1903 Firing Pin Rod/Safety Question


January 10, 2012, 05:00 PM
Hello all - my first post here, so just wanted to say howdy before I picked your brains. So..........howdy!

I have a Rock Island Arsenal model 1903, ser. #430***, cal. .30-06. A few years back, the cocking piece (firing pin rod) broke and I ordered a new one from my smith. (Somehow, I ended up with two, but that's another story.) Being the middle of winter, and nothing better to do, I decided to assemble it today. This is where the problem started. When I went to re-assemble, everything fits fine, sorta. I am not sure if the cocking pieces are different than the original. When assembled, the safety lever does not engage the cocking piece unless you pull it back about 1/8". Do I have to grind the cocking piece down to move the groove for the safety forward, or do I have the wrong cocking piece? (Both that I got from my smith measure up to be the same, but they could both be wrong.) Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

Mods: feel free to move this to the right forum if I got it wrong. Thanks


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January 10, 2012, 05:10 PM
If it's a mil-spec part, it should drop in and work.

It could be someone has modified the trigger sear, and it isn't holding the cocking piece back where it should when cocked.

I would certainly not grind the safety notch until I had determined the part is in fact mil-spec, and also ruled out any possible trigger sear modification by the previous owner.

It would be best if you could somehow find another 03 you could try your strikers in.
If they work correctly in another gun?

Your sear has been dinked with by Bubba the shade-tree mechanic.


January 10, 2012, 05:26 PM
Thanks rc. I kinda wondered. I'll pick up a "new" sear and see what happens. Sometimes I just wish people would leave things alone. Thanks again.

james layman
January 10, 2012, 06:38 PM
If your firing has been installed, in order for the bolt sleeve to screw into the bolt, the safety must be between safe & fire. When you pull back the cocking piece, slip the safety mid way. Insert & screw sleeve into bolt until it stops. To disassembly, place safety half way. Depress bolt sleeve lock & turn while holding it down. I hope this helps, if not let me know. James

Old Dog Man
January 10, 2012, 10:38 PM
If you are using the original safety it should work without mod's. If you have a low scope safety,the cocking piece will have to be fit so it works.

January 11, 2012, 08:30 PM
Oh..........so, how do I know if it is a low mount? I am assuming it is, the rifle had a scope mounted on it when I got it.

Next question would be: how or where do I refit the cocking piece? When I partially re-assemble the cocking piece and sleeve, I can see the slot the safety is supposed to fit into, and it is no where near the ramp on the safety. It appears to me, that, I would have to work (grind/polish) the sear contact of the cocking piece to move the slot forward (toward the muzzle).

Sorry if the terms aren't quite right, I am having a helluva time finding good drawings.

January 11, 2012, 09:57 PM
Oh well, now you tell me!

I thought you had a GI 1903 with a GI safety. :scrutiny:

A low scope safety only moves up & down through a small range in order to work with a scope in the way..

A GI safety rotates through 180 degrees.
All the way right = Bolt is locked shut & rifle is on safe.
Middle or straight up = Striker is locked but you can open the bolt or take it apart.
All the way left = Off-Safe = It will Feed, Fire, and Function Freely.

See this about fitting low scope safety:


Old Dog Man
January 12, 2012, 03:03 PM
The original safety will not clear the scope, so it is replaced with one that is on the right side of the cocking piece. It raises up for on safe and down for firing. You have to grind a little metal from the front of the cocking piece to make it work, only remove just enough to get the safety to engage. Good luck Al

January 12, 2012, 03:13 PM

It also needs to be fitted so the safety can cam the cocking piece back off the sear when it is engaged.
If it doesn't, it isn't safe, as the gun could fire when you take the safety off.


January 15, 2012, 05:27 PM
This would be how much I would have to remove in order to get the groove near where the safety cam is. I am wondering if I have the wrong cocking piece. What do you think? Or am I totally lost on this one?

james layman
January 16, 2012, 07:35 AM
PHL 03 bolt You can google 1903 bolt, and you will find two sections. Disassembly & reassembly videos. This should help, if not try a gun shop. jim

January 16, 2012, 10:56 AM
James - thanks, but I've already downloaded them, and unless there are more than the six I've seen, they are no help.

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