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Old October 30, 2012, 11:34 PM   #1
Keepin_Jeepin
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Springfield model 1903

I have a Serial number 682352 gun that I can put best at 1917

http://www.bowersweapons.com/US%20MO...R%20RANGES.htm

I am wondering if that is accurate because its near mint condition and I am also wondering what its worth.

I am going to keep it, just curious as to what I really have, thanks.



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Old October 30, 2012, 11:50 PM   #2
tahunua001
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oldguns.net also dates it to 1917.
you have a single heat treatment rifle which according to common knowledge is considered unsafe to fire(safe to fire serial numbers start at 800,000 for springfields). however based on the fact that it has been heavily sporterised I am going to say that it has already been test fired a great deal and you shouldn't have anything to worry about. it has been rebarreled with a later style 1903A3 barrel. the barrel should have flaming bomb ordnance mark, 2 letters indicating manufacturer and month and year of manufacture, for instance a remington made barrel from april of 1943 would read:
RA
(flaming bomb)
4-43

it has an aftermarket rear sight that allows for windage and elevation adjustments while factory sights were not adjustable once they left springfield. overall I would say that it is a very nice sporterized springfield worth around $350-400.

good find. it should be a great shooter.
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Old October 30, 2012, 11:53 PM   #3
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Wow thanks for all the info.

What makes it worth such a little amount? I hate to admit it but I paid 800 dollars for it. Well I got it in a trade I valued at 800 dollars, actually. Same difference though.
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Old October 30, 2012, 11:56 PM   #4
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The fact that it has been sporterized is what brings the value down. Original 03' are in the $600+ price range from what I've seen.
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Old October 31, 2012, 12:01 AM   #5
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OUCH!, sorry to have to tell you this but $800 is what original condition with 80% or more parts matching are going for. once the reciever has been drilled and tapped for scopes or sights the value instantly gets cut in half with no recoverable value. the entire thing that drives the C&R rifle market is collectability and collectors want rifles the way they were the day they left the battle field for the last time. sporterized rifles, though they are easier to hunt with and are often more accurate no longer have as much historical value so they usually end up sitting on the back shelves at the gun store and usually get sold as cheap alternatives to new production rifles.

out of curiosity, is there a letter stamped on the underside of the bolt handle? what markings are on the barrel near the muzzle?
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Old October 31, 2012, 12:31 AM   #6
Keepin_Jeepin
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I will get you better pictures give me 10 or 15 minutes
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Old October 31, 2012, 12:42 AM   #7
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Old October 31, 2012, 12:53 AM   #8
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alright your barrel is a remington from december of 43.

I have never seen that stamp on the top of the bolt handle so I can't say for sure what it is, then again every bolt handle I have ever seen has been either Remington or aftermarket.

your rear sight looks welded on. if it was cold welded(IE JB weld) then you could hammer it off and clean it up with sand paper and re-parkerize the metal and return it to stock. the fact that it does not appear drilled and tapped raises the value but not by much.

in order to return this rifle to stock a person would need a springfield made barrel specific to the 1903 which are hard to find and spendy and a USGI stock which are also hard to come by so pretty much it's more trouble to convert than it is to just leave it as it is, as a very nice sporterized rifle that will serve it's owner well.
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Old October 31, 2012, 01:11 AM   #9
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Sorry I didnt get a great one of the sight. Should I get a better one for you?

Thanks... is it worth keeping as a shooter? I am not sure how I feel having a gun this old I actually use. I have some pretty rare original guns but this one has been molested . I am not nearly as interested in it now as I was, however I still like it as a plinker or midrange target shooter.

I do know a guy wanting a big gun for a Ingram Mac 10 he has. Would it be worth trading/selling/keeping? I am less of a collector and more of a shooter. The only guns I keep as 'collector guns' are the ones from Grampa, and this gun is not from him.

Thanks for the help and information I really appreciate it
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Old October 31, 2012, 09:05 AM   #10
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CMP DOES NOT RECOMMEND FIRING ANY SPRINGFIELD RIFLE WITH A ”LOW NUMBER” RECEIVER. Such rifles should be regarded as collector’s items, not “shooters”.

Regardless whether it's bee sporterized or not, it considered UNSAFE TO FIRE.

Low number Springfields are not allow to be fired in any CMP GSM Matches.

Some people shoot them, that does not make it safe to shoot.

I know, as a CMP GSM Master Instructor, if I see any low number Springfields at a match or clinic I run, I will have them removed from the firing line.
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Old October 31, 2012, 11:17 AM   #11
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Quote:
CMP DOES NOT RECOMMEND FIRING ANY SPRINGFIELD RIFLE WITH A ”LOW NUMBER” RECEIVER. Such rifles should be regarded as collector’s items, not “shooters”.

Regardless whether it's bee sporterized or not, it considered UNSAFE TO FIRE.

Low number Springfields are not allow to be fired in any CMP GSM Matches.

Some people shoot them, that does not make it safe to shoot.

I know, as a CMP GSM Master Instructor, if I see any low number Springfields at a match or clinic I run, I will have them removed from the firing line.
I'm pretty sure CMP states this as a release of liability. the ban on low serial rifles is also a legal issue, if someone is injured during a match CMP and the local range can be held liable so they ban them as a CYA gesture.
last I knew sporterized springfields are also not allowed in CMP competitions.
also the receiver failures were caused by a combination of overcooking the receivers and casing failures, the only way that the failures could be recreated in a lab was to load them with cartridges loaded with over 150% standard pressure loads.

OP I would say that it would be a good one to keep around as a shooter. I am not familiar enough with mac 10s to offer any trade advice on that matter. what you choose to do with it is your business but I would recommend shooting it a couple times before making the decision to sell it/trade it away. these rifles were fired hundreds and sometimes thousands of times during WWI and WWII, a few 3 shot groups aren't going to hurt it.
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Old October 31, 2012, 05:15 PM   #12
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Well if its going to make a good shooter I will just keep it, thanks for all the info!!!
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Old October 31, 2012, 05:36 PM   #13
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Listen to the advice not to shoot it, it isn't just to release CMP from liability. While it is true a relatively small amount had the receivers blow up, do you want to risk having it blow up on you? Sorry you had to get burnt on the trade but lesson learned, salvage what you can by selling it off as a parts gun with the disclaimer that it is considered unsafe to shoot.
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Old October 31, 2012, 05:37 PM   #14
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When Slamfire comes along, he will present The Other Side from what tahuna says.

Me? I just don't get into the debate or the guns. My only remaining Springfield is a double heat treated Mk I which I figure is fine for standard .30-06
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Old October 31, 2012, 06:42 PM   #15
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low serial numbered Springfields are a...er...controversial subject to say the least. there are many that read a great deal that read the findings of the study that caused the change in heat treatment process and do have a very valid argument against firing these weapons however I am of the train of thought that believes that since the failures often coincided with casing failures caused by pre WWI shoddy cartridge design and that any that were unsafe to fire would have been weeded out over the course of 2 world wars.

valid arguments for both, neither side likes to give up ground, often results in discussions getting heated and threads closed.
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Old October 31, 2012, 08:05 PM   #16
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When Slamfire comes along, he will present The Other Side from what tahuna says.

I enjoy poking holes in fictitious beliefs on these older receivers. People who own the things make up stories why these receivers are perfectly safe to justify their purchase.

I am not a fan boy of any pre 1920 receiver because period metallurgy, process controls, were primitive. While the M98 action was the best design ever (I am biased) M98’s from that era had their own workmanship issues. I recommend reading Dieter Storz’s book: “Rifle & Carbine 98: M98 Firearms of the German Army from 1898 to 1918” to find things like Amberg produced bolts broke at the rate of 1 per 1000. Probably typical for that era.

It is apparent that the American single heat treat receivers were made using obsolete equipment (they did not use pyrometers till 1918!) and poor process controls. The Germans were using temperature sensors in 1906 but Springfield Armory relied on worker’s eyeballs to judge forging temperatures. It is incredible to realize that Springfield Army had been producing receivers since 1903 with a systemic defect and did not acknowledge it till receivers burst at a commercial ammunition plant in 1917, 14 years after production started. All of these problems show that Army Management was asleep at the switch. The Colonel in charge was mostly likely playing polo on the parade ground, and currying the Generals’ favor, instead of managing the details of his production facility.

In so far as safety features the M1903 has almost none. Off the top of my head the Hatcher Hole was the primary one adopted later and it is basically worthless in preventing gas from going in the shooter’s eye or doing much of anything else.

By the time you get to 1920, so many receivers have broken with crappy WW1 ammunition and poorly made single heat treat receivers the Army creates a coverup with greased bullets, and continues the coverup with the 1921 tin can ammunition; passing all blame onto civilian shooters.

However by the late 20’s it becomes apparent through accidents that the single heat treat receivers are too risky for the troops and in 1928 the Army makes the ultimate decision to scrap 1, 085,507 single heat treat rifles when the rifles come in for rebuild. This is a large bunch of defective rifles as in 1928 Springfield Armory was at serial number 1,285,266.

I consider this a criminal decision in terms of today’s society. The Army made the decision to keep a defective $40.00 product in service, and if a trooper lost an eye, a hand, before that defective rifle made it way to depot for rebuild, well that was just too bad for the trooper.

The basic problem the Army had then, and it is just as true for today, is non destructively figuring out which were the good receivers. If the receiver was over heated in the forging shop ovens it will be weak. If you have an overpressure event the receiver is prone to fragment. Today’s steels have more elasticity and today’s’ breeching methods will protect the shooter more. These old guns, really only the M98 has superior shooter protection features, and the metallurgy for all of them stink.

There are good liability reasons why organizations selling these things don’t recommend anyone shooting them at all, or in their matches. They have a known history of failure. These actions are a risky unknown.

Examining the pictures you have a WW2 bolt, a WW2 barrel, probably a 50’s Fajen stock, and a old receiver.

If you plan to shoot the thing if would recommend reloading for it and sticking to loads that are closer to 40,000 psia than 50,000 psia. The original 30-06 load was a 150 grain bullet at 2700 fps. That is pretty mild in today’s world. Use only the best brass as case head failures in single heat treat receivers have sent people to hospitals.

If your barrel is a two groove barrel, think about only using it with cast bullets. My two groove barrels shoot cast bullets better than the four groove ones and cast loads are very mild.
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Old October 31, 2012, 10:28 PM   #17
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Lets see, you can fall in the tub (don't take a shower), get hit by a out of control driver (dont' drive), don't walk, don't breath and dang, maybe its just time to check out, life is sooooooo risky.

Like people shooting at you was not risky? Grenades blowing up with short fuses.

Marines kept using them, tests were run and the blow ups had far more due to other factors than the treatment.

No it was not right, but it was so solid it did not have to be.

That said, I would load it mild and then shoot it and enjoy it.
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Old November 1, 2012, 01:04 AM   #18
Keepin_Jeepin
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Wow, there is so much great info. Thanks to everyone that posted.

Mixxed feelings about the gun!
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Old November 1, 2012, 06:29 AM   #19
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Boy I hate to step into a hornets nest, but I'm going to anyway.

I have been shooting and collecting the venerable '03 for almost thirty years now and I have a few observations I'd like to present.

First off, the decision to shoot or not to shoot these rifles should be based on the risk assessment of just how dangerous they are to shoot. The actual number of receivers that failed is miniscule compared to the numbers produced. The fact that the Marine Corps used their low number Springfields until they were replaced with Garands in WWII should tell us that there was a low risk of one failing.

But.... when they do fail, it is very likely going to be a catastrophic event that could very well result in the shooter being severely injured. Are you, as the person shooting the rifle, willing to risk it?

Most people that do shoot their low number '03's recommend using ammo that has been loaded down a bit from factory levels. I have heard people say to those that don't handload say to stick with factory loaded ammo with 150 grain bullets or lighter to avoid higher pressure ammo.

I have low number '03's in my collection that are original that are probably on their third or fourth barrel and, as they haven't yet exploded, I assume that they have been safely fired by military personnel for many years.

I, personally, only shoot my low number rifles occasionally, and then only with very mild cast bullet loads. If I want to shoot high powered loads, I use one of my high number guns.

As to your rifle, here are my observations:

The rear sight is not welded to the receiver. There is some crud at the junction of the sight base and the receiver that makes it look like it might have been welded of silver soldered, but I think that it is attached to the in the usual manner and has two screws holding it on.

Hunting rifles are typically shot very little, so it likely has had few rounds fired through it since the conversion and therefore is no real test as to how "safe" it is.

Since it has a low number receiver, the only real value in it is as a parts gun If the receiver itself had not been drilled ad tapped for the rear sight, it would have some value, but now that part of it is virtually worthless. If I owned it, I would split it up and sell the pieces which would probably fetch somewhere between $200 to $300, maybe more if you get lucky.

Sorry for the the bad news, but at this point it is what it is.
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Old November 1, 2012, 08:37 AM   #20
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The fact that the Marine Corps used their low number Springfields until they were replaced with Garands in WWII should tell us that there was a low risk of one failing.
That's not true at all. The Marines and Army used some low number not because they were safe, they used them because we were un-prepared for war and had nothing else to arm them with.

They were replaced just as fast as the production of 1903a3s & Garands could be produced.
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Old November 1, 2012, 08:56 AM   #21
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Just because a 150 gr bullet is loaded in '06 ammo does not necessarily mean that it is milder or lower pressure, factory or hand load.
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Old November 1, 2012, 09:47 AM   #22
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Quote:
The actual number of receivers that failed is miniscule compared to the numbers produced. The fact that the Marine Corps used their low number Springfields until they were replaced with Garands in WWII should tell us that there was a low risk of one failing.
Examining failure rates against total population leads to misleading probabilities and is something commonly done by fans of low number receivers.

Fan boys create probabilities of failure based on Hatcher’s Notebook which is not an all inclusive list of all 03 failures. Hatcher’s list starts 1917 and ends 1929. There are known failures after, and I have no doubt, known failures before.

Percentages are based on the total number of rifles built, not the rifles in use. There were about one million of these rifles built, but post WW1, there were never one million at service at any time. By the time you get to 1922 Congress authorized only 136,000 Officer’s and enlisted in the Regular Army. I could guess how many rifles were in service with an Army that small, and it sure would not be one million. Lets say, as a ridiculous example, that their were four rifles in use and the remaining one million in storage. Let also say that one of the four blew up. The fan boy’s analysis would give you the risk as one in a million. But for those rifles in use, it would be 25%.

Times have changed and the risks we are willing to accept have changed. In the period these rifles were made society accepted death and dismemberment as normal workplace hazards. Today we don’t.

As an example of period attitudes, I got some data from a Titantic program. In 1912 the death rate at Harlaam and Wolff was 1 worker death per 10,000 tonnes of ship. Basically one dead worker per small ship. Eight died building the Titanic, their ages 15-43. Of the four mentioned in the program, 3 died due to falls and one was crushed during launch. The average cash benefit given to the families was 100 pounds sterling.

I heard at the time the Golden Gate Bridge was built the accepted death rate on construction projects was one death per $1,000,000 of construction.

Industry, Military, Government are very callous towards the lives of their employees, and back then were able to get away with it. Their decisions reflect that, they traded workers lives for profit. I don’t agree, nor do I accept profit as valid justification for adding risk on their workforce.

Still, a properly made low number receiver is going to be about as strong as any of those early actions, (not much) which does not mean it will be safe to be behind in an accident. It is sort of driving without your safety belt on. As long as you don’t have an accident everything will be fine.
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Old November 1, 2012, 10:58 AM   #23
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That's not true at all. The Marines and Army used some low number not because they were safe, they used them because we were un-prepared for war and had nothing else to arm them with.

They were replaced just as fast as the production of 1903a3s & Garands could be produced.
answered a not true with another not true, EPIC FAIL!
the marine corps refused the M1 initially leaving the army to take all of the M1s. it wasn't until Guadalcanal that the marines were forced to pilfer army stores that they realized the advantage of a semi auto and commanders began asking to be outfitted with other options. if the marines were outfitted due to a complete lack of other resources then why wouldn't they have been given the much more plentiful M1917s?

the marines already had the 1903 and were too proud of them to consider replacing them with some newfangled semi auto Garand. in the end the low serial rifles in the pacific performed amicably despite horrible conditions and even with all the humidity, rain, mud, crappy ammo and nothing to clean them with these guns kept running right up to the day that they were replaced with M1s and M1 carbines.
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Old November 1, 2012, 11:21 AM   #24
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That is a Lyman 48 sight on that gun and its worth something around $250 to 300 alone.

Other parts are worth a fair amount (trigger, floor plate etc)

And as those become more in demand you will see people shrug off receiver taping. Give it another 5 years. Values are going through the roof.

Bolt is worth at least 50 and maybe more dependong on pedigree.

Taking the barrel off and selling it is wroth $150 (4 grove) to somewhat less for a 2 grove.

Shooting It: Going to the grocery store is far more of a risk. You don't think twice about that. Sheese.

Lets see, at least one barrel was shot out on that gun.

It takes something around 5,000 rounds minimum to shoot out a barrel to the point it needs replacing.

No I would not load to a maximum hot load, but anything in the 2600-2700 fps area would be fine for 150s and adjust according to other bullets.

I would not even worry about the usual sight it and and hunt with it for typical hunting loads with it with factory ammo

I would not target shoot with those loads, but then I only do that with hand-loads anyway and tone them down as I have no need to max that out.
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Old November 1, 2012, 11:24 AM   #25
RC20
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Bolt is swept back so its not an OEM to that date receiver.

No surprise, very often that happened. Still worth 50-100, maybe more depending on who made it.
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