1903 Springfield Safe to Shoot? - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-06-2018, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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1903 Springfield Safe to Shoot?

I probably should have known or researched this sooner, but I understand that a Springfield with a serial # under 800,000, is not safe to shoot. I have been shooting mine on and off for 40 years, probably only 150 rounds or so during that period. Serial # is 585XXX, manufactured by Winchester. I remember a gunsmith replacing the bolt many years ago. Shot many deer with it and a couple of moose. I am thinking I may have to sadly retire it. Maybe I have been lucky that it has not exploded? Any of you gun guys have any info? Thoughts? Thanks.

Last edited by 35 whelen; 12-06-2018 at 07:26 PM.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-06-2018, 07:41 PM
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Hatcher's Notebook tells all about the 1903 with Serial#s below 800,000.
The information on the internet is a mess with recommendations each way.
It seems that out of 800,000 Springfields and another 285,000 Rock Island Arsenal rifles were overheated during the heat tresting process. There were about 100 failures out of all those rifles. Some other failures were due to the gap between the bolt face and the rear of the receiver wich allowed about 1/8" gap where the brass was unsupported.

Our forefathers didn't bury their guns. They buried those that tried to take them.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-08-2018, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
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Nobody is going to say, "go ahead keep shooting it, it hasn't blown up in all this time".
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-08-2018, 07:45 PM
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I wasn't aware that Winchester made M1903 rifles.

Rich Deerhunter
Lock Haven, PA
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-08-2018, 10:33 PM
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I had a stock 03-A3 made by Remington that killed many deer with some awfully stout reloads and never a problem.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-09-2018, 08:46 AM
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A gunsmith well versed in 03s may be able to go over the gun and test the metal in a non visible area to check. Not sure but an idea as well as a company specializing in heat treating
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-09-2018, 08:58 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richdeerht View Post
I wasn't aware that Winchester made M1903 rifles.
I think I was wrong about the Winchester part. The scope mount is covering that part of the receiver, all I can see is US, I think it says Springfield if I remember correctly. I have an 1917 Enfield that is a Winchester.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-09-2018, 09:00 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superd View Post
A gunsmith well versed in 03s may be able to go over the gun and test the metal in a non visible area to check. Not sure but an idea as well as a company specializing in heat treating
Thanks. I was thinking about bringing it to a gunsmith that knew a lot about Springfield rifles.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-09-2018, 09:33 AM
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I am sorry my previous post on the subject is wrong as the test will only provide you with surface hardness not internal which is where the problem lies. A test that was done by some was to smack the receiver with a hammer to see if it shattered, not real scientific and may create other issues. Cracks in the receiver may also not be seen without a magnaflux or dye test.
Apparently when the gun and steel give up is a mystery as many have shot the rifle for years with factory guns til one day it gives up. Best recommendations are to stop shooting it. Reheat treating it is not an option either.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-09-2018, 10:41 AM
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Dont quote me on this, but I remember reading about how blown up Springfields were possibly a result of a case head separation. Such a case head separation in a properly hardened action would not result in the action failure, but in the questionable actions it would.

Off topic; I would love to see pics of ever ones sporterised Springfields if they dont mind sharing.

Good luck, Tony
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