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Thread: What to do with a low number 1903?

  1. #301
    Boolit Master JHeath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hamish View Post
    Funny how we keep having this thread about every year and a half,,,,,,,,.
    That's because Hatcher made a big deal about LSN 1903s and wrote they shouldn't be used. So it became "received truth". Somebody always get s offended when somebody else colours outside the lines.

    You see this constantly with loading data. If you mention exceeding loading book or SAAMI maximum for any cartridge, multiple people will post in all caps never to exceed the max, certain death, only fools cross the line by an inch etc. . . .

    . . . Unless some magical authority does it. If you point out that Keith loaded the .44 Special to mag levels and why this worked, you hear that he had special magical authority the rest of us lack . . .

    . . . or until the rule-breaking is in print. Then it becomes okay to load a headstamped .45-70 case to pressures that would Kb a trapdoor but which a No. 1 will eat for breakfast, because now it's in a book.

    True story: a few weeks ago I noticed a low number Springfield sporter in a shop, the tag said "DISPLAY ONLY, DO NOT FIRE". I didn't mention the rifle to the shop owner, but later we had a long conversation on a variety of loading-related subjects. And he told me about a now-dead older mentor who worked for years with Hatcher "back in the day". And that mentor who'd worked with Hatcher unhesitatingly shot LN Springfields, said he didn't bat an eye over them.

    I didn't even ask the LGS his reason for the doom-and-gloom tag on the Springfield. I know the answer. He's got nothing to gain by trying to educate or argue with customers.

    Near as I can tell Rolling Blocks Kb, Swedes Kb, Krags crack lugs, nobody cares what their hardness or carbon content is compared to what it was supposed to be, and nobody questions them because those aren't official questions.

  2. #302
    Boolit Master

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    JHeath-- there are certainly some valid points in your post. Many other firearms seem not to have been scrutinized as closely as were the Low Number Springfields. Just within the past week there was a thread about a Swedish Mauser that blew up at the range. It was mentioned that there have been others. A double charge was suspected, although unproven at the time; but defective ammunition certainly played a part in the failure of many LNS receivers. Many of the other rifles were commercial or in the hands of organizations that kept less painstaking records, if any at all.

  3. #303
    Boolit Master
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    While drill can and often was be performed with active rifles a purpose drill rifle is inactive. These days they are more likely to use realistic dummy rifles at military schools.

    The CMP certainly had no difficulty in finding the welded up 1903 drill rifles you seem to believe did not exist.

    I've seen a few Damascus barrels split down one side. The major problem there is the swamping of the barrels common with black powder shotguns which was perfectly alright with the burning characteristics of BP but not suited to smokeless powders. I would not assume that all Damascus barrels were created equal.
    Due to the thinner barrel walls in the swamped section of the barrel shortened Damascus barrels are more likely to split at the muzzle, especially if modern loads are used.

  4. #304
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    "What in the world do Damascus shotgun barrels have to do with LSN 1903's? "

    Little or nothing, I don't know why humble brought it up.


    " You know the same guys who said damascus barrels were weaker than than their fluid steel contemporaries.."

  5. #305
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    Smile

    It has to do as it is represenative of the same BS as low # guns.

    Once again MG has "seen" uh huh ! Probably not a subscriber to Double Gun Journal (it's expensive). A few years ago a REAL expert did an exhaustive test of fluid and damascus guns. You know using strain gauges and other "expert" stuff. Short story the damascus BS is just that. What failures happen in these guns is due to (drum roll) RUST ! Damascus construction, being a laminate, is subject to corrosion getting between the laminates causing weak spots not easily found. The Brits have 1000s of damascus guns that have been reproofed to Nitro specs and even chambers extended. Here is one, a late 19th century 12 bore single extended to 2.75" and nitro proofed in 2000. Once again MG fails on yet another subject.

    Such tenacity in the face of having such a knowledge deficit reminds me of the famous saying about Democrats: "Insanity is trying the same thing over and over, always failing, and yet continuing to repeat it."

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    BTW still waiting for those NEW picture of those actions he "has" to show better detail.

  6. #306
    Boolit Master
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    You don't have to subscribe to any journal to have seen split Damascus barrels up close and personal. These hills are still full of old double barrels with one barrel split down the side while the other remains in use as a hunting shotgun because the owner couldn't afford a replacement.
    People have brought these old guns to me on numerous occasions hoping I could find replacement barrels for them. The only work I do on shotguns is restocking , bore freshing out, minor lock repairs, fitting new hinge pins for the singles with removable pins, and drawing out dents in those thin walled swamped barrels I spoke of. Finding replacement barrels for 1880's shotguns, most manufacturers of which went out of business more than a century ago, is not something I want to get into. I'm not a miracle worker. There are better equipped smiths who can make replacement barrels and do whatever regulating and brazing it takes to restore these, but I don't, its not worth my time.

    Where have I said that the so called Damascus barrels were weaker than contemporary fluid steel barrels of the same configuration when both were in new condition?
    These barrels are not made of Damascus steel they are pattern welded ,much like a Viking sword, two or more grades of steel or iron rods twisted together and wound about a mandrel and hammer welded into a tube.
    All that hammering got rid of a lot of impurities and helped in stabilizing the carbon content.
    Real Damascus steel is quite different, its formed by low heat forging which produces two grades of steel in the same homogenous bar. A knife maker can tell you about the difference.

    An alternative method when higher quality steel wasn't available was to twist an iron bar to make sure any flaws were radial rather than linear.

    If you knew much about 19th century shotguns, especially British guns, you'd know about the reinforced barrels they put on guns to be used in the tropics, precisely because standard bird gun barrels could not hold up to heavy charges in hot weather. it was common for 12 gauge guns to be built on ten gauge frames with extra thick barrel walls. I examined a fine Wesley Richards of just that type a few years back. It was special ordered by a photographer during the Alaskan gold rush as bear medicine.

    The finely made bird guns on the other hand often had paper thin barrel walls towards the middle and some 12 ga bird guns had chambers as short as two inches, firing loads not much heavier than a 28 ga would have. Go rechambering one of those for 3 1/2" road blockers if you like.

    As I said the major problem comes when barrels configured for BP loads are used with smokeless loads which have very different pressure curves.
    The reinforced breech African models may have thick enough barrel walls for such abuse but those are not run of the mill.

    PS
    What actions are you speaking of? I don't remember posting any photos of actions.

    You are slipping into your strawman building phase again.

  7. #307
    Boolit Master

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    These are not the droids you're looking for,,,,,,,,,,,
    More "This is what happened when I,,,,," and less "What would happen if I,,,,"

    Last of the original Group Buy Honcho's.

    "Dueling should have never been made illegal in this country. It settled lots of issues between folks."- Char-Gar

  8. #308
    Boolit Master
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    W W Greener's book "the Gun and its Development" has an all too short section on the difference in pressure curve between black powder shot shell loads and smokeless powder shot shell loads. It mentions the problems that could occur at the thinner sections of the barrels of BP configured shot guns.
    Even the profile of the forcing cone could effect how the barrel reacted to pressures.
    The book is long out of copyright so its available free online as a PDF download, required reading.
    There's also quite a bit on proof testing methods of the era.
    It was not uncommon for a shotgun barrel to pass proof despite obvious bulges, the gun maker just repaired the bulge before finishing out the gun for sale.

    British proof laws do not allow re proofing of guns with visible pitting or barrels with bores freshed out to remove pitting beyond a very shallow depth. Any Damascus barreled shotgun re proofed for nitro powders would have to pass rigorous inspection before it could be submitted, if it failed the first inspection the owner could attempt to rectify the problem and resubmit, if it failed inspection the second time the gun would be rejected for proof firing and marked as not legal for resale.

    The fact that at least some of the best made Damascus barreled guns can handle modern pressures does not in anyway provide a blanket endorsement for any and all Damascus barreled guns. That should be a matter of common sense.

    In the same way the fact that those low number springfield rifles inspected and found suitable for rebarreling in the 20-40's and the USMC rifles modified with the Hatcher Hole seem to be safe to fire does not provide a blanket endorsement of any and all low number springfield rifles.

    When someone flatly proclaims that no 1903 drill rifles were deactivated by welding we can be pretty sure that that person could not be trusted to recognize that a 1903 action had been salvaged from such a drill rifle and may well be in a unsafe condition. When a 03 receiver ring splits at exactly the spot where drill rifle barrels were spot welded to the receiver and the barrel is so loose that it can be unscrewed by hand I will assume that its a salvaged and rewelded drill rifle receiver.
    When the CMP sold off hundreds of these drill rifles and barreled receivers for next to nothing theres no telling where they all went and some have shown up re-welded and re-machined.

    Just as the pattern welded Viking swords are not all alike the pattern welded Damascus barrels are not all alike, some were and are stronger than others.
    Which reminds me. The qualities of Vanadium were first discovered by a metallurgist who made a study of pattern welded Viking swords. Swords made from Swedish iron ore containing vanadium were much stronger and more springy than all others he tested.
    This led to the development of vanadium steels first widely used in making axles and other running gear for railway cars and by Henry Ford in constructing the frames and suspension of his Automobiles.

    Most advances in metallurgy of firearms came directly from the railway and automobile industry. That's why you see the SAE number for various alloys.

    Remington made a huge mistake in substituting an alloy for the alloy they had been using for shotgun barrels and the resulting injuries when a barrel burst cost then about 17 million dollars in damages.
    Unless Mr Humble has 17 million dollars to spare perhaps he shouldn't be promoting the use with modern ammunition of the many Damascus barrel shotguns all over the world that he hasn't even seen and apparently knows little about.
    Not all gun barrels were of equal quality even if made in the same factory by the same workmen. They certainly haven't all seen the exact same level of care in the century or so since they were made.
    How well suited a barrel was for black powder loads when made a century in the past is of no importance , we live in the 21st century.

  9. #309
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    Good old MG ..... again, he has "seen". Sees a lot has no contemporary documentary evidence of anything. The Greener book is older than the hills. The Double Gun Journal article is CURRENT ! The photos of "exploded" 03 are also ancient as is Hatcher's BS.
    He can fill pages with "opinion" or ancient data, but the hard facts are not with him.

    I OWN a nitro proofed 19th century British Damascus gun that has yet to explode. I OWN a bunch of low # 03's and Sedgleys built on low # actions. None have blown up. My RESEARCH is current. You can go to a Doctor who practises 19th century medicine if you wish ..... I prefer a recent Hopkins graduate.

    I an STILL waiting for MG or any of the other "experts" to produce any contemporary evidence that will stand up to scrutinity.

  10. #310
    Boolit Buddy JMax's Avatar
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    Mr Humble's straw man arguments.

  11. #311
    Boolit Master
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    "Good old MG ..... again, he has "seen". Sees a lot has no contemporary documentary evidence of anything. "
    I trust what I see with my own eyes. I see no "documented evidence" for anything you've claimed.
    You can't even understand what has been posted, or pretend not to so you can go off on a tear. kind of sad really.

    Anyone can check google images for recent photos of Damascus barrels split down one side. Having seen some of these split barrels close up I don't need to, I understand what caused those failures.
    Greener wrote about what he knew to be fact based on scientific experimentation by gunmakers and propellant manufacturers with the actual guns and powders under controlled conditions. If not for such research there would never have been any Damascus barrels configured to handle smokeless powders and proofed as such.
    I'll believe the documented evidence of actual professional gunmakers and scientists.
    Of course posting this reply will have zero effect on whatever position you are actually taking because you still have no idea of the meaning of what has been posted previously.
    You wish to puff up your own ego and apparently could care less about facts.
    You can not argue with the facts so you twist things about in your head to pretend that you have an excuse to be adversarial and demeaning .

    You can't argue with the fact that Black powder and smokeless powders have very different pressure curves, that's scientific fact. You can't honestly argue against the fact that the vast majority of Damascus barrels were manufactured before smokeless powders became available.
    If you ever handled a number of high quality bird guns of that era you'd know that the barrel walls are often thin, more so in the middle than at the muzzle.
    You have at least admitted that Damascus barrels are more prone to rusting, that rust can be hidden in crevices invisible to the eye.

    Were I interested in buying a Damascus barrel shotgun and the seller bragged about having fired modern high brass smokeless loads in it I'd walk away from that deal no matter how good the barrel looked, because the defects that result in barrel splitting are seldom visible to the eye.
    If I were interested in one of the finer bird guns and the seller let drop that it had been rechambered from 2' or 2 1/2" to take 3" shells I'd walk away from that deal as well, whether Damascus or fluid steel barrels.

    So go back to bragging about your collection and how much money you have to spend on it. Most on this board still have to feed families and have expenses you don't seem to be bothered with. Remember also that the higher the monkey gets in that tree the more he shows his hind quarters.

  12. #312
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    Wink

    My, my, now we get attacked because I'm not poor. The spin is worthy of the best from MSNBC.

    I say it very S-L-O-W-L-Y.

    1. I can google, and find a 2 headed cow picture from 1920, as you can find "blown up" 03s' and damascus guns.

    2. What you cannot produce is any data to refute the exhaustive study in Double Gun Journal that destroys the damascus myth (not that you will ever read it).

    3. You nor the other "experts" also cannot produce any contemporary research on low # 03's blowing up NOR any documented, witnessed low # 03's with proper headspace using post WW I ammo blow ups.

    Paragraph after paragraph of opinions, things "seen", quoting ancient books and ...... all framed in the complete inability to admit that perhaps, just perhaps, there are others who know one helluva a lot more than you boys.

  13. #313
    Boolit Buddy JMax's Avatar
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    Mr Humble, your behavior is condescending and derogatory to those that disagree with you, very much like a bully on a children's play ground. This is an adult forum and you should behave like an adult. Post results in a complete and adult manner with no derogatory comments other wise hold your rude comments to yourself. The tragic thing is that Larry Gibson who posted a number of thoughtful comments was banned from the forum and we are left with you.

  14. #314
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    J Max, I tried my best to trot out both the facts as well as the gross errors expressed by a few members on this subject.

    Larry Gibson was peddling old myths that are totally unsupported by ANY current data.

    I do not wish him, or anyone, banned.

    Being wrong is a right we should all be afforded. Expecting to be wrong and not get called on it, is NOT a right for anyone.

    That is especially true when it can lead people to make incorrect decesions, such as being afraid to shoot a low # 03 that has proper headspace with modern ammo.

    I'd appreciate what evidence you have for Larry being banned as well as the reason(s) cited by the mods for banning him.

    As for your comment on me ..... do you have anything to contribute to the subjects of low # 03's and damascus guns other than an Ad Hominium attack against me ?

  15. #315
    Boolit Master
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    Paranoia strikes deep.

    Since brittle burnt steel and lack of certain alloying agents is on topic I ran across some interesting illustrations on a Damascus barrel rupturing due to a 20 gauge shell being put in a 12 ga bore accidently a 12 ga round then being fired.
    I didn't think much about it at the time, but then I ran across a youtube video of a test to see what happened when the same condition was induced in a early 20th century pump shotgun, with regular steel barrel. The old pump shotgun barrel only showed a minor bulge. In that case at least the regular steel barrel proved superior to the Damascus barrel.

    People have been building homemade shotguns with gas pipe barrels for quite awhile. Some burst and some don't, but I prefer not to fire a modern shot shell in a home depot piece of black pipe.
    In one experiment a shot shell was fired in a length of PVC pipe. It held up for one round. on the second firing the pipe disintegrated. So much for proof tests.

  16. #316
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    "I ran across" , "I ran across" , "in that case" , "people have been" , "in one experiment" ....... does no one besides me note the 100% absence of ANY documented proof of FIRST hand experience ?

    Damascus barrels are not "burnt, or "lacking ... agents" to make a fine barrel. 20 gauge shells dropped in any 12 bore followed by a 12 and fired will mess up any shotgun. GROSS stupidity, like double charging a rifle with a fast burning powder. 20 bore shells are YELLOW ! Ever wonder why ? DUH !
    Last edited by Mr Humble; 01-04-2017 at 10:34 PM.

  17. #317
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    Profound silence from the "experts" for two whole days !


    AND still waiting for ANY proof from JMax that Gibson was/is banned.
    Last edited by Mr Humble; 01-06-2017 at 04:58 PM.

  18. #318
    Boolit Master
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    What to do with a low number 1903?

    Use it in testing for SEE and blow it up would be good.
    Hell, I was there!

  19. #319
    Boolit Master
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    "Profound silence from the "experts" for two whole days !"

    No one is interested in feeding your ego further.
    When the thread became all about you it ceased to be relevant.

  20. #320
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Humble View Post
    Be careful ! It's about to blow up ..... just sitting there. NOTE: we are STILL waiting for those better photos from our resident blow-up "expert". Like my RF Sedgley 400 Whelen that took this Elk at 250 yards. LMAO!!!
    Attachment 182772
    Nice set of sheds there,picked up at Jackson Hole? What did the taxidermist charge for the cape to mount them?
    Hell, I was there!

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check