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Q:
I own a 1903 Springfield that my grandfather bought from the USMC shortly after the end of WWII. It's only had a dozen rounds through it through the years, and he's passed it to me. I'd like to shoot it, but am concerned that modern cartridges might be a little too high-powered for a 66 year old rifle. It's a heavy-barreled piece, and appears solid as a rock, but I'm trying not to qualify for a Darwin Award here. Any thoughts on powder/bullet ranges I should be looking at, and more importantly, the ones I should be avoiding? Thanks!

Question by BubbaK. Uploaded on August 06, 2011

Answers (9)

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

I have been shooting factory ammo and reloads through mine for more than forty years and it has held up fine. For many years I shot 180 grain but moved up to 190 gr boattails. To the best of my knowledge that action is as tough or tougher than any factory gun manufactured today. You're a lucky fella to have one of those given to you.

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from DakotaMan wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

Although it was manufactured long ago, the 1903 Springfield is a very strong action and as long as the barrel is clean and clear, it will shoot modern 30-06 Springfield ammo with the best of them.

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from 99explorer wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

I have one with a 1918 marking on the barrel, and I have put put several boxes of modern ammo through it during the past seven or eight years. No problem.

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from Carl Huber wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

The above guys said it best. If your still skittish clean it up. Take to a gunsmith, he will use a go/no go gauge to check head space. After that factory ammo is made to the safe pressures of any firearm it can be chambered in. Careful with hand loads.

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from lyndonavery wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

A 1903 Springfield is one tough cookie. There is a concern of 1903's being of low serial #, but if yours is from WWII you shouldn't have to worry about the bolt issue. It is always better to err on the side of caution and it is good advice to have a qualified gunsmith look at the rifle. The 1903 should have no problem whatsoever with standard load, SAAMI/CIP specs, .30-'06 ammo. A 1903 springfield is a wonderful gift.

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from Skeeb wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

Like said above, those rifles can take a beating. But what you can do if you are still hesitant is use a bullet puller to take the projectile out of the shell and reduce the powder charge on your own. But I would suggest searching the internet for proper charge sizes and bullet weights to match up.

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from FirstBubba wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

BubbaK,

Best thing to do, if you have questions, is run it through the hands of a competent gunsmith! Could save you lot's of pain, heartache and misery in exchange for VERY little cost to you! If nothing else, pay to have it cleaned.
Seems I saw somewhere once you lived in Texas. If you are near the DFW area, Elk Castle Shooters Supply in Fort Worth on IH30 (West Fwy) just west of Cherry Lane has a VERY good shop!

Bubba

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from BubbaK wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

Thanks for the input, guys! I'm actually a mid-Westerner, living in VA right now. I've heard there's a guy in Richmond who specializes in the '03. Maybe I'll try to have him take a quick peek at it. It's in mint condition, but as the saying goes, better safe than sorry.

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from Jeff Bowers wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

I was in a discussion with some old-timers that were reloading before I was even born. They made a few statements that many others have verified. Maybe if I chuck them out here someone can comment.

For liability and lawsuit purposes, modern .30-06 ammo, and reloading manuals, take into account that that ammunition may be fired in older rifles. Modern specs., therefore, are geared down from what the original war-time rounds were loaded to.

In my personal reloading, I have noticed that modern .30-06, at least in my manuals, are not loaded much more than a .308.

Your mileage may vary.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

I have been shooting factory ammo and reloads through mine for more than forty years and it has held up fine. For many years I shot 180 grain but moved up to 190 gr boattails. To the best of my knowledge that action is as tough or tougher than any factory gun manufactured today. You're a lucky fella to have one of those given to you.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from 99explorer wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

I have one with a 1918 marking on the barrel, and I have put put several boxes of modern ammo through it during the past seven or eight years. No problem.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Carl Huber wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

The above guys said it best. If your still skittish clean it up. Take to a gunsmith, he will use a go/no go gauge to check head space. After that factory ammo is made to the safe pressures of any firearm it can be chambered in. Careful with hand loads.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from lyndonavery wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

A 1903 Springfield is one tough cookie. There is a concern of 1903's being of low serial #, but if yours is from WWII you shouldn't have to worry about the bolt issue. It is always better to err on the side of caution and it is good advice to have a qualified gunsmith look at the rifle. The 1903 should have no problem whatsoever with standard load, SAAMI/CIP specs, .30-'06 ammo. A 1903 springfield is a wonderful gift.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from DakotaMan wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

Although it was manufactured long ago, the 1903 Springfield is a very strong action and as long as the barrel is clean and clear, it will shoot modern 30-06 Springfield ammo with the best of them.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Skeeb wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

Like said above, those rifles can take a beating. But what you can do if you are still hesitant is use a bullet puller to take the projectile out of the shell and reduce the powder charge on your own. But I would suggest searching the internet for proper charge sizes and bullet weights to match up.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from FirstBubba wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

BubbaK,

Best thing to do, if you have questions, is run it through the hands of a competent gunsmith! Could save you lot's of pain, heartache and misery in exchange for VERY little cost to you! If nothing else, pay to have it cleaned.
Seems I saw somewhere once you lived in Texas. If you are near the DFW area, Elk Castle Shooters Supply in Fort Worth on IH30 (West Fwy) just west of Cherry Lane has a VERY good shop!

Bubba

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from BubbaK wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

Thanks for the input, guys! I'm actually a mid-Westerner, living in VA right now. I've heard there's a guy in Richmond who specializes in the '03. Maybe I'll try to have him take a quick peek at it. It's in mint condition, but as the saying goes, better safe than sorry.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jeff Bowers wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

I was in a discussion with some old-timers that were reloading before I was even born. They made a few statements that many others have verified. Maybe if I chuck them out here someone can comment.

For liability and lawsuit purposes, modern .30-06 ammo, and reloading manuals, take into account that that ammunition may be fired in older rifles. Modern specs., therefore, are geared down from what the original war-time rounds were loaded to.

In my personal reloading, I have noticed that modern .30-06, at least in my manuals, are not loaded much more than a .308.

Your mileage may vary.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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