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When have you ever heard anyone online say don't shoot a Midvale Steel (Eddystone) because it could blow up on you?

This was in the end of a long case study of them and they found so many cracked Eddystone receivers, they determined all Eddystones shouldn't be used with live ammo.

This was just Eddystones too. They sold tens of thousands of M1917's of every maker that were earmarked as not safe to shoot. They sold them here in the US to NRA members right after WWII. They did not mark them in anyway special. They only detailed it on the sales sheet when they sold. Well those rifles are floating around out there, and none of us are wiser to it.

Heck when you read the actual docs on them, did you know more M1917's blew up in WWI than any low number M1903s? But because these documents haven't made there way into our books, no one knows anything about them.

I cannot express how much worse the Garand is, compared to the m1917 and m1903. I highly suggest everyone buys a black light and goes over their M1's looking for cracks in the receiver/bolt/barrel. The Army did this back in the 50's and found so many, they stopped looking for them.....


And that doesn't make low number '03 any safer.
 

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Discussion Starter #42
You are missing the point. Whether or not rifles are declared "serviceable" has nothing to do with the underlying fact that there were brittle receivers. There is no doubt about that fact. The testing indicated that conclusively. What happened afterwards was reversal of a decision to withdraw suspect receivers from service. This is simply a risk management modification. The reason for the modification was not that there was no risk - it was simply accepting the risk in light of small arms shortages. You are incorrect that there were no shortages in 1944. As of Feb 1944, there were first line divisions that were still armed with 1903 rifles. We were experiencing losses of weapons in combat and we were supplying our allies. M1 rifle production was at an all time high level. They were not continuing to manufacture outdated weapons but that doesn't imply that demands were diminishing.

Going back to the technical issue, brittle receivers are a risk and a sericous one at that. The only mitigating factors are not all were brittle and it takes an impact load to induce the brittle fracture. In the world of risk assessment, we have a serious risk that has a relatively low rate of occurence but also has a low probabiity of failure detection prior to a catstrophic failure. That is far from being a good situation.

I consider it negligent to tell folks that low number receivers are "safe" - not when the presence of brittle receivers are well documented.

No matter how much you protest and how much old documentation you discover, you can't make the fact that a significant number of brittle receivers were producted go away. The test results speak for themselves.
I'm very curious to see your research that they had a shortage of arms in 1944. Because the actual Army Ordnance documents I have state the opposite.

You state they conclusively decided the low numbers were brittle but this is not correct either. This is only what the books state. A lot of the unpublished tests of the low numbers actually concluding many were too soft. Which is not a safety issue. They actually just will stretch until they loose headspace. But even in the late 30's they detail these would have most likely already been withdrawn from service as they would have only have lasted a few thousand rounds.

Some of the tests actually concluded the high numbers were more common to being brittle. These were the ones they were worried about, as they grenade when they fail. You assume just because it's a high number it's safe. This is not true. There were heat treatment problems in high numbers as well. Just a book has never published any of this, so you don't know about it.

But still even with all this, the safety record of both high and low m1903's is outstanding. Especially when you compare them to every other service rifle and the sure amount of the ones that were issued and how many rounds they fired.

Unless you literally stop shooting EVERY rifle, the M1903 is about safe as any military rifle I've read the documents on.

The biggest problem is so many have this misconception that heat treatment problems were fixed when high numbers and double heat treatment came on the scene in 1918. But this is pure book lore. Heat Treatment problems went well into the very end of the M1 production of the 1950's. I even have mentions of issues with the M14 having heat treatment problems.

They had a horrible time with heat treatment on M1 Barrels and receivers. So much so, I have a report of an engineer at SA that said he couldn't sleep at night knowing how many would be hurt with his barrels.

The internet says they annealed the rear of the receiver of the M1 Garand so it could shoot rifle grenades. This is false too. They annealed them because so many rear halves of the receivers were flying off and wounding men under normal rifle fire. Because they receivers were not heat hardened correctly and prone to cracking.

And unlike the M1903, I have the casualty reports of soldiers, sailors, and Marines being hurt by improper heat treatment of the M1 Garand. I have hundreds of reports of M1's failing.

But if you think they only had issues with receivers being brittle in the low numbers, this is not correct.

 

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Discussion Starter #43 (Edited)
And that doesn't make low number '03 any safer.
Actually it does state that.

RIA wrote in that 1947 document that NONE of the Eddystones should shoot live ammo because of the amount of cracked receivers they had found, or had reported to them.

RIA in a document above from 1945 details they had never seen or heard of a M1903 that had failed. So because of that they recommend they should be used.

Remember RIA is the Army's main rebuild depot for the M1903, as well as one of the producers till 1919. So they had encountered hundreds of thousands of M1903's by this point in time.

To me that is a outstanding service record.
 

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Discussion Starter #44
What looks like someone's initials stamped into the right side of the receiver just behind the gas hole (SKF). Do any of your document show these letters being stamped into the receivers?
Sorry Ranger 44, got sidetracked. lol

But my best guess, it could be possible it is something foreign as several hundred thousand M1903's were sold in the lend lease prior to WWII, but I don't think it is.

What my personal gut feeling is, when these M1903's were first released in huge amounts right after they were declared obsolete in 1947, the gun magazines of the time ran a lot of stories that everyone should mark their rifles so they wouldn't be stolen. When you read these articles, they state to put initials, or your driver's license number, or later years they state SS# on your rifle in some spot. So if it's stolen you can prove it.

My gut feeling is, this is a former owners mark along those lines. I haven't seen any mention of a mark like this in the docs, nor seen one that I can remember on any other m1903. So if it is something new outside a owner's mark it's a new one to me.

Nice rifle by the way. :)
 

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Sorry Ranger 44, got sidetracked. lol

But my best guess, it could be possible it is something foreign as several hundred thousand M1903's were sold in the lend lease prior to WWII, but I don't think it is.

What my personal gut feeling is, when these M1903's were first released in huge amounts right after they were declared obsolete in 1947, the gun magazines of the time ran a lot of stories that everyone should mark their rifles so they wouldn't be stolen. When you read these articles, they state to put initials, or your driver's license number, or later years they state SS# on your rifle in some spot. So if it's stolen you can prove it.

My gut feeling is, this is a former owners mark along those lines. I haven't seen any mention of a mark like this in the docs, nor seen one that I can remember on any other m1903. So if it is something new outside a owner's mark it's a new one to me.

Nice rifle by the way. :)
No problem I was enjoying the conversion between you and rickgman, very informative. I didn't know that the gun mags of the time were running stories about marking rifles in that way, learn something new every day.

I would be interested to hear anyone's take on why this rifle looks to have never had a rebuild. No Hatcher hole, no angled bolt handle and no punch makes. There is a "P" mark on the bottom of the barrel mid way and the muzzle gauges pretty good using the poor mans method an M2 rifle round.
 

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Discussion Starter #47
A prudent man does not disregard valid data simply because it doesn't fit his narrative. Enough said.
This is one thing I 100% agree with.

You have to look at ALL the available evidence. You can't literally just stop researching with only one report. The problem being only Hatcher's report has been documented in our books.

I really do think if the documents I have were published in a book all those years ago, we would not even be discussing this. This would have been a dead subject back then.

But there were many men back then that were very much equal to, or better than Hatcher to speak on this subject.

Rock island Arsenal, Springfield Armory, The Marine Corps, The Marine Philadelphia Depot, Army Ordnance (who was in charge of everything including Hatcher), and even Hatcher himself recanted his earlier directive all be replaced and scrapped.

This list is literally everyone who could have weighed in on this topic. Many of those documents literally state verbatim "they are entirely safe."

This was one of the Marine's top guys. Who is reporting on the testing done by the Marine Philadelphia Depot, to the Commandant of the Marines Corps in 1929.

He even throws out the theory that the Army might have needed to create a reason for SA to have work. SA was not doing a lot at this time as RIA was doing all the rebuilds.

Even though we think of these places as Govt Agencies. They were run exactly like a business. You had to show you were essential to the Govt to remain open. Congress was looking everywhere to cut budgets just as they are today.




And a couple more stating the same.



 

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Discussion Starter #48
No problem I was enjoying the conversion between you and rickgman, very informative. I didn't know that the gun mags of the time were running stories about marking rifles in that way, learn something new every day.

I would be interested to hear anyone's take on why this rifle looks to have never had a rebuild. No Hatcher hole, no angled bolt handle and no punch makes. There is a "P" mark on the bottom of the barrel mid way and the muzzle gauges pretty good using the poor mans method an M2 rifle round.
It actually does look like the original finish. The original stock also looks entirely correct for an early 1910 build.

What are the markings on the bolt and also the cartouches on the stock?

Around this time, in 1910, the Army had reached an surplus of M1903's, so they started to offer them to NRA rifle clubs for rifle practice and competitions.

The early ones were not marked. I digress that I do not research these early NRA club rifles serial ranges like John Beard or Andrew Stolinski do. Just because it's not something that terribly interests me.

I love anything Marine Corps or sniper related, so those are the items that I do case studies of serial numbers on.

You might reach out to John or Andrew to see if they have serials close to this that are documented.

I sort of suspect they will have.
 

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It actually does look like the original finish. The original stock also looks entirely correct for an early 1910 build.

What are the markings on the bolt and also the cartouches on the stock?

Around this time, in 1910, the Army had reached an surplus of M1903's, so they started to offer them to NRA rifle clubs for rifle practice and competitions.

The early ones were not marked. I digress that I do not research these early NRA club rifles serial ranges like John Beard or Andrew Stolinski do. Just because it's not something that terribly interests me.

I love anything Marine Corps or sniper related, so those are the items that I do case studies of serial numbers on.

You might reach out to John or Andrew to see if they have serials close to this that are documented.

I sort of suspect they will have.
Thanks very much your points would explain a lot about this rifle. If in private hands or in the hands of an Army, Navy or Marine Corp officer it would not be subject to any rebuilds. The bolt has a 1M stamped on the safety lug and there are no cartouche or firing proof marks on the stock.
In fact the stock looks to have at least two repairs in it for cracks.
Would love to contact John or Andrew are they on this forum?
 

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I've got a 1903 with a 1-10 SA barrel date, 400,000 s/n, straight bolt, no Hatcher hole in the left side and what looks like someone's initials stamped into the right side of the receiver just behind the gas hole (SKF). Do any of your document show these letters being stamped into the receivers?
No cracks that I can find, during receiver inspection, and the bolt-receiver finish looks well worn from use. Per the book this rifle (or at least the receiver) should have been destroyed long ago.
What are your thoughs on the integrity of your rifels receiver? Looks like it had 3 significant blows in order to stamp those 3 letters in a hardened receiver.
 

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What are your thoughs on the integrity of your rifels receiver? Looks like it had 3 significant blows in order to stamp those 3 letters in a hardened receiver.
I think the integrity of the receiver is fine, if you look at the picture of the letters they are not deep at all into the receiver. In fact at some angles it is really hard to see them at all. If the receiver was brittle you would think the first or second hit on it would have shattered it.
 
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