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C&R rifles - checking if safe to shoot

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by bender, Aug 23, 2006.

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  1. bender

    bender Member

    Aug 10, 2006
    I love collecting C&R rifles... there's a few more I want, but the prices are going up like crazy...:(

    Anyway, is there a pretty easy, quick way to check for shooting safety? Like headspace and stuff? I don't even know how to check headspace. Any other checks to do?

    I still have a 1903 springfield that I haven't shot yet. I think its a WWII arsenal rebuild... very nice shape... got it 7 or 8 years ago. I also have a M-N 7.62x54R that is in really nice shape. I bought it way back over 10 years ago. Think it was $100.

    Just wondering how to check these 2 guns, and any other C&R's I buy - for safety.
  2. ocabj

    ocabj Member

    Jan 22, 2003
    Riverside, CA
    Get yourself field gauges for those rifles.

    After that, just make sure you detail strip the rifles and check for any broken parts.

    Also, with respects to the 1903, if it is made by Springfield with a serial less than 800,000 or by Rock Island Arsenal with a serial less than 286,506, then it is not safe to fire. There was a heat treatment problem on those receivers and thus, the receivers may not handle the pressure loads and should not be fired.
  3. mrmeval

    mrmeval Member

    Oct 2, 2004
    Greenwood, Indiana
    If you get a military 7.62 (.308) the guages for those are hard to come by the "Win .308" guages will show the rifle as failing the test which may not be the case.
  4. dfaugh

    dfaugh Member

    Dec 10, 2004
    Well, here's what I've alway done..maybe not the most kosher method, but it works for me.

    First, the obvious, a dissasembly and visual examination of all of the parts.

    If everything looks OK, I take it "out back" and HOLDING THE GUN AWAY FROM MY BODY/FACE (action facing to the down/right, bolt facing past right rear...basically holding the gun at 90 degrees CW from "normal position"), I'll fire one shot. I'll carefully examine the case/gun for any problems (Including using a set of calipers, and compare to unfired cases). If it looks OK, I'll fire 3 or 4 more(still holding the gun away). If those cases also check out, I consider it "safe". Haven't had a problem with this method yet, but YMMV.

    P.S. If you look at the way most bolt guns fail, this is safer than it sounds. Mostly, any gasses released go out the magazine area, or around the bolt. I've actually had catastophic case failures(1" cracks in the body of the case) with a 1893 Mauser (which doesn't have the best gas handling system, nor the strongest action), and some surplus ammo. Neither I nor the gun were harmed, although I felt a "breath" of gas hit my face. This was a gun that had been tested/shot with many other milsurp/commercial/and handloads. Just a crappy bunch of ammo. Have quite a few rounds left for sale if any one wants them:uhoh:
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