Dating springfield armory model 1903a1
I recommend that we instruct our Ordnance establishments to no longer issue rifles with these questionable receivers, that such rifles be set aside and considered as a war reserve and the question of the ultimate replacement of the receivers be deferred.
When rifles are turned in from the troops for repair the receivers having these low numbers should be scrapped." Hofs decision meant that low numbered receivers would not be issued, but that those already issued would remain in service. Marine Corp, because of an even more limited budget than the Army, did not follow this recommendation and never retired any of its low numbered receivers until they were replaced with the M1 rifle about 1942. In 1942-44 the United States also equipped the Free French Army of Charles De Gaulle with low numbered Springfields.
In the Springfield rifle the head of the cartridge cases projects out of the rear end of the chamber a distance of from 0.147 to 0.1485; in other words, there is a space of well over an eighth of an inch where the pressure is held in only by the brass." (See Hatcher p 205.) During the 1920's officials within the Ordnance Department investigated the problem more thoroughly, including destructive testing of receivers.
Three rifles with low serial numbers were fired with cartridges that produced known levels of pressure starting at 70,000 pounds per square inch. Army to look into the problem, and determine how to identify the brittle receivers and determine if they could be strengthen by re-heat treatment.
Purpose of this Paper I collect and shoot the Model 1903 Springfield.
Whenever I heard emphatic statements about the safety of something such as a low numbered Springfield receiver my training and natural inclination are to get the numbers and put them into perspective with other risks we face on a daily basis. I have attempted to put the risk of Springfield receiver failures into prospective using simple statistics, thus permitting the interested reader to make his own decision about the safety of the Springfield rifle receiver. Despite the intense demand for rifles caused by our entry into the war, production at both Springfield Armory and Rock Island Arsenal was halted in early 1918, and an investigation launched to determine the cause of the problem.
it was quickly found that the right heat as judged by the skillful eye of the old timers was up to 300 degrees hotter on a bright sunny day than it was on a dark cloudy one" (See Hatcher, Julian Hatchers Notebook , Third Edition, Stackpole Books, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 1966, page 215).
The overall failure rate by 1929 was 68/1,085, 506 or 6.3 per 100,000 receivers. Of the 15 years between 1903 and the end of 1917 when the heat treatment method was changed, there were no failures in five of the years (1908-10, 1912, 1915).There had been 58 reported receiver failures when the board made its decision.To suggest that 1,000,000 other receivers were defective because of the failure of 58 is extrapolating well beyond the available data. As such I have a considerable amount of training in statistics. Model 1903 rifle, commonly called the Springfield, was used by the U. Between July and December 1917 eleven rifle receivers shattered, causing one severe and 10 minor injuries to the soldiers using the rifle.
My training is in medicine and medical research and I specialize in epidemiology, a discipline that looks at why bad things (epidemics) happen to people. When the United States declared war on Germany in April 1917 there was a marked increase in the use of this rifle for training.
I do not think the occasion merits the withdrawal of the rifles of low numbers in the hands of troops until the rifle is otherwise unserviceable.