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1903A3 bolt face question

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Nature Boy, Sep 7, 2016.

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  1. Nature Boy

    Nature Boy Member

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    I'm working on loads for my dad's sporterized 03A3 rifle that I intend to hunt with this year. This rifle was a project he started back in the 50's and I recently finished it, so let's not go down the "bubba" path this time please. :)

    As I'm looking at my brass I noticed this on the case head
    1032CEA2-81E0-47AE-BD83-31A76810FC0A.jpg

    Closer inspection of the bolt face shows a lot of tool marks. It shoots very well (5 shot groups 1 MOA, or better) so I'm not sure if this is an issue to be concerned about or not. Looking for your feedback
    2EB2EC3F-D46F-413D-9DB1-AD3182E5B72F.jpg

    I have a spare bolt that looks to be in better shape, but it's not blued and the bolt handle isn't clearanced for a scope
    DA77BF8A-3AD1-4415-AA82-E923DBF6744B.jpg

    00063DC4-2218-4A24-B57C-205D53AB35E7.jpg

    If this was yours, what would you do? Can the bolt face be cleaned up or is this nothing to worry about?

    Here's what she looks like
    8C15B030-D656-4829-9174-80EDA8FE64A4.jpg

    Here's what she was able to shoot this weekend. Very capable of being a great deer slayer for sure
    31CE383C-0A6E-4280-BDBA-DCF2803AC1B5.jpg
     
  2. eastbank

    eastbank Member

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    yes the bolt face can be cleaned up, it should be a easy chore for a gunsmith and should not be to expensive. i would do it myself, but if you are not up to it a gunsmith is the way to go. eastbank.
     
  3. ilbob

    ilbob Member

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    this is a highly dangerous firearm. you should immediately send it to me for disposal. :)

    seriously, i would not worry about the marks on the brass. if it bothers you the bolt face can be cleaned up.
     
  4. Nature Boy

    Nature Boy Member

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    Hahaha!

    If I was to do it myself, what would you suggest I use and how would I go about it? I have a dremel
     
  5. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Shoot as is.
     
  6. another pake

    another pake Member

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    Nice looking project! And the fact that it was your dad's makes it even more so.

    Don't worry about what anyone else thinks. When those arms were sold as surplus years ago they were intended to be used. The "how" is the prerogative of the owner. I've got a 1917 Eddystone with a similar story. It's a favorite of mine for many reasons.

    And yes that bolt can be cleaned up, but as you can see you might not need to.

    pake
     
  7. kBob

    kBob Member

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    I would not mess with 1MOA. Doesn't hurt anything for the bolt face to be just the way it is.

    What I can see of the rifle is pretty.

    Can we see more?

    -kBob
     
  8. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    If it ain't broke -- and this rifle is definitely not broke -- don't fix it.
     
  9. Malamute

    Malamute Member

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    I also probably wouldn't mess with it, though you could likely get the small burr that scratched the brass worked down by putting a little toothpaste on the head of an empty shell and hand rotating it back and forth under some hand pressure against the bolt face. Don't try to remove all the tooling marks, just the tiny burr that scratched the shell head.

    The shiny spot at the end of the ejector cut may be the culprit.
     
  10. eastbank

    eastbank Member

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    as what malamute posted, i would use JB bore cleaned or a very mild abrasive.one of the biggest whitetails i ever shot was shot with a o3a3 sporterized, just as dead as one shot with a super grade model 70. eastbank.
     
  11. Kendal Black

    Kendal Black Member

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    The area around the ejector cut is what caught my eye too. I, too, do not think what is happening is a problem but a minor peculiarity. It's probable that the rifle was doing that when it left the factory. No one cared then. Why worry now? :confused:
     
  12. Nature Boy

    Nature Boy Member

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    546F1B53-A0CA-4FCD-8672-C6B63BB41918.jpg

    6BD69DEC-9C71-4C84-B49C-B4F394E603A0.jpg

    DDC2E3D8-0CD1-4357-BD3E-9C278B7E9271.jpg
     
  13. Reloadron
    • Contributing Member

    Reloadron Contributing Member

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    Yes, it can be cleaned up or lapped but since the rifle shoots well as is I wouldn't worry about it. Cleaning up the existing bolt face or lapping it would involve removing some material. Even removing a few thousandths would slightly change the headspace. Changing bolts can have the same effect. Since the rough machining marks don't really effect much I wouldn't worry about it. Then too if it bothers you lap it or polish it but know headspace will be altered.

    Ron
     
  14. zb338

    zb338 Member

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    One hell of a nice rifle there Eastbank. Shoot it and enjoy it.
    Don't let some gunsmith mess with it.

    Zeke
     
  15. Malamute

    Malamute Member

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    That's why I suggested a hand lap with mild media and only to reduce the burr that caused the scratch. I don't believe it would remove enough material to change anything headspace wise, also why I mentioned not trying to remove all the machine marks, only the offending burr.
     
  16. Nature Boy

    Nature Boy Member

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    I had the headspace checked before shooting it for the first time last year and it checked out good. My dad says he bought it in its military configuration in 1958 and never shot it, so before last year's trip to the range, it may not have been fired for roughly 60 years, give or take.
     
  17. tactikel

    tactikel Member

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    I have a Bubba'd 03-A3 I got cheap in the 70's. Your bolt face is pristine compared to mine. I have over 5K rounds thru her and she shoots great (not 1 MOA). IMHO do not change a thing! Good shooting!
     
  18. boom boom
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    boom boom Contributing Member

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    Rough tooling marks are typical for wartime production and that appears what you have here. Can be cleaned up but will removed material that will cause an increase in headspace. If it shoots ok, leave it alone.
     
  19. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Agree. I have semi autos that leave worse rub and scrape marks on the case head. Just leave it alone.
     
  20. Nature Boy

    Nature Boy Member

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    Thanks guys. Not messing with it. On to more load development.

    The above group I posted was with Rcmodel's 1903 load for 125g pills

    Next will be 180g Nosler BTs and 165g SSTs using IMR4350
     
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