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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 7/5/2003 10:57:29 AM EDT
My pops is giving me a 1903 30-06 that was giving to him by his father. He has never shot it, but it is in good shape and I would like to fire it. Any pointers on determining if this rifle is safe to fire? It would make a nice long-range addition to my kit! Does it accept stripper clips? Are there aftermarket options that should be considered??? Thanks in advance ya'alls!
Link Posted: 7/5/2003 11:20:25 AM EDT

That said, go to a gunsmith and have him check the headspace.
Link Posted: 7/5/2003 12:04:25 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/5/2003 12:07:35 PM EDT by raf]
Link Posted: 7/5/2003 2:18:44 PM EDT
Bitchin'! I like good solid equipment, and the rifle looks like it would double as one hell of a club. I am guessing magazine capacity is 5 rounds? The gun has the original cleaning kit with it, any idea of what the thing may be worth? Don't get me wrong, I would never sell it...

Link Posted: 7/5/2003 7:04:32 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Jeff_Davis_was_Right:
My pops is giving me a 1903 30-06 that was giving to him by his father. He has never shot it, but it is in good shape and I would like to fire it. Any pointers on determining if this rifle is safe to fire? It would make a nice long-range addition to my kit! Does it accept stripper clips? Are there aftermarket options that should be considered??? Thanks in advance ya'alls!

As everyone has said...don't sporterize it (tap it for a scope, put on a new stock, etc)...inspect what you have there; you might have one hell of a good collector's piece, or at the very least, a solid target and hunting rifle. Check the very end of the barrel, on the bottom of the muzzle. If you see a star stamped into the bottom of the muzzle, you have a star-guaged barrel; highly prized. Check it's serial number...check to see if it's a 1903, 03A3, or an 03 Mark 1...etc etc etc. There's a PILE of data about those available. Check www.scott-duff.com for more information, and books...you'll spend $50 for a decently authortative book about them, but it's worth the buy and read, especially if you're not sure of what you have, and want to figure it out for yourself.
Link Posted: 7/6/2003 2:47:19 AM EDT
Definatly DO NOT sporterize it! Your pretty lucky to inherit a 1903. Just make sure its not an early one, cause from what I hear(I`m no expert on 1903`s) the steel isn`t strong enough to be fired with today`s ammo.

Again DON`T sporterize it!
And congradulations!

BTW if you find out that it is one thats compatable with the Pederson Device I wouldn`t shoot it a whole lot.
Link Posted: 7/6/2003 5:17:19 AM EDT
Plese don't sporterize it. It will lose most of it value if you go that route. CMP are selling them for I believe $400-500 . Go to CSP site or CMP and make sure you don't have an EARLY serial number. They had a heat treat problem with them ( reciever ) and are now considered unsafe to shoot.They have the cut off number listed at both these sites.If you can't find it let me know and I will look it up for you. What manufactor do you have on the rciever? What manufactor is on the end of the barrel?? Keep it in your family and pass on to your children one day. WarDawg
Link Posted: 7/6/2003 6:27:21 AM EDT
leave it the f*ck alone, dont sport it up..lol. like everyone said. i would check the serial no. and do research b4 even shooting it. i know ppl lookin for those things and they can bring big money, although youll probably hang on to for sentimental reasons plus keep in mind. if the government has its way, those maybe the only type of rifles left in the world..lol.
Link Posted: 7/6/2003 8:14:08 AM EDT
Link Posted: 7/6/2003 8:18:43 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/6/2003 8:22:02 AM EDT by Gloftoe]

Originally Posted By raf:
If it's a P-D rifle, it will have "MARK I" stamped on the receiver, and will have an oval hole in the left side of the receiver. Friend of mine has one. Collectable.

Mmmmmmm... Pederson device......[/Homer]

You can still get MARK I '03s from the CMP (at least they're still listed on the webpage), but I think all the MARK I parts are removed from them.

As far as shooting it, why not? As long as it's not one that has the heat treat problem, you're not gonna hurt it. Now you just need to get your hands on a Pederson device... oh, and mags for it...dang, ammo too..
Link Posted: 7/6/2003 10:47:13 AM EDT
Current CMP rifles are typically mixmasters with parts from various manufacturers. Most are turn-ins from VFW posts and some foreign lend-lease turn-ins. Value of those is about $450.

If yours is all original, then price can go up to $650-700. Lots of original 1903s and A3s were sold in the late '50s and early '60s. Hopefully you have one of these.

Sporterise it and you will destroy the value to $150 max.
Link Posted: 7/6/2003 2:48:11 PM EDT
This gun was purchased surplus after World War II, along with an olive drab willy's jeep that still had a star on the hood. Used for deer hunting and plinking by my gran-pappy'. The gun has never been changed or modified, and there is a bayonet for it somewhere. The stock is in ok condition, with no cracks, it has some finis wear marks say around 85% or so. Too bad the willy's jeep wasn't still around. If this is a good numbered gun I will get a thousand rounds for it and practice long range shooting with it.

Link Posted: 7/6/2003 7:09:52 PM EDT
You'll want to run its serial number as some of the really old ones have questionable steels used. The hardening of steel wasn't the science that it is today and some bad batches of rifles are well documented.

These are sweet rifles if you've got a shooter.
Link Posted: 7/6/2003 7:53:09 PM EDT
Easy to tell. Where is the rear sight? Is it in front of the chamber like a mauser or over top of the bolt handle, with a peep-sight? If its a peep type, its an 1903A3 and is generaly exempt from the heat treatment issue all togather. If its a 'stanard' sight then you need to have it run as it could be a WWI or pre.

Just an anecdote, not ment to frighten you off, but nearly all 1903s were produced as "2nd line" weapons, or "budget rifles". During WWI they were never issued in large numbers, being that 10 M1917 Enfields were made in the US for every 1 M1903, and in the '20s the US Army was on such a shoestring budget it often cut corners and the quality of the workmanship on the 1903s suffered. By the time WWII rolled around, 1903s were playing second fiddle to Garands and Thompsons in production and are, even compared to wartime 1903s and 03A1s, pretty rough, like the difference between a stamped and a milled SKS. My only 1903 is a 1943 Smith Corona A3 and it did let go on me (sort of) after shooting a couple of hundred rounds of whatever swill Century sold me, I developed a stress crack in the threaded area of the reciever around the barrel and is no longer safe to shoot. This has happened to a few other WWII production A3s that I know of, but not on any sort of grand scale. I know of just as many 1903s that have had THOUSANDS of rounds put through them and dont even look the worse for ware. If your grandpa shot it a lot "in the day", my money is on yours being perfectly safe, but as the guys have already said, take it to a good 'smith who is competent with milspec rifles. One of my buddies just took a 1908 Short Magazine Lee Enfield with all the original goodies on the 1st run SMLEs, to have it checked out, and his smith ended up microbedding the rifle and ruining its collectors value and its shooting charactaristics.

That said, enjoy one of the few great American icons WE ripped off from someone else (instead of the way it ususally is). The 1903 is a very interesting bastard brother to the Gew98 Mauser (actually its more kin to the Spanish 95 that we faced in Cuba). There is SO much to know about them...
Link Posted: 7/7/2003 11:23:30 AM EDT
After a long and arduous search, I finally found a very clean 1903-A3 last year. It was a factory refinished Remington which is common as the original barrels were often shot out due to corrosive ammo.

It is nearly perfect with a clean stock and clear cartouches (initials stamped by the original and refinish inspectors). The barrel was unshot.

I developed a nice mild load with once fired military brass and 150 grain moly-coated bullets. My eyes can't do it justice at 100 yards, but at 50 yards it appears to be a sub-minute rifle.

Kicks like a mule. I love it.
Link Posted: 7/9/2003 5:33:01 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Jeff_Davis_was_Right:
My pops is giving me a 1903 30-06 that was giving to him by his father. He has never shot it, but it is in good shape and I would like to fire it. Any pointers on determining if this rifle is safe to fire?

If I remember correctly, Springfield rifles above #850,000 are safe to fire. Remington rifles above #265,000 are safe to fire. ALWAYS check the headspace of ANY surplus rifle if you don't know it's history.
Link Posted: 7/10/2003 3:45:38 AM EDT

The two main issues you want to think about, as already discussed, are headspace and when the rifle was manufactured since early rifles may have problems with the steel. You can check the headspace yourself if you want to purchase the guages, or simply take it to a gunsmith.

As far as whether it is subject to the warning about early '03s, I've copied the info below from Scott Duff's website...hope it helps.

WARNING: I have noted that many collectors are becoming interested in
the M1903 Rifles for the first time. With that in mind, I feel it is worth
reminding all that certain low serial numbered M1903 rifles may be
unsafe to fire. The receivers of some early rifles are of questionable
strength due to through hardening causing brittleness and resulting in
receivers which may shatter! According to U.S. Army reports as published
in Hatcher’s Notebook, Chapter XVIII (available from this website and
very interesting reading) Springfield Armory M1903 rifles below serial
number 800000 and Rock Island M1903 rifles below serial number
285507 may be unsafe to fire. Firing these low serial numbered rifles has
caused serious injury as detailed in Hatcher’s Notebook! M1903 rifles
with serial numbers below those previously stated should be considered as
collectibles only and should not be fired!
Link Posted: 7/10/2003 8:27:44 PM EDT
Bitchin, well, it is at the gunshop getting the headspace checked, he says it should be a shooter. I pick it up tomorrow, and I am ordering some ammo to go shooting! New (old) guns are the best feeling!!!

Link Posted: 7/12/2003 1:35:54 PM EDT
1903 range report

150 grain FMJBT Federal American Eagle

80 rounds fired, good primer strikes, fired brass is in good shape. No FTE's or anything like that. Since there is no shooting range in northern AZ, and the leftist euro-trash vegan pascifists struck down the proposed range, I took some home-made paper targets and walked about 100 paces (80-90 yards I guess). Five shot groups at just over 2 inches. Shot from prone position and using a sandbag. Several groups had overlapping bullet holes. Considering there was a fair amount of wind, and slight drizzle towards the end of my shoot, I am extremely impressed with this rifle!!!! My shoulder is a tad sore, but nothing major. Thanks for everyones help and information.
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