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· Registered
87 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a collection of mosin nagants dating from 1896 to 1946. I know on American service rifles, the 1903 springfield in particular there is a safe to shoot cut off somewhere around 1918 when the heat treating process for the steel was improved. My question is do mosin nagants have a safe to shoot cut off? I have shot the 1896, a 1910, and a 1916 using millsurp ammo with no problems.

· Platinum Bullet Member
3,711 Posts
Yes they are safe to shoot. The brittle steel/ bad heat treating was a 1903 Springfield thing as well as early M14 bolts made by H&R.Mosin Nagant completely different animal. Cheers, John.

PS Barrel obstruction, greasing cases and overall stupidity renders warrenty void.

· Banned
10,840 Posts
I recall a recent comment (source I cannot recall) that the "brittle receiver '03" issue is fiction.
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.
Generally speaking, “low number” bolts can be distinguished from “high-number” bolts by the angle at which the bolt handle is bent down. All “low number” bolts have the bolt handle bent straight down, perpendicular to the axis of the bolt body. High number bolts have “swept-back” (or slightly rearward curved) bolt handles.
A few straight-bent bolts are of the double heat-treat type, but these are not easily identified, and until positively proved otherwise ANY straight-bent bolt should be assumed to be “low number”. All original swept-back bolts are definitely “high number”. In addition, any bolt marked “N.S.” (for nickel steel) can be safely regarded as “high number” if obtained directly from CMP (beware of re-marked fakes).
CMP DOES NOT RECOMMEND FIRING ANY SPRINGFIELD RIFLE WITH A ”LOW NUMBER” RECEIVER. Such rifles should be regarded as collector’s items, not “shooters”.
From CMP website:

· Registered
1,392 Posts
I have a Mosin that still has the original 1921 receiver, supposedly there was a quality issue with the metals in the early to mid 1920s, that's why you often find 1919-1925 rifles with imperial receivers. Don't think I would shoot my 1921, although the Soviets refurbed it as such.

· Registered
1,624 Posts
I recall a recent comment (source I cannot recall) that the "brittle receiver '03" issue is fiction.
It actually was a total of 14 receivers that had problems....they listed a cut-off point by serial numbers before swithcing to "Double heat treating"....

Personally I have shot well over 30 early model "low numbered" 1903 receivers, never seen any problem.....Take it that there was 14 accidents within 1 million weapons.....I would say those odd's are pretty normal in todays world...Not saying that I "want" a problem to happen to anyone, but your odd's at getting killed in your auto are a LOT greater simply driving home from work.


· Gold Bullet Member
15,395 Posts
It was both arsenals, number cutoffs are in IJ's post. Some WWI manufactured ammo was defective and may have caused failures, also a couple from firin' 8mm Mauser cartridges. And the practice in the twenties of greasin' cartridges may have produced failures. "Hatcher's Notebook" has details of some of the failures. One or two men lost an eye from a blown receiver.

I just got a "Romanian" Tula M91 with matching 1920 barreled receiver. It's in good shape, and somebody shot it, as the bore was dirty, but cleaned well. Might not shoot it, I like bein' alive and it's rare.


· Gold Bullet Member
10,013 Posts
Picked up a 1929 Dragoon last Fall with a 1920 receiver.....I don't think I will be firing that beast anytime soon....

It has been opined that the Imperial (made during the Czar's time period....) MN receivers are of the best quality.


· Diamond Bullet Member
9,127 Posts
I think the indents I've seen on top of the Finn receivers came from grinding off Czarist eagles or cleaning up where somebody else had peened the eagles.
I shoot all my Mosins, including the early ones, though I usually shoot a few of the light Czech low recoil loads first just to make sure everything locks up tight.
Soviet steel was genarally of very good quality and Tula and Izhevsk made good receivers all the way through, as far as I know.

· Registered
937 Posts
I think the indents I've seen on top of the Finn receivers came from grinding off Czarist eagles or cleaning up where somebody else had peened the eagles.
I shoot all my Mosins, including the early ones, though I usually shoot a few of the light Czech low recoil loads first just to make sure everything locks up tight.
Soviet steel was genarally of very good quality and Tula and Izhevsk made good receivers all the way through, as far as I know.
Nope, not pinged Commie markings. They were testing for hardness.

· Premium Member
14,332 Posts
There are definite hardness test marks on Mosin receivers.

· Silver Bullet member
36,347 Posts
There is no question that many low number '03 receivers were defective, not as strong as required, thanks to a lot of "burned" steel, and a general lack of the experienced personnel needed to correctly judge heat treat temperatures by eye. They may have gotten past proof testing but the rifles started coming apart when the production pressure of WWI sales to the Allies resulted in quality problems with ammunition.

Here's a definitive article on it - Sorry for the length but this really should be in your archives for reference because of all the erroneous stories on the subject.:

Some Observations On The Failure
Of U.S. Model 1903 Rifle Receivers
Joseph L. Lyon, M.D., M.P.H.
Purpose of this Paper
I collect and shoot the Model 1903 Springfield. Since I purchased my first
Springfield in 1992, a chrome plated beauty made in 1930 and obviously
used, but not abused, by a color guard, I've heard of the low numbered
Springfield receivers and the terrible danger they pose to a shooter. (Low
numbered receiver are those with serial numbers below 800,000 made at
Springfield Armory, and below 286,506 made at Rock Island Arsenal.) Some
have stated emphatically no rifle with a low numbered receiver should ever
be fired under any circumstance because of the risk of serious injury or
death, but that high numbered receivers are perfectly safe.
My training is in medicine and medical research and I specialize in
epidemiology, a discipline that looks at why bad things (epidemics) happen
to people. As such I have a considerable amount of training in statistics.
Whenever I heard emphatic statements about the safety of something such as
a low numbered Springfield receiver my training and natural inclination
are to get the numbers and put them into perspective with other risks we
face on a daily basis. This is why I wrote this paper. I have attempted to
put the risk of Springfield receiver failures into prospective using
simple statistics, thus permitting the interested reader to make his own
decision about the safety of the Springfield rifle receiver.
History of the Problem
The U.S. Model 1903 rifle, commonly called the Springfield, was used by
the U.S. Military between 1903 and 1945. When the United States declared
war on Germany in April 1917 there was a marked increase in the use of
this rifle for training. Between July and December 1917 eleven rifle
receivers shattered, causing one severe and 10 minor injuries to the
soldiers using the rifle. Despite the intense demand for rifles caused by
our entry into the war, production at both Springfield Armory and Rock
Island Arsenal was halted in early 1918, and an investigation launched to
determine the cause of the problem.
It was determined that the workers responsible for heat treating the
receivers had used an "eyeball" method that relied on the color of the
heated metal to determine if the steel had been heated to the correct
temperature. Unfortunately, according to General Hatcher, the officer in
charge of the investigation, "... it was quickly found that the ‘right
heat’ as judged by the skillful eye of the old timers was up to 300
degrees hotter on a bright sunny day than it was on a dark cloudy one"
(See Hatcher, Julian Hatcher’s Notebook , Third Edition, Stackpole Books,
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 1966, page 215). Heating to the higher
temperatures led to crystallization of trace elements within the steel,
making it too hard, and rather than deforming under high pressure, the
receiver shattered, often permitting the bolt to exit the receiver,
causing injury to the shooter. Between 1917 and 1929 three soldiers lost
an eye to receiver failure, and six more had unspecified injuries consider
serious. An additional 34 soldiers received minor injuries from receiver
failures. There were no deaths reported from the failure of a Springfield
The heat treating method was immediately changed to a double heat
treatment, and pyrometers were used to determine the temperature of the
heated receivers. The change in heat treating was instituted between
serial number 750,00 and 800,000 at Springfield and by serial number
285,506 at Rock Island Arsenal. Rifles manufactured after these serial
numbers are referred to as "high numbered" receivers and are commonly
stated to be safe to shoot.
A second problem that Hatcher found was the hardness of the brass
cartridge cases, and the design of the Springfield chamber-bolt interface.
He states:
"One thing made evident by these tests is the fact that the weakest
feature of the modern military actions is the cartridge case itself. In
the Springfield rifle the head of the cartridge cases projects out of
the rear end of the chamber a distance of from 0.147 to 0.1485; in other
words, there is a space of well over an eighth of an inch where the
pressure is held in only by the brass." (See Hatcher p 205.)
During the 1920's officials within the Ordnance Department investigated
the problem more thoroughly, including destructive testing of receivers.
Three rifles with low serial numbers were fired with cartridges that
produced known levels of pressure starting at 70,000 pounds per square
inch. One receiver failed at 80,000 pounds and the other two at 100,000
pounds. All of these receivers withstood pressures well above that
experienced with military ammunition, yet none failed until pressure was
raised between 50% to 100% above normal operating pressure. In 1926 24
high numbered receivers were subjected to pressures up to 125,000 pounds
per square inch. None failed. (See Hatcher pp 227-229).
On December 2, 1927 a board was convened by the U.S. Army to look into the
problem, and determine how to identify the brittle receivers and determine
if they could be strengthen by re-heat treatment. The board made the
determination of where the problem had occurred in receivers, and its from
their deliberations that we use the 800,000 serial number for
Springfields, and 286,506 for Rock Island receivers. They also concluded
it was not feasible to re-heat the "low numbered receivers", and that they
should be withdrawn from service.
To discard approximately 1,000, 000 receivers would create a political
problem of major proportions for the U.S. Military, especially at time
when military was funded at an extremely low level. The decision also has
be questioned from a numeric standpoint. There had been 58 reported
receiver failures when the board made its decision. To suggest that
1,000,000 other receivers were defective because of the failure of 58 is
extrapolating well beyond the available data. On February 7, 1928 after
considering all the factors the Chief of Field Service, U.S. Army,,
General Samuel Hof, made the following policy for the United States Army:

"Our ammunition is getting worse and accidents may be somewhat more
frequent. On the other hand, some of these early rifles have been in use
for many years and undoubtedly some of them have worn out several barrels.
I do not think the occasion merits the withdrawal of the rifles of low
numbers in the hands of troops until the rifle is otherwise unserviceable.
On the other hand, I do not think we are justified in issuing such rifle
from our establishments. I recommend that we instruct our Ordnance
establishments to no longer issue rifles with these questionable
receivers, that such rifles be set aside and considered as a war reserve
and the question of the ultimate replacement of the receivers be deferred.
When rifles are turned in from the troops for repair the receivers having
these low numbers should be scrapped."
Hof’s decision meant that low numbered receivers would not be issued, but
that those already issued would remain in service. The Army was small
enough that new troops could easily be issued high numbered rifles, but
low numbered rifles already issued would remain in service.
The U.S. Marine Corp, because of an even more limited budget than the
Army, did not follow this recommendation and never retired any of its low
numbered receivers until they were replaced with the M1 rifle about 1942.
The desperate need for rifles caused by World War II, saw many of the low
number receiver rifles taken from war reserves and issued to U.S. and
foreign troops. In 1942-44 the United States also equipped the Free French
Army of Charles DeGaulle with low numbered Springfields.
The Director of Civilian Marksmanship (DCM) Program provided surplus
military rifles to qualified civilians before and after the Second World
War. During the 1960's the DCM offered to replace low numbered Springfield
receivers with high numbered receivers. It is not known how many receivers
were replaced.
Rate of Receiver Failures
Between 1917 and 1929 there were 68 burst receivers. Of the 68 no serial
number were available for 11 receivers, four of those that failed in 1917.
Two of the 68 were made at Springfield Armory and had serial numbers in
the 950,000 range. Of the remaining 57 receivers 33 were manufactured by
Springfield Armory and 24 by Rock Island. Hatcher provided the serial
number and the date of failure for all 33 Springfield Armory receivers,
and the same data for 22 of the 24 Rock Island receivers (see Hatcher, pp
442-447). This information was used in the analysis that follows. The
overall failure rate by 1929 was 68/1,085, 506 or 6.3 per 100,000
receivers. The failure rate varied by site of manufacture, and each
manufacturer is discussed separately.
Springfield Armory Receivers.
The overall failure rate of the 33 Springfield receivers was 4.13 failures
per 100,000 receivers. This is shown in table 1 and figure 1. The failure
rate was variable by year. Of the 15 years between 1903 and the end of
1917 when the heat treatment method was changed, there were no failures in
five of the years (1908-10, 1912, 1915).
The highest rate of failures occurred among the receivers manufactured in
1904 (8.71/100,000), followed by 1911 (8.53/100,000), 1916 (7.53/100,000),
then 1907 (7.26/100,000). The belief that the problem with brittle
receivers was caused by inexperienced workers overheating the receivers in
1917 is not supported by the data. Only one of the 11 receivers that
failed in 1917 was made in that year. The other ten were made before 1917,
two in 1904. The distribution of these rates by year suggests that the
problem of overheating the receivers was present during ten of the 15
years of manufacture, and was worse before 1917, especially in the
earliest years of production, with 10 of the 33 known receivers being made
before 1908.
The absence of receiver failures in some years suggests that the problem
may have been specific to some workers who only worked during some years.
At Springfield Armory the worst three years for receiver failure were
1904-1907 with 1905 being an exception. Receivers made in these four years
account for nearly 45.5 % (15/33) of all the receivers that failed. The
absence of failed receiver among those produced in 1908-10, 1912 and 1915
suggests that the problem was not caused by hastily trained war time
workers unfamiliar with rifle manufacturing requirements.
Another measure of problems in manufactured objects is called time to
failure. This is the length of time from manufacture till the product
fails. It was possible to calculate a time to failure, expressed in years,
using the serial number data on year of production, and the tables from
Hatcher’s book (pp 442-447). Of the 33 Springfield receivers that failed,
the time to failure in years ranged from one year to 22. The average time
to failure for all 33 receivers was 12.48 years. Hatcher reports no
receiver failures after 1929 suggesting there were no further receiver
failures, (or the military no longer recorded the problem).
Because we lack data on the number of rounds fired by each rifle it is
impossible to adjust the time to failure by actual number of rounds fired
before failure. The demands of World War I undoubtedly increased the use
of every available rifle, and rifles that had likely been fired once a
year were now being fired weekly. The time to failure for the 1917
manufactured rifles is less than for those made in 1905 ( 16.4 years
compared to 11 years). And while this might reflect poor heat treatment in
1917 it more likely reflects the much heavier use of the 1917 manufactured
receiver compared to the 1905 receivers. It also suggests that the
receiver failures were associated with the number of rounds fired.
I have already mentioned Hatcher’s observation that many of the receiver
failure problems in 1917-1918 were due to brass cartridges cases that had
not been hardened to the right degree. He provides no numeric data on
which to judge this problem, but says it was recognized as a serious
problem by the spring of 1917. Hatcher states that four of the receiver
failures were due to accidentally firing an 8 mm Mauser round in the
Springfield rifle. This causes pressures in excess of the 75,000 pounds
per square inch proof pressure use to test the receivers.
Rock Island Receivers.
The overall failure rate of the 22 Rock Island manufactured receivers was
7.71/100,000, nearly double that of those manufactured by Springfield.
(See table 2 and figure 1.) Rock Island produced rifles for 11 years,
starting in 1905 and ending in 1914, and then during most of 1917 and
early 1918, There were no receiver failures of rifles manufactured for
five of those 11 years (1905-6, 1913-14, and 1917), a higher percent of
years than Springfield Armory (33.3% compared to 45.5%). Receiver failures
occurred in rifles made between 1907 to 1912, with the peak rate occurring
in 1912 at 20.27 per 100,000, about two and half times the peak rate for
any of the years of manufacture for the Springfield Armory rifles.
The average time to failure for Rock Island receivers was 11.6 years with
a range from 5 to 23 years. While the range is narrower than that for
Springfield receivers, the average years to failure were similar (12.48
years compared to 11.6 years). Of the 22 receiver failures in 1917-1918,
11 were made at Rock Island and seven at Springfield, and four were so
badly damaged the manufacturer could not be identified. Rock Island
receivers likely accounted for the majority of the receivers that failed
during these two years.
Receiver Failures with Double Heat Treated Receivers
The failure of 11 receivers in 1917 was believed to be due to human error
in the heat treatment process of the receivers, but after the change to
double heat treatment there were four receiver failures, three Springfield
manufactured receivers, and one Rock Island manufactured receiver (Hatcher
does not provide the serial number). All four receivers were definitely
double heat treated. In no cases did the receiver shatter as was the case
with the low numbered receivers, but the failed receivers did bend.
The failure rate for the double heat treated receivers up to 1929 was
slightly less than 1/100,000, for Springfield manufactured receivers, and
0.5/100,000 Rock Island receivers. The double heat treated receivers did
fail, but at a much lower rate than the earlier receiver, and did not
shatter, and so had less potential to seriously injury the shooter. Those
who state that the double heat treatment method solve the problem
generally ignore this evidence
I am aware of one receiver failure of a high number receiver about 1987-88
in Salt Lake City, Utah. The rifle was made by Springfield Armory and the
serial number was over 1,000,000. The ammunition was said to World War II
military ball ammunition. A piece of the receiver was blown off and there
was evidence of crystallization along the fracture line. The stock and
magazine were wrecked. The shooter sustained minor injuries, and sued the
seller. The seller of the rifle found evidence the rifle had been fired
with the bore full of grease. The seller's insurance company settled out
of court.
Expected Failures after 1929
I also determined the distribution of failures by year from 1917 to 1929.
Since the failure rate of receivers is a rare event, we assume that a
receiver failure follows a Poisson distribution, and that the standard
deviation is identical to the mean number of failures in a year. The
number of failures by year for each manufacturer is shown in figure 2, and
figure 3 and the combined rate in figure 4. Springfield Armory receivers
had their highest failure rates in 1917 (5), and again in 1929 (5). The
range of receiver failures per year varied from zero to five with no
failures in 1919 and 1922 with an average of 2.64 failures per year.
The failure rate per year for Rock Island receivers varied from zero
(1919, 1924, 1927-28) to seven in 1918. The average failure rate per year
was 1.69.
Hatcher reports no receiver failures after 1929, but if the rates
experienced between 1917-1929 continued up to 1939 there would have about
43 additional receiver failures. Or if all the low numbered rifles were
withdrawn from service and replaced by high numbered rifles we would have
expected up to 12 receiver failures through 1939. This provides a range of
expected failures for this time period (12 to 43). An unknown number of
low numbered rifles were reworked and put into service during World War
II. There are no reports of receiver failures with these rifles.
The lack of receiver failures after 1929 may have occurred because the
rifles with the most brittle metal had been eliminated in the 1917-1929
period. Another important factor is the exhaustion or retirement of soft
brass cartridge cases manufactured during the crisis of World War I and
still being used up to 1929..
Additional evidence for this explanation comes from the experience of the
1st Marine Division on Guadal Canal The Marine Corp made no effort to
replace their low numbered Springfield rifles, and these rifles saw heavy
use on Guadal Canal between August 1942 and February 1943. No receiver
failures were reported in the training period before the battles, and
during the four major battles that occurred in the seven month period in
1942-43. While it's not possible to estimate the exact number of rifles
involved, up to 7,000 would have been in use by the three rifle regiments
of the 1st Marine Division, Based on the failure rates of 1917-1918
between one and two rifle receivers would have been expected to fail.
Injuries Causes by Receiver Failures
Hatcher had data on the injury caused by the receiver failures for 43 of
the 68 accidents. Three men lost an eye (7% of the total accidents) and 6
more (14%) had unspecified injuries considered serious or severe. The
remaining 34 failures (79%) caused minor injury. The risk of serious
injury from the failure of a low numbered Springfield receiver would be
about 0.7 serious injuries per 100,000 rifles manufactured.

Putting Risk Into Perspective
It's hard for people to personalize risk to their own situation. The
following are some risks of dying with common place activities that are of
similar magnitude to serious injury from the failure of a Springfield
Risk of One Death per 100,000 population in a Single Year Caused By:
Riding a bicycle 100 miles
Smoking 14 cigarettes
Living 20 months with a smoker
Traveling 1500 miles by automobile
Traveling 10,000 miles by jet aircraft
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.
I've used the detailed information that Hatcher provides in his notebook,
and supplemented this with information from Campell and Brophy, and
Ferris’ book on the Rock Island Arsenal Model 1903's (The Rock Island ‘03.
Published by C.S. Ferris, 1992). There are some minor problems in
Hatcher’s book for example see the table on pages 446-47. He lists
receiver by date of failure, and the list is consistent until 1923 when he
lists three failures, then four in 1924, then four in 1923, then three
more in 1924. I checked his dates against the detailed report of the
failures (see pages 448-482) and concluded his dates were correct, but his
sequence was wrong. I have grouped them by the reported year of failure in
the table.
Hatcher reports 24 Rock Island Arsenal receiver failures but only provides
serial numbers for 22 (see page 443). One Rock Island receiver, number
445,136 is said to have failed in 1918, but Rock Island did not reach this
serial number until 1919, after double heat treating was instituted. There
was obviously an error in reporting the serial number, or the date of
There are also two Springfield receivers (numbers 946,508 and 951,718)
included in the low numbered receiver table, and counted among the 68 said
to have failed. These I used to estimate the rate of failure for high
numbered receivers.
Brophy has an error in his table of serial numbers on page 445. His table
gives the beginning serial number for Springfield Armory for 1913 as
531,521, but the beginning number for 1914 as 510,561. I chose to use the
serial numbers provided by Campbell for 1913 to 1917.
I also included the early 1918 receivers manufactured at Springfield
Armory in the 1917 tally. Since Rock Island Arsenal had not been
manufacturing rifles since 1914, I place their 1917-1918 rifles in a
separate category.
I made no effort for allocate the 11 receivers to either manufacturer, or
calculate an overall rate. If the failures were all from one arsenal or
the other, then it would change their relative positions. If the failures
were distributed similarly to the current allocation, then rates of each
manufacturer would rise, but their relative position would stay the same.

Brophy, W.S. The Springfield 1903 Rifle. Stackpole Books, Mechanicsville,
Penn, 1985. See pages 425-427.
Cambell, C.S. The ‘03 Era. Collector Grade Publications, Ontario,
Canada, 1994.
Ferris, C.S. The Rock Island ‘03. 1992.
Hatcher, J.S. Hatcher’s Notebook. Stackpole Books, Harrisburg, Penn,
1962. See pages 205, 215, 221-223, 227-229, and 442-482.

· Gold Bullet Member
321 Posts
I have a collection of mosin nagants dating from 1896 to 1946. I know on American service rifles, the 1903 springfield in particular there is a safe to shoot cut off somewhere around 1918 when the heat treating process for the steel was improved. My question is do mosin nagants have a safe to shoot cut off? I have shot the 1896, a 1910, and a 1916 using millsurp ammo with no problems.
First shot with my 1896 was Norma Ammo with a tree between the rifle and myself. No problem with the Tula receiver. It was the loudest rifle fired that day. I have not fired my 1897 Tula, but it does have some hammer indentions on the right side of the receiver. Possibly done by the Finn's.

· Registered
378 Posts
Good information about the 1903 Springfields. Based on one Springfield I have, it appears that one way the low numbered rifles were used was as non-firing trainers. I bought one, serial number 406xxx with a January 1910 barrel (correct date for serial number). It was in a post WW2 plastic stock and had a firing pin with the tip ground off. The bore on the rifle is absolutely perfect. It is a mirror bore with sharp rifling. It clearly was not fired much and I would guess it was relegated to non-firing status at the time that the low numbered rifles were withdrawn from service. I do use it for low pressure cast bullet shooting.


· Registered
918 Posts
As the provided information shows, there was indeed a problem with early U.S.1903 rifles. Most in that time period are just fine, some were not. testing could damage a fine collectable, so sometimes it's just best to find something else to plink with. I expect the rest of you, like myself, have plenty of other toys to make noise with so as to not need to push one's luck. :)

I have had two Mosins with cracked receivers. One, a '46 Izhevsk M-44 and the other A Remington M91. Both had longitudinal cracks in the receiver ring approximately the length of the barrel threads. The M-44 was actually fired a number if times before the fine crack was visible.

The real lesson here is, no matter who made the receiver, or when, one should carefully inspect for defects before use.
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