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Thread: My new (to me) 1903 Springfield rifle ...

  1. #21
    Boolit Master
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    I think the rear sight is a NM sight. Note the polished surface and the legs on the "7's" are curved, not straight as on the standard sight. (On the issue sight that is.)

    I would do a chamber cast to see just what the throat diameter is. You can't predict over the internet what a specific rifle's throat is (which will drive cast bullet diameter). Star gauge barrels weren't specially made barrels, as some will tell you. All '03 Springfield barrels back then were subjected to the Star Gauge test during manufacture, and those that exhibited strict adherence to dimension and tolerance standards (groove and bore diameter over the length of the bore) were given the star gauge stamp. That's not a guarantee that the barrel will shoot, but it's a guarantee that it's in spec which is a good indicator that it should shoot. I've owned regular barrels that out-shot Star Gauge barrels. Star Gauged barrels on original NM and Special Target rifles I've owned over the years (four total) all had .310-.3105 throats, and as such performed best with .310 cast bullets. Your mileage may very well vary.

    And yes, that LC Match ammo is definitely non-corrosive.

    All in all a very fine rifle you have which should give you much pleasure as you figure out its secrets.

  2. #22
    Boolit Master Reverend Al's Avatar
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    Was hoping to get up to the range today to test the Springfield, but Mother Nature decided that we deserved a mini-monsoon here in Victoria! For a while it absolutely came down in sheets ... and then drizzled the rest of the day. Only just cleared up now at nearly 6:00 pm. Hopefully tomorrow will be better weather and if the rain holds off I'll head up to the range then ...
    I may have passed my "Best Before" date, but I haven't reached my "Expiry" date!

  3. #23
    Boolit Master Reverend Al's Avatar
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    OK, so the weather improved today. It was sunny and warm, a real "blue bird" day in fact! Got the old girl up to the range finally and put a few test rounds through it. Found that I had to "raise the ladder" on the open rear sight to be able to see through both the rear and front aperture sights otherwise the open sight blocked my sight picture. Fired a few rounds at 50 yards first to check the sights and they needed some adjustment. Then it was out to 100 yards for a few targets with some factory Winchester 165 grain, some of my Garand loads (47.5 grains of IMR4895 under 150 grain fmjbt Hornadys loaded in Winchester cases, WLR primer), and some of those 1962 vintage 175 grain LC Match loads. I need to buy a set of Lyman 17A sight inserts since I find the insert currently in the front sight a bit too small for my liking and the same with the Redfield rear sight. I have a few spares so I'll have to go digging to see if I have any rear aperture discs that are the correct thread for the Redfield. That and I need to source (or make) some bullseye targets that are a suitable diameter to work with the aperture sights. With my 65 year old eyes I was definitely struggling to get a decent sight picture at 100 yards ... it was pretty hazy. I'm sure that most of today's vertical and horizontal variations were my fault and had nothing to do with the gun or the ammunition. Definitely lots of fine tuning that needs to be done, but I think today was a good start on the journey!















    I may have passed my "Best Before" date, but I haven't reached my "Expiry" date!

  4. #24
    Boolit Master

    Shiloh's Avatar
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    Thanks for the pics.

    SHiloh
    Je suis Charlie

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    “Any government that does not trust its citizens with firearms is either a tyranny, or planning to become one.” – Joseph P. Martino

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  5. #25
    Boolit Master Reverend Al's Avatar
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    Not really "bragging worthy" targets but they are what they are. Again, I found it very tough to get a good sight picture with the small front and rear apertures and the black bulls on my targets were far too small for my lousy old eyes. I'll try to scare up some targets with large diameter black bulls that are better suited to the sights (and my eyes). Now I need to get busy and load some boolits and see what happens next ...
    I may have passed my "Best Before" date, but I haven't reached my "Expiry" date!

  6. #26
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    It looks like the rifle wants to shoot good groups. Getting old makes it tough to shoot like we did 30 years ago, doesn't it?
    Boycott YouTube

  7. #27
    Boolit Master Reverend Al's Avatar
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    Yeah ... tell me about it!

    I may have passed my "Best Before" date, but I haven't reached my "Expiry" date!

  8. #28
    Boolit Master Char-Gar's Avatar
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    Lyman, Williams and Redfield apertures have the same thread and are therefore interchangeable. Lyman makes an aperture with an itty bitty hole for target shooting. Use on of those and your sights will be sharp. If you go hunting with the rifle, screw in one of the Williams Twilight apertures. There will be no need to resight the rifle.

    For target shooting, use a front aperture that has a post and ring. Center the target bull in the ring and squeeze the trigger. Much more precise than balancing the target bull on a post. Just as they eye will center the front sight in the rear aperture, the eye will center the bull in the ring.

    I am 76 and can still shoot sights like these well.
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

  9. #29
    Boolit Master Reverend Al's Avatar
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    Yes, I know how to use double aperture sights and have used them for years. It was just that the targets I was using were not a good "fit" for the size of the front and rear apertures to get a clear sight picture. I need some larger black bullseye targets and larger front and rear apertures so that I can clearly see what I am shooting at ...
    I may have passed my "Best Before" date, but I haven't reached my "Expiry" date!

  10. #30
    Boolit Man JoeJames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nicholst55 View Post
    It looks like the rifle wants to shoot good groups. Getting old makes it tough to shoot like we did 30 years ago, doesn't it?
    Or 50 years ago. On Sunday mornings at early church I look at the lettering on the stained glass above the altar to check my eyes to figure out of there's any point in shooting that afternoon. If the lettering is clear and crisp it's a go. Otherwise ...

  11. #31
    Boolit Master Reverend Al's Avatar
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    I finally sourced a couple of extra inserts for the Lyman 17A front sight. A post and a large diameter circle that might be a better match to the size of black bull on the targets that I am using. Now I just need to put together some more test loads and get it up to the range again. Not getting out of the house much lately since my wife just had a full knee replacement surgery about a week and a half ago so I'm busy playing "house nurse" instead of loading ammo and shooting ...
    I may have passed my "Best Before" date, but I haven't reached my "Expiry" date!

  12. #32
    Boolit Master
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    I have seen various dates of when the switch to non corrosive priming was completed. to be safe treat all military surplus ammo as corrosive.

  13. #33
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    Sweet rifle. Natl. Match rifles did have NM on the guard but they usually has a drawing lot stamped on the stock.

    The correct rear sight would be a Lyman 48 not a Redfield. Use a large aperture in the rear an a front aperture that gives you a clear white ring about the black bull.

    enjoy !

  14. #34
    Boolit Master Reverend Al's Avatar
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    I'm fairly sure that this rifle was put together by a target shooting enthusiast for his personal use and that it's not an actual MN rifle. Apparently many '03's with the "star" barrels were purchased for personal use and I'm fairly sure that this is one of them since the barrel date matches the serial number for date of mfg. Regardless, I love the gun and look forward to getting it out with some cast boolit test loads. At the moment I'm busy playing "house nurse" for my wife who just had a full knee replacement about 10 days ago, so I'm not getting any shooting in. Going up to the range for a little while tomorrow to help out with a club event and that will be my first day at the range since she had her surgery ...
    I may have passed my "Best Before" date, but I haven't reached my "Expiry" date!

  15. #35
    Boolit Master Reverend Al's Avatar
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    I did manage to get down to my shop and run some already cast and on hand Lyman 314299's through a sizer to reduce them down to .311" while my wife was napping. Now I just have to neck expand some brass so that I can load some of them into a few .30-06 test loads. (I actually have a Lyman 311299 mould as well, but didn't have any examples already cast with it.)
    I may have passed my "Best Before" date, but I haven't reached my "Expiry" date!

  16. #36
    Boolit Master

    TCLouis's Avatar
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    I think that has "FUN" written all over it.

    Cast Boolits and you will be set.
    Nothing is impossible for the person that does not have to do it.

  17. #37
    Boolit Master
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    The 299 and 29-30 grains of IMR or H 4895 /4064will get you to cast boolit heaven, absolutely no need for fillers... I've got a couple of 03's that will shoot sub min. @ 100 with that load.
    She's a beaut.... if any one knocks it they are just jealous.. (like me).. I have about 8 but still hate to miss out on one.. every time I see Dan's Stamp I can't keep from laughing.. the longer he stayed there the bigger the stamp got..the original was about 4x smaller BTW that stock is worth about $450+.most valuable part of the rig..NICE GRAB.. HAPPY SHOOTING Dan S.

  18. #38
    Boolit Master Reverend Al's Avatar
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    Thanks! I need to put together a few rounds and get out and test it again, but been up to my ears playing "house nurse" for my wife who had a knee replacement surgery about 3 weeks ago. Too many projects (and project guns!) and not enough time ... (and of course I'm just in the process of buying another new project rifle too!) ...

    I may have passed my "Best Before" date, but I haven't reached my "Expiry" date!

  19. #39
    Boolit Master

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    Just a shot in the dark here, but try using a 6 o-clock hold.
    Nothing is impossible for the person that does not have to do it.

  20. #40
    Boolit Master Reverend Al's Avatar
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    I managed to get a post front sight insert for the Lyman 17A front globe sight and will likely try a 6 o'clock hold in future. The circular / globe aperture that was in the gun when I got it wasn't a good fit for the black bullseye targets I had which is why I tried the orange stick-ons instead. Just need to get some more test ammo loaded and get it back up to the range to see if the post front sight insert suits me better ...
    I may have passed my "Best Before" date, but I haven't reached my "Expiry" date!

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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