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Thread: Springfield 1903 Low Number Reloads

  1. #21
    Boolit Master




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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG View Post
    Not all low numbers are still low numbers.
    About 40 years ago The American Rifleman had photos of low number rifles that had the digit "1" added to the front end of the serial number. This was done to make the rifles easier to sell at higher prices.
    I actually bumped into a rifle so marked in a gun shop. The font used is different and the "1" results in the number being off centered.
    I never mentioned it to anyone since you can't reason with the typical low number owner. They only believe what is best for their wallets.

    That is a felony offense
    You can miss fast & you can miss a lot, but only hits count.

  2. #22
    Boolit Master

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    Yes it is a felony but that has never stopped the unscrupulous before. Money is king to them. Museums are full of fake black powder colts as well as other firearms, and the museum operators should be experts. One of the most celebrated firearms experts of our time went to prison over fake firearm identification. When one deals in antique firearms or buys them, he had be both very knowledgeable and cautious. my .02 anyway, james

  3. #23
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    Felony?? Tell that to someone who cares. You are probably wrong.
    By the time I saw it back in the 80s the statute of limitations had probably ran out if any law ever applied.
    It was a low number 1903. It was likely marked before there was any law about altering serial numbers. Many cheap .22 rifles and shotguns were made prior to the GCA of 1968 with NO SERIAL NUMBERS.
    There is a good chance no one cared about serial numbers before 1968. I believe I read that one of the Springfield rework artists wiped the entire serial number to hide it.

    The late Michael Petrov was an authority on the rifles of the time period including the 1903 Springfield. The following link has a long post by him covering the 1903s reworked by R. F. Sedgely.
    Petrov states that many of the 1903s had the serial number removed and a Sedgley number was applied. Sedgley died in the late 1930s so there is no law that would prosecute anyone that far back.

    For those too lazy to read Petrov's entire post here is about 5 % of the text.


    When Sedgley was able to buy low-numbered Springfield actions from the government at what I would imagine would be next-to-nothing prices the idea of a semi-custom sporter took shape. These actions were inspected, annealed, had the markings ground off then re-heat treated and proof tested to 80,000 psi. This re-heat treating service was also offered to members of the NRA who could have their low number gun inspected for free.

    http://www.doublegunshop.com/forums/...t=2&PHPSESSID=
    See this Sedgley. Zoom in. There is no original serial number.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Quote Originally Posted by EMC45 View Post
    That is a felony offense
    Last edited by EDG; 03-15-2018 at 02:52 AM.
    EDG

  4. #24
    Boolit Master

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    We are talking about two time frames. Drug stores sold concaine over the counter back then also and it was legal. If the government can prove the serial number was added after manufacture today, it is a felony. If you don't believe that, alter a serial number and take it down to your local ATF office and show it to them. I guarantee you will care then. james

  5. #25
    Boolit Master




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    "Felony?? Tell that to someone who cares. You are probably wrong."

    I am right about this. I care because I don't like striped sunshine and the shower scene in prison doesn't appeal to me.......
    You can miss fast & you can miss a lot, but only hits count.

  6. #26
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by HangFireW8 View Post
    Well, mostly correct. The problem with low number Springfields is that they MIGHT be brittle, not that they are all brittle. A careful reading of Hatcher will have the explanation why.
    The modern tendency for either/or absolutism makes understanding this difficult for some.

    I have my own theory about the low number receivers bored for the "Hatcher Hole". When drilling through a carburized layer you can feel the difference even through the handles of a drill press. Boring the hole would have allowed a skilled machinist to judge whether the steel was brittle inside.

    I'd have no qualms about firing a LN Springfield with the Hatcher Hole.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by TNsailorman View Post
    We are talking about two time frames. Drug stores sold concaine over the counter back then also and it was legal. If the government can prove the serial number was added after manufacture today, it is a felony. If you don't believe that, alter a serial number and take it down to your local ATF office and show it to them. I guarantee you will care then. james
    An older drugstore in town kept a huge glass canister marked Cocaine on the counter.

    A gunsmith can alter the serial number of a receiver so long as he does the proper paperwork. I've read of this process in regard to replacing a damaged Model 70 receiver with one salvaged from another Model 70.

    Serial numbers were not required on .22 rifles or shotguns up until the late 50's or early 60's. I've run across a few that never had numbers. Most US companies voluntarily stamped their products sold in the US but not always those exported to South America.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by salpal48 View Post
    The myth of Low # sprinfields have been exposed for Years now. but shooter still cling to the old. I have 2 Rock Islands and both are Early teens. I have shot them with reloads, commercial factory and Us military surplus. Not Once was any problems. These Myth s and post still Persist
    All myth
    I agree, been shooting my 1909 dated low number Springfield since the early 70's. Hasn't blown up yet.

  9. #29
    Boolit Master Char-Gar's Avatar
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    There were no Federal requirements that any firearm have a serial number, until the Gun Control Act of 1968. As a matter of course. many firearms makers serial numbered their product, even thought it was not a legal requirement. The same law made it a felony to remove or modify the serial number of any firearm that had ever been in interstate commerce, which is about 100%. A firearms that had never left the state of manufacture, would not have been in interstate commerce.

    I don't know about a statute of limitations. There probably is one, but I don't know what it is.

    Any firearms that had it serial number removed or changed prior to the Gun Control Act of 1968 would not be a violation.
    Last edited by Char-Gar; 03-15-2018 at 01:10 PM.
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by WILCO View Post
    Low Serial Springfield 1903 Blows up in Guy's Face!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PaHP7XDTtU
    I have both a 1903 and 1903A3, both high numbers and both excellent shooters.

    Statement made in the video....."The army tested hundreds of these rifles and only 68 actually blew up". That's interesting. If you read the record of 1903 accidents in Hatcher's Notebook, you'll notice that each incident was reported during rifle practice, followed by the rifle being sent back to the arsenal for evaluation. The conclusion at that time was that the receivers were brittle (crystallization) and repeated firing shock caused metal fatigue that resulted in failure...and that there was NO practicable way to re-heat treat the receivers (this last no doubt based partially on a cost analysis). Let's be real honest here.....the Army is a pretty respected source on small arms and some self appointed 'expert' in a video scoffing at the idea doesn't impress me very much.

    I can tell you this much from personal experience....if you heat good quality steel to a high yellow or white heat, you'll notice little sparks suddenly jumping from the surface. That's the carbon taking a hike and what's left is a very poor material. In other words, you've ruined it for any decent purpose so toss it and start over.

    I'm sorry, but I have a hard time believing that the gentleman in charge of small arms testing, analysis and design for so many years would deliberately start or perpetrate a "myth". If he said there was a potential problem, there was. Whether you decide to heed the information or not, is entirely up to you.
    Last edited by 3006guns; 03-15-2018 at 01:32 PM.

  11. #31
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    No we are not talking about 2 time frames. You are only trying to cherry pick a current circumstance and apply it to a something that happened 80 years ago.
    I guarantee you I will never care. I have never owned and have never fired a 1903 Springfield.

    Quote Originally Posted by TNsailorman View Post
    We are talking about two time frames. Drug stores sold concaine over the counter back then also and it was legal. If the government can prove the serial number was added after manufacture today, it is a felony. If you don't believe that, alter a serial number and take it down to your local ATF office and show it to them. I guarantee you will care then. james
    Last edited by EDG; 03-15-2018 at 04:36 PM.
    EDG

  12. #32
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    All I can say is all you poor Springfield lovers should check your rifle's serial numbers. If you find a forged serial number you are the ones that have to do the explaining, not me because I have never owned or fired a Springfield.

    Quote Originally Posted by EMC45 View Post
    "Felony?? Tell that to someone who cares. You are probably wrong."

    I am right about this. I care because I don't like striped sunshine and the shower scene in prison doesn't appeal to me.......
    EDG

  13. #33
    Boolit Mold Musket Man's Avatar
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    As I said in my original post. Everyone has an opinion on these low numbers. I studied and talked to several experienced reloaders that shoot their low number Springfield’s. If there is a risk, that’s my responsibility to decide if I think it’s worth the “risk”. I know of a Remington 700 chambered in .270 that exploded on a gentleman. It was from a cleaning patch that was lodged in his barrel. I don’t think all Remington 700’s are bad. Just user error and a costly mistake.

    With the load I am shooting, according to my reloading manual, I am generating around 40,000-42,000 psi with my load. I think that is very safe in my gun. I am no gun expert by no means.It shoots good with very little recoil. I will continue to enjoy my rifle and pass it down to my kids and grandkids one day.

  14. #34
    Just be sure to inform them on the history of these guns and let them decide if it worth the risk.

  15. #35
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Char-Gar View Post
    There were no Federal requirements that any firearm have a serial number, until the Gun Control Act of 1968. ....
    Any firearms that had it serial number removed or changed prior to the Gun Control Act of 1968 would not be a violation.
    Centerfire Rifles and Handguns were required to be ser#'d prior to the GCA'68. Shotguns and 22RF cal Long guns were not.
    The GCA68 included the latter group into the required group, making 'all firearms' required to be ser#'d as of that time (GCA68).

    Prior to the GCA'68, it was the National Firearms Act '34 & the Federal Firearms Act 1938 and that made ser#'s manditory and on what classes. Ser#'s or other identifying mark(s) & placement had to meet approval then as now.

    That was the law that put an end to operations such as Griffin&Howe and others from scrubbing the factory/arsenal applied ser# (and markings) from the recv'r ring on rifles such as the '03 Springfield going through their sporterizing/custom build process.
    That scrubbing of the markings was freely advertised that it wold be done by such firms as a part of the customizing and upgrading in their literature. It wasn't illegal prior to that time. It wasn't illegal for Sedgley to do it to his creations either.

    When the FFA38 was enacted, that put an end to that practice. The law was the first to contain the language that it was a Felony to 'alter, remove or obliterate a manufacturers applied serial number'.
    At that point the practice of doing that stopped. You can even find language in adv literature from places like G&H and others of the time that say they would no longer offer that 'service' after that time.
    Serial numbers were certainly required on some classes of firerms before the GCA68,,don't believe everything Wikipedia says.

    As far as adding digits to an existing ser#, that's been done since forever. On Low# 03's, the addition of a 1 in front to disguise a Low# from an ususpecting buyer is as old a trick as the Low# freak-out itself.
    Illegal,,sure it is. It's 'Altering the manufacturers applied ser#'
    Is the BATF or FBI going to raid the joint and knock the door down because of it?,,I doubt it seeing as how things go these days..
    Last edited by 2152hq; 03-17-2018 at 08:50 AM.

  16. #36
    Boolit Master WILCO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HangFireW8 View Post
    From the video: "It's a joke." It also adds nothing to this conversation.
    The ending was a joke, but his point holds true.
    Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. - Albert Schweitzer

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  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by WILCO View Post
    The ending was a joke, but his point holds true.
    No it doesn't. If it happens to be a brittle receiver, and there happens to be a case head separation, stopped barrel or overload, there will be hell to pay.

    Mouthing off in front of a smart phone camera while firing a few shots proves nothing about the rifle.
    I give loading advice based on my actual results in factory rifles with standard chambers, twist rates and basic accurizing.
    My goals for using cast boolits are lots of good, cheap, and reasonably accurate shooting, while avoiding overly tedious loading processes.
    The BHN Deformation Formula, and why I don't use it.
    How to find and fix sizing die eccentricity problems.
    Do you trust your casting thermometer?
    A few musings.

  18. #38
    Boolit Master



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    Quote Originally Posted by HangFireW8 View Post
    No it doesn't. If it happens to be a brittle receiver, and there happens to be a case head separation, stopped barrel or overload, there will be hell to pay.

    Mouthing off in front of a smart phone camera while firing a few shots proves nothing about the rifle.
    Absolutely agree.

  19. #39
    Boolit Master WILCO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HangFireW8 View Post
    If it happens to be a brittle receiver..........
    Which is the point he was making on the subject.
    Odds are, it's safe to shoot at this late point in time.
    Just because you're angry and want to hate, doesn't make his video worthless.
    Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. - Albert Schweitzer

    Yeah, I love cast iron cookware.

    Life is too short. Live yours to the fullest.

  20. #40
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by WILCO View Post
    Which is the point he was making on the subject.
    Odds are, it's safe to shoot at this late point in time.
    Just because you're angry and want to hate, doesn't make his video worthless.
    The odds may be there, but it's still possible it's a brittle receiver, and just never received the shock, bad load, or blowout required to make it go bust.

    Making a reasoned argument does not indicate anger or hate. Pointing out that a humorous video adds nothing to the conversation does not indicate anger or hate.

    Assigning negative emotions to someone you disagree with does indicate passive aggressive tendencies. Try reasoning instead.
    I give loading advice based on my actual results in factory rifles with standard chambers, twist rates and basic accurizing.
    My goals for using cast boolits are lots of good, cheap, and reasonably accurate shooting, while avoiding overly tedious loading processes.
    The BHN Deformation Formula, and why I don't use it.
    How to find and fix sizing die eccentricity problems.
    Do you trust your casting thermometer?
    A few musings.

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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