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Old 04-03-2014, 08:04 AM
Rick the Librarian Rick the Librarian is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: NW Washington State
Posts: 6,880

Originally Posted by The Original Youngblood View Post
Amen to that!!
"We make men without chests and expect from them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst."
--C.S. Lewis
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Old 04-03-2014, 10:52 AM
islandhopper islandhopper is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 897

Some dead horses I mind, but this one I don't. Call it personal preference if you will. I don't think the issue is that low serial numbered receivers just blow up on their own. The issue is that IF something like a case-head failed resulting in a severe pressure spike, the receiver COULD detonate. As long as nothing goes wrong, there probably wouldn't be a problem. Personally, after reading Hatcher's description of putting 03 low numbered receivers in a vice, striking them with a hammer and watching some of them shatter I am more than hesitant to fire one. Others may not be as concerned.
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Old 04-03-2014, 11:04 AM
3StrikesNC 3StrikesNC is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: in a house
Posts: 2,782

The early low number 03's are still the most beautiful military rifles ever made, IMO.

So if I had one, it'd be my looker. I'd take the high number 03's to the range. One eye only and you lose stereoscopic vision, therefore not being able to fully appreciate the low number M1903.
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Old 04-03-2014, 11:25 AM
dowell1865 dowell1865 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: ky
Posts: 1,041

Reading on this showed failures in servjce in ww1 were mainly attributed to dirty.corroded ammo. Ammo out of spec and of bad brass and even 1 or 2 accidently trying to fire 8mm. I didnt see to much that couldnt possibly cause the same with modern rifles.guess the marines saw the logic also at first i was anti low number because of what i heard.now after studying it i wouldnt worry to much. I to have seen low numbers rebarreled for ww2 dont think they would throw pipe bombs to units
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Old 04-03-2014, 12:22 PM
captaincalc captaincalc is offline
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Ohio
Posts: 2,928

They might if we were in danger of getting our sphincters reamed by some perceived enemy and were short on other weapons to issue. I'm not totally convinced of the blow up factor, but they don't overly pass the "would-I-let-my-daughter-risk-it" test either. As for the comparison of 03 to Krags, all it would take is one guy having a bad day on the heat treatment part of the production line to make for some problem receivers and/or bolts.
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Old 04-03-2014, 08:43 PM
Rock Rock is offline
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 922

Is a 'low number' 03 event any worse than an 'any number' AR event?

I don't know of any plans to change the heat treatment or material of AR uppers.

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Old 04-03-2014, 08:57 PM
TDP0311 TDP0311 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: NW Ohio
Posts: 1,045


They are actually so unsafe, you shouldn't even own them. Being a generous and helpful guy, I will gladly take them off your hands for you!
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Old 04-03-2014, 09:30 PM
Terry Bridwell Terry Bridwell is offline
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Oregon
Posts: 254

Originally Posted by Rock View Post

I don't know of any plans to change the heat treatment or material of AR uppers.
No, but proper heat treatment of AR bolts is critical.

Last edited by Terry Bridwell; 04-03-2014 at 09:33 PM.
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Old 04-03-2014, 09:36 PM
Roadkingtrax Roadkingtrax is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: AZ
Posts: 8,442

Originally Posted by Rock View Post
Is a 'low number' 03 event any worse than an 'any number' AR event?

I don't know of any plans to change the heat treatment or material of AR uppers.

Bad reloads can certainly cause the system to fail. A low number 1903 is no different.
"The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction." ~William Blake
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Old 04-03-2014, 09:42 PM
Slamfire Slamfire is offline
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 110

What makes anyone think that Hatchers list is complete? It is a listing of 03 blows ups from 16 July 1917 to 1929. The first receivers listed as blown up were a 1907 vintage receiver and a 1917 receiver. These receivers blew at National Brass & Copper Tube factory, a factory making ammunition for the US military during WW1. The 1907 receiver fragmented and blew a piece of shrapnel piercing the lung of the operator.

There is plenty of evidence, in the early Arms and the Man Magazine, (found on Google Books) that many receivers had blown prior to the creation of Hatcher’s list, but to then Springfield Armory and its supporters were able to misdirect and muffle this issue. What made the 1917 event at National Brass and Copper Tube different and something that the Army had to acknowledge, were these blowups occurred outside of the Army chain of command. Springfield Armory did make up convincing sounding, but fallacious arguments: “cartridges cases not up to standard and secondarily, to receivers somewhat below the standard” but National Brass & Copper had qualified metallurgists, who could counter all of the self serving denialism coming out of Springfield Armory. Plus, National Brass & Copper could go outside of the Army chain of command and complain to their Congressmen . This was not an entity that the Army could bury and ignore, as it obviously had done to date with all Army personnel who had reported blown rifles. In fact, in print in 1917, the Army denied that there was anything wrong with their rifles.

There are known blows afterward, proving that the laws of physics did not end in 1929, and also proving that any failure rates based on Hatcher’s Notebook are wrong, based on a incomplete data base and that any conclusions based on such a database are false, wrong and probably intentionally misleading.

Blown up 1932

Receiver 323816

Receiver 570, 095 Blown up 1932

1931 Receiver 718, 233

Receiver 764, 040 blown 1931

It is remarkable that Hatcher had any reports at all. I don’t know how he got them but he was Head of Army Ordnance during WW2. It is Army policy, nay, DoD policy, not to release Safety Accident Reports to anyone except Military Law Enforcement, and then, only if the law enforcement request is legitimate. I don’t know what you could get with a freedom of information act request, probably nothing of value since all you can do with a FOI is to ask, the agency gets to decide if the information “compromises” national security.

In 1927 an appointed Army board examined all data and wrote a report recommending that all low number receivered rifles be withdrawn from service. This is recorded starting page 221 of Hatcher's Notebook. The board was over ruled by a Brigadier General who put out an incredibly irresponsible policy with the following logic “ Our ammunition is getting worse and accidents may be somewhat more frequent. On the other hand, some of these early rifles have been in used for many years and undoubtedly some of them have worn out several barrels. I do not think the occasion merits the withdrawal of the rifles of low number in the hands of troops until the rifle is otherwise unserviceable

Let me add my comment: this decision was immoral by an amoral leadership. The B Gen decided that in between such time the rifle wore out, if that rifle blew up taking the hand or head of a Trooper, well that was just too damn bad. He decided that no Trooper is worth the cost of scrapping the complete inventory of rifles, in fact, no Trooper was worth the cost of a single rifle.

Obviously not all low number receivers were bad, but enough were bad that a board had to be convened to address the issue. It is noticeable that Hatcher never put in his book the actual estimated percentage of bad receivers, something that had to be in the report. If he did so, it would have been obvious that the decision to keep the low number rifles in service was immoral.

I read a post that claimed that the Marine Corp used a very simple test technique to sort out their “good” low number receivers from “bad”: they hit the receiver with a hammer. If the receiver shattered into pieces than the receiver was bad.

I think all the low number advocates ought to do the same with their low number receiver: hit it hard enough to make it ring. Hit it on the receiver ring, the right rail, and the rear receiver bridge. Let me know how it turns out. I am confident that none of them will. The advocates would rather the rifle take their head off, than risk the loss of the receiver.

You are totally free to shoot your low number Springfields as much as possible, and if the thing blows, tell us all about it. Between now and then, how about telling us your favorite cigarette brand, maybe we can get you to be a two pack a day smoker, you know, a lot of people believe the idea that smoking causes cancer is a fraud.

This blowup came from a gunbroker auction,


This item is a Springfield Armory model 1903 rifle that is a good wall hanger. Its been hanging on the wall of the shop for about 22 years. It is that bad a shape it has been blown up. This is a low ser # of 236162, I had this hanging on the wall to show people what would happen if they shot one of the old low ser # rifles with modern ammo. Look at the pictures to see that this is NOT a shoot able rifle. The guy that shot this rifle spend 4 days in the hospital getting metal out of his eye & metal out of his arms. No FFL required. I will send out a email at the close of the bidding, please copy & send back with payment. I’m selling out a gun shop that was in business for over 30 years. More parts & pieces to come. The shop did a lot of general repair & that’s why all the different parts. This and a bunch more that will be coming up for sale were in 4 other old gun shop’s that I’ve bought out over the last 31 year’s.

And this is the guy that bought it:


1. Blown '03 Receiver From GB
For those of you just coming in, I got this off of GB more than a month ago - http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=190985391

Removing the bolt first was a hopeless cause. I have only removed a few barrels beforehand, and this one was really stuck. Removing it ended up breaking the "ramp" around the chamber. Please excuse my elementary terminology.

The rim around the face of the bolt was also blown off. I'll show pics of all this in time, but here are some of the cartridge case next to that of fired .30-06. To me, it looks like the failed case has a "belt", like that of a magnum. The rest of the case seems to be about the same size as a normal -06.

The area around the primer seems "deep" to me, but all of this maybe the result of the excessive pressure, I don't know.

I just shoot recreationally, so hopefully some of you more serious shooters can figure this out.

Mike P: There's a chunk of the rear receiver ring missing. Not something you normally see with high numbered rifles though the front ring appears to be intact. I don't think the design allows for shed bolt handles either.

Last edited by Slamfire; 04-04-2014 at 01:32 PM.
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