Educate me on Springfield M1903


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SpeedAKL
August 15, 2007, 09:55 PM
My grandfather is going to let me use his M1903 this fall for some good ol' shooting. I've wanted to fire it for years and now I'll get the chance. What I need is some information on the gun.

1. Any reliability/safety issues? I've read that earlier / low-numbered guns have weaker chambers and as a result I'm gonna check the serial number before firing. How big of a concern is this?
2. Cleaning: any trouble spots or things to look out for?
3. Recoil: it's a pretty hefty piece. I've never shot .30-06, but everyone has told me that .30-06 is about as big as most shooters can go without being affected by recoil. I've fired my share of 12-gauges, and they're tolerable for me without a big load.
4. What is a good load for this gun? I've read that the military used 150-grain rounds.

I'm really looking forward to this!

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ar10
August 16, 2007, 06:47 AM
I'm not an expert but I did train and carry the M1 in early 60's

1. I believe if the numbers are from 1 to 300k, they are WWII issue. I just bought one #2035467, which should fall into the WWII category and before 1945. I fired about 24 rounds through it over the past 2 days without any problems. I think the only unreliable parts would be the ammo. Most of it, I think, was manufactured in Pakistan and pretty corrosive and the rifle should be cleaned fairly soon after firing. I don't think using current 30.06 is wise. It's a hotter load than the NATO (surplus) and damages the gas recoil cylinder I think. I know there's plenty of NATO ammo available because I just bought a bandolier with 6 clips/8rnds per clip for 15.00. That's 48 rounds at about .32 per round.
2. as for cleaning I suggest you look here:
http://www.fulton-armory.com/tea/maint.htm
It gives the standard M1 maintenance cleaning.
3. Recoil will hurt if you don't keep the rifle tight to your shoulder. (I learned that the hard way 41yrs ago). There's also the issue of the "M1 thumb". Simply put, keep your thumb from being inserted into barrel as you release the bolt.
4. I would not use any off the shelf ammo. It's to hot for the M1. Fire an 8rnd clip then put your hand on muzzle, you'll see what I mean. (make sure the bolt is locked back and the clip ejected).

M110
August 16, 2007, 07:27 AM
Too early in the morning for ya XD, go get a cup of coffee and come back and reread his post :neener::D



03, or a 03a3. I know the is a serial number cut off point for unsafe guns on 03's, but i don't remeber what it is. I'm sure someone will be along to help ya out better.

I fire the american eagle 150 gr ammo in my 03a3, with good accuracy.

Now I'm in need of some more coffee:D

DMK
August 16, 2007, 07:28 AM
XD, he's talking about the 1903 Springfield. The bolt action that preceded the M1.

The '03 isn't sensitive to ammo types. You can shoot any 30-06 ammo that's available on the market. Milsurp ammo is about 150gr.

Cleaning is easy. Pull the bolt, swab the bore with cleaner, scrub with a brush, wipe dry, patch with oil. Wipe the bolt off, put it back. If you are shooting corrosive ammo (like Korean 'KA' surplus), just swab the bore with soapy water first, patch dry then do the above.

For ammo in the 150-165gr range, recoil isn't as any where near as bad as 00 Buck. It's a pretty hefty rifle like you said and will absorb much of the punch.


Do an advanced search here, select "Rifle Country" and type in 1903. You'll get loads of info. It's a popular rifle.

Jim Watson
August 16, 2007, 07:40 AM
XD seems a little (lot) confused over M1 and 1903.

Here is my understanding of the situation:

US 1903 rifles made before 1918, serial number 800,000 at Springfield Armory, 286,586 at Rock Island Arsenal, had simple heat treatment controlled only by the knowhow of the operator. This led to some receivers being overheated and becoming brittle. They will stand a normal load but an excessive load or a case separation that releases gas into the action will demolish them with risk of injury to the shooter.
The usual recommendation is to not shoot them at all.

Higher serial numbers are either "double heat treated" or built of nickel steel and are fine for any standard .30-06 ammunition.

Rifles made by Remington and Smith-Corona are WW II issue 1903s and 1903-A3s and are all of good material, safe to shoot.

Nhsport
August 16, 2007, 07:45 AM
I believe there are two guys talking about two different rifles here.
The 1903 is a bolt action (aka "springfield") and the second poster is talking amout a M1 Garand=gas opperated semi auto.
The bolt is good to go with any 30/06 ammo as long as it doesn't fall into the low numbered range that have bad heat treating . Sorry I do not have the # you need to wory about,I expect someone will chime in.The springfield has some recoil,you might want to start out with a shooting jacket or some kind of coat. With any gun recoil will be more noticeable from the bench than standing. I find a modern lightweight sporter 30-06 to be uncomfortable but the springfield or Garand to not be a problem . Rifle recoil is somewhat different than shotgun but I would place the springfield at more than a 12ga trap or sheet load but much less than a magnum slug load .
The Garand should not be shot with commercial ammo ,it needs certain weight bullets and certain powder types to opperate correctly and safely. Reloading can easily create the proper ammo or the CMP has good clean non corrisive surplus ammo available cheeper than you can buy reloading components for.
Any foreign made ammo is suspect for being corrisive (not an issue if cleaned properly) but I would not trust it being the correct power level for a Garand

iamkris
August 16, 2007, 08:23 AM
Go here for the background of the bad heat treating on the receivers

http://m1903.com/03rcvrfail/

If you are above ~750,000 on a Springfield or 300,000 on a Rock Island, apparently you are OK.

I have a Eddy 03A3. I find, lightweight, handy, refined rifle. If you use proper shooting techniques (get that butt into your shoulder pocket!!!) the recoil shouldn't be an issue if you are used to shooting a 12 ga. Like any other military, full power cartridge rifle with a metal buttplate, if you hold it on your collarbone or on your shoulder joint, it will bruise you.

Is it an 03 or an 03A3? 03s have tangent sights, A3s have a rear aperature sight on the receiver.

Cleaning: clean it just like any other bolt action rifle.

Only thing to note if you have never shot a military rifle...1903s were equipped with magazine cutoffs...a big switch on the rear, left hand side of the reciever...it is marked ON on one side and OFF on another. In one position, rounds will feed normally from the magazine. In the other, you can only hand feed single rounds. I don't recall offhand which position is which.

Jim Watson
August 16, 2007, 08:42 AM
I have a Eddy 03A3.

Do you have pictures? This could be a real rarity.
I was of the impression that only Remington and Smith Corona made 03A3s and that Eddystone made only 1917s.

Limeyfellow
August 16, 2007, 09:50 AM
Luckly Mauser style rifles like the Springfield 03 are really easy to look after.

You may want to check if you have an 03 or an 03a3. The later has an adjustable peep sight mounted closer to the eye above the reciever and was modified in the 30s to introduce simplification and changes they liked when the M1917 wasn't adjusted and they wanted a better rifle than the older style 03. The former has your standard ladder iron sight half way down the rifle. I much prefer the later.

Luckly someone has done all the work with picture articles on how to disassemble/reassemble, maintain and operated an 03 at Surplus rifles. Well worth a look over for information.

http://www.surplusrifle.com/1903/index.asp for the normal M1903.

http://www.surplusrifle.com/03a3/index.asp for the 1903a3.

Out of a rifle that heavy you won't feel the recoil anywhere near as bad as a shotgun. Its lighter than even an M1 Garand firing the same calibre.

Novus Collectus
August 16, 2007, 10:18 AM
US 1903 rifles made before 1918, serial number 800,000 at Springfield Armory, 286,586 at Rock Island Arsenal, had simple heat treatment controlled only by the knowhow of the operator. This led to some receivers being overheated and becoming brittle. They will stand a normal load but an excessive load or a case separation that releases gas into the action will demolish them with risk of injury to the shooter.
The usual recommendation is to not shoot them at all. ....made before 1912, not 1918. After 1912 both Rock Island and Springfield double heat treated the recievers.
If the barrel matches the reviever, there is also a date on the barrel sometimes under the stock and sometimes near the muzzle. There will be two numbers with the first usually being the month of manufacture, and the second the last two digits of the year.......or one could simply look at the serial number to see if it is lower than the ones above.

The 1918 date is probably in reference to the last time a low serial number reciever blew up in the Army. I have never read or heard of another incident since.
As a matter of fact, my Rock Island is a low serial number rifle that I shoot with confidence it will not blow up. Mine was proofed once at Rock Island, and was proofed again when it was re-arsenaled probably sometime in the 1950s. If my rifle was good enough for the Army to use and declared safe enough for more than 30 years past the last reciever incident, then it is good enough for me.

CMP however warns people not to use low serial number receivers and they are cheaper at CMP as a result. Personally, if the stock matches the reviever and there are two shooting proof marks on the stock, then I would trust it....but it is my face and eyes I risk and not yours, so I am not suggesting you do the same.

Novus Collectus
August 16, 2007, 10:25 AM
Out of a rifle that heavy you won't feel the recoil anywhere near as bad as a shotgun. Its lighter than even an M1 Garand firing the same calibre.Oh yeah? Try shooting a bullet over 200 grains out of one sometime. That bare metal buttstock is a bruiser.....I like it that way though. :D

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