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You know, with the internet, " I heard and someone says" always trumps the facts.
Myths are easily created by the boogie woogie google boys and hard to disprove.
Thanks for posting some facts.
True, but in the case of this story, its been around just a little bit longer than the interweb hasn't it? Doesn't really have much to do with the boogie woogie google boys, except perpetuation of course, but the story sure didn't start there.
 

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A lot of the blow ups were traced to bad ammunition. Case heads often blew out and if the receiver was brittle or some how compromised you had a catastrophic failure. In the late 1920's the US changed the way 30-06 cases were manufactured. For this reason I do not shoot any pre 1930 cases. One of my 1903's has a very low 5 digit serial number and is on at least its 3rd barrel. It started out its life as a ramrod bayonet rifle and was converted to 30-06 and rebarreled again in WWII. The barrel on it now shows a lot of wear so there it no telling just how many rounds have actually gone through it in the past 115 years. It is the top rifle in the picture
 

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A lot of the blow ups were traced to bad ammunition. Case heads often blew out and if the receiver was brittle or some how compromised you had a catastrophic failure. In the late 1920's the US changed the way 30-06 cases were manufactured. For this reason I do not shoot any pre 1930 cases. One of my 1903's has a very low 5 digit serial number and is on at least its 3rd barrel. It started out its life as a ramrod bayonet rifle and was converted to 30-06 and rebarreled again in WWII. The barrel on it now shows a lot of wear so there it no telling just how many rounds have actually gone through it in the past 115 years. It is the top rifle in the picture
I’ve never actually seen anything that ever discussed the actual number of rifles that experienced failures...I’ve never even seen a picture of a low number failed receiver.
 
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Gentlemen, There are some factors that need to be considered before you decide to risk your handsome faces and possibly your eyesight to a low number '03. The first is that you have no idea what ammo was used in your rifle before it came into your hands. It might have been unsafe ammo and fractures already exist in the receiver. You can have the receiver magnetic particle inspected if you still want to to this route but that means expenses beyond the purchase price of the rifle. The second is that there is no way to know (outside of metallugical testing) how brittle your receiver may or may not be. The root of the problem was inconsistent heat treat. That means that you simply can't predict how bad a given receiver might be. I personally don't like gambling - even when the odds are good - but when the severity of failure is high especially if I don't have to. When assessing risks, one must take into account probablity of failure, ability to detect impending failures beforehand and severity of failure. One only needs to read MG Julian Hatcher's book to realize that the severity is high even if the probabitlity is low. I have already mentioned that detection of failures beforehand is generally not very practical for most of us. Just stick to high number '03 - there are plenty of them out there at reasonable prices. Just my two cents worth.
 

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A lot of the blow ups were traced to bad ammunition. Case heads often blew out and if the receiver was brittle or some how compromised you had a catastrophic failure. In the late 1920's the US changed the way 30-06 cases were manufactured. For this reason I do not shoot any pre 1930 cases. One of my 1903's has a very low 5 digit serial number and is on at least its 3rd barrel. It started out its life as a ramrod bayonet rifle and was converted to 30-06 and rebarreled again in WWII. The barrel on it now shows a lot of wear so there it no telling just how many rounds have actually gone through it in the past 115 years. It is the top rifle in the picture
That's my belief as well. I wouldn't shoot any old ammo in any rifle. It's just too east to pull the bullet, punch out the old primer and refill with a Win or CCI primer with moderate load of 47.5 gr IMR 4064 and a 150 gr Sierra Pro Hunter chronies at 2750. Quick load lists the pressure at 49,250.
 

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There was a member here from Australia in the early days of this forum, who experienced receiver failure, cracking, in 2 high number 1903 receivers.
 

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Low probability, high consequence scenario. If one can afford a high number receiver then in the big picture, probably not a bad idea. Agree the low number ones are "safe" to shoot ...until one is not...
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The interesting thing is I can only find a few receivers that have failed.

Of those, which there has only been about five or so. Half were high number receivers. In fact the only Marine I can find that has been hurt by a receiver, was hurt by a high number grenading on him. He lost an eye.

Now on the reverse side, I can find hundreds of serials of M1 Garands that failed on the user. In fact the Garand had a real problem with cracking lugs on bolts.

So out of the tens of thousands of documents I have now, and I'm at the Archives literally today pulling more. I find no REAL evidence that that low numbers aren't safe, but find evidence about rifles that no one even knew had problems.

I'm not sure my link worked to the other documents I posted. But there is even a document in there from Hatcher himself that says to use low numbers..

This is courtesy of Andrew at Archival Research Group
 
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