over the Marines were ditching the old 03 and stealing Army M1 Garand rifles that were being supplied on the island.Dont believe that crap you hear about Marines wanting to keep their 03's and not use the Garand in WW2. I have known hundreds of WW2 Marines in my life including my Father and I NEVER heard one say that;indeed it was just the opposite the Marines always wondered why they were last to get anything good especially the Garand.After Guadalcanal the Marines were issued M1's and a Springfield was hardly seen except as a sniper(very few) in a sniper platoon.I was speaking about the safety factor in the Marine Corps in general of the 1903 Springfield which was as the US government came to conclude a major problem.The facts are there for folks to read ,but you have to read them.
 

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I generally agree - however, in my reading, it was often the "old salts" (Marine NCOs and professional privates) who were enamored of the '03. Many of them fired "Expert" with the M1903 and they were afraid they'd lose that with the M1. The same was true with the Army. The run of the mill soldier and Marine was quite taken with the M1, however.
 

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We have been down that road before on the low number issue. From my research I have learned that during WW2 some low numbered Springfields were even re-barreled and re-issued even though known to be dangerous. It appears the Gov't was willing to take the risk of one in a hundred thousand or so blowing up. Times were tough for the US at the start of our involvement .

But, note that the CMP does not allow low numbered Springfields or Rock Islands on the firing line at Camp Perry for fear that the shooter or those next to him might be injured. You roll those bones and you takes your chances. I would not risk it.

Here is the statement from the CMP:

WARNING ON “LOW-NUMBER” 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.
In view of the safety risk the Ordnance Department withdrew from active service all “low-number” Springfields. During WWII, however, the urgent need for rifles resulted in the rebuilding and reissuing of many “low-number” as well as “high-number” Springfields. The bolts from such rifles were often mixed during rebuilding, and did not necessarily remain with the original receiver.
 

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We have been down that road before on the low number issue. From my research I have learned that during WW2 some low numbered Springfields were even re-barreled and re-issued even though known to be dangerous. It appears the Gov't was willing to take the risk of one in a hundred thousand or so blowing up. Times were tough for the US at the start of our involvement .

But, note that the CMP does not allow low numbered Springfields or Rock Islands on the firing line at Camp Perry for fear that the shooter or those next to him might be injured. You roll those bones and you takes your chances. I would not risk it.

Here is the statement from the CMP:

WARNING ON “LOW-NUMBER” 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.
In view of the safety risk the Ordnance Department withdrew from active service all “low-number” Springfields. During WWII, however, the urgent need for rifles resulted in the rebuilding and reissuing of many “low-number” as well as “high-number” Springfields. The bolts from such rifles were often mixed during rebuilding, and did not necessarily remain with the original receiver.
I had a friend who shot and hunted with a Rock Island 1903A1 Springfield for years.Thousands of rounds through it.One day he loaded up his car took his can of US ball ammo that he had been shooting for years and headed for his local rifle range.After fireing a few rounds the rifle totally blew up causeing my friend to lose an eye (yes he had shooting glasses on) 7 teeth and a massive scar where they pulled part of the receiver out of his face.No more shooting or hunting.My friend has passed now but a lesson to be learned.
 
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