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Old November 16, 2012, 10:06 PM   #1
jmtbiggin
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1903 ?

I bought my Springfield 1903 a few years ago,long before I had heard about less than 800000 problems. Learned about the problem,checked my serial number,and no worries....or maybe not. I have serial 152xxxx, Springfield Armory. Barrel has flaming ball with 10-13 stamped on it. The "1" in the millions place has always seemed differently spaced than the other six.So i look up the number 152xxxx, it was made around '39.Then i looked up 52xxxx,1912.Seems like a 1913 barrel with a 1912 action is a more likely pair than a 1939 action with a 1913 barrel. I will try and get pics up.Anyone ever experienced falsified springfield serial numbers before. I hope this aint what I think..... a 650$ dust collector,already got burned once with 93 mauser in .243. Had I joined these forums then bought I could've avoided this.I wish I could type a few cuss words now. BTW I have countless rounds fired thru the Springfield. Ignorance is bliss.Thoughts???
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Old November 16, 2012, 10:28 PM   #2
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If it hasn't been problematic I would continue to enjoy it.
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Old November 16, 2012, 11:04 PM   #3
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Tried to put up pic but files are to big???????
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Old November 17, 2012, 08:38 AM   #4
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Had the boss(aka wife) help with pics
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Old November 17, 2012, 09:50 AM   #5
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Considering that some of the early Springfield receivers shattered when hit with a hammer blow, it is unlikely anyone would have been able to add a "1" to a low serial number.
To me, a 1913 barrel on a 1939 receiver isn't anything to amaze---the 1903 rifle has to be the king of parts swapping, or at least the co-regent with the Garand.
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Old November 17, 2012, 10:39 AM   #6
nate45
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I'm no expert OP, but I know that in WW2 when 1903s and 1917 Enfields were refurbished, the smiths would just grab a good part they needed from the bin and install it, no thought was given to matching years and manufacturers.

Lets say your receiver is a '39. Lets further speculate that it had a rough looking bore, smith grabs a 1913 barrel, puts it on. It happened all the time.

Although you are correct, the one does look slightly odd and a 1912 receiver could very well have originally had a 1913 barrel. If you're really worried, take it to an expert. There is no way to tell for sure over the net.
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Old November 17, 2012, 11:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
I bought my Springfield 1903 a few years ago,long before I had heard about less than 800000 problems. Learned about the problem,checked my serial number,and no worries....or maybe not. I have serial 152xxxx, Springfield Armory. Barrel has flaming ball with 10-13 stamped on it. The "1" in the millions place has always seemed differently spaced than the other six.So i look up the number 152xxxx, it was made around '39.Then i looked up 52xxxx,1912.Seems like a 1913 barrel with a 1912 action is a more likely pair than a 1939 action with a 1913 barrel. I will try and get pics up.Anyone ever experienced falsified springfield serial numbers before. I hope this aint what I think..... a 650$ dust collector,already got burned once with 93 mauser in .243. Had I joined these forums then bought I could've avoided this.I wish I could type a few cuss words now. BTW I have countless rounds fired thru the Springfield. Ignorance is bliss.Thoughts???
First its almost a certainty that the serial number was altered. Depth of punch, alignment all are different and that is not seen on Springfield.

I am sending you a picture of what a good one looks like though the picture is not the best.

I will the link to a CMP member and get his take.

The firing gives some confidence as does the age of the gun. Use good name brand ammo and if you re-load, use good brass. The receiver failure is due to gas escape not pressure which is taken by the barrel.

Also if reload do not use low loads. Something in the mid range that ensures a good pressure seal on the brass.

The only reason to change the serial is to get a low number receiver out of the heat treat range so questions are not raised though in turn its dumb to leave the barrel as is.

While I am personally not a proponent of the fear of the low number receivers, having someone punch stamps into one raises a question I cannot answer. Keep in mind most were just fine and took proof firings just fine.

I.e. does it impinge on the receiver as it was not done in the same manner and with same force as the original. Did they stamp the serial in before heat treating? If so post heat treat stamp would be ?

And while its is possible to get a 1913 barrel on a newer receiver, it is extremely unlikely for it to occur.

Thsoe early barrels were used up al ong tiem prior and you will see post, but very few pre and certianly not that kind of a strech.

You rarely see it go that wide a gap, and far more likely a readily available WWII barrel. Ergo, it looks like a deliberate deceit.

Any idea what condition the barrel is in? A gunsmith with the right gauge can tell you how the boar and throat look wear wise.
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Old November 17, 2012, 11:32 AM   #8
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IMHO, The SN looks OK - 'less you think the "7" is bogus too .



Is there an "NS" (nickel steel) stamp in the underside of the root of the bolt handle ?
If so, you can be doubly reassured all's well.



.
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Old November 17, 2012, 11:43 AM   #9
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Looks good to me. I think the barrel has simply been changed out for an earlier one for whatever reason. I have a M1903 in the 1.2 million range and the beginning "1" is struck much deeper than the "1" at the end of my sn. Also, your serial number would not be well centered on the receiver if that "1" were missing.

Shoot it and enjoy it!
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Old November 17, 2012, 01:47 PM   #10
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PetahW, it sure is 2 distinct "font" styles aint it.
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Old November 17, 2012, 03:46 PM   #11
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I passed this by my brother who is far more knowledgeable than I am as well as a very good eye.

He believes its very possibly legit receiver serial number.

I passed that onto the OP as well.

I gather there was one recent great debate before one guy was able to convince the others he was right.

If its that hard for them ...........
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Old November 17, 2012, 10:12 PM   #12
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I've been a Springfield 03 fan for more than 50 years...and I can tell you, they can provide an endless supply of questions. Authenticity is always a question, but rarely the serial number. Most questions are in regard to various parts...are they original or replacement.

It must be understood that probably better than 90% of them were rebuilt, often several times over the course of their service lives, and untold numbers were sent overseas as "lend-lease" or outright gifts to our allies. CMP returns from overseas, most particularly Greece, have again muddied the water. Several of my 03's share this heritage and I treasure them almost as much as my "never" imported ones.

Below, I've added several pics of some of my serial numbers. Of them all, I am absolutely sure of only two, 1389506, a bono fide "National Match" 1903, documented, and 3510, a .22lr Springfield. For the first, I have the sales receipt from Camp Perry in the early '30's. For the 2nd, I am confident through hours of research. I post the pics for your comparison....note the imprint of the "1"...noticeably similar to that of your rifle...even on my National Match and the vintage M2. Note that the "1" extends, infinitesimally, below the other serial numerals.

Note too the punch mark on some of the "receiver shelves", (that extension on the right side that allows add'l support for the bolt race), and the piercing for the gas relief port. In my view, yours is the same. Some Springfield collectors have opined that the punch mark indicates that the rifle, most particularly, the receiver has been re-barreled. It may be that or it may be that the punch mark was a part of the hardness testing process, after the brittle receiver controversy came up.

As to the safety of your particular '03, that you'll have to decide for yourself. You may find Brophy's epic, "The 1903 Springfield Rifles" invaluable...and a bit confusing...it's a 616 pg. tome! Crossman's, "The Book of the Springfield" as well as Campbell's, "The 03 Era" are less lengthly but good references as well. My only reservation is the barrel date. Rebarreled rifles in my collection, have later dates...some just a few years and one in 1944. Not saying that a '13 barrel could not have been added to your receiver, but I've not encountered one.

That said, you rifle's receiver was one of the last produced, if authentic, and the parts bins may have been getting low at that time. Who's to say that a '13 barrel wasn't down there on the bottom. Remember, US Marines went ashore on Guadalcanal carrying both low numbered and high numbered "03 Springfields. They did their own rebuild on rifles, some in Philly, some at Springfield, and it could have been one of theirs.

As to the safety of "low numbered Springfields", I have found reference in one of the above books, to inspecting the recoil lug's forward guard screw hole. In a low number Springfield with the dreaded '"brittle" receiver, that hole and it's extension below the lug, was sometimes chipped.

I once owned a low numbered Rock Island '03 with its original barrel that was superbly accurate with any good bullet and powder combination. Even with that antiquated 'ladder' sight, I have 2-3", 200 yd groups from my then 40 year old eyes. The lug and the forward guard screw seat were not chipped and I felt confident in its strength. Nevertheless, I did not try to magnamize it, and shot good 2700 fps match loads with good target success.
But in case you mis-read me, I am not advocating anyone shooting a low number Springfield...I am relating references for further study, and my own experience.

Here at the pics: A cpl thoughts: Note the alignment of numbers, the location of the gas relief hole under the 3rd digit from the right, the punch marks on the receiver shelf, and the even quality of the nomenclature as it was stamped on the curved receiver surface, i.e. there is no 'thinning' at the top and bottom of the letters. For your info., only the National Match has not been refinished...the other two have but at some arsenal using an industrial process, not your local gunsmith shop...

Hope this helps...Rod


Below, is a documented National Match '03, most likely produced in 1931 and no doubt rebuilt after the matches at Perry. Note the "1" in the serial number and its similarity to your rifle's number. Also note the punch mark and that the serial number is not centered exactly.




This pic, below, is of a "Greek" return, 03 just a few thousand from your receiver. Again note the "1" in the serial number and its similarity. Again there is the punch mark.




Below, is another "high" number. Note the "1" again, centering of the serial number etc. Another "Greek" return...



This last pic shows the receiver of an M2 .22lr Springfield from the early '30's. I include it for the appearance of its serial number. Note the "1" again.


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Old November 18, 2012, 08:07 AM   #13
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rodfac the pics make me feel better. Sweet 22. i want one!!!!
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Old November 18, 2012, 09:25 AM   #14
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Regarding deeper "1" digits than the others. . . . .

If you look closely, numbers in post 8 that have longer lines to make it are shallowere than those with shorter lines. That's cause there's more resistance to the stamp with them. Short lines go deeper than longer ones. The dies for each were all struck with about the same force from the hammer.

If you stamped a "period", or "." in the serial number area striking the die with the same force, it would be the deepest one.

This is more visible with softer metals.
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Old November 18, 2012, 11:03 AM   #15
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Photobucket has screwed itself up royal and I cannot access my library and post 03 serial numbers. You can find examples of stamping styles on the web. The stamping on your receiver looks very sloppy and looks very suspect to me. You have hidden the rest of your rifle, but it does look like a later bolt handle.

It would be very unusual to find a 1913 barrel on a late model receiver. Barrels wear out before receivers.

As to the safety of your rifle heck that is impossible to determine. There are "good" low number receivers and "bad" low number receivers. The Army could not sort them out and decided to destroy all low number receivers due to the number of problems they were having.

The most dangerous condition is a case head rupture where gas spills back into the receiver. Even in "good" receivers, low number receivers are made from plain carbon steels and these receivers tend to fail in a brittle fashion. That is they frag. All 03's have the same bad gas handling characteristics and gas, wood fragments, and brass particles go straight back into the shooter.

I would keep loads light, remember most of the rounds made were closer to 40K psia than 50 Kpsia, use only the best brass, and always wear shooting glasses. One poor fellow who had a National Ordnance M1903A3 give way wrote that he still had brass particles in his eyes and it burnt to look at the sun.

Quote:
That said, you rifle's receiver was one of the last produced, if authentic, and the parts bins may have been getting low at that time. Who's to say that a '13 barrel wasn't down there on the bottom. Remember, US Marines went ashore on Guadalcanal carrying both low numbered and high numbered "03 Springfields. They did their own rebuild on rifles, some in Philly, some at Springfield, and it could have been one of theirs.
I consider it a criminal decision to retain rifles with a known defect, a defect, while rare, when the rifle broke it injured Soldiers and had the potential to kill the shooter or a stander by.

Safety standards of the day were different. People were cheap and things were expensive. A Soldiers health and life were worth less than a $40.00 rifle.

But times change.

I do not consider my eyes, my health to be worth $40.00 or less, or even $650.00.
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Old November 18, 2012, 08:40 PM   #16
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your number 1 looks alright to me. just because it has a predated barrel does not necessarily mean that the reciever is from that time period. it just means that your particular rifle needed a new one at some point and whoever was doing the just so happened to have a 1913 with decent rifling sitting at the top of his parts pile.
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Old November 18, 2012, 10:05 PM   #17
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"The stamping on your receiver..."

Stamping?
If the serial number on a glass-hard '03 receiver has been faked, it won't be stamped, it'll be machine engraved to look like a stamp.
And for what this costs, they'll put the numbers on straight, so there will be no questions.
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Old November 18, 2012, 10:19 PM   #18
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what's all this nonsense about "fragile glass receivers"?

the serials were stamped in the first place, the receivers were just as brittle the day they were made as they are now...

seriously...
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Old November 19, 2012, 12:32 AM   #19
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I was told by someone I consider well informed, that the numbers are actually rolled in, not stamped. The individual numbers wore out and were replaced and some wore out sooner than others. Ergo erratic "stampings" though that really should be "rollings". And if truly that brittle would they not refuse to roll in?

Quote:
I would keep loads light, remember most of the rounds made were closer to 40K psia than 50 Kpsia, use only the best brass, and always wear shooting glasses. One poor fellow who had a National Ordnance M1903A3 give way wrote that he still had brass particles in his eyes and it burnt to look at the sun.
Something to consider that was pointed out to me. You want medium loads, not light. Light loads do not expand the brass as well and may not provide a good "seal" which is the issue (blow-back into the receiver).

There is also some history of erratic low loads creating a pressure pulse. Much disagreement on that issue and why, but the basics are its better to stay away from it for any gun and use good brass (and that blow through can occur with any 1903 receiver though the A3s added another vent hole).

Quote:
I consider it a criminal decision to retain rifles with a known defect, a defect, while rare, when the rifle broke it injured Soldiers and had the potential to kill the shooter or a stander by.
Criminal or not, there have been numerous tests done and while a decision was made to destroy many, the evidence showed that used with decent brass and not doing things like greasing bullets, the issue ceased. Noting that the Marine corp reported no blown up receiver in WWII and that would have been in grim battle field conditions.

I continue to shoot a quesitonalbe heat treated bolt and would a low receiver rifle, though I would counsel anyone to make their own decision.

Quote:
Safety standards of the day were different. People were cheap and things were expensive. A Soldiers health and life were worth less than a $40.00 rifle.
I am not sure safety standards exactly apply to war. Friendly fire killed significant numbers of people but they did not (and to this day) quit using artillery, air support and machine guns. To this day I remember the account of a BAR gunner who shot one of his own people in the back. Short fused grenades went off in their hands as did mortars and virtually every other implement of war turn on the operator at one time or another.

The Marines did not have any other weapons and they used what they had. The Army did have a choice as significant numbers of M1s were in servcie when they entered combat.

War itself is terrible and terrible things happen including men wasted by incompetent officers. A receiver that has passed a proof test would seem to be a hang nail in comparison to a heart attack.
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Old November 19, 2012, 10:26 AM   #20
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For what it's worth:

The CMP bands low number Springfields from their matches. Per rules they arn't allowed to be used.

That serial number looks altered to me. I'll just say, as a CMP GSM Master Instructor, if I saw it, I would not allow it to be used in a CMP Clinic or Match I was running.
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Old November 20, 2012, 11:27 AM   #21
Willie D
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Here's a low serial 1903 with a "1" stuck similar to the OP's. This was obviously not done to alter the number. I think it's rather apparent that there are plenty of 1903's with heavily done/non-uniform "1"s.



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Old November 20, 2012, 01:40 PM   #22
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So kraigwy, you would not allow my rifle to participate.Why? Would you allow rodfacs sprinfield 1389506 to participate? Why? Just from what I'm seeing and reading there are either alot of altered numbers or the serial numbers never had real consistancy. Not trying to nit pick. I understand saftey first. Just curious.
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Old November 20, 2012, 02:02 PM   #23
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I am also curous as to that myself. before your post there were several images that support the argument that this is a legitimate serial number and you would throw it out of a CMP match anyway. I have seen you make the same remark several times on other threads about the 1903 and it makes me wonder just what springfields you WOULD allow into a springfield match for the CMP?
apparently 1,000,000 and up serial numbers are not safe so apparently if it is not a 1903A3 then you are out of luck chuck at Kraigwy's CMP match.
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Old November 20, 2012, 02:02 PM   #24
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I didn't make the rules. The CMP did, and for safety reasons.

However as a CMP GSM MI, I'm bound to follow their rules. It's not really hard to tell if a serial number has been modiified.

When in doubt, I error on the side of Safety.

I do take rifles to matches for those who don't have rifles and want to shoot a CMP Clinic/Match. Anyone is more then willing to shoot my rifles.

The rules weren't put in place to prevent people from shooting, they are there for safety issues.

CMP Competition Rules. 16th Edition -2012

Quote:
6.3.3 As-Issured M1903 Springfield:

Caliber .30 U.S. Model 1903 Springfield rifles manufactured by Springfield Armory with serial numbers of 810,000 or lower or by Rock Island Aresenal with serial numbers of 285,506 or lower may not be used in any CMP-sanctioned competition.
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Old November 20, 2012, 02:19 PM   #25
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I'm not arguing with the CMPs rules. I'm just saying that more than 1 person have come forward with documented sources to say that the OPs serial number is genuine and meets CMPs standards and you still say that you would not allow him to compete with it anyway.
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