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Old 02-06-2018, 09:08 PM
Cosine26 Cosine26 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 131

M1903SHT Steel Discussion
The never-ending discussion on the SHT continues. This is nothing new. Just after WWII there was much discussion about SHT rifles in many magazines and in many published books on US Rifle in WWII. Here is one excerpt:

Heat Treat
There was quite a lengthy discussion in the “Dope Bag” section of the AMERICAN RIFLEMAN for October 1945. The primary discussion started about the “re-heat treating” of LN M1903 actions as practice by Sedgley and furnished to Bannerman for his use in building the hybrid M1903 with a M1917 bolt. (I believe that the War Department had indicated that re-heat treating had been tried at SA with not very satisfactory results.) In this article F.C. Ness quotes a letter as follows:

“I just received a letter from George Vitt of the A.S. Holden Company. This company is one of the foremost heat-treaters in the United States and he says that they will not even think of accepting one of these old actions for re-heat-treating. (Speaking on a LN M1903 action). To further quote him:
“The old Springfield receivers were made of cheap, almost plain carbon steel carburized and quenched. The type of steel would not readily lend itself to good results from the best heat-treating practice even though there are one or two outfits in Pennsylvania and elsewhere who advertise the so called reheat-treated Springfields for sale. I would no more trust these receivers without making a chemical analysis and without testing them on the Rockwell machine than I would jump off the Empire State Building.
From the referenced I have, the reheat-treatment of these receivers amounts to the same thing as the so called double heat treatment practiced at the Springfield armory prior to 1929. In other words, neither of the two is much good for the reason of the low-grade material used in the receiver . (End of Mr. Vitt’s quote)."
There are follow on comments by various metallurgists from the Bureau of Standards that indicates””The attitude of these metallurgists is that the poor material in these Springfield actions makes any of the carbon steel variety undesirable, including those double reheat-treated at Springfield Armory in the series above 800,000.”
The SHT receivers and bolts were made of CLASS C Carbon steel (~ SAE1325 equivalent). It has been indicated that this is the same steel that was used in the making of the Krag. Since the Krag dates from 1892 I would tend to believe that this composition of steel dated from the late 1880's to the early 1890's. There is quite a lengthy article on the steel used in the hull of the RMS TITANIC at the following site:
The steel used in the TITANIC dates from the 1908 - 1912 time frame, a full thirty years from the Class C steel. I would tend to believe that production of steel would have improved during the ensuing years. Much of the data is concerned with the temperature at which the TITANIC steel failed, but it indicates some of the problems with the early steel and pretty well coincides with the information in Mr. Vitt's comments. According to the report, the TITANIC steel was probably the best available at the time but would not be allowed today. The report analyzes samples of the TITANIC steel using techniques not available in 1912 and certainly not in 1880 or 1890.
With this information I believe that shooting SHT carbon steel receiver equipped M1903's is a chancy proposition - Kind of like shoot high pressure shot gun shells in a Damascus twist shotgun barrel.

Last edited by Cosine26; 02-06-2018 at 09:15 PM.
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