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Old October 21, 2006, 08:10 PM   #1
dbuffington
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30 U.S.Mod. 1903? = 30-03?

Hi Folks!

I've come upon a Winchester Model 1895 marked "30 U.S.Mod. 1903".

Is that the same as "30-03" caliber?

If yes, anyone have any information on the availability of reloading supplies (dies, brass, et al)?

Thanks!
Dave
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Old October 21, 2006, 08:53 PM   #2
Mike Irwin
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Yes. That's the official name of the cartridge.

Dies will probably be a problem. You can custom order them, but they will be expensive. You MIGHT be able to get away with using .30-06 dies, but it might be iffy, especially with a lever action.

Suitable brass can be made from either .270 Winchester or .280 Remington.

Bullets are the same as for the .30-06, and in fact your loading data is simply .30-06.
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Old October 21, 2006, 09:01 PM   #3
dbuffington
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Many thanks, Mike!

Now, for the twist...

The gun was advertised at auction as a 30-06, and I've read that very many 30-03s were rechambered for 30-06.

The gun feeds, chambers and ejects 30-06 cartridges easily. (No, I have not attempted to fire one.) The elderly owner had several boxes of 30-06 cartridges. No boxes of 30-03 cartridges. And no other 30-06 rifle.

Given the nearly identical dimensions of the 30-06 and 30-03 cartridge, how the heck can I be sure which one I have? I wonder whether even a chamber casting will provide a clear answer.

And more importantly, does it matter?

Thanks!
Dave
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Old October 21, 2006, 09:26 PM   #4
Jimro
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The differences between 30-03 and 30-06 are few

But the 30-06 is slightly shorter, so it would chamber and eject readily. I would check headspace, or have a gunsmith do it, because excessive headspace is a bad thing. If it headspaces ok for a 30-06 then you can avoid the cost of expensive dies.

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Old October 21, 2006, 10:34 PM   #5
Dave Haven
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"All" the military .30-'03 rifles were recalled and re-chambered to .30-'06. Some may have fallen through the cracks.
It would be highly unlikely to find a rifle chambered in .30-'03.
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Old October 21, 2006, 10:47 PM   #6
Jim Watson
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True, Dave. But an 1895 Winchester is not a military rifle. They apparently sold pretty well for the short time the load was standard. And since they will shoot .30-06 well enough to hit a moose, few were converted.
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Old October 21, 2006, 11:32 PM   #7
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Good point. Thanks for the correction.
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Old October 22, 2006, 01:40 AM   #8
Mike Irwin
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""All" the military .30-'03 rifles were recalled and re-chambered to .30-'06. Some may have fallen through the cracks.
It would be highly unlikely to find a rifle chambered in .30-'03."

A fair number of .30-03 Springfields are still in circulation. They're mainly collector items now, though.

As Jim noted, the Model 95 wasn't a military gun. Well, sort of not a military gun.... The Czarist Russians bought almost 60% of total Model 95 production to arm troops during WW I. Quite a few thousand were also chambered in .303 British and sold to the Canadians.

The .30-06 cartridge was created by shortening the neck of the .30-03 by .07". No other changes were made to the brass itself.

It's possible to fire .30-06 in a .30-03 chamber, the only thing that happens is that the bullet has a longer jump into the leade, so accuracy might be affected. I've seen accuracy issues reported.

In some rifles it might be possible to seat the bullet out farther so that the overall cartridge length more closely matches that of the .30-03.
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Old October 22, 2006, 07:19 AM   #9
dbuffington
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Thanks to all! I'll take it to the range in the next few days and put a variety of 30-06 cartridges through it. We'll see what happens.

Thanks again!
Dave
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Old November 6, 2006, 02:08 PM   #10
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I got to the range on Sunday for some testing...

Test 1: I tried off-the-shelf Remington 30-06 cartridges. Accuracy was poor (4 inch groups of 3 shots at 50 yards). The necks were visibly stretched, suggesting that this is indeed a 30-03 gun.

Test 2: I tried a handload using 30-06 brass, 30-06 die and trimming the neck to 30-06 length (2.49 inch case length). However, I used a bullet (Speer 2022) that seemed shaped better to handle the .07 inch neck gap. Also, I seated the bullet out as far as I could and maintain good feeding (3.27 inch overall length).
With this load there was very slight neck stretching and good accuracy (1.25 inch 3 shot group at 50 yards).

Test 3: I tried a handload using 280 Remington brass and the same 30-06 die. (Many thanks to the folks at Redding who told me that there was no need for a custom 30-03 die. The 30-06 die worked perfectly.) That gave me a case length of about 2.52 inches, still a bit short of the 30-03 2.54 inch standard, but closer. Again, I used the Speer 2022 bullet and seated it for 3.27 inch overall length.
With this load there was no neck stretching and good accuracy (1.50 inch 3 shot group at 50 yards).

Two notes:
- Accuracy here was limited by my aging eyes, the simple sandbag benchrest and the gun’s peep sight. I strongly suspect that better eyes and a better benchrest rig would produce better results.
- In both Test 2 and Test 3, every primer backed out a small, but visible, amount. I was using a light load (54 grains of H414) and magnum primers. So I strongly suspect the cause of the backed out primers was _low_ pressure, not excessive pressure. (See Page 54 of the current Speer reloading manual for an explanation.)
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Old November 6, 2006, 04:03 PM   #11
Mike Irwin
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Excellent!

Now how about some pictures of the gun in question?
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Old November 7, 2006, 10:54 AM   #12
dbuffington
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Quote:
Now how about some pictures of the gun in question?
Your wish is my command...


Hosted at gunworth.org

Enjoy!
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Old November 7, 2006, 02:57 PM   #13
30Cal
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Ohhhhhh nice!!!!!
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Old November 7, 2006, 05:29 PM   #14
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