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Old March 24, 2013, 01:34 PM   #26
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Where does not shooting a low SN 1903 come into that? Marines fought Guadalcanal with NO reported receiver blow ups.

No blow ups reported after 1928.
What makes anyone think that Hatchers list is complete? It is a listing of 03 blows ups from 16 July 1917 to 1929. The first receivers listed as blown up were a 1907 vintage receiver and a 1917 receiver. These receivers blew at National Brass & Copper Tube factory, a factory making ammunition for the US military during WW1. The 1907 receiver fragmented and blew a piece of shrapnel piercing the lung of the operator.

It is preposterous to believe that receivers had not blown before. What is more likely was that many receivers had blown, but to then Springfield Armory and its supporters were able to misdirect and muffle this issue, after all, who within the Army had the resources and records to argue with an Army Arsenal about its defective products, and what foolish Officer was going to ruin his career doing that? What made this event different and something that the Army had to acknowledge, were these blowups occurred outside of the Army chain of command. Springfield Armory did make up convincing sounding, but fallacious arguments: “cartridges cases not up to standard and secondarily, to receivers somewhat below the standard” but National Brass & Copper had qualified metallurgists, who could counter all of the self serving BS coming out of Springfield Armory. Plus, National Brass & Copper could go outside of the Army chain of command and complain to their Congressmen . This was not an entity that the Army could bury and ignore, as it obviously had done to date with all of the blown rifles that occurred before this event.

There are known blows afterward, proving that the laws of physics did not end in 1929, and also proving that any failure rates based on Hatcher’s Notebook are false, and any contentions that rifles did not blow up later are equally false.

Blown up 1932

Receiver 323816

Receiver 570, 095 Blown up 1932

Receiver 718, 233 blown 1931

Receiver 764, 040 blown 1931

It is remarkable that Hatcher had any reports at all. I don’t know how he got them, but he was Head of Army Ordnance during WW2. It is Army policy, nay, DoD policy, not to release Safety Accident Reports to anyone except Military Law Enforcement, and then, only if the law enforcement request is legitimate. I don’t know what you could get with a freedom of information act request, probably nothing of value since all you can do with a FOI is to ask, the agency gets to decide if the information “compromises” national security.

People expecting complete and accurate databases in the public domain from the Army for events that happened sixty years ago are unrealistic. Try to find similar information now. I am curious, where in the public domain the databases for all medical accidents, deaths, and malpractice cases? Where are the public domain databases of all lawsuits and convictions? . You can find sex offenders in your area, what about the list of all felons, all misdemeanors? What about the list of all fatal private airplane crashes in Alaska?, first I heard of 15 fatal per year.

In 1927 an appointed Army board examined all data and wrote a report recommending that all low number receivered rifles be withdrawn from service. This is recorded starting page 221 of Hatcher's Notebook. The board was over ruled by a Brigadier General who put out an incredibly irresponsible policy with the following logic “ Our ammunition is getting worse and accidents may be somewhat more frequent. On the other hand, some of these early rifles have been in used for many years and undoubtedly some of them have worn out several barrels. I do not think the occasion merits the withdrawal of the rifles of low umber in the hands of troops until the rifle is otherwise unserviceable

Let me add my comment, that BG decided that in between such time that the rifle wore out and was returned to depot, if that rifle blew up taking the hand or head of a Trooper, well that was just too damn bad. He decided that no Trooper is worth the cost of scrapping the complete inventory of rifles, in fact, no Trooper was worth the cost of a single rifle.

Times were different. But then, maybe that is how you feel about yourself.

It is true that not all single heat receivers are bad but the only way to find out which are good or which are bad is by firing them. Having been warned, that the entire population is suspect, that the failure is catastrophic, (look at the pictures here:,) if the SHT you are firing blows, don’t come back here and expect much sympathy. You were warned!
If I'm not shooting, I'm reloading.

Last edited by Slamfire; March 24, 2013 at 01:45 PM.
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Old March 24, 2013, 02:23 PM   #27
James K
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After WWII, when the M1903 was officially declared obsolete, there was no longer a central place to report any problems with those rifles and no effort was ever made by anyone to analyze any problems reported in the American Rifleman or the other gun/hunting magazines. There were some, but no one kept track.

Certainly I never reported the receiver I broke; DCM sent my friend a new NS receiver and that was all he cared about.


Last edited by James K; March 24, 2013 at 02:32 PM.
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Old March 24, 2013, 10:44 PM   #28
Join Date: March 8, 2013
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As for me, it's a moot point now. I just bought a high numbered 03 at the gun show this weekend.
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Old March 29, 2013, 01:31 PM   #29
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That certainly avoids the issue entirely!

If I found a low serial 1903 that was in good condition at the right price I would buy it in a heartbeat.

It would be a good idea to check it out and make sure its not a recovered drill rifle. A lot of the welds were lightly done and with a bit of grinding and coverings up you can't tell.

You also need to watch the re-barrel of the Model of 1917 Enfields (actually Winchester, Remington and Eddystone Model of 1917 per correct on the receivers) as removing of the barrel can crack the reviver.
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Old April 1, 2013, 08:35 AM   #30
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It would be a good idea to check it out and make sure its not a recovered drill rifle. A lot of the welds were lightly done and with a bit of grinding and coverings up you can't tell.
A bud of mine bought a M1903A3 drill rifle action. Small tiny tack welds, I examined the receiver and could not tell if there were any welds and no heat discoloration.

However, when bud installed a barrel and shot it, the headspace kept increasing. He installed a larger bolt and shot it some more and the headspace kept increasing. He took the barrel off and the receiver was a curiosity when I looked at it.

What likely happened the guy who did the welding overheated the receiver and took out the heat treatment.
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1903 , low , serial , springfield

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