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Discussion Starter #1
Barrel 10-12, not quite mint but real close to it. Was very pleased to get it. Serial number 500K range
 

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Where are the pictures??? Didn't happen without pictures!!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
pics 1903






Excellent shape don't know how this lasted this long, I see a hairline crack behind trigger guard, but that,s all I could find wrong, stock CAR are RAP and the circle P bore is great. Not even heavy dings in stock.
 

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Great collector's piece as long as you don't fire full house loads in it. Cast bullets and 1/2 power loads should be OK.

Doug
 

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I agree, just keep wondering how something that old can be in that kind of shape? This thing doesn't look like it was issued?
 

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rdj94a said:
I agree, just keep wondering how something that old can be in that kind of shape? This thing doesn't look like it was issued?
I would have to look at it but many of the 1903 rifles were returned for refurbishing. Is there a stamping on the stock like: SAA, RAA, OG, AA or other 2 or three letter stamping? ie: San Antonio Arsenal, Rairitan Arsenal, Ogden Arsenal, Augusta Arsenal.

What date has the barrel got on it, right below the sight?

Doug
 

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Although a nice piece it is not factory original and very, very, few are. Think of these old military rifles like an army jeep. When the axle goes bad, they put a new one in, same goes for other major components. These rifles were rebuilt numerous times at arsenals and depots where they were completely disassembled, all the parts separated and inspected and if found satisfactory, reassembled into complete rifles. Ammunition until the 1950's was corrosive so finding a good 10-12 is a real find. If the barrel and receiver are original to each other it's worth a good bit to a collector. Here is one collector's guide where he has documented original rifles and found serial numbers in armory documents.

http://www.vishooter.net/sa_serialization.txt

Who knows what has been changed on your rifle since it left the military, but assuming it's as it was in service, the "RAP" stamp means it was rebuilt at Raritan Arsenal and P for proof fired. The stock the rifle came with was JFC and only had the rear stock reinforcing bolt. Originally your rifle was blued. Parkerizing was done when they were rebuilt.

Springfield Armory rifles under 800,000, some say 810,000 just to be safe, an exact serial number is not known are called low numbers by collectors today. The receiver was hardened by a single heat treat process that left the outside very, very hard but the inside soft. At least it was supposed to. Errors were made in the hardening process as the foundry workers eyeballed the correct temperature. This led to a number of these receivers being hard all the way through, sometimes called burned. The bad ones can shatter like glass from an overpressure event. The events that were documented back in the day were from bad ammo with brittle brass resulting in case head seperations and one was some idiot fired an 8mm mauser round! There have been no kabooms documented from good ammo. There is no way to tell without destroying the receiver if yours has a brittle receiver or not so the decision to fire it is yours. Once the problem was found, Springfield changed to a double heat treat process around 800,000 and finally a nickel steel receiver. The Army did not recall the low number rifles, they said when they come in for rebuilding, scrap the receiver, replacing it with a new one then getting the rebuid stamp. Your rifle could not have had the RAP stock installed at Raritan Arsenal, an Army facility, because they would have scrapped the receiver. The Marines, never having a lot of cash, fought on with the low numbers but as an extra measure of safety drilled a gas escape hole on the left side of the receiver ring known as a Hatcher hole. Later 03A3's had the hole from the factory.

The crack behind the trigger guard may be a problem. You need to remove the action from the stock. To do this remove the screw on the front band / bayonet lug, then loosen the lower band (this is the one with the sling swivel). Now depress the band spring on the right side of the stock and slide both the handguard and the lower band toward the muzzle together. Next take the screws out of the triggerguard. Inspect the wood where the front stock bolt passed through. This is the recoil lug, it is where all the recoil is supposed to bear. Sometimes this wood gets broken or battered back and the recoil is then taken up by the bushing the rear triggerguard screw passes through, eventually breaking the stock. It will have miserable accuracy too. New stocks are available from the CMP at a very reasonable price.

Now you can make an informed decision whether to fire it or not.
 

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I would check the headspace closely and only neck size cases for it, but I'm wary of light loads. All the recorded blown up low numbers was from a problem with WWI ammo, usually bad brass causing a case head separation. There wasn't even a problem identified until 1917 when ammo production ramped up for the war and a lot of the brass was bad. There are 68 recorded failures from 1917 to 1929.

There has never been a recorded instance of a 1903 blowing up with good ball ammo, excepting bore obstructions. All these rifles were fired with a proof cartridge 40% higher in pressure than standard. All this is detailed in 'Hatcher's Notebook'.

I wouldn't shoot light loads because that introduces a risk of a double charge. Check out this old thread on cast boolits forum, he was being "safe", shooting light loads:

A blown up low number Springfield


..............I guess I orta put these up here. This WAS a really neat old Springfield sporter that belonged to my great grandfather. I shot it for years and years with factory ammo and handloads. What did it in was a double charge of H4227 behind a Ly 311284. To satisfy any curiosity the slug tripped the chrono at 3050 fps.
 

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be sure your bolt is a later one

If you are going to shoot this rifle,even with light loads, be sure you have a double heat treated or nickel steel bolt installed and the headspace checked. The older, unsafe bolts have a straight angle down from the bolt. The better bolts sweep slightly to the rear.

Here is a photo of a 1903 bolt that fell 42" to a concrete floor and shattered. Not good at all. The Krag bolt shattered in the rifle.







Doug
 

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Certainly a nice find -- I would love to own it!!
 

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Just a very nice rifle! :thumbup:
 
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