View Full Version : 1903 springfield

December 4, 2008, 11:21 PM
Hey all, here is some pictures of my rifle, my grandfather gave it to me before he passed away, he bough it brand new, my father killed his first buck with it. Ive thought about making it origional again, but maybe its not worth it? Anyway, anyone know about them? love to find some more about it.




December 4, 2008, 11:45 PM

That is a great rifle and a wonderful heirloom you have inherited.

I wouldn't do a thing to it except preserve it. You can reach out
and buy a collector grade rifle anytime you want, but you could
never, ever get that rifle back again once you fussed with it.
Someday you would surely regret it.

Hopefully you will get a buck with it and follow the tradition.

Thanks for showing it off. This type of family rifle is my favorite !



December 4, 2008, 11:47 PM
Thank you, I have shot it some, after doing some searching, it appears to be a low numbered model? considered 'dangerous'? I guess itll be a wall hangar :( but you are right, probably better as is, to me. :)


December 5, 2008, 12:08 AM
Oh, and for curiosity sake, is it worth anything? Like to know what I have.

December 5, 2008, 05:34 AM
"t appears to be a low numbered model? considered 'dangerous'? "
The receiver on your rifle was manufactured in 1908-09. The barrel was made in 1922. Check and see if there is any serial # on the bolt; some bolts were etched with serial #s.
About being dangerous - this of course is a very personal judgment. The book to read about the low-numbered "problem" is Hatcher's Notebook. Maj. Gen. Julian Hatcher investigated all the receiver failures of the low-numbered series. There were only 70 out of more than one million rifles. The ordnance report that was done and which recommended the replacement of the low numbered receivers was not done until the late 1920's, eighteen years and one war after the manufacture of the receiver on your rifle. Hatcher did his studies later than that. Hatcher found - and I have read all his reports - that most/all of the receiver failures could be traced to bad war production ammo or operator error.
The problem with the receivers was the heat treatment process. Early receivers underwent a single heat treatment. Unfortunately, some of the receivers were done improperly; they were "burned", rendering them brittle and prone to fail if shocked unduly. Most of the receivers were not burned and are safe.....but there's no way to tell which ones are which.
Also good reading is William S. Brophy's "The 1903 Springfield Rifles", the definitive study.

F. Guffey
December 8, 2008, 05:33 PM

AX10AVIATOR, the double heat treat started about 800,000 in 1918, your serial number indicates in was made in 1909, with a barrel stamped 1922, the barrel could have been installed anytime after that, the rifle should have been blued. It would appear you need the stock, upper wood, front band and rear sight, then someone would say the parts are not 'correct for the year' and or it is a rebuild, all of this has an effect on the price, after getting it back to a military configuration the price would be between from $400.00 to $6500.00, you could spend $200.00 for the parts. There was an attempt to make a carbine, bad news, I believe there were only two made. All of my 03s have scopes and after market stocks except one, it is a Remington 03 before A3, I have a Norma 308 Mag barrel that was removed from an A3A4, I have not decided yet.

Without having the history of your receiver, there is no way to determine how many rounds went through it before the barrel was replaced, seems Springfield was unaware other countries were manufacturing rifles, at about the same time the 03 was being developed, the Japanese built the T38 6.5X50 with an outstanding gas escape system, Mauser before the 03 built and designed the M98 with a gas escape system, the Springfield was fitted with a gas escape system that was named 'the Hatcher hole' not the Springfield Hole.

The cone faced barrel looks very similar to a shaped charged device, there are a lot of excuses, Hatcher recommended the Low Number rifles be taken out of service and replaced, to say Hatcher did not find a reason for saying that is a conflict when someone says he only found fault with a few, there are was an offer to replace all low numbers with high number and or Remington receivers, some claim they dropped the receiver and it shattered others claim they hit the receiver with a hammer with the same results, the low number receiver shattered.

As a side not, Winchester/Browning introduce nickel steel in the Model 94 in 1895, Springfield discovered nickel steel in 1927, 32 years after Browning and Winchester, Rock Island and Springfield manufactured 1,000,000 rifles that put the shooter at risk of injury.

F. Guffey

December 8, 2008, 05:45 PM
Thank you F.
My dad said that my grandfather bought this rifle 'new' in the 60's at the hardware store. No clue how many rounds they have all put through it, but they said it was all factory ammo.

F. Guffey
December 10, 2008, 11:30 AM
Message body forgive, your receiver has a barrel that was made 14 (+ or -) years after the receiver, there is no way to determine the number of opportunities the receiver had to separate before the barrel was replaced, so deductive reasoning would suggest the receiver survived long enough to get a new barrel and a Hatcher hole, in my opinion the designed had at least 2 other flaws that could contribute to failure, the 1922 barrel could have been removed from another receiver and later installed on receiver #347319 during rebuild, I have a Remington 03 that looks similar to yours, it came from Sears, accuracy with open sights is second to my 303 1905 Ross with open sights, I have applied the 'Leaver policy', I am going to 'leaver the way I founder', what ever happened to the rifle before I acquired it is not about "Oh what might have been" a friend purchased 5 Remington 03s and A3s from a barrel at Sears, he turned each into magnificent rifles, he made the reamers etc., etc., now he thinks about what the rifles would be worth if he had not turned them into hunting type rifles, he was surrounded with resource people, they all needed a source of material, the surplus rifles made it possible for gun manufactures, retailers, gunsmiths and students to earn and learn, a different time, it would be wrong for me to critics, I am not one to claim to have rescued anything and I doubt I will be remembered as being the one that hung it in a barn so it could be rescued, but while it belonged to me, it was is/was my choice.

F. GUffey

December 10, 2008, 12:24 PM
"t appears to be a low numbered model? considered 'dangerous'? "

One note that I left off my original post: I have one also, made in 1905 - I shoot mine. I've looked deeply into lot and production numbers to get a sense of when and in which lots the failures occurred and how they happened. I'm satisfied that the one that I have is one of the many single heat treated receivers that are safe. A personal judgment, I know.

December 10, 2008, 12:30 PM
'Leaver policy', I am going to 'leaver the way I founder',

LOL I love that. I'm in total agreement. Heirlums are just that "Heirlums". Rifles are too cheap to screw with something that has been passed down through that family.

I think, and this is just my personal feelings, that messing with a gun like that is akin to re-writing family history.

But I do love the LEAVER POLICEY statement, gonna steal that sucker, hope its not copywrited.

December 10, 2008, 12:31 PM
Yeah, I thought about loading up some low end ammo to shoot, but then again, Ill probably just go buy a new -06 or something to use instead of this and keep it as a conversation piece, as its value to me is more than it would be to anyone else on the planet. I dont need to use this one.

December 11, 2008, 06:13 PM
my 1903A was the origional WWI style, made by springfield in 4-1921, its all origional, shoots well, action is strong, exelent rifles, you could shoot low-power loads if you are weary, like the rem managed recoil.

December 11, 2008, 09:57 PM
the navy never turned in their low no.1903s and the marines used them in the pacific.I have one 1914 date The barrel is perfect.I shoot it with lyman 311291 and 13 gr Red Dot.it is very accurate.mine is military but rem WW2 stock.I think I saw gun parts with stocks under a $100.course you would still need hardware.I hot my parts when the price was right.:rolleyes::D