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Posted: 3/23/2001 3:59:42 AM EDT
Passed on a nice one recently, because i`ve read so many articles on soft recievers. i am really confused at this point. does anyone on this site know thr real facts?...[grenade]
Link Posted: 3/23/2001 4:35:20 AM EDT
I'd look on The Firing Line.

Somewhere in the 800,000 serial no. range they changed the heat treating so that these rifles are safe to fire.  Supposedly the earlier ones are not.  I imagine you could put any military 30-06 through any Springfield, and that people have done so for years, but then again it's YOUR face next to the receiver.  And I would be wary of putting any commercial 30-06 through a military rifle because of potential higher pressures.

Hope that helps, but I have seen the complete story on the Net a few times.
Link Posted: 3/23/2001 4:39:38 AM EDT
Receivers not soft---they are very hard (like glass) due to "halfass eyeballed" heat treat techniques common during that time period. Check out Hatcher's Notebook----by Gen. Julian S. Hatcher. This is a "must have" book! Brownells has it.
Link Posted: 3/23/2001 2:06:07 AM EDT
Here's the deal on '03 receivers: The early M1903 receivers were case hardened.  If done incorrectly, this can leave the receiver brittle(as Noname said).  These were serial numbers below 800,000 for Springfield and 285,507 for Rock Island Armory.  These guns are refered to as "low number" Springfields.  You can get various opinions on whether you should shoot one or not.  The Army withdrew all low number M1903's from service for safety.  

What happened was that Springfield was using a form of case hardening where the crafstman determined it was time to quench the receiver by the shade of glow that the receiver had been heated to.  There was an upgrade in the lighting, and the receivers looked different, so they were heated to the wrong temperatures.  After they figured this out they installed a thermometer system.  Rock Island always used a thermometer system, and nearly all the actual blow-ups of low number Springfields in Army service were Springfield manufacture.  

Rifles above the "low number" mark were first double heat treated (with tempreature measuring equipment) which gives a hard outside, but a soft inside that's somewhat elastic.  Rock Island then introduced Nickel Steel receivers and those are far superior to any previous.  All M1903A3/A4 are Nickel steel.

So the bottom line is low number Springfields may not be safe to shoot.  There's nothing that can be done to a low number to change it's characteristics.  Fitting a late barrel doesn't make it any safer.  There was no govt upgrade program, or any other thing the govt did with those rifles, except remove them from service for safety.  A low number '03 is a low number '03.  

Any M1903 with a Serial number above those are as safe as any used gun of that age.  Obviously you have to check it out before shooting, yada, yada, yada.

I have personally seen a low number Springfield that had an additional number added to the S/N to fool people into beliving it was a high number '03.  You can tell this because the number will look different than all the rest, and it has to be on one end or the other of the S/N.  Also since the S/N is centered with the rest of the markings, it will be obvious that something isn't right and was added.  I've only seen one like this, and that was a very long time ago.  You will have no trouble spotting one if it's faked.  It's that obvious.  

Stay away from National Ordnance recievers.  They are aftermarket and cast.  There's really no point in owning one, other than collecting.  


Edited: How very odd.  I posted this a 6:06 PM and the board read this as 6:06 AM and put my post in the wrong order. Man, this could screw up alot of threads!
Link Posted: 3/23/2001 2:19:38 AM EDT
Ross, noname, for some of the very reasons you state, i am afraid to invest in a 03. i have wanted one for years, and actually am glad i didn`t buy one a long time ago, when i knew nothing about them at all, except that they were old army rifles.when i was younger, there were a lot of them available cheap. now when i find a nice one (some beauties lately) i am very very skeptical as to forgery or whatever. since i started studying up on them, i got more confused, and to be honest,i am pretty much convinced that money may be better spent elswhere! time will tell. but i really tink i have held some "junkers" over the past few years..thanks for the feedback!...B&G...[beer]
Link Posted: 3/23/2001 2:31:54 AM EDT
C-Ranger,i read this on them also. believe it or not, i still have a few rounds of mil issue `06, but it is getting pretty hard to find. one of the articles stated that even though the fed realized thier "problem" with the tempering process, a large number of issue rifles were used for a period of time, with no reports of failure or malfunction. well lets face it, the dod isn`t going to visit mom and tell her that sonny was killed by "failure of his issued weapon" so if what the gov determined that they completed a "succesful" replacement operation of "possibly" "marginal/questionable" rifles, who the hell are we to know, and as i so gently put it, they are`nt telling...i definitely ain`t spending 400 on a wall hanger!(you either) i`ll get another ar instead!...B&G[heavy]
Link Posted: 3/23/2001 3:15:20 AM EDT
you can enter the lottery run by the civilian marksmanship program formerly known as the director of civilian marksmanship.  they hold a lottery every couple of months. it costs nothing to enter. if your name is picked  you become eligble to buy a 03 from them as this is the same outfit that sells the m1's  i wouldn't hesitate to buy one.  i have been in it since last year but so far haven't won.  i continue to hope though.  you can enter via your computer.  i don't have their url but i am sure you could find it easily enough.
Link Posted: 3/23/2001 4:29:30 AM EDT
They are really fine rifles.  One of the classics, and some of the best made guns ever constructed.  Consider that there were only around 68 cases of failures in the over 1,000,000 "low number" rifles.  Most of these were due to faulty ammo.  The receivers blew when gas was vented into the receiver from blown cases, etc.  None blew just from use, all were exposed to extreme pressures.  Again, these were only in the Low Number range as well.  There aren't any quality related receiver failures with the millions of other high number '03s.  

I own 4 M1903's.  They are high quality, safe guns.  If you're interested in buying a Springfield, just get one over the cutoff.  Nearly all that are available today are high number, and ALL the A1, A3 and A4s are safe.  Just remember the S/N cutoff when you're shopping.  As for adding digits, you can't miss that one now that you know about it.  It's that obvious.  I mean it's REALLY obvious.

There's things you need to worry aobut with all guns.  There are rewelded M1 Garands, rewelded M1911 slides, and all sorts of junk out there.  At least with the M1903, all you have to do is look at the S/N to know.  

Link Posted: 3/23/2001 6:09:18 PM EDT
The 4140 steel used to make these receivers, even when over hardened would still have a tensile strength of somewhere around 130,000 PSI, and a yield strength of a slightly higher pressure. These guns were designed to operate at pressures of around 48,000 PSI, so it seems to me that it would take another factor coming into play in order to cause a catastrophic failure.

I'd be more than happy to take any of those sub 800,000 03s off anyone's hands that has one, if they want to dump it cheap. [:)]
Link Posted: 3/23/2001 6:15:03 PM EDT
$400, and the thing was in beautiful shape. almost bought it, just scared. (too bad for me huh?) they had a sporterized one (not too good overall) for 300 a couple months previuos. personally i would only go with oem. thanks for the heads up guys, i`ll keep looking. they do show up now&then...B&G
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