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I have a 1903 MkI whose s/n is above the 800,000 mark, and am going to go out to the range with it soon. I've read plenty of cogent arguments pro and con about the older ones not being "safe" due to variable heat tempering, but I was wondering if anyone here had ever had one of the catastrophic failures that one reads about in the older (pre-800,000) rifles? I'm just curious - one of the "con" authors broke down the incidence of failure of the older rifles with tables gathered from official sources, and it seemed that the odds of failure were marginal at best (and some of those were possibly due to combat conditions and failure to maintain), so it's pretty unlikely that it would be something that anyone here has experienced. Still, I just wanted some input, if possible?
 
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The Springfield 1903 Mark I rifles were made after the 800,000 serial number cut-off number for "case-hardening" . As such they had the "double heat treatment" which prevailed until the change to nickel steel with serial #1,275,767. As far as I remember researching, all the Mark I's were AFTER the 800,000 but before the 1,275,767 of nickel steel. Only about 100,000 Mark I's were made. They are NOT what's called "early numbers" Springfields. It is still a 97 year-old rifle, so be prudent. Mine is from 1919, in the 1,139,xxx serial number and I have shot many rounds of modern, factory ammo through it just fine. It is more accurate than my eyes will allow. Enjoy yours!

Luisyamaha
 

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I have 2 low serial number 1903`s, I shot them for years, not Knowing about the low serial number issue. When I bought a history of the 1903 book and read about it , I haven`t shot them since.
 

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Your Mark I is among the highly desired 'Double Heat Treated' guns. Known for their glass hard, slick, yet durable receivers yours rank 3rd in desirable Springfields according to Frank DeHaas a noted expert on bolt action rifles. Your's falls behind the NRA Sporter, and the 'Double Heat Treated' guns. I recently had the privilege of handling a Mark I with the semi-automatic Pederson device conversion.

AC
 

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The BS about ANY 03s detonating is just BS. There is NOT ONE example of any 1903 Springfield blowing up that had proper headspace and was firing POST WW One ammo. It just Hatcher's inaccurate assertions that has carried this lie for decades, aided and abbetted by the NRA.
 

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Gunsmith R.F.Sedgley of Philadelphia purchased low-number Springfield receivers that had been removed from service,re-heat treated them and made sporters sold by his business before WW2. None ever failed. I understand he also converted some to left-handed operation,and all Sedgley sporters are sought after by collectors. Some are still in use by hunters,and every so often a Sedgley comes up for sale online at an auction site. There are examples chambered to .35 Whelan,7x57 Mauser,and others.
As for the Mk1 rifles,they're all high-numbered receivers(Springfield Armory above 800,000). A friend hunts at my place every Fall,has a Mk1 re-barrelled locally to .25-06,his serial # is 1,126,xxx.


Rob
 
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Lyon's piece (cited above) is just recycled info.

As I sid above:

"The BS about ANY 03s detonating is just BS. There is NOT ONE example of any 1903 Springfield blowing up that had proper headspace and was firing POST WW One ammo. It just Hatcher's inaccurate assertions that has carried this lie for decades, aided and abbetted by the NRA."

NONE has ever been produced by anyone, anywhere ! BUT should you happen to have a 100% original military one OR a quality Sedgley, G&H, H&H etc sporter built on one I'll be happy to make you feel "safe" and put $500.00 in your pocket. If it's real 30-03 make that a grand and if a rod bayonet 5 grand.

Sedgley 400 Whelen and Elk it killed @250 yards. Also on cover of book I published and have for sale on Amazon.

Elk Reindeer Horn Antler Deer

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Lyon's piece (cited above) is just recycled info.

As I sid above:

"The BS about ANY 03s detonating is just BS. There is NOT ONE example of any 1903 Springfield blowing up that had proper headspace and was firing POST WW One ammo. It just Hatcher's inaccurate assertions that has carried this lie for decades, aided and abbetted by the NRA."

NONE has ever been produced by anyone, anywhere ! BUT should you happen to have a 100% original military one OR a quality Sedgley, G&H, H&H etc sporter built on one I'll be happy to make you feel "safe" and put $500.00 in your pocket. If it's real 30-03 make that a grand and if a rod bayonet 5 grand.

Sedgley 400 Whelen and Elk it killed @250 yards. Also on cover of book I published and have for sale on Amazon.

View attachment 365745

View attachment 365753
Yeah , right OK. You go ahead and take such chances with rifles of dubious quality. Go right ahead. One casehead failure , longitudal split or blown out primer and you'll be buried with that improperly heat treated "springyfield". Damn near akin to taking out last ditch arisakas and blazing away...feel free to be silly if you choose.
 

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My rifles serial number dated it to 1911 best I recall. I've never fired shot mine since it has been passed to me, but it has been shot lots of the years before I got it.
 

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My rifles serial number dated it to 1911 best I recall. I've never fired shot mine since it has been passed to me, but it has been shot lots of the years before I got it.
Wow, 116 years old! I would load light loads and enjoy a trip in the 'Wayback' machine. I love shooting my late 1903 made, 1898 Krag carbine. Talk about a blast from the past! AC
 

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It should be safe if you exercise common sense and stick to loads that would duplicate 30-06 ammo of the era. I would not put any hot modern loads through an older rifle like yours. Those receivers were rock hard and anyone that has drilled one for a scope mount will tell you it's like drilling a diamond.
 

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Speaking of 03 Springfield's ... anyone know of some good gunsmith who convert them to sporting Rifles?

Padraig
 
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