Rem M1903 33459xx


December 14, 2013, 01:39 PM
I went deer hunting with my BIL in Dushore, Pennsylvania. He has a very nice cabin in the mountains. Well, no bucks were to shot, but he gifted me with a Rem M1903 that is a sporterized and rebarreled to 7 mm Mag. It also has a Buehler safety installed. Now the problem, no where on the rifle is it marked 7 mm Mag. Also, the safety will not engage on the "Firing Pin Rod" upon cocking. If I pull the rod out (plenty of spring tension), I can now rotate the safety to the "safe position" 11 o'clock. If the safe lever is moved to the fire position, the firing pin is released. If moved to the 2 o'clock position while on safe, the firing pin is in a half-cocked mode, but sometimes the firing pin will release. Big Safety Issue.

The receiver has been drilled and tapped, two forward and one aft.

Is this a project, worth time and money to bring back to life?

Thanks in advance....

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December 14, 2013, 01:52 PM
Yes, it would be well worth the time.
But you are probably going to need some new parts.

It sounds like someone Bubba'd the cocking piece & sear, and probably the sear spring too, trying to improve the trigger pull.

That allows the striker to set too far foreword when cocked for the safety to engage the notch in the cocking piece and cam the striker back out of sear engagement contact.

Also check the stock inletting to insure it isn't rubbing on the trigger assembly and preventing it from returning to full sear engagement when the trigger is released.

One or the other of those things is the only way possible the striker could slip off the sear when the safety is put in the OFF position.

It is also sometimes necessary to file a small bevel on the safety so it can enter the cocking piece notch and pull it back slightly. But the striker has to be in the right place to start with for it to do so.

Another option would be to discard the military trigger assembly and replace it with a Timney trigger with a built-in side safety.

If I did that, I would replace the Buehler safety with a stock military wing-safety for easier bolt disassembly.

But again, if Bubba ground off the bottom of the cocking piece for less sear engagement, an after-market trigger will not be safe either so you would have to replace the cocking piece then also if it has been modified.


December 14, 2013, 01:57 PM
Sure it's worth. It's not safe so I would fix it. Someone did a very nice job sporterizing it. I can't say that I agree with sporterizing a USGI gun but I appreciate some of the work people do. Make safe amd make it right.

December 14, 2013, 01:57 PM
RC.... I was hoping that you would respond to this thread. Sounds like Bubba did have is hands in the works. Yes, the trigger is very light, no creep at all.

December 14, 2013, 02:06 PM
If you can, pull it out of the stock and post good close-up photo's of the trigger assembly, and cocking piece sear surface.

It would beat me guessing what might have been done to it!!


December 14, 2013, 02:23 PM
Will do tomorrow.....

Thanks again

December 14, 2013, 03:35 PM
RC... I just removed the bolt and see a problem from the start. The bolt sleeve lock isn't engaged in the slot. The Buehler safety doesn't seem to be fitted properly.

Is the Buehler Safety, pressed on?

December 14, 2013, 04:17 PM

Looks like it needs to be screwed in the bolt another full turn, maybe??

The safety is only held in the bolt sleeve by a spring loaded pin & plunger as I recall.

Take the firing pin apart to get the spring pressure off it, and depress the pin in the safety with a small screw-driver blade.

Then it should slip right out of the bolt sleeve.


December 14, 2013, 04:18 PM
I can only get about a 60 degree turn before it bottoms out.

December 14, 2013, 05:10 PM
Making some headway.... With the rifle cocked placed on safe and not touching the trigger, you can swing it to the fire position. If you touch the trigger while on safe, it goes to that half notch mode. You can see the safety moving. Moving it to the fire position, results in the firing pin being released. Looks like it might be the Buehler safety.

December 14, 2013, 07:43 PM
Making some headway.... With the rifle cocked placed on safe and not touching the trigger, you can swing it to the fire position. If you touch the trigger while on safe, it goes to that half notch mode. You can see the safety moving. Moving it to the fire position, results in the firing pin being released. Looks like it might be the Buehler safety

I have a Buehler safety and I don't think that is the reason you have having a sear override.

Everything so far reads as though someone tried a trigger job by polishing sear surfaces. Sear/Cocking piece angles have to be inclined surfaces so the trigger will reset.

The stock 03 was a double stage trigger, I can't tell from what you wrote if it is still there. Some folks monkeyed around with these military triggers, removing the first trigger stage. If all you have is a single stage trigger, I would do is get rid of those trigger parts and restore the action to a double stage trigger.

The original double stage military trigger was an extremely reliable design. There was about 1/8" of sear drop on the first stage, there was a lot of metal to shear before you could get a sear over ride on the original trigger mechanism. It was designed so you could insert your bayonet, pull it out, and shatter a skull with a butt stroke, without having an accidental discharge. Today's over ride triggers are positively wimpy compared to a direct pull two stage military trigger.

You know, I have restored decent trigger pulls to a number of 03's and A3's by putting in a nice new 20lb Wolff mainspring. That might be the easiest thing to try. Sixty year old mainsprings take a set, this system relies on sear surfaces and mainspring tension for proper function, how about getting a new mainspring and put that in first.

Your Remington receiver was made of 8620 steels and is therefore made of more advanced materials than any of the single or double heat treat receivers. Still, the action was designed for 30-06 loads, I would take it easy with a 7 mm Rem mag.

December 14, 2013, 07:52 PM
SlamFire1, thanks for the input. I will look into purchasing a new spring.

Main spring ordered. SlamFire1, do you have any ideas on the sleeve lock not engaging? Could this be the spring tension?

December 14, 2013, 09:02 PM
I have No idea.
But it has nothing to do with the mainspring.

Something is amiss with the bolt sleeve, or the bolt, not matching up when the bolt lock is engaged.

Neither does the cocking piece slipping off the sear have anything to do with the FP spring being weak.
As long as it has one in it, the tension should not allow the sear to slip off.

Here is an 03A3 bolt with the lock locked:

Same un-locked and rotated to un-cocked position:

Like I said in the first place.
Bubba got hold of it before you did.

Looks to me like he might have got completely carried away with his buffing wheel and polished the snot out of things that shouldn't have been polished so much.

Like maybe the threads on the bolt sleeve, cocking piece, sear, and ill-advised two-stage military trigger mods??

I still think you are going to need some new parts I mentioned to start over again from square one!!

One thing I am 100% sure of though.
A new mainspring is not going to fix it!!

What you need to do is find another 03 and see if the owner will let you unscrew his striker assembly and try it in your bolt.
That will tell you right off if your bolt body is butchered up internally by excess polishing somehow.


December 14, 2013, 09:25 PM
Thanks RC, another project to keep me out of trouble.

December 15, 2013, 04:37 AM
Capt Hank, you have a serious problem with that bolt.

Disassemble the bolt sleeve and remove the safety, it is pressed in. if you can screw the bolt sleeve into the bolt fully, then look at the safety shaft being too long. If not, maybe the firing pin assembly?

I had the same scope safety on my 1903 mark I and it pulled the bolt away from the sear as it should. just like my 'new' 1903 original safety does.

Hopefully you don't need to replace the bolt, but do what you need to make it safe!

BTW, I added a Timney trigger to my Mark I, but I didn't like it, I prefer the two stage trigger and I shoot better groups with it. Your mileage may vary ;)

December 15, 2013, 07:31 AM
Crashyoung... I will do just that, when the new spring arrives. Thanks for the heads up on the safety being pressed in.

December 16, 2013, 11:31 AM
Well, looks like I found the fix. I took the bolt assembly apart. Things looked normal and the "bolt sleeve lock" would engage in the striker assembly. Put things back together and still found the same problem. The Buehler Safety was stopping the "bolt sleeve lock" from engaging.

Using a 1/16" allen wrench, I pushed down on the spring assembly, until it was engaged in the 2nd bolt notch and inserted. This made the Buehler Safety move forward. I screwed things back together and the "bolt sleeve lock" engaged the striker. Applying some additional pressure to the assembly, released the allen wrench.

The safety works, bolt is locked while on safety and doesn't release when touching the trigger.

Now, I'm looking for a one piece base and rings to add a scope. Any recommendations on what base to use. It is tapped, 2 holes forward, 1 aft.

I want to thank everyone for their replies. I learned plenty about this rifle because of THR.

December 17, 2013, 01:34 AM
Good work on trouble-shooting the safety.

Burris makes a scope base with the 2 and 1 hole combination, and there are others.
I have a Burris mount from a 1903 mark I.
The holes in my Burris mount are .850 inch and 4.100 inch, center to center. I am not sure if the others have the same spacing tho. I know Redfield also makes a 1903 mount with the 2 and 1 hole combination as well. I would google it.

December 17, 2013, 10:58 AM
Thanks for the info.....

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