1903 Springfield


SMSgt, USAF (Ret.)
Steel Soldiers Supporter
Laramie County, Wyoming
The 1903 Springfield is probably my all time favorite military rifle. It shoots well, is moderately easy to maintain and you can still find parts for them. For the purpose of my discussion, I’d like to bring up the low vs high serial number Springfield and Rock Island armory 1903’s. These rifles, numbered up to 800,000 +/- a few hundred for Springfield and approximately 257,000 for Rock Island have questionable receivers. It’s a long convoluted story that takes quite a bit to go through and is discussed in Maj Gen Julian Hatcher’s book, “Hatcher’s Notebook”. Bottom line, any 1903 with serial numbers in the ranges I listed should not be used, according to authorities from the 1910’s through the 1920’s. 25 or so rifles receivers failed is very unpleasant results. The failures were attributed to improper heat treatment. In essence, the steel in the receivers was “burnt”, making them very fragile to any type of impact. Impact meaning, failed while being fired. Hatcher’s book covers the subject very well.
So, after yammering on, what is the purpose of this post? The purpose is to see if any of our members own a low number 1903 and to see if they’re still being fired. My low number I keep as a wall hanger. I ground down the firing pin so it can’t be fired for any reason. It will be used for display in my 1944 Chevrolet G506. I assume if some are still being fired, there’s been no issues, however it’d be impossible to determine if more low numbered receivers may have failed after leaving military service.
Any takers?
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