Go Back   CMP Forums > CMP Sales > CMP Bolt Action Rifles
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Mark Forums Read

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 04-02-2014, 12:21 PM
Puccini Puccini is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 27
Default Low number 1903's

The facts surrounding the failures of some recievers on 1903's has spawned one of the most vicious and long lasting myths.

I know that CMP has to protect it's business interests by posting a warning about them but even that doesn't portray the actual facts around the failures.

For just an overview, the total number of failures of "low number" 1903's was, AT MOST, 137 rifles out of 1,000,000.

And many of them were blamed on other factors than recievers being heat treated wrong.

The real number could be as low as 70.

And the majority of them were years of manufacture before the
so called improvement in 1918.

What has not been publisized much is that the US Marine Corps
actually asked for the low number 1903's due to their availability
and used them during WWII island campaigns with no reports of burst recievers.

If there was a wide spread danger of these rifles, the results in battle conditions would have warranted a complete removal of them.

This myth and the other terror, the misunderstood "corrosive ammo" issue are not portrayed properly and lead to great misunderstanding that just won't stand up to the light of facts.
Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2014, 12:49 PM
Oldvetteman Oldvetteman is offline
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Larkspur, Colorado
Posts: 990

Where is the dead horse graphic? This has been cussed and discussed many, many times. I suspect most will stay out of yet another inconclusive discussion/argument. I'll cut to the chase and go to the bottom line of where all low number threads go...if you think there is little or no risk then go ahead, get yourself a low number 1903 and blast away. Hope it works out for you.
Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2014, 12:58 PM
sakorick sakorick is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Linneus, Missouri
Posts: 436

Hatcher had data on the injury caused by the receiver failures for 43 of the 68 accidents. Three men lost an eye (7% of the total accidents) and 6 more (14%) had unspecified injuries considered serious or severe. The remaining 34 failures (79%) caused minor injury. The risk of serious injury from the failure of a low numbered Springfield receiver would be about 0.7 serious injuries per 100,000 rifles manufactured. The heat treatment problems had been present long before the manufacturing pressures of 1917. The receiver failures were also compounded by a design flaw in the support of the cartridge case head in the Springfield rifle, and this problem was exacerbated by uneven manufacturing of brass cartridge cases during 1917-18 which suggests that ammunition manufactured during World War I likely played a major role in receiver failures.

The 1st Marine division was equipped with low serial number 03's on Guadalcanal. These rifles saw heavy use on Guadalcanal between August 1942 and February 1943. No receiver failures were reported in the training period before the battles, and during the four major battles that occurred in the seven month period in 1942-43. While it's not possible to estimate the exact number of rifles involved, up to 7,000 would have been in use by the three rifle regiments of the 1st Marine Division, Based on the failure rates of 1917-1918 between one and two rifle receivers would have been expected to fail and none did. If I owned one I would not hesitate to shoot it but probably avoid hot reloads and stick to moderate loads with low chamber pressure. Regards, Rick.
Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2014, 01:17 PM
Gewehr43 Gewehr43 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 2,199

Yes- dead stinky horse........... out from its grave again.

If you feel that it's ok to shoot low numbers- go ahead.

If you don't feel comfortable- don't.

The only question is who is going to get this cat-fight going........
Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2014, 01:19 PM
ArmyMAJORretired ArmyMAJORretired is offline
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Peachtree City, GA
Posts: 548

Interesting insight, I have been looking for a 1903 and have avoided the low serial numbers. I just might reconsider. I'm not a high volume shooter and would probably only fire about 100 a year. I'd only use M2.

Probably more dangerous driving to work everyday.

Of course I jumped out of airplanes in the Army. I bought a Motorcycle and my mom said, Oh my God be careful.

Live fast, die young, leave a good looking corpse, 2 out of 3 ain't bad.
Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2014, 03:52 PM
jgaynor jgaynor is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: NNJ
Posts: 1,330

Hatcher implies that 'proof firing' eliminated MOST of the "weak ones" but he does not give us any numbers.
I don't understand where the number of 137 failed receivers comes from. Does it include those that failed during proof? Do you have access to some new information?

Please enlighten us.
Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2014, 04:00 PM
moose moose is offline
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Indianapolis
Posts: 1,130

Here is another thing. If they haven't blown up after 80 to 100 years of firing...

they probably are not gonna.......

I have seen a low number that was USGI rebarreled twice...

Once when they removed the 30-03 barrel, and again when they removed the second barrel for a replacement in WWII.
US Nylon Field gear 1967 to 2005
Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2014, 05:11 PM
LCDR1635 LCDR1635 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Carolinas
Posts: 188

This is an interesting, and fairly rigorous, study on 1903 failures that I found somewhere along the way.


My apology if this is a repost of something you've all read through before, and, indeed, I may have found it here (CMP Forums) at some point.

After reading this I've wondered about getting a LN rifle myself ... but maybe just putting light charge/cast bullet loads through it, since I would use it only as a "fun" shooter, not a competition rifle.
Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2014, 05:37 PM
baron555 baron555 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Lockport, IL
Posts: 1,100

Wow....this topic hadn't been discussed.....in a few months.........now numbering at over 1 millions times this subject had come up.

Usually with the same conclusions.....everyone is free to gamble.......Darwin usually wins and you can not replace your eyes.

Make your decision.
Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2014, 05:42 PM
epm729 epm729 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Highland, NY
Posts: 1,831

I own a low number, I first used it on a hunting trip in 1975. I didn't know about the controversy until later on. I shot commercial ammo with heavy bullet and lots of HXP since then , have not had a problem. Eddie
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:33 PM.