View Full Version : 1903 with Modern ammo?

04-17-2010, 7:26 PM
Can you shoot any newly manufactured ammo in the 1903s? I understand you can't with the Garand so I'm not sure with the 1903.

04-17-2010, 8:11 PM
Yep, bolt action, no problem.

04-17-2010, 8:19 PM
Can you shoot any newly manufactured ammo in the 1903s? I understand you can't with the Garand so I'm not sure with the 1903.

You better first determine if your M1903 is a "low number" or a "high number."

Up to 1918 the receivers and bolts of the 03 actions were made of a single heat-treated carbon steel. Some of these actions have been known to burst for no accountable reason when fired. At Springfield Armory, beginning with action number 800,000, a new heat-treatment method, called the "double heat-treatment," was started which resulted in the actions (still made of carbon steel) being much stronger and safer than before. Thus rifles made at the Springfield Armory (all Springfield receivers are marked with location of manufacture) with a serial number above 800,000 are the so-called "high numbered" Springfields, and those with a lower number are the so-called "low numbered" ones.

At Rock Island the new double heat-treatment was started at about action number 285,507. This is the dividing number between the low- and high-numbered actions made at that arsenal.

To repeat, 03s made at Springfield numbered below 800,000 and those made at rock Island numbered under 285,507 are to be considered "low numbered" actions. All others, including the 03s, 03A3s, and 03A4s made by Remington, and the 03A3s made by Smith-Corona are "high numbered" ones.

Source: Bolt Action Rifles, 3rd Ed., By Frank De Haas

04-17-2010, 8:23 PM
As long as it's a high number no problem, The bolt 03 can shoot anything you throw at it

05-03-2010, 7:13 PM
Shall a 5-digit 1903 Springfield be a non-firing collectible only?

As I read on another thread (maybe on another board idk) a ton of these rifles were used with success.

Also, I did a search but can't find where to learn what year of manufacture the rifle may be. Thought I'd seen a site before on this but am coming up empty in my searches. Can someone provide link and/or info on this??

Thank you in advance.

Milsurp Collector
05-03-2010, 7:22 PM
Whether or not to shoot low-numbered 1903s is a very controversial subject. Not all of them are defective, but there is no way to non-destructively tell the good ones from bad ones. The guys who shoot low-numbered 1903s without having them blow up probably have good ones (I hope). Many or most who have low-numbered 1903s choose not to take the risk, including me. I shoot my M1903A3 instead - I know it's not defective and it has a better rear sight anyway.

Low-numbered M1903s are banned from CMP-sponsored competitions, by the way.

The site you were probably thinking of is http://oldguns.net/sn_php/milmods.htm

05-03-2010, 7:45 PM
Sir, thank you...yes that was the site.

I think we (my father and I) shot this rifle a bit in the early eighties without problem. However, I sure can understand the concern about this.

Ours was built in 1904.

05-03-2010, 7:51 PM
The problem seems to be brittleness in the steel in the receivers. A catastrophic failure of a case is what most likely causes the receivers to fracture. This was more likely with poor quality cartridge cases pre WW2. The theory is that all receivers that were going to fail, have failed. However I read recently of a gunsmith who caused a receiver to come apart mearly by either dropping it or hitting it with a hammer (the instance escapes me). I wouldn't shoot a low number receiver.

05-03-2010, 8:05 PM
Wow, talk about coincidence. I was just about to post a similar question. I have a Springfield 03, serial 877,5XX. My father sporterized it in the 60s. You all might turn your noses up, but it is significant to me the way it is.

I thought the 'low number' thing was under 100,000. Glad to hear it is 800,000. Dad took many deer with this and I hope to continue.