The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > The Art of the Rifle: Bolt, Lever, and Pump Action

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old December 10, 2017, 04:05 PM   #1
MountainMan83
Member
 
Join Date: November 10, 2017
Posts: 29
Thoughts on my sporterized Springfield M1903?

Hey everyone, I bought a sporterized Springfield 1903 awhile back. I was just looking for what people thought of it, because it surely is a beaut to me! I’ve only had it 6 months and it’s gotta be my favorite rifle I ever owned! I can shoot rounds through the same hole at 100 yards with factory 150gr 30-06 with this beast. It is in the sub-800,000 serial number range, but I’m not to worried about it. Do any of you have an idea of when it was sporterized? I was thinking somewhere in the range of the 60’s. It has a late 70’s Bushnell Banner 4-12X40 on it that I love, and looks better than a lot of scopes I use today! I attached some photos for you to feast your eyes upon...

Last edited by MountainMan83; December 10, 2017 at 04:24 PM.
MountainMan83 is offline  
Old December 10, 2017, 04:22 PM   #2
tsillik
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 23, 2011
Location: Carter Lake Ia.
Posts: 185
sounds like it shoots as good as it looks! terry
tsillik is offline  
Old December 10, 2017, 10:52 PM   #3
HiBC
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 13, 2006
Posts: 5,922
I really like Springfields,both military and sporter. These days,Iwould not alter a military,but from back in the day,the the rifles built on Springfields can be very well done.
It looks like you have a real nice one.

Now,I'm not trying to rain on your parade..but the low number thing...

I don't have the serial numbers commited to memory,and the arsenal matters,too. I can't give you an off the top of my head answer about the safety of your rifle. And,FWIW,I don't recite reloading data from memory,either.
I look it up.
I suggest posting the S/N (as close as you feel comfortable,you can XXX the last digits)and the arsenal.
There are folks here that can tell you darn near how many slices of bologna were in the heat treater's lunch when he made your rifle.

For the sake of my face and fingers,or the sake of a friend or relative that may shoot the rifle...heartburn or not,I WOULD pay attention if the rifle is built on a receiver that is of sub standard heat treat. They can't be trusted.

Aside from the loss of vision or hand injury ,or worse,the price of an emergency room visit will buy a REALLY nice rifle.
HiBC is offline  
Old December 10, 2017, 11:19 PM   #4
Hawg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 8, 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 14,753
I like it. I have a sporterized Smith Corona that will shoot like that with my handloads. I've never fired a factory round out of it.
Hawg is offline  
Old December 11, 2017, 06:44 AM   #5
Mobuck
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 2, 2010
Posts: 6,260
I've experienced a catastrophic receiver failure. I will tell you flat out it's NOT something you EVER want to happen.
Over 100 stitches in my face/neck, shattered jaw that was wired shut for 12 weeks, a hole in my neck to breath through, weeks of missed work, weeks of being fed through a straw, lost 20-25% of my body weight, permanent nerve and tissue damage resembling the effects of a light stroke.
Hop right on that train Dude cause my seat is empty.
Mobuck is offline  
Old December 11, 2017, 08:13 AM   #6
Hawg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 8, 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 14,753
Quote:
I've experienced a catastrophic receiver failure.
With what?
Hawg is offline  
Old December 11, 2017, 10:22 AM   #7
michaelcj
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 15, 2011
Location: Lopez Island, WA
Posts: 269
Also have a Smith Corona action built to a nice 7x57 with Douglas Bbl. Shoots very well with Handloads. Not a lot of factory ammo out there but handles that as well.
michaelcj is offline  
Old December 11, 2017, 10:31 AM   #8
tango1niner
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 5, 2009
Location: NY
Posts: 220
Also would like to know what firearm the receiver failure occurred with, and with what ammunition.
tango1niner is offline  
Old December 11, 2017, 10:33 AM   #9
RC20
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 10, 2008
Location: Alaska
Posts: 5,076
Changeover is at 800k for a Springfield, 285,507 for a Rock Island.

Quote:
With what?
Does not matter, its the consequence that counts.

While I did not suffer it I was at the range when it happened to a guy shooting in a clients gun (Winchester Model 70, newer gun)

So much for gas released in a controlled manner.

The scope came back and hit the guy in the mouth, took out a bunchy of teeth.

A piece hit a bystander and fortunately it was a flat hit, he got a bloody cheek but no penetration

We found a piece of the receiver embedded in the back wall, if that his someone it would have done damage.

I am not afraid (nor were the Marines - Rock Island iuse) of the 1903 LSN, but the OP has a right to know.

Also that the unsupported head is worse than a controlled round feed that has a supported head.
__________________
Science and Facts are True whether you believe it or not
RC20 is offline  
Old December 11, 2017, 11:37 AM   #10
Don Fischer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 2, 2017
Posts: 1,208
Beautiful rifle! I have one myself. Done in 1945, great shooting rifle!

Don Fischer is offline  
Old December 11, 2017, 12:15 PM   #11
MountainMan83
Member
 
Join Date: November 10, 2017
Posts: 29
The receiver was made at Springfield Armory in 1915. The rifle, when it was customized, was built one piece at a time I assume. It has an RA 2-44 03a3 bbl on it and an 03a3 floorplate with a Remington bolt shroud and an unidentifiable bolt body and cocking piece. The bolt body seemed to be hardness tested, there are two pin point marks in the bottom of the one locking lug. The old timer that built this seemed to know what he was doing and I’m pretty sure he would have tested the receiver but I’m not certain.
MountainMan83 is offline  
Old December 11, 2017, 12:43 PM   #12
berettaprofessor
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 23, 2008
Posts: 876
Saw the shortened title on the front page and opened it thinking "please not another 1903, please not a 1903"....

Cause I've been looking forever for a decent one in original stock and there just aren't any in my area.

Sporterize a Hi-Point everyone, not a Springfield!
berettaprofessor is offline  
Old December 11, 2017, 01:07 PM   #13
T. O'Heir
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 13, 2002
Location: Canada
Posts: 10,257
"...when it was sporterised..." There's no way to tell. The only part of that rifle that's an '03 is the receiver. I believe that's an aftermarket barrel that, along with the backwards stock, could have been put on any time in the last 100 years.
Kind of suspect that despite the heat treat issue, if it was going to blow it would have already. The ammo makes no difference either. However, it's a maybe 'when' thing not an 'if'.
__________________
Spelling and grammar count!
T. O'Heir is offline  
Old December 11, 2017, 01:09 PM   #14
MountainMan83
Member
 
Join Date: November 10, 2017
Posts: 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by T. O'Heir View Post
"...when it was sporterised..." There's no way to tell. The only part of that rifle that's an '03 is the receiver. I believe that's an aftermarket barrel that, along with the backwards stock, could have been put on any time in the last 100 years.
Kind of suspect that despite the heat treat issue, if it was going to blow it would have already. The ammo makes no difference either. However, it's a maybe 'when' thing not an 'if'.
Backwards stock?
MountainMan83 is offline  
Old December 11, 2017, 01:17 PM   #15
HiBC
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 13, 2006
Posts: 5,922
BerretaProf....Long ago it was an NRA perk to be able to buy a 1903 or 1903A3 for a token price.

The NRA itself had its name on an arsenal converted Springfield.A lot of nice custom rifles have been built on the Springfield.
The OP's rifle was done during that era.

No one is suggesting altering a 1903 or 1903A3 today.What is bottom price on a military 1903 or A3 today? More than the price of many brand new sporting rifles. Maybe $1200? I don't think many folks would start there and then spend the money to sporterize it.I think the Mil trim rifles are pretty safe.

Good luck on your search.
HiBC is offline  
Old December 11, 2017, 02:49 PM   #16
Mobuck
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 2, 2010
Posts: 6,260
"With what?"

One of the "glass hard" P17 actions re-barreled to a belted magnum. Those actions are some of the strongest known(sarcasm). Some of the "over treated" ones are really strong right up to the point when they grenade.
Mobuck is offline  
Old December 11, 2017, 03:34 PM   #17
RC20
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 10, 2008
Location: Alaska
Posts: 5,076
They were also made out of nickle steel, much more flexible than the previous 1903 steels (and what they went to at some point)
__________________
Science and Facts are True whether you believe it or not
RC20 is offline  
Old December 11, 2017, 03:37 PM   #18
SIGSHR
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 13, 2005
Posts: 4,121
My understanding-based on my reading of Hatcher-is that there were a few bad production runs long before WWI. Changing the steel and using pyrometers solved that problem. We are of course going to debate this until the Crack of Doom.
SIGSHR is offline  
Old December 11, 2017, 03:41 PM   #19
MountainMan83
Member
 
Join Date: November 10, 2017
Posts: 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by SIGSHR View Post
My understanding-based on my reading of Hatcher-is that there were a few bad production runs long before WWI. Changing the steel and using pyrometers solved that problem. We are of course going to debate this until the Crack of Doom.
Exactly! That wasn’t my intention with creating this thread...I’m sure it’s safe as I’m near positive the old timer that built it had run a hardness test on it.
MountainMan83 is offline  
Old December 11, 2017, 03:57 PM   #20
HiBC
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 13, 2006
Posts: 5,922
Its been decades since I read the stories about these rifles.
There certainly were some brittle 1917's.I'm thinking they may have been Eddystones,but I'm not sure. In those days,a lot of heat treat was by "Master eyeball"
The legend I recall,the arsenal came under new management.The new boss decided the windows were dingy,and ordered them cleaned.
The increase in ambient light "decalibrated" the master eyeballs. Getting the same color overheated the steel.
Different times,different tech.
HiBC is offline  
Old December 11, 2017, 08:26 PM   #21
RC20
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 10, 2008
Location: Alaska
Posts: 5,076
MM83: If a hardness test was done there would be some evidence of it. My take is that if its survived this long as well as a barrel change its ok. At issue with the process they used, not only was it a by eyeball thing, you could have varying degrees of that through the receiver.

If it was my gun I would be very sure to shoot new brass and if reloads, minimal shoulder bump back and no more than 5 cycles of it.

That said the Marines kept their RIA until Guadalcanal and then stole (er traded) for as many M1 as they could get and then they got issued them. Nothing like an M1 in the hands of someone who could shoot (and had to deal with Banzai charges)

Hopefully I can shed some light and not turn it into a debate.

The 1917s were made by a different process and material than the 1903 and were not heat treated (at least as the mfg point). 1903s were virtually hand made guns, all the work was done in house. Thats why the 1917 came into such major use, there was no way to get the 1903 up to speed for fast mfg. 1917s were already there (1914s) and just needed a bit of modification to 30-06.

Some did indeed have cracks, but that was a result of much latter barrel removal without having the right tools to do so (Bubba came to visit).

The reason Eddystone got the rap, there were over twice as many of those made as R or Ws, ergo, it was the most common one to see Sportorized and often upgraded. Lot of them, strong action as well as better metal.

What is funny is I had one that had been turned around again and had a different barrel put on by an gunsmith of some persuasion (pipe wrench marks on the barrel)

A lot were converted to magnums

Regardless, these guns have unsupported case heads and a gas escape as a result of a ruptured case can be really bad.

Ergo, the need to watch the brass and not push it.

The Model 70 I saw the Remanent of was a control feed , still blew up (hand loads were suspected but again why is ??? damage yes but blow up?)

Came across one other report of a Model 70, not sure what to make of that.
__________________
Science and Facts are True whether you believe it or not
RC20 is offline  
Old December 11, 2017, 11:12 PM   #22
Slamfire
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 27, 2007
Posts: 5,261
Quote:
They were also made out of nickle steel, much more flexible than the previous 1903 steels (and what they went to at some point)

Let us differentiate between material properties and process controls. Sure, the nickel steel of the M1917 would have had superior material properties to the plain carbon steels of the era, but, only if the metal was originally of good quality and the steel was not burnt during production. Neither of these is particularly true for M1917’s.

Howe’s book “The Modern Gunsmith” has a whole chapter on steels. In that chapter is a warning not to chamber M1917 barrels to magnum calibers.
If the caliber 300 Magnum cartridge is chambered in the U.S. Model 1917 Enfield rifle, meant for the caliber 30-06 cartridge, the change is very apt to make a bad gun barrel blow open, particularly if the metal should contain any small pipes, segregations, or abnormal changes in the structure of the metal form the surface to the bore near the breech. Those making such changes may not know that the steel produced at the end of the First World War was not so carefully selected as gun-barrel steels are today

Firstly, no one should expect that war materials were built under any incentive system than get them out the door. Then, the manufacturing technology of WW1 was a pre vacuum tube technology, and it is likely perverse incentives were in place. I read somewhere a post by someone who knew a forge shop worker at Eddystone. The workers in the forge shop were paid piece rate. If they cranked up the forge furnace temperatures, they could stamp out parts faster. Yes they produced bad parts, but they got paid more money doing that. Incidentally, I was told Springfield Armory forge shop workers were also paid piece rate.

While the material selection for the M1917 was better than the Mauser, the M1903, even Lee Enfields, it does not mean much if the nickel steels had a lot of slag and inclusions and was burnt in the factory.

Quote:
My understanding-based on my reading of Hatcher-is that there were a few bad production runs long before WWI. Changing the steel and using pyrometers solved that problem. We are of course going to debate this until the Crack of Doom.
Hatcher is about as dismissive of Army Ordnance Problems as a Tobacco Executive is about nicotine addiction and lung cancer. Hatcher knew for his post Army career to be successful, at the NRA, he could not antagonize the Army. I doubt he wanted to anyway, you have to understand Hatcher was "a Company man", always rationalizing Army behavior and decisions in his writings. He was during WW2, the Head of the Ordnance Department! I will say, he did a great job, we did win that war.

Hatcher did make it to the top position at the NRA, he was running that operation after WW2 to the 1960's. And his salary would have been about the same as today, adjusted for inflation, which is around $600,000 to $800,000 a year. Plus free parking in Washington DC, that is worth about $30,000 a year! And it all depended on keeping his buddies at the Army happy. If he had done the Snowden thing, the NRA would have thrown him into the Potomac wearing concrete shoes.
__________________
If I'm not shooting, I'm reloading.
Slamfire is offline  
Old December 12, 2017, 01:14 PM   #23
RC20
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 10, 2008
Location: Alaska
Posts: 5,076
I see a lot of unsupported information in regards to mfg.

Springfield armory was US Army (as was RIA) they did not go by piece work output

Barrels seldom blow up, its the receiver and a gas release that cause the blow ups.

too much I have read someone who knew someone who knew someone that said such and such.

Keep in mind military proof firings were done with over pressure and then max cartridges.

So while shucking guns out the door was an mfg desire, they also had to adhere to and meet the specs laid down by the US military and it was not worth their while to put out inferior products as they paid for it.

Read up on the bayonet recall in WWII, seriously, something you stick into someone that is also likely to get severely bent and broken up in action and you are worried it did not quite meet the spec?

Yep, the 1917s were held back by having got meet the interchange of parts issue.

While it was pre vacuum tube, that does not mean they did not know how to make guns
__________________
Science and Facts are True whether you believe it or not
RC20 is offline  
Old December 12, 2017, 07:19 PM   #24
dakota.potts
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 25, 2013
Location: Broward County, Florida
Posts: 2,928
Quote:
Originally Posted by T. O'Heir
Kind of suspect that despite the heat treat issue, if it was going to blow it would have already. The ammo makes no difference either. However, it's a maybe 'when' thing not an 'if'.
Without taking a side on this either way, I would say that this is not a safe qualifier.

When I was in school for gunsmithing, we covered this topic (official recommendation not to even touch a low number gun or receiver) so I got curious and did some reading. I seem to remember reading, either through a US Army report or a second hand account of such report, that failure rates on these rifles were very low - somewhere around 10 catastrophic failures out of thousands of rifles.

The problem was not that they wouldn't hold up over time, but that a "normal" failure such as an over-pressure round or a case head separation would cause a shock to the receiver that it was unable to handle. It didn't appear to be a case of "when" the receiver will fail but not knowing "if" it will fail. This is especially problematic because sport shooters might get a factory box of ammo with bad brass that separates, or a hand loader might have a failure in loading which a modern, strong rifle might survive.

That's just my take on it.
__________________
Over the next 25 days, I am raising money on Kickstarter for a Historical Firearms Coloring Book. If this interests you and you would like to see the project completed, please consider pledging or simply sharing the project.
dakota.potts is offline  
Old December 12, 2017, 07:47 PM   #25
RC20
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 10, 2008
Location: Alaska
Posts: 5,076
I think that is fair and balanced.

I also think that has to be put into context of risk and or risk management (I rode motorcycles for many years, a great many of the risks were under my control, some were not)

We lack good data, and I agree Hatcher tends to hold a bias though his information is also good and I have read his book.

One part of the issue was that there was a cartridge issue which is not a surprise in those early days and quality control tended to be a did it fail process.

Now I want to keep this in context, few people shoot at risk rifles though a great many rifles shot do have unsupported case heads.

So no where near all trips are with at risk guns.

What is the risk of driving to the gun range?

Its not insignificant, it can lead to considerable economic loss as most cars can't be replaced for the insured value (totaled you have to buy a new car and get a few thousand for a very good vehicle that is "depreciated"

Add in the risk of injury or death.

Then add in the risk of getting shot at the range (or by someone who blows up a gun for other reasons)

Somewhere in there is a balance we all have to decide on though many don't think about the other risks at all as the risk has been normalized and its not considered a risk.
__________________
Science and Facts are True whether you believe it or not
RC20 is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:30 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2018 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.12759 seconds with 9 queries