The Springfield M1903 is the rifle that largely defined American military service throughout the first half of the 20th Century. Powerful and reliable, the Springfield M1903 was a platform that was built to stand the test of time, and it has. It is still widely held in the hands of collectors, sport shooters, and civilians, and there are even some matches around the country that host M1903 shoots.
But this much can be said. As revered as the 1903 is, as many shooters have sporterized them for use in competition or in the field, it is still an old platform. Doubtless, many of the rifles in circulation are nearing a century of age.
With age come age-related troubles, and all firearms need maintenance. If your Springfield M1903 is having any sort of trouble with its operation, make sure you pick up the proper Springfield parts at SARCO Inc., in order to make adequate repairs, replacements, or upgrades.
Failing to Feed
There are many reasons your rifle could be failing to feed properly, but luckily, with a repeating rifle that’s manually cycled, many of them can be rectified readily. One of those that remains a thorn in the side of shooters is malfunctioning or fatigued magazine springs that don’t push the cartridges into place so that the bolt can strip them off into the chamber. If your rifle’s not feeding properly, look first to the magazine.
Failing to Extract or Eject
Failing to extract or eject is another problem that all sorts of firearms can experience, albeit this is more of an issue with autoloaders than with repeaters. Nonetheless, worn-out extractors are likely to blame with the 1903. Replacing the extractor or extractor collar will likely rectify the issue.
Failing to Fire
Diagnosing a failure to fire is opening up a can of worms, but we’ll look for the straightforward culprit here. If you close the bolt, it sets properly, you pull the trigger and nothing happens, there’s a good chance that either your striker is malfunctioning or your mainspring has fatigued to the point that it’s not causing the striker to strike the primer with sufficient force. Replace both of these and see if the rifle fires.
We are talking about a rifle that was developed well over a 100 years ago, remember. Many of those in circulation are used; well-used, shall we call them. If the accuracy is suffering it’s probably a result of poor maintenance or simply of use. Barrels wear out over time. If you’re seeing wandering groups at 100 yards, replace your barrel with a fresh one (not used) and see if that fixes the problem.
Stock or Receiver Issues
An interesting thing about the M1903 is that it was reported to experience receiver failures. There are a wide range of theories in this, ranging from the possibility that the receivers were forged under excessively high heat, altering the steel’s chemical and structural properties, making the receivers brittle. There’s also a theory that too many shooters erroneously chambered and fired 7.92x57mm Mauser cartridges that the rifle was not intended to fire, causing the receivers to fail.
Whatever the reason, if you suspect your M1903’s receiver has seen better days or should be replaced, get a receiver blank from SARCO, mill it (subject to local laws; this is not legal in all jurisdictions, so do your own research or consult a lawyer) and make the repair.
Also, if your stock has dry-rotted out or is simply missing, pick up a new one – that’s easy enough to replace and not particularly labor intense.
Visit SARCO Inc.
Looking for these Springfield parts, but interested in a little greater historical variety than what Springfield Armory currently offers? Check out SARCO Inc. for a break from the norm. They carry a huge collection of Springfield parts, including parts for the venerable M1903. They even have nearly complete build kits – visit their website today at SarcoInc.com or contact them directly at 610-250-3960 to learn more!
For more information about Surplus Firearms and WW2 Reenactment Gear Please visit: Sarco, Inc.