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Ria 1903

This is a discussion on Ria 1903 within the Steel and Wood forums, part of the Rifle Forum category; That is very bad advice. Read Brophy and check out the warning on the CMP forum as starters. Some of us have been shooting 03's ...


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Old August 18th, 2013, 06:36 AM   #31
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That is very bad advice. Read Brophy and check out the warning on the CMP forum as starters. Some of us have been shooting 03's for over fifty years. Also, as any experienced dealer will tell you, low number receivers are so difficult to sell that most don't give them a second look at any price.

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Old August 18th, 2013, 08:38 PM   #32
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I'm still trying to work the deal on this one, thanks for all the input guys!

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Old August 22nd, 2013, 07:01 PM   #33
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AKA Hugh Uno (post #30) seems to share my opinion, which is that this whole low-number foofaraw is much ado about nothing.



Go to

http//1903.com/03rcvrfail/

and then select the FIRST result in the list that will come up.

A few interesting points therein :

A general in the 1920s decided to leave the low-number rifles in service, in defiance of a committee recommendation, and "There were no further receiver failures after 1929".

There's also a very thought-provoking list of daily dangers that we all face, as compared to the risks assumed in firing a low-number '03.

My own '03 is a low-number RIA that was converted to a sporter by my Grandfather in the '50s. For over fifty years, it was used annually in Upper Michigan's deer woods by generations of my relatives...all with factory loads, and without problems.

This use was sufficiently intensive that its high-gloss blue (Grandpa was a GUNSMITH) shows SEVERE wear in the areas that are normally exposed to handling.

I have plenty of more-modern sporters, so this old warhorse mostly sees cast bullets and light loads. Still, if I really HAD to use it at full power, I'd do so with confidence. It's been tested with such ammo in the recent past.

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Old August 23rd, 2013, 05:54 AM   #34
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Footnoting or naming sources is always a good idea. Stating that there have been no recent '03 receiver failures would be extremely difficult to document.

Under the title "Burst Barrels and Receivers" Brophy, pp. 557-558 states: " Numerous cases of burst receivers were brought to the attention of Springfield Armory between the years 1917 and 1929. A Board of Officers investigated the matter and found that AT LEAST sixty-eight cases had been reported, and that as a result of cartridge case failure due to soft brass, excessive headspace, or high pressure, the gas from the cartridge was allowed to get inside the action. A weak or brittle receiver would then rupture. The Board recommended that Springfield Armory rifles serial number 800,000 and lower, and Rock Island Arsenal rifles below serial number 285,507, be removed from service. The recommendation was adopted; rifles having low serial numbers were no longer issued and low numbered rifles returned to Ordnance for repair had their receivers scrapped."

Considering this measure was taken at a time when military budgets were cut to bare bones, the Board was hardly looking for new ways to spend money. Considering the small size of the active military at the time, there must have been hundreds of thousands of '03s in storage and millions of parts which were never inspected and eventually sold. During the post war era, these found their way onto the civilian market and many were assembled into complete rifles which were readily available cheaply. The primary battle rifle for the armed services after sufficient numbers became available in 1943, was the M-1 Garand and this remained so in the Marine Corps until 1962, when we received M-14's. I did see some '03 snipers in the 2nd Marines Armory in 1963 or 4, but these had all been national match rifles with nickel steel receivers and Unertl scopes.

The topic of low numbered receivers has been kicked around by the NRA as far back as I can remember and the recommendation regarding their use always remains the same. I don't claim to have a post grad degree in ordnance engineering, but I will defer to those who do.

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Old August 23rd, 2013, 08:38 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by horst apies View Post
footnoting or naming sources is always a good idea. Stating that there have been no recent '03 receiver failures would be extremely difficult to document.

uhh, no, it's not. The ordnance dept. did continue to document any/all training accidents accidents up and through ww2 and then later, until those duties were taken up by the army safety center. As it is 100%$ proven fact that LN rifles were used extensively during ww2 and in training, the fact that there is no documentation of same is a very good indicia that there were none


the board recommended that springfield armory rifles serial number 800,000 and lower, and rock island arsenal rifles below serial number 285,507, be removed from service. The recommendation was adopted; rifles having low serial numbers were no longer issued and low numbered rifles returned to ordnance for repair had their receivers scrapped."

again, the fact is that few (almost none) of these rifles were ever ACTUALLY scrapped. In other words, the recommendation was (almost) completely ignored.

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Originally Posted by Horst Apies View Post
That is very bad advice. Read Brophy and check out the warning on the CMP forum as starters. Some of us have been shooting 03's for over fifty years. Also, as any experienced dealer will tell you, low number receivers are so difficult to sell that most don't give them a second look at any price.
[/IMG]

Likewise, I wouldn't assume your knowledge/skills/experience is superior by merely asserting how long you have been shooting (i.e. whoopie-do). BTW, this is one of my LN rifles at the range.. (you may want to look closely-- LOL).


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Old August 23rd, 2013, 11:03 AM   #36
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Footnoting is again, the only reliable way to determine the validity of any source of information. From a dealer's perspective, the only desirable low number '03s are those completely original that have values based solely on their collector value. As prices reflect, these are very scarce. Reworked low numbered rifles are valued at 80% less than originals and that's optimistic because no reputable dealer in any association I belong to would sell one without a non-firing statement. The low number/high number controversy has been around for an age and the inadequate safety level of low numbered receivers, bolts and barrels was determined in 1927.

The scrapped receivers were sold as just that, to individuals like Francis Bannerman and W. Stokes Kirk who purchased them at junk value. Many of these were combined with junk parts from '17 Enfields and Krags and sold to the unsuspecting during the pre-war era. Fortunately, these rifles are seldom encountered and no agency kept any statistics as to how many blew-up.

Both the NRA and DCM (now CMP) have discussed the issue in depth and have reached the decision to issue a safety warning on the receivers in question. Interestingly, the navy sold many mixed high and low number 03's at Great Lakes a good thirty years ago, where they had been carried for drill purposes in their boot camp. The Marine Corps 03's I recall were either those used solely for ceremonial purposes at 8th & I or the M1941 sniper model made from nickel steel, star gauged match rifles with "C" stocks.

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Old August 23rd, 2013, 01:20 PM   #37
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you (clearly) can't be bothered with FACTS (much less "footnotes"). NONE = NONE (but you keep on looking all you like).

*******************
[B]Hatcher reports no receiver failures after 1929,[/B] but if the rates experienced between 1917-1929 continued up to 1939 there would have about 43 additional receiver failures.

An unknown number of low numbered rifles (but EASILY 100K+) were reworked and put into service during World War II. There are no reports of receiver failures with these rifles.

Additional evidence for this explanation comes from the experience of the 1st Marine Division on Guadal Canal The Marine Corp made no effort to replace their low numbered Springfield rifles, and these rifles saw heavy use on Guadal Canal between August 1942 and February 1943. No receiver failures were reported in the training period before the battles, and during the four major battles that occurred in the seven month period in 1942-43.

*************
FROM
http://m1903.com/03rcvrfail/

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Old August 23rd, 2013, 01:30 PM   #38
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Look, kid. I learned long ago that you can't fix stupid. As long as the eyeballs and teeth scattered around the range are your own, I personally don't care what you shoot. Urging others to ignore the conventional wisdom of degreed ordnance engineers like Brophy and Hatcher is something I DO have a problem with.

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Old August 23rd, 2013, 08:10 PM   #39
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This seems like we are discussing what 100 failures in 100,000 rifles, so a 1 in 1,000 chance.

If we needed to fight a war with these rifles, where we expected 30% casualties, having more rifles with an expected 0.1% failure rate was a better deal than having fewer rifles, so making a decision to keep the rifles was justified.

But saying you would accept a 1 in 1,000 chance of a receiver exploding in your face for just a few hunderd dollars seems stupid. If you multiply it out at a 300 savings in exchange for a 1 in 1,000 chance of failure, would you accept 300,000 to shoot a rifle that was certain to explode, and hope you didn't go blind? Or if you were blind, would you pay 300,000 to regain your sight, or would you save the money and stay blind?

999 times in 1,000 you can shoot it with no problem. My face ain't pretty, but to save a few hundred bucks I'm not taking the chance.

This is like riding a motorcycle without a helmet. Most times it's OK, but when it is bad, it's way bad.

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Old August 23rd, 2013, 09:36 PM   #40
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A former friend of mine has a 100% correct and authenticated M1903 made by Rock Island in 1905, with the modifications called for in 1906 conducted in 1909.

The ram-rod bayonet channel is filled with dowel wood.

The script is sirti on the wood. No cross bolts at all. The buttplate is smooth. The sling is a 1903 model marked with a 1905 date, in outstanding condition for its age.

I can go on and on.

He saw it at a gunshow 10 years ago, marked for $900. He got it down to $700. Turns out, the seller was selling his father in law's collection. He apparently did NO research. As he was buying it, a man ran up and discovered that early bird gets the worm.
The man the dude who ran up to get the gun for, turns out, is an advanced M1903 collector and had just heard about it, but had a display he couldn't leave from.

Turns out, the rifle was 100% authentic and correct....worth well over $3000.00. The seller pitched a fit when he found out.

Moral of the story: do research BEFORE you buy, and do research BEFORE you sell something, especially "grandpa's gun".

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Old August 23rd, 2013, 10:31 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AKA Hugh Uno View Post
[IMG][/IMG]

Likewise, I wouldn't assume your knowledge/skills/experience is superior by merely asserting how long you have been shooting (i.e. whoopie-do). BTW, this is one of my LN rifles at the range.. (you may want to look closely-- LOL).

Hugh, I'd be more worried about the stock than the receiver. No bolts I assume on that one? Do you have any other pictures?

I may have brought up a good point, the wood is the weak spot on a 75 year old rifle...not the metal.

Thanks from AKA Hugh Uno
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Old August 24th, 2013, 01:11 AM   #42
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legitimate point, but, best I recall from that session, I was only shooting LC .06 ball (which is typically pretty mild shooting). And I admit to only firing a handful of rounds just to see how it would group! LOL. Here is the stock..


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Old August 24th, 2013, 04:51 AM   #43
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Back in the old, old days a gunsmith friend of mine would glom onto every low number 03 he found and rechamber it for 30-30. He made a lot of money betting he could out shoot some guy with a HP hunting rifle with his 30-30.......

This one looks awfully good from here, hope it is original.

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Old August 24th, 2013, 04:57 AM   #44
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Another thought. If you just had to shoot a rifle like this one you could safely shoot lead bullets. Most all of these old ones shoot lead very well. Keep the pressure down though just to be safe.

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Old August 24th, 2013, 06:19 AM   #45
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I have known a few shooters who use cast bullets with reduced propellant in low numbered Springfields but they seem to be a dying breed. Their rifles are usually sporterized and when they re-enter the market, their value is typically about 20% of one in an "as manufactured" military configuration. Again, unless the '03 is an unaltered, correct example of a pre-WWI rifle, most dealers will only buy if the price is very low. When these sporterized rifles re-enter the market, the typical buyer is looking for an inexpensive deer rifle and there are a variety of propellants and bullet weights offered which produce chamber pressures in excess of what the receiver was designed to handle, so what may have been safe for cast handloads could now be used for loads for which it was never intended.

The evolution of the GI .30-06 round is revealing and may answer a lot of questions. If I recall correctly, the 1906 round had a bullet weight of 150 gr. and an early propellant which was slower burning than the M1 round introduced in 1926. The M1 round also used a 174 gr. bullet, for which the double heat treated receivers were adequate. Improvements in metallurgy resulted in the adoption of the nickel steel receiver in about 1928 and this type was used for the remainder of production. (Interestingly,my nickel steel 03's which were in government inventory at least through WWII, never had the Hatcher Hole added.) By 1936, the military returned to the lighter bullet but with a faster burning propellant in the form of the M2, which is basically the same today.

What we have documented concerning the '03 in WWII is lacking in terms of a sufficiently broad base to determine the presence of low-numbered '03s in specific battles. Both the '03 and the '17 Enfield were present in large numbers during the PTO disasters of 1941-2 but all rifles and records fell into Japanese hands until the victory at Guadalcanal, which concluded in February of 1943. During this year sufficient quantities of Garands were available to equip both the Marine Corps and Army and the '03 and '17 were no longer primary battle implements and generally were relegated to non-combat roles. Although many thousands of '03 and 03A3 Springfield models were supplied to America's allies, all were of the high number variety.

The '03 which is the subject of the thread appears to be an asset to any collection but its value is as a collectible and not a shooter.

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