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  #1  
Old 01-01-2012, 5:26 PM
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Default 1903A3 Receivers - "reworked from drill rifle" ?

Guys are selling these on Gunbroker for cheap, with new bolts and cutoffs.

Other than the unsightliness of the ground off welds, is there a safety concern? Can I put together a reliable shooter with one of these?
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Old 01-01-2012, 7:37 PM
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Link or pics?
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Old 01-01-2012, 8:07 PM
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Originally Posted by rodeoflyer View Post
Guys are selling these on Gunbroker for cheap, with new bolts and cutoffs.

Other than the unsightliness of the ground off welds, is there a safety concern? Can I put together a reliable shooter with one of these?
I wouldn't chance it. You don't know what the heat from the welding did to the heat treating on the reciever.
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Old 01-01-2012, 8:11 PM
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Originally Posted by smle-man View Post
I wouldn't chance it. You don't know what the heat from the welding did to the heat treating on the reciever.
This.

The welding can change the hardness of the steel. Not something I would want with a few thousand psi going off near my face.
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Old 01-01-2012, 9:09 PM
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Depends on where the welds are and how much weld.
I would only buy FTF after a good looky-loo
Very often a reciever is not a good buy unless you can do most of the work yourself.
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Old 01-01-2012, 11:03 PM
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I've seen quite a few 03A3 drill rifle receivers and also franken rifles made from the receivers sold over the internet. Although I'm not an expert, either it's not a serious problem or some folks are going to be looking at some big legal issues if anything happens.

What about all of those cut and welded Garands that were sold some years ago? Had one but didn't know about the modification until after I bought it.

Last edited by Mojaveman; 01-05-2012 at 6:41 PM..
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Old 01-01-2012, 11:24 PM
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If I recall, there was a pretty neat shotgun news article on turning one of those cadet trainers into a working .22 with a barrel liner. That would be a cool way to get it shooting again without worrying about the welds holding up.
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Old 01-01-2012, 11:47 PM
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Rodeoflyer,
I wouldn't trust the damage to the receiver by heat of welding.
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Last edited by NRAhighpowershooter; 01-03-2012 at 3:58 PM..
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Old 01-02-2012, 11:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mojaveman View Post
I've seen quite a few 03A3 drill rifle receivers and also franken rifles made from the receivers sold over the internet. Although I'm not an expert, either it's not a serious problem or some folks are going to be looking at some big legal issues if anything happens.

What about all of those cut and welded Garands that were sold some years ago? Had one but didn't know about the modification until after I bought it.
Fixed it for you. They were never welded before. They were merely demilled by being cut in two.
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Old 01-02-2012, 11:32 PM
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Welding on a reciever depends on where the the weld is and how hot the part becomes.
Shortening a mauser bolt action or piecing a garand back together does not temper an area that needs to be hard.
Even judacious welding on the ring can be tolerated.
It is not uncommon to remove crests from the ring by building up the area using tig with short "tacking" beads and cooling off periods.
The problem becomes who did the welding?
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Old 01-03-2012, 10:29 AM
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Keep in mind the actions were welded as part of making them unusable so there was no thought to what would happen to the strength of the receiver. This should be pretty obvious - don't buy a welded/demilled drill 03A3. It's not like 03A3s are rare rifles, they can be found frequently for sale.
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:14 AM
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I think a lot depends on what exactly was done to make a service rifle into a drill rifle. IIRC 1903s were not demilled in the traditional sense, but the bolt was just spot welded closed.

Pretty sure that is how Gibbs gets their rifles.
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  #13  
Old 01-03-2012, 2:54 PM
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There's not been a detailed scientific study either way and there are very knowledgeable people that have chimed in for and against using welded receivers. It seems common sense prevails that slight welding will do little if any damage metallurgic-ally but severe welding would definitely do damage. I bought a Gibbs 1903A3 which are built on drill rifle receivers. Just because I'm extra paranoid I bought a field gauge to see if the receiver ever stretches beyond accepted safe limits. I should probably get a no-go gauge as well as a bench mark point to measure from. I've fired less than 50 rounds through mine and have not noticed anything out of the normal. This topic seems to come up at least once a week on various forums. For what its worth Val Forgett of Gibbs rifles has written about it here: http://www.gibbsrifle.com/files/val_message.pdf
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  #14  
Old 01-03-2012, 8:25 PM
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Actually, go/no-go gauges will not tell you if the receiver ring is giving way.
The bolt lugs will mush back into the "soft" lug recess leaving a "hump" that will give a false gauge reading.
Gibbs is a reputable outfit, I do not think they would rebuild a receiver that is questionable.
One avoidable accident could close their doors forever.
my tuppence
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  #15  
Old 01-04-2012, 2:19 PM
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I'm not really agonizing over it. There's a guy that posts on the CMP forums that claims he lost headspace rapidly on a drill rifle he reactivated. Countless others have reported no such problems. Others even still shoot lower numbered '03s
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Old 01-04-2012, 11:33 PM
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From Gibbs Rifle http://www.gibbsrifle.com/index.html

I was tempted to buy one of these but never did.

Quote:
A MESSAGE FROM VAL J. FORGETT III REGARDING 1903A3 RECEIVERS

There has been a fair amount of conjecture regarding the Gibbs 1903A4 rifle in regards to the origins of the receivers and the safety of these guns. I would like to address both of these issues directly.

First, Gibbs 1903A4’s are built from 1903A3 drill guns, of which we were able to obtain a large quantity of, that all have had the cutoff latches welded and a small spot-weld where the barrel meets the action. That being said, there has been tons of posts in many forums (and at gun shows, clubs, etc), about the safety and reliability of drill guns. Perhaps not many people know the background of the Forgetts and drill guns.

My late father got his start in the firearms business reactivating deactivated rifles and machineguns and converted thousands, if not tens of thousands of them, all done with the guidance of my grandfather. My grandfather worked for Airco, a large welding firm in the 1930’s, then founded his welding company, Service Welding, Co., just prior to World War II. During the war, he fabricated aircraft parts and tank bodies for the United States Government, as well as hundreds of flame throwers for the United States Marine Corps. He was also a welding instructor during World War II and trained hundreds of welders, among them, my father, who was also a certified professional welder. My father understood both firearms and metal hardness. He was a student of heat treat, hardness and the effects of heat on receivers.

Since the 1950’s, my father has reactivated tens of thousands of deactivated firearms, including Mausers, Enfields and, yes, 1903A3’s. I learned from him on this subject.

The issue that is of paramount importance is the hardness of the receiver. There is a myth that by applying any sort of heat, of any kind, to a receiver, will anneal it (soften) to a point where it is unsafe. The assumption made by many (falsely), is that when a rifle is turned into a drill gun, the cutoff lever is spot-welded into place, and the underside of the receiver where it meets the barrel is also spot-welded, thus softening the steel to a degree that would make the action unsafe.

The reality, based upon the reactivation of tens of thousands of firearms over 50 years, is that there is virtually no effect to the hardness of a receiver when deactivated in the manner that the 1903A3 rifles we utilize have been. We know this both from Rockwelling recievers, as well as what it takes to drill and tap them. In sum: The receivers we use are identical in their Rockwell hardness levels to that of 1903A3 rifles that were not deactivated.

In addition, we do not use reactivated bolts in our firearms, we use original, unissued 1903A3 bolts that were made by the United States Government during World War II.

We understand there has been much conjecture and myth regarding this subject and are hopeful that this information is helpful in putting these myths to rest.

Sincerely,
Val J. Forgett III
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Old 01-05-2012, 6:42 PM
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Fixed it for you. They were never welded before. They were merely demilled by being cut in two.
Thank you for the edit.
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Old 01-05-2012, 6:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rodeoflyer View Post
Guys are selling these on Gunbroker for cheap, with new bolts and cutoffs.

Other than the unsightliness of the ground off welds, is there a safety concern? Can I put together a reliable shooter with one of these?
Definitely a valid reason Why these receivers are being sold for cheap!!
1) Verify the s/n range, could be early (not safe) receivers.
2) Having been WELDED brings all kinds of "?" to the metallurgy.
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Old 01-07-2012, 5:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7.62x63mmUS View Post
There's not been a detailed scientific study either way and there are very knowledgeable people that have chimed in for and against using welded receivers. It seems common sense prevails that slight welding will do little if any damage metallurgic-ally but severe welding would definitely do damage. I bought a Gibbs 1903A3 which are built on drill rifle receivers. Just because I'm extra paranoid I bought a field gauge to see if the receiver ever stretches beyond accepted safe limits. I should probably get a no-go gauge as well as a bench mark point to measure from. I've fired less than 50 rounds through mine and have not noticed anything out of the normal. This topic seems to come up at least once a week on various forums. For what its worth Val Forgett of Gibbs rifles has written about it here: http://www.gibbsrifle.com/files/val_message.pdf
Thank You.

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Originally Posted by 7.62x54R View Post
From Gibbs Rifle http://www.gibbsrifle.com/index.html

I was tempted to buy one of these but never did.
and you.
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I know the safety nazis will kill me for this, but there's nothing like a mag dump of .223 tracer rounds at night out of your AR with a little bit of firewater in your system. Man what a feeling!
"Combining blanks and cleaning rods in the M16A2 rifle is not an acceptable means of acquiring “meat for the tribe.” It should be noted it’s a b**ch unpinning a squirrel from a tree and you NEVER get your cleaning rod back."
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  #20  
Old 01-07-2012, 6:43 PM
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As far as a shooter vs a collectors piece I don't think theres anything wrong with them. The original rifles can get pretty pricey. Furthermore everyone shoots Mosins and other crappy surplus rifles (including me) that were hammered together in the harshest conditions and never blinks an eye. Just recently got an 8mm FIELD headspace gauge and checked my dads Turk Mauser he got at Big 5 about 20 years ago. Well as it turns out those light primer strikes were not due to the spring or the ammo totally as it closed on that gauge. Be smart, be informed, use good ammo, know your important technical details.

Last edited by 7.62x63mmUS; 01-07-2012 at 6:48 PM..
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