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No Longer Involved
2,394 Posts
No problem with the forum...

I think the cutoff is around the 29000 mark.... I wish I had the exact cutoff. Hopefully someone here will know.

No Longer Involved
2,394 Posts
Just posted to the M1-M14 email list:
To: M1-M14 <[email protected]>
From: [email protected]
Subject: RE: [m1-m14] semi-OT: '03 sr # check
Date: Sat, 9 Jun 2001 17:10:12 -0600

"Prior to 1918, there had been scattered reports of burst '03
receivers. A lengthy investigation into the incidents revealed
that the forging of '03 receivers at both Springfield and Rock
Island was being accomplished more as an art than a science.
Those forging the billets of steel into receivers relied upon
"eyeballing" the color of the billet prior to finishing. It
turned out that under certain lighting conditions (cloudy days, etc.)
there were definite differences depending on one's "eyeball",
resulting in an occasional "brittle" receiver. Most were perfect,
but a few of those that slipped by were suspect... unfortunately
there was no metallurgical way of detecting the faulty receivers
without destroying them and no way of correcting the brittle metal
even if the receivers could have been identified. The metallurgical
process was changed and the new receivers were said to be "double
heat treated". The new process was begun at receiver serial number
800,001 at Springfield Armory (Feb.1918) and serial number 285,507
(May 1918) at Rock Island Arsenal. All receivers of these numbers or
higher are known as "high numbered Springfields" and are considered
to be above suspicion. Numbers below those listed are best fired with
factory loads or better yet used as collector's items. General Julian
Hatcher, then a young ordnance officer suggested drilling a hole in the
left side of the receiver as a gas relief port to cut the incidence of
burst receivers. While this was generally ignored by the Army, the
Marine Corps took the suggestion to heart and many of the Marine Corps
low numbered '03s of the era will be found with the so called "Hatcher
Hole" in the left side of the receiver. After W.W.I, the Marines solved
the "low number gun problem" by rebarreling them when sent back for refit,
drilling the Hatcher Hole and reissuing them with instructions that they
were not to be used for firing rifle grenades. The high numbered guns are
extremely strong and never experienced any problems."


111 Posts
The cutoff for those made by Springfield Armory was 800,000. The cutoff for those made by Rock Island was 285,507. At serial number 1,275,767 Springfield Armory changed to nickel steel, Rock Island changed to nickel steel at about 319,921.

Remington '03 and Remington and Smith-Corona '03A3 actions were made of a slightly different nickel steel alloy.
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