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View Full Version : Springfield 1903, anybody help with info on this rifle. (pics)Updated


supermario
10-17-2009, 8:04 PM
Hey Guys, i wanted to know what you guys could tell me about this rifle,
its a relatives, it was supposedely used as a drill rifle for parades etc.
Any info would help please, history, value etc. Thanks guys. Here are some crappy pics, hopefully they help.

UPDATE: It has U.S. Springfield Armory model 1903 sn#875720


http://i644.photobucket.com/albums/uu165/supermariov/DSCN2952.jpg
http://i644.photobucket.com/albums/uu165/supermariov/DSCN2956.jpg
http://i644.photobucket.com/albums/uu165/supermariov/DSCN2957.jpg
http://i644.photobucket.com/albums/uu165/supermariov/DSCN2958.jpg
http://i644.photobucket.com/albums/uu165/supermariov/DSCN2959.jpg

Milsurp Collector
10-17-2009, 8:31 PM
It's a drill rifle as you said, used for parades, honor guards, and other ceremonies. That's why it has been chrome plated. They have usually been made non-operating by welding a rod into the barrel, etc. They aren't meant to be fired.

Texwanders
10-17-2009, 8:51 PM
Check the serial number and the arsenal at which made. Early 1903's were felt by many to be unsafe to fire, due to inconsistent heat treatment of the action.

And edit to add, if there a rod welded in it, that may be the reason why!

NRAhighpowershooter
10-17-2009, 8:53 PM
but they also demil drill rifles by welding the cutoff as well and this one doesn't look to have been welded on in the cutoff....but the OP should definately look in the bore to see if it is clear and remove the handguard to see if there is any tack welds where the barrel meets the receiver...

supermario
10-17-2009, 9:26 PM
Ok i will check the bore, we were told that there was no firing pin becus it was a drill rifle, but after looking it over, we realized it did have a firing pin. I think the bore was also clear but I will recheck. If the bore is clear and there is a firing and it appears to be operable, would you guys reccomend we do not fire it anyways, becus of what Texwanders stated about inconsistant heat treatment? thanks for the help guys.

Texwanders
10-17-2009, 11:03 PM
Here's a good article on the topic:

http://m1903.com/03rcvrfail/

I can't read your serial number, but if it falls into the problem ranges, it would be safer to leave it in honorable retirement. Bear in mind, we are talking a failure rate of a handful per 100,000.

Aside from when it was made, it could have issues such as excessive headspace or cracks in the action. It should be checked out by a gunsmith before you fire it.

In college I traded cheaply for a 03A3 made in May 42; Dad pronounced the headspace good, and it shot quite well. Some years later I discovered the dark spot in the bore halfway down was not corrosion, but a slight bulge in the barrel :) It's retired. I have shot guns as old as 1890, bu I am careful about it, too.

gunboat
10-18-2009, 12:56 AM
Sometimes drill rifles had the firing pin tip broken (ground off). There are really quite a few different ways the weapons were used for "drill" purposes. Many were used by American legion and VFW posts to fire blanks at funerals. Some were used by ROTC cadets and other military schools. After a thorough check out there is no reason not to fire it. Many low number springfields were kept in service until WWII and then rebuilt.
my ha-penny

Milsurp Collector
10-18-2009, 7:45 AM
Ok i will check the bore, we were told that there was no firing pin because it was a drill rifle, but after looking it over, we realized it did have a firing pin. I think the bore was also clear but I will recheck. If the bore is clear and there is a firing and it appears to be operable, would you guys recommend we do not fire it anyways, because of what Texwanders stated about inconsistent heat treatment? thanks for the help guys.

I can't see the serial number but I can see Springfield Armory on it. If the serial number is below 810000 it is a "low-numbered" M1903 that is generally considered not safe to shoot, but a few people shoot them anyway. This is a controversial area that sometimes leads to heated discussions. Owners of low-numbered M1903s should read all sides of the discussion before deciding what to do. The article linked (http://m1903.com/03rcvrfail/) is often cited, but it underestimates the true failure rate because it doesn't take into account more recent failures. Here is a pretty good recent discussion http://forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?t=131650

I have a low-numbered M1903 that I will never shoot, and it isn't a drill rifle. If I had a low-numbered that was also a drill rifle, that may have tack welds or other welding around the barrel-receiver interface I really wouldn't shoot it. If I had a low-numbered M1903 that was a drill rifle and was chrome-plated I really really wouldn't shoot it! The problem with low-numbered M1903 receivers is that some of them, not all, but some, no one knows how many or which ones, have burnt steel and are excessively brittle. If overstressed by bad ammo they shatter. Chrome plating can make the steel even more brittle through the process of hydrogen embrittlement http://www.moldmakingtechnology.com/articles/040208.html

Some low-numbered M1903s were made correctly, others weren't, there is no way to tell the difference until it fails. The guys who discount the risks and tell about how they have been shooting their low-numbered M1903s without problems (yet) probably have one of the good ones. There are plenty of high-numbered M1903s around to shoot, so in my opinion there is no need to take even a small risk shooting a low-numbered M1903. :)

supermario
10-18-2009, 5:25 PM
Thanks for all the info guys, I knew you you guys would give me great info. I am going to tell my bro in law (his rifle) that he CANNOT shoot the rifle, even if he could, why chance it.

sevensix2x51
10-18-2009, 5:41 PM
Thanks for all the info guys, I knew you you guys would give me great info. I am going to tell my bro in law (his rifle) that he CANNOT shoot the rifle, even if he could, why chance it.

or you could just take it to a gunsmith and find out for sure. :thumbsup:

singleshotman
10-18-2009, 8:27 PM
I would not shoot ANY ww1 era rifle.The 30-06 is a very high pressure round. Metalurgy was just not very well understood at that time.I'm a Train buff too, and i got a copy of "The locomotive up to date", printed in 1900.It's got about 100 pages on how to get home if your piston, side rod, valve gear ,etc breaks.If you need 100 pages because you expect almost Everything on a loco to break, what about Rifles of the same era? If you think about it, it's not good, as american rifles ARE NOT PROOFED,unlike British ones.I could shoot a SMLE because of this,but not a 1903.

Asphodel
10-18-2009, 10:33 PM
That rifle has the appearance of being a so-called 'mixmaster', meaning a rifle which was rebuilt at a government arsenal rebuild program, probably during or after WW2, considering the version of stock it now has.

Without knowing the s/n, we can't say whether it is early enough to be a 'low number' or not. Likewise, we can't tell from those photos whether it might have been 'de-milled' for drill use. There is quite a range of 'de-milling' found in drill rifles, from simply grinding away the firing pin tip to welding everything up solid.

If it is a 'high number' 'mixmaster' and has not been welded anywhere, it *may* be perfectly safe to fire. It will have passed inspection at rebuild.

Obviously, it should be carefully inspected by someone who knows Springfields, including cleaning the bore and chamber, then checking headspace with a 'field' gage, with the bolt stripped. The extractor and its collar, also firing pin and spring should be removed and inspected, likewise the trigger and sear.

Headspace gaging is important, as a bolt from another Springfield may have been substituted for the original part.

Can you post some clear close-up photos of the receiver and bolt area? Removing the barreled action from the stock and doing clear close-up photos of the underside of the barrel/action assembly would help. Also, remove the bolt, and see whether you find the letters 'NS' stamped on it.

You *may* have a perfectly good rifle, just needing a bit of clean-up....or a wall decoration.

If you are willing to invest some time in cleaning and photographing, we can help you with some info.....at least, I can look up the year of mfg and the various part details in the 'Brophy' book on the '03......but you still need to have it thoroly inspected by a knowledgeable person before you fire it.

cheers

Carla

supermario
10-19-2009, 10:55 AM
That rifle has the appearance of being a so-called 'mixmaster', meaning a rifle which was rebuilt at a government arsenal rebuild program, probably during or after WW2, considering the version of stock it now has.

Without knowing the s/n, we can't say whether it is early enough to be a 'low number' or not. Likewise, we can't tell from those photos whether it might have been 'de-milled' for drill use. There is quite a range of 'de-milling' found in drill rifles, from simply grinding away the firing pin tip to welding everything up solid.

If it is a 'high number' 'mixmaster' and has not been welded anywhere, it *may* be perfectly safe to fire. It will have passed inspection at rebuild.

Obviously, it should be carefully inspected by someone who knows Springfields, including cleaning the bore and chamber, then checking headspace with a 'field' gage, with the bolt stripped. The extractor and its collar, also firing pin and spring should be removed and inspected, likewise the trigger and sear.

Headspace gaging is important, as a bolt from another Springfield may have been substituted for the original part.

Can you post some clear close-up photos of the receiver and bolt area? Removing the barreled action from the stock and doing clear close-up photos of the underside of the barrel/action assembly would help. Also, remove the bolt, and see whether you find the letters 'NS' stamped on it.

You *may* have a perfectly good rifle, just needing a bit of clean-up....or a wall decoration.

If you are willing to invest some time in cleaning and photographing, we can help you with some info.....at least, I can look up the year of mfg and the various part details in the 'Brophy' book on the '03......but you still need to have it thoroly inspected by a knowledgeable person before you fire it.

cheers

Carla

I will take some better pics with a better quality camera and get the serial # also. Thanks.

NeuTag
10-20-2009, 6:34 AM
You have a nice weapon that needs to be checkout by an experienced gunsmith, and kept away from my brother. He was a memeber of the persian arms at SJSU in the late sixties....and if sees my Springfield, I only see it the rest of the night twirling.......those guys are that good....and the pros compete....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXKn3qpS68k
MY Brother doesn't own a firearm today. He uses mine at family get to gethers. He feels he doesn't need one. And I don't feel i need a new rifle when he damages it....Its about family....I just cuse under my breath. I still have my Egyptian rasheed for him to trip up on,.

I have rifle he can't touch.....or others.