View Full Version : need some help

May 21, 2009, 08:26 PM
ive got a 1903 springfield and was wondering about it. everything but the sling looks like its been in a glass case and i was wondering how to find out if its the real deal

May 27, 2009, 07:54 PM
what do you want to know??the date is up near the front sight on top of barrel,whats the serial no?over or under 500,000 and what is name on receiver.Rem /Springfield??whats the rear sight on barrel or on bridge rear.

James K
May 27, 2009, 09:04 PM
A lot of M1903A3 rifles were never issued, so finding one in like-new condition is not too unusual. An M1903 in that shape would be uncommon and might have been rebuilt.


May 28, 2009, 09:20 PM
These are photos of the info on the upper barrel by the front sight and the serial number.

Jim Watson
May 28, 2009, 10:08 PM
Interesting, action was made in 1934 but it has a December 1912 barrel.
M1903.com lists a few such rifles with barrels older than the actions, so it may well be original, or at least a legitimate overhaul with an old barrel on hand.

James K
May 28, 2009, 10:31 PM
I think there is a lot wrong there, and not good news. IMHO, the barrel markings are counterfeit (date, definitely, but possibly including the SA and "bomb") and the barrel appears to be or have been badly rusted. There appears to be rust behind and under the front sight band. The receiver markings are OK except that I think the initial "1" was added to the serial number. That was often done so that dealers could pass off "low number" rifles as high number. Far from having been in a glass case, I think that rifle has been worked over/built up by a faker; I hope you didn't pay a lot for it.


May 29, 2009, 07:47 AM
[I think the initial "1" was added to the serial number.
That was often done so that dealers could pass off "low number" rifles as high number.
I think that rifle has been worked over/built up by a faker] -


The first digit in that SN is marked clearer/deeper/sharper than it's companions, a sure give-away that the digit was added separately, instead of enbloc with all the others at the same shot/punch/marking.


May 30, 2009, 09:47 AM
Thank yall for your wisdom and it is rust on the barrel paied 600 for it. im happy with it as long as it doesent blow up in my face:) i had a feeling something was up with it. whats the deal with the high and low number thing?

May 30, 2009, 10:29 AM
This is from the CMP's website on high and low serial numbered rifles.

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).


gunney 67
June 8, 2009, 10:03 PM
All of the above is probably true, but take heart in knowing that you own a magnificent representative military arm from a time in our history that we are not likely to see again. Cherish yours for those reasons, as I do mine. PS the '1' does appear to be struck more deeply, but this does not necessarily mean it is a forgery. I have seen similar on other guns. Take it to a good gunsmith and get it checked out before shooting. A little research about low number receiver failures will point more to the brittleness of WWI ammo. However, I wouldn't shoot it if it is found to be a low number receiver.

gunney 67
June 8, 2009, 10:48 PM
upon closer inspection of your serial number and comparing to mine, which also has a 1 stamped in it as a last digit, I may be wrong here but I believe it is genuine. The font type is certainly correct. I am more concerned about the 1 on the barrel stamp. that is obviously suspicious, but of lesser importance from a safety standpoint.

June 12, 2009, 08:54 PM
Ive fired 20 rounds through it with the only hitch beeing that the ammo is soft point and the rifles magazine is a wee to old for it so it wouldent load the next round.

James K
June 12, 2009, 09:11 PM
The fact that the "1" is stamped more deeply is not of concern. Those numbers were hand stamped using a jig and a "1" is always deeper because there is less metal to displace.

My observation has to do with the fact that the "1" is too far to the left. The men stamping the numbers took great pride in setting up the jig to make sure the serial numbers were always centered with the "Armory" marking, regardless of the number of digits. If either end of the number "sticks out", suspect an altered number.

Sometimes, a number was added at the end, converting 123456 (low number) to 1234561 (high number); a "1" is preferred because a font discrepancy is less likely to be noticeable.


January 22, 2010, 04:40 PM
if you omitt the '1' from the serial number manufacture date then becomes
1911....................somebody might have done a little faking ????

January 25, 2010, 05:48 AM
AH HA!! Take another CLOSE look at the barrel date. I believe that to be a poorly struck "4." The top of the number matches the height of the other numbers, and what appears to be the "foot" of a number "1" is actually where the lower portion of the 4 crosses the upright portion. A date of 12-42 would make perfect sense for that serial number.

Also, I agree with gunney regarding the 1 in the serial number. I looked at all of my Springfields over 1,000,000 and the font is perfect.

Edit: I just went and dug out another one that I forgot about: S/N 14822xx, barrel dated 12-41 and receiver markings identical to the one OP pictured.

January 25, 2010, 07:47 AM