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Thread: Sfa-03

  1. #1
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    Unhappy Sfa-03

    I bought a Springfield Armory 03 from a guy leaveing the state. I shot a few rounds thru it. Its a real nice piece but I recently read an article in a shooting mag about 03's before a certain ser.# being dangerous to shoot.
    Of course the one I have is on the low side of the ser.# range so now I 'm about half scared to shoot it. Anyone have any thoughts or ideas about this?
    "All bureaucracies are the same. They drain the life out of the truly creative people and develop mindless paperpushers as their critical mass."

    "You are a den of Vipers.I intend to rout you out and by the Eternal God I will rout you out.If the people only understood the rank injustice of our money and banking system there would be a revolution before morning"--Andrew Jackson 1828

  2. #2
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    Default Low numbered Springfield 1903

    This subject has been kicked around forever. Gun writer "experts' love to blab and expond endlessly and forever about the low numbered Springfields and how unsafe they are - remember the "experts" do get paid by the word.

    The fact is the army used the guns for 40+ and never recalled them as unsafe to use - they rebuilt them as needed and re-issued them again and again. I think there were a dozen or so documented cases of them blowing up out of well over a million guns and most of those cases were pluggd bores etc. The army drilled an additional hole in the left side of the receiver ring when the overhauled them; the very small hole on the right side apparently was too small to allow any gas from a failed case to escape.

    In light of the long histroy of the guns and improvements in ammunition I personally don't have any hesitation to shoot one with factory or military ammo. I would suggest picking up a later nickel steel bolt for $15 or so and have it headspaced to the gun for shooting if it still has the orginal bolt. Some of the failures were apparently bolt failures., a modern bolt is cheap insurance. I would not suggest rebarreling them to a modern magnum but if its a military gun its worth more unmodified anyway.

    I am not aware of any comprehensive tets anyone ran on these guns to determine their strenght or weakness - just a lot of speculation by the "experts". P.O. Ackley did run tests on some guns back in the 40s and 50s but I don't recall if he included a low number 1903.

    If you want to sell it let me know - I'll give it a good home.


    Quote Originally Posted by whiteraven View Post
    I bought a Springfield Armory 03 from a guy leaveing the state. I shot a few rounds thru it. Its a real nice piece but I recently read an article in a shooting mag about 03's before a certain ser.# being dangerous to shoot.
    Of course the one I have is on the low side of the ser.# range so now I 'm about half scared to shoot it. Anyone have any thoughts or ideas about this?
    " One valid test is worth more than the opinions of a thousand experts".

  3. #3

    Default

    From what I know the defective ones were due to faulty heat treating of the receiver, and there were relatively few of them. If you don't feel comfortable with it you should sell it and buy a later one you're comfortable with.
    Hunting, camping & shooting goodies. http://www.laksupply.com

  4. #4
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by tvfinak View Post
    This subject has been kicked around forever. Gun writer "experts' love to blab and expond endlessly and forever about the low numbered Springfields and how unsafe they are - remember the "experts" do get paid by the word.

    The fact is the army used the guns for 40+ and never recalled them as unsafe to use - they rebuilt them as needed and re-issued them again and again. I think there were a dozen or so documented cases of them blowing up out of well over a million guns and most of those cases were pluggd bores etc. The army drilled an additional hole in the left side of the receiver ring when the overhauled them; the very small hole on the right side apparently was too small to allow any gas from a failed case to escape.

    In light of the long histroy of the guns and improvements in ammunition I personally don't have any hesitation to shoot one with factory or military ammo. I would suggest picking up a later nickel steel bolt for $15 or so and have it headspaced to the gun for shooting if it still has the orginal bolt. Some of the failures were apparently bolt failures., a modern bolt is cheap insurance. I would not suggest rebarreling them to a modern magnum but if its a military gun its worth more unmodified anyway.

    I am not aware of any comprehensive tets anyone ran on these guns to determine their strenght or weakness - just a lot of speculation by the "experts". P.O. Ackley did run tests on some guns back in the 40s and 50s but I don't recall if he included a low number 1903.

    If you want to sell it let me know - I'll give it a good home.




    " One valid test is worth more than the opinions of a thousand experts".
    This one has been sporterized to the extent that it has non mil 30-06 barrell,no iron sights,scoped,full length mannlicher style stock,jewled bolt. Not sure I want to sell just yet. Thanks for the info though.
    "All bureaucracies are the same. They drain the life out of the truly creative people and develop mindless paperpushers as their critical mass."

    "You are a den of Vipers.I intend to rout you out and by the Eternal God I will rout you out.If the people only understood the rank injustice of our money and banking system there would be a revolution before morning"--Andrew Jackson 1828

  5. #5

    Default low number 03s

    Any 1903 built at the Springfield Armory with a serial number of 800,00 or less is suspect and any Rock Island arsenal '03 with a serial number under 285,507 is also potentially dangerous. Yes, people have fired low number 03s without harm because you never know when they might give. Some of the problem was resolved after WWI by the Marines who rebarreled the low numbered receivers and drill a gas port on the side as suggested by Major Julian Hatcher.
    It is easy to tell someone else to go right ahead and shoot a gun with potential for exploding, but I think being cautious is a better route to go. The properly heat-treated Springfield receivers are plenty strong and I think they make an elegant sporter, if they have already been modified and are no longer in original condition, but if they are, they have high value these days. But, you can get a model 98 mauser in excellent condition for less then half the cost of a Springfield, and anyone who says a 98 isn't a good way to go hasn't been there. There are plenty of them on the market these days.

  6. #6
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    Default

    What constitutes a low numbered receiver, depends on where it was made.

    Springfield Armory: Below 800,000
    Rock Island: Below 285,507
    Remington: No low Numbers
    Smith-Corona: No low Numbers

    From what I have read; Some receivers made before double heat treatment were over hardened. As a result they tended to be brittle and shatter in stead of stretching when over loaded. Not all low number single heat treatment receivers had this problem, but no one knows exactly which ones were effected so all are suspect. As already has been noted the military continued to use and and rebuild low number receivers even after they where aware of the problem and reports of failures are few.

    Personally I would feel safe shooting a low numbered receiver with standard 30-06 loads or re barreled to a low pressure round of 06 head size or smaller. However, no hopped up 06 or high pressure hand loads should be used.

  7. #7
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    Default Low number Springfields - safe to shoot?

    If you re-read my post you will find I didn't tell anyone to do anything - I stated that I have no problem in shooting a low number gun that is in good condition with modern ammo. I reflected back on the history and that the "odds" of having a problem are almost zero.

    I've seen some real mauser junk out there I wouldn't shoot however. The 1895s re-barreled to .308 quickly come to mind but I haven't seen many "experts" declaring them unsafe to shoot. Perhaps it is co-incidence but most of the people I've ran into over the years warning about unsafe Springfields just happen to be mauser fans

    The reality is that very very few guns made in last 100 yrs or so actually blow up if they have the proper ammunition in them. Note that this is not a recommendation or comment that any gun is safe to shoot but simply a statement that guns rarely come apart. I don't have any statisics but I'd bet the odds are a lot greater that you will get hurt driving to the range than getting injured by a gun exploding!

    Even the old damascus barreled shoot guns of good manufacturers in good shape very rarely fail. I wouldn't recommend that anyone else shoot them but I'll shoot a good quality double with twist barrels with no reservations.


    Quote Originally Posted by mauserboy View Post
    .
    It is easy to tell someone else to go right ahead and shoot a gun with potential for exploding, but I think being cautious is a better route to go.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

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