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'03 Springfield heat treat ?? AGAIN

Colt SuperColt Super Member Posts: 31,007
edited July 2009 in Ask the Experts
The roll mark on it looks just like this one:
http://v4.beta.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=135140936

How about 606616 ??

It's a Springfield US rifle.

Barrel is turned down - so no markings on it., stock is a cut down military.

If it is a good receiver, how much would it be worth, just for the receiver, if I wanted to build a good sporter from it ??

Thank you.

Doug

Comments

  • Hawk CarseHawk Carse Member Posts: 4,320 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Springfield went to "double heat treatment" at or not long before serial number 800,000, then to nickel steel at 1,275,767.

    So you are looking at an old case hardened receiver, not recommended for use, and certainly not a good start for building a nice rifle.
  • Colt SuperColt Super Member Posts: 31,007
    edited November -1
    Thank you all.

    I will pass.

    Doug
  • givettegivette Member Posts: 10,886
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by Hawk Carse
    Springfield went to "double heat treatment" at or not long before serial number 800,000, then to nickel steel at 1,275,767.

    So you are looking at an old case hardened receiver, not recommended for use, and certainly not a good start for building a nice rifle.

    Bullets/ammo played a large part in the early low numbered failures, as we all know. But, I've never had this question satisfactorily answered..

    I'm working on the assumption that all the .30 Gov't Krags were casehardened. If so, would one consider any .30-40 Springfield Krag as unsafe? I'm askin' cuz we don't hear much on this. Only the M1903's. Any heads-up? Thanks, Joe
  • Hawk CarseHawk Carse Member Posts: 4,320 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The Krag runs at about 20% lower pressure and the rimmed case is better supported. Not a license to overload, it still has only one locking lug.

    Many of the documented low number Springfield blowups were due to casehead failures with high production rate low quality WW I ammunition. But in lab tests, a brittle receiver could be broken with a rap from a hammer... or falling on a hard floor.
  • jonkjonk Member Posts: 10,121
    edited November -1
    I'm also convinced that light gallery loads with cast bullets in a low number springfield are perfectly safe. If they survived to today they went through 2 world wars, numerous smaller conflicts, lend lease, rebuilds, etc. The dangerous ones let go a long time ago.

    No I wouldnt' hot rod it. No I'm not recommending anyone shoot one. I'm just saying what common sense suggests.
  • Hawk CarseHawk Carse Member Posts: 4,320 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    There is a statistical analysis of low number '03 failures at:
    http://m1903.com/03rcvrfail/
    It comments that there were no recorded failures after 1929, which might be due to all the really bad ones being ruined or scrapped, in combination with the exhaustion of low grade WW I ammunition inventories.

    But Dave LeGate at Rifle Magazine found and broke several brittle receivers in the 1970s. Actions that had just not run into a soft casehead or overload, maybe?

    Hatcher remarks that two known incidents were with the guard cartridge, the service bullet, a 150 grain FMJ and 9.1 grains of Bullseye for 1200 fps. He was of the opinion that it was the rapid pressure rise rather than a high maximum that wrecked them: "...the pieces of the receiver simply fell to the floor as they might have done if it had been made of glass and struck with a hammer.

    Friend of mine shot one a bit. The darn thing was amazingly accurate for about two targets after cleaning before the neglected barrel fouled out. They took a lot of care building military rifles in peacetime in those days.
  • v35v35 Member Posts: 13,200
    edited November -1
    Statistical sample testing before WW2 of the questionable receivers found that that there was no way to separate out those with burned steel from good receivers. The good receivers did benefit from double heat treatment.
    There is no heat treatment that can restore burned steel because the burning (carbon) is around the steel's grain boundaries. Therefore, the 1903's in question were recommended to be all DESTROYED by the investigating commission.
    Instead, those rifles weren't further used, the recommendations for destruction were ignored by the War Dept and the affected rifles were put in storage for war emergency use.
    Now they are released into the civilian market; very irresponsible on the part of the Govt.
    Scientific testing proved there is no way to bless the heat affected rifles sound or write off the failures on cartridge heads letting go.
    If I had a rifle in the affected category, I'd proof test it with correct "Blue Pill" loads and measure headspace in accordance with Army specifications (remotely of course). If it didn't disintegrate, I'd have the receiver Magnafluxed or x-rayed before trusting it.
    If you're into Springfields, it behooves you to get a copy of Hatcher's Notebook. He was the Springfield project manager and lays the whole story of the 1903 series out in front of you.
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