Thread: 1903 ?
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Old November 19, 2012, 12:32 AM   #19
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Join Date: April 10, 2008
Location: Alaska
Posts: 3,706
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?

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).

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.

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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