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Old June 24, 2014, 03:04 PM   #1
clos623
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Us Springfield Armory M1903 help

Got this rifle in a trade and cant find the answers to my questions anywhere on google.
sorry if this is the wrong cat just got a few questions.

Rifle is a US Springfield Armory 1903 ser # 799,023 what ive learned is its from 1918 now
Question 1: Is how do i know if the barrel is original?
The stamp on barrel says SA 11-17 A and has the bursting bomb mark.

Question 2: The stock is not original it is an old wooden stock looks to be a sport style. My question is is there any place i can by an 1918 stock for it to bring it back to as original as possible looking? And would this increase any value?

As of now i plan to keep it. It fires and functions great. (Yes i know the low numbers/high numbers debate) but id like to make it as original looking as possible while still using it. But would like to keep the value up as much as possible incase i decide to sell.

Thanks in advance for any help!
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Old June 24, 2014, 03:14 PM   #2
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I'd say a Nov 1917 barrel on a 1918 action is likely original.

A repro military stock is $220 from Brownells, NOT including hardware.
You might could find one cheaper but I doubt it would add enough to the value to pay for itself.
Now if you came across a real military takeoff at a low price, you might come out ahead. But that will be tough.
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Old June 24, 2014, 03:16 PM   #3
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Here's a shot worth taking- plug your rifle's SN into here- http://oldguns.net/sn_php/milmods.htm Now, what that won't tell you is- if your rifle was re-arsenalled with a period specific barrel. It'll just get you a wee bit closer to determining if it's possible that the barrel and receiver left it's place of manufacture together.

I have a Eddystone 1917 with a receiver date of 4/18, and a barrel date of 3/18. I guess it's possible they were original to each other, however, with all of the other Reington parts on it- I find that a little less likely that they were original to each other.

Yes, correct stocks are out there, but being able to determine which one is specifically dated to 1917 is impossible (I'm 99% sure). You can get one that is correct, but may have been made as late as 1931 with no way to tell the difference.

Edit: I appologize, I thought they would narrow it down to production month, guess not.
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Old June 24, 2014, 05:29 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies and i thought as well that if the barrel was made in late 1917 and the receiver in 1918 itd be likely they are original match although i still cant seem to find anywhere that has info on if this were true or not. Also when researching the serial number all i can find ia the year 1918 nothing more specific such as month to give be a better idea if it were possibly a match to the barrel.

Now since i basically got this rifle for free any value is money in the bank if i ever decide to sell but i think for now i am going to clean it up re blue it and refinish the stock unless i can find one of the original style
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Old June 24, 2014, 05:33 PM   #5
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Heres a pic of it npw i will try to get better pics up later
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File Type: jpg 1391188832696.jpg (84.3 KB, 49 views)
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Old June 24, 2014, 05:38 PM   #6
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Looking at the Serial Number you posted, this applies:

Quote:
WARNING ON “LOW-NUMBER” SPRINGFIELDS

M1903 rifles made before February 1918 utilized receivers and bolts which were single heat-treated by a method that rendered some of them brittle and liable to fracture when fired, exposing the shooter to a risk of serious injury. It proved impossible to determine, without destructive testing, which receivers and bolts were so affected and therefore potentially dangerous.

To solve this problem, the Ordnance Department commenced double heat treatment of receivers and bolts. This was commenced at Springfield Armory at approximately serial number 800,000 and at Rock Island Arsenal at exactly serial number 285,507. All Springfields made after this change are commonly called “high number” rifles. Those Springfields made before this change are commonly called “low-number” rifles.

In view of the safety risk the Ordnance Department withdrew from active service all “low-number” Springfields. During WWII, however, the urgent need for rifles resulted in the rebuilding and reissuing of many “low-number” as well as “high-number” Springfields. The bolts from such rifles were often mixed during rebuilding, and did not necessarily remain with the original receiver.

Generally speaking, “low number” bolts can be distinguished from “high-number” bolts by the angle at which the bolt handle is bent down. All “low number” bolts have the bolt handle bent straight down, perpendicular to the axis of the bolt body. High number bolts have “swept-back” (or slightly rearward curved) bolt handles.

A few straight-bent bolts are of the double heat-treat type, but these are not easily identified, and until positively proved otherwise ANY straight-bent bolt should be assumed to be “low number”. All original swept-back bolts are definitely “high number”. In addition, any bolt marked “N.S.” (for nickel steel) can be safely regarded as “high number” if obtained directly from CMP (beware of re-marked fakes).

CMP DOES NOT RECOMMEND FIRING ANY SPRINGFIELD RIFLE WITH A ”LOW NUMBER” RECEIVER. Such rifles should be regarded as collector’s items, not “shooters”.

CMP ALSO DOES NOT RECOMMEND FIRING ANY SPRINGFIELD RIFLE, REGARDLESS OF SERIAL NUMBER, WITH A SINGLE HEAT-TREATed “LOW NUMBER” BOLT. SUCH BOLTS, WHILE HISTORICALLY CORRECT FOR DISPLAY WITH A RIFLE OF WWI OR EARLIER VINTAGE, MAY BE DANGEROUS TO USE FOR SHOOTING.

THE UNITED STATES ARMY GENERALLY DID NOT SERIALIZE BOLTS. DO NOT RELY ON ANY SERIAL NUMBER APPEARING ON A BOLT TO DETERMINE WHETHER SUCH BOLT IS “HIGH NUMBER” OR “LOW NUMBER”.
You can shoot it at your own risk, however you will not be able to fire it in any CMP or NRA matches.
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Old June 24, 2014, 05:52 PM   #7
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Kraigwy yes as in my original post i am aware of this. And uave fired with no issues and am not worried about it. And i do not shoot at any cmp or nra matches.
Just trying to figure out if the barrel is correct to the receiver.
thanks
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Old June 24, 2014, 06:25 PM   #8
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according to VIshooters barrel date/serial number list, the serial number in question should have a 3-18 dated barrel, sorry fellow, but it's a replacement by someone looking to keep it looking original.

I have bought stocks on Ebay, probably your best bet although there is no dates on the stocks, just make sure that the stock has the proper cartouches and is the proper style. your rifle should have the straight style with grasping grooves.
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Old June 24, 2014, 06:30 PM   #9
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Tahuana001
Thanks for the info much appreciated
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Old June 24, 2014, 08:13 PM   #10
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Barrel manufacture in that era was pretty much automated, and run on multiple machines simultaneously. So barrel production ran well ahead of rifle production, and it is common and correct for a barrel date to be earlier than the date of rifle production. Of course, U.S. rifle receivers were not (and are not) dated, while barrels were, so often both the date of manufacture of the receiver and the date of assembly of the rifle is simply a guess.

(The 800,000 serial number is also a guess. Springfield was little concerned with the kind of production control that is standard in all factories today for just about all products. For one thing, receivers were made and finished, then stored for indefinite periods until needed for assembly. When the cause of the brittleness problem was determined, they just guessed at when the change to double heat treatment was made.)

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Old June 24, 2014, 09:37 PM   #11
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I saw one reference that Springfield started using pyrometers at SN 750001 to prevent "burned metal". So there were 50000 receivers with case hardened actions, but properly done. I do not know the primary source, all I know is what it says at http://www.vishooter.net/sa_serialization.txt
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Old June 25, 2014, 03:28 PM   #12
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The problem was that Springfield made and numbered receivers and stockpiled them until rifles were requested by the using services, at which point they set up to assemble rifles. That custom was carried over from the Krag and the Trapdoor because they never knew whether a given receiver would become a rifle or a carbine; it depended on the order received from the services through COFORD in Washington. That practice made it difficult to determine just when, and at what number, a given change was made. Most sources indicate that the 800,000 number was the "high end"; they knew the change had been made by that point, but not at which point before that. So is 799xxx OK? I don't know. Is 750001 OK? I don't know. And since the problem was itself random, any given number below 800,000 may be OK, or at least as OK as any SHT rifle.

It is worth noting that the process for heat treating didn't change for the '03. They did the same thing for the Krag, same steel, same process. But the Krag cartridge was lower pressure and ammunition was made under better control than in the WWI emergency.

Note that Krags did let go. The attempt to issue a higher velocity round was aborted when rifles failed. Also worth noting is that for both rifles, the original finish, called oil blackening, was part of the heat treatment and quenching process. Krags and early 1903's often show the flaking and "white spots" typical of old oil blackening. When those rifles were returned to the Armory for refinish, the receivers were rust blued, since the oil blackening could not be redone without heating the receiver red hot.

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Old June 25, 2014, 10:47 PM   #13
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I have heard of broken single locking lugs on a Krag.
What happens otherwise when one "lets go?" The safety lug is stout. The Norwegian Krag has it fitted to contact as a locking lug, but on the US Krag, the safety lug touching the receiver is a sign that the front lug is cracked.
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Old June 26, 2014, 10:54 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tahunua001
according to VIshooters barrel date/serial number list, the serial number in question should have a 3-18 dated barrel, sorry fellow, but it's a replacement by someone looking to keep it looking original.
I think you are reading a lot more into that chart than is there. That looks to simply be a survey of barrel dates on a sample of rifles, and the data set is pretty damn small (unless you consider 5 to be a representative sample of the 10,000 rifles between 790,000 and 800,000).

No there is no way to be certain that any barrel/receiver combo is the same as it was when it left Springfield Armory, but Occam's razor still applies. Based on the way SA made rifles at the time, a 1917 barrel fitted to a 1918 receiver is pretty normal, particularly for a rifle made early in the year.

Since the 800,000 number was hit in mid February, a 1917 barrel would not be considered incorrect for a rifle made in January or early February 1918.

As to the low serial number thing, I would probably shoot it, but handload down, using H4895 and Hodgedon's data: https://www.hodgdon.com/PDF/H4895%20...le%20Loads.pdf
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Old June 26, 2014, 01:40 PM   #15
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I agree.
First, a late 1917 barrel on an early 1918 action does not seem odd to me.
We are told that they could not keep track of heat treatments, so why should we think that barrels were matched up exactly?

Second, it has been sporterized, so the very most the OP can do is to return it to "correct" appearance, it will never be original again.
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Old June 26, 2014, 02:34 PM   #16
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alrighty then, I retract my statement, I'm simply going off what's in the sight, I've also seen springfields where the barrels ran 3-4 months in either direction.
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Old June 26, 2014, 06:15 PM   #17
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Cracked locking lugs were the most common failure of Krags, but there were reports of receivers cracking. I think the reason there were no serious failures is because of the lower pressure and the rimmed cartridge, which gave almost full support to the case, so case failure and release of gas into the action was never a problem.

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Old June 26, 2014, 06:31 PM   #18
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Quote:
the rimmed cartridge, which gave almost full support to the case, so case failure and release of gas into the action was never a problem.

Reading recent threads and old literature on the subject, I have come to the conclusion that the only advantage of the rimless cartridge is that it is better suited to the Mauser box magazine.
The rimmed case can be better supported in the chamber with only a small extractor cut, yet it offers plenty of purchase to that extractor. There is no doubt as to headspace control. Of course handloaders still have to take care with head to shouder dimensions to avoid case separation so there is still a place for the feeler gauge.
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Old June 26, 2014, 07:01 PM   #19
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Quote:
Question 1: Is how do i know if the barrel is original?
The stamp on barrel says SA 11-17 A and has the bursting bomb mark.
These rifles went through so many rebuilds that it is just as likely to be a replacement. There were replacement barrels built and issued to maintenance units and there is no reason to believe that a 1917 barrel was not in the mix. But, SA was shut down (for months I heard) as a part of the single heat treat fiasco, so, maybe it is original.

Does it really matter?


Quote:
Reading recent threads and old literature on the subject, I have come to the conclusion that the only advantage of the rimless cartridge is that it is better suited to the Mauser box magazine.
I think that is very true. But that is a big advantage, the Mosin Nagant has a complicated cartridge interrupter, when assembling cartridge clips for the Lee Enfield you have to stack them properly or they will jam in the magazine.

Quote:
The rimmed case can be better supported in the chamber with only a small extractor cut, yet it offers plenty of purchase to that extractor. There is no doubt as to headspace control. Of course handloaders still have to take care with head to shouder dimensions to avoid case separation so there is still a place for the feeler gauge.
As old as the rimmed cartridge is, there are still a number of Russian fully automatic weapons in use with the things. I saw a picture of an ISIS militia member who had a belt of rimmed cartridges going into his machine gun. I think rimmed cartridges make life a little more difficult for the designer in terms of feed, but the advantages you mention are real.

Quote:
I saw one reference that Springfield started using pyrometers at SN 750001 to prevent "burned metal".
I don't know if the forge shop workers used the pyrometers. I recently found that they were paid piece rate, so it would have been in their financial benefit to crank up the heat, stamp out receivers faster, which would have resulted in burnt receivers, pyrometers or not.
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Old June 26, 2014, 07:21 PM   #20
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"Of course handloaders still have to take care with head to shouder dimensions to avoid case separation so there is still a place for the feeler gauge."

I am not sure I understand, Jim. With a rimmed case, if headspace is correct, case separation is almost impossible. If the chamber is too large or the case sized to be too small, the case will simply expand to fill the chamber.

That does not mean, as some say, that there is no such thing as excess headspace with a rimmed cartridge. If the bolt can move back too far under pressure, you can get case separation and if the case can protrude far enough from the chamber, it will burst and wreck the rifle.

The old Lee rifle receivers actually flexed under extreme pressure; with the center lugs, that allowed the bolt to pull away from the chamber far enough to allow the case to burst and wreck the rifle.

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Old June 26, 2014, 07:59 PM   #21
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Well, the headspace of a rimmed round is the thickness of the rim/depth of the rim recess in bolt or barrel. But shoulder setback would still matter.
I would expect, that if rimmed cartridges were more "modern" and common, that they would be treated like belted magnums; sized so that the case shoulder was located at the chamber shoulder.

The late Remington Lees had front locking lugs.
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Old June 26, 2014, 08:36 PM   #22
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Headspace in a rimmed case is the same as for a rimless case - the distance from the stopping point of the case to the face of the breechblock.

The difference is that for a rimmed case, the stopping point is the face of the breech, where for a rimless case it is a point in the shoulder of the chamber.

In a rimmed case, headspace is some defined distance greater than the rim thickness. For example, the .30-30 rim thickness spec is .062"-063"; the headspace spec is .063"-.070".

Belted magnums really are rimmed cases. When H&H came up with the .375 H&H Magnum, they wanted to use a rimless case for easy feeding. But they found out that the tiny shoulder would not be enough for longitudinal case support against the firing pin. Without that support, misfires and inaccuracy (due to inconsistent primer ignition) would result.*

So they built in what amounts to a new rim, the belt. Contrary to common belief, the belt does not add strength to the case; it is too far back to support the case walls.

If the shoulder of a rimmed or belted case is set back during re-sizing, firing in a rifle with proper headspace will simply blow it back out to fill the chamber. Only if the rear of the case can move back far enough to exceed the elasticity of the case material, will the case separate. That will not happen if the headspace is within specified limits, since those limits take the elasticity of the case into consideration.

There is a belief that with a case like the .303 British or .30-40 that there is some need for the case shoulder to be tight against the chamber shoulder, and that setting the shoulder back too far in reloading will cause excess headspace. That is not true. The only advantage of keeping resizing to a minimum is greater case life, since there will be less flexing of the brass at the case shoulder. But that has nothing to do with headspace.

*A recurring problem with the .35 Remington!

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Old June 26, 2014, 08:40 PM   #23
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Quote:
With a rimmed case, if headspace is correct, case separation is almost impossible
Its not as "almost impossible" as you would think.

Quote:
If the chamber is too large or the case sized to be too small, the case will simply expand to fill the chamber.
This is absolutely true, but this is also when the case can separate. I have had complete case head separation in SMLE .303 rifles. It absolutely can happen.

The headspace can be correct, (proper dimension for the rim), and the chamber/case size relationship can still be excessive enough for cases to fail.

That kind of thing is seldom a problem when firing a round ONCE, as usually cases will not fail the first time. Usually. Reloaders, on the other hand have to pay close attention to avoid issues.
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Old June 27, 2014, 07:39 AM   #24
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Neither of MY .35 Remingtons had any trouble holding headspace, nor a friend's that I shot a bit.

The normal recommendation for belted cartridges is to treat them like rimless and resize them to "headspace" against the shoulder.
Routine sizing back to factory dimensions is said to lead to case separation in front of the belt, just like a rimless with the shoulder set back too far, too often. I can't say for sure, I don't belt.
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Old June 27, 2014, 02:57 PM   #25
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If it is necessary for rimmed and belted cases to be "headspaced" on the shoulder, how come the headspace gauges are only short plugs and not full length.

As to case separation, I too have had separation in a .303, but it was due to excess headspace, and I suspect yours was also. Note the disclaimer in what I wrote. I said "if the headspace is correct", the case will blow out to fill the chamber instead of case separation taking place. The pressure expands the thin front of the case outward and forward without stretching the case enough for separation. Separation is caused when pressure sticks the front of the case to the chamber walls, but the bolt can move back enough to allow the rear of the case to pull back and tear the case apart. I suppose it could happen some other way; I know of none, but am willing to be educated if someone comes up with a reasonable explanation (not just "it happens").

As to .35 Remington, one of the big PITAs as a gunsmith, was the parade of guns in that caliber (mostly Marlins) that had erratic firing. It took a while to figure out that a chamber that was even a bit "loose" (cut with a new reamer, I guess) would allow a slightly undersize cartridge to "cushion" and cause misfires. The occurrences were random. Sometimes, we could correct the problem by fiddling with the firing pin, other rifles had to be sent back to the factory.

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