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Low number 1903 Springfield Sporter
Discussions related to Guns and Firearms

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Gil Martin
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Joined: Jan 28, 2005
Posts: 1755
Location: Schnecksville, PA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:58 pm    Post subject: Low number 1903 Springfield Sporter Reply with quote

Last week, I was in a gun shop and saw a very nice 1903 Springfield sporter with a WWII barrel and serial number 359XXX. It had a Redfield base and rings so I could not tell if it was a high number Rock island or a low number Springfield. It was evident that the rifle had been shot a great deal. We haggled a bit and I got the rifle cheap.

At home, I was able to determine it was a low number 1903 Springfield. What to do. I searched the web and came across volumes of information on low number Springfield rifles. The link below was the best article I have read to date. The total number of low number 1903 Springfield rifles made by Rock Island Arsenal and Springfield Armory was about one million rifles. It is interesting to note that the U.S Army did not recall low number Springfield rifles from active duty troops, but merely issued high number rifles to new recruits. When low number rifles were turned in for repair, they were then taken out of service and scrapped. The Marine Corp continued to use low number Springfields well into WWII when M1 Garand rifles were available and issued to troops.

Armed with this information, I took the rifle to the range and ran a number of reloads through it. The rifle did just fine. Al the best...
Gil


m1903.com/03rcvrfail/

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Vince
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Joined: May 25, 2005
Posts: 14219
Location: Brisbane AUSTRALIA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 9:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Low number 1903 Springfield Sporter Reply with quote

Good pick up Gil.

I am kicking myself that I never acquired an aussie Army Lee Enfield .303 for $50 when I had the chance.

Cheers, Vince

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SingleShotLover
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Joined: Dec 26, 2007
Posts: 998
Location: Illinois

PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 5:38 am    Post subject: Re: Low number 1903 Springfield Sporter Reply with quote

Gil,

I sporterized and restocked a low numbered Rock Island '03 back in the '70s and it still shoots fine. I just wouldn't try to make the old 30-06 into a .300 Magnum with hot loads. Sensible loads and proper headspace should create no problems. Chances are good that if it hasn't let go after all these years it isn't going to!

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robfromaz1977
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Joined: Aug 03, 2005
Posts: 179
Location: Arizona's White Mountains

PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 6:49 am    Post subject: Re: Low number 1903 Springfield Sporter Reply with quote

Thanks for posting that link. An excellent amount of information and a must read for those who own or are thinking of buying an 03. My 03 is made by Springfield and is numbered in the 900000's so I have never worried about firing it. I do not load hot rounds for it just to be safe.
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Gil Martin
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Joined: Jan 28, 2005
Posts: 1755
Location: Schnecksville, PA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 5:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Low number 1903 Springfield Sporter Reply with quote

I agree with you folks. My reloads were mild starting loads per Lyman and generated about 39,000 p.s.i. I have a .300 magnum so there is no need for me to hot rod this fine old rifle. All the best...
Gil

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