Springfield 1903 Early Serial Number - Risk

Thanks for reading!

I bought a low serial number Springfield 1903 knowing the risk of failure warnings due to faulty metalurical methods back in the early 1900s.

Question: Does anyone know if these same metalurical practices were used in the fabrication of other Springfield chambers, such as Krag or Trap Door rifles? It would seem if the procedures were the same that failures in those rifles would also be noted. It causes me to wonder if the 1903 failures were the result of a perfect storm between the fabrication techniques and perhaps inconsistent ammo QA creating over pressures.

Failure rate for the low serial number rifles is 4.13%, or a total of 33 failures for 800,000 rifles.

I enjoy my great old rifle but will not fire anything but Rememington Managed Recoil ammo. Any thoughts?


I would think the krags and trapdoors would have lower pressure loads so it might not have been an issue for them.


The Krag load was raised from 40000 cups to 45000 cup and they start ed getting cracked locking lugs so the load was dropped back to 40000cups.

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Interesting points. Thank you.

My rifle (#235188) was made in 1907. Failures associated with the 68,865 rifles made in that year amount to 5. Of note is that out of a total of 33 failures from 1903-1917 11 occurred in 1917, at the build up to WWI.

It’s a risk with any ammo but my thought is that the chamber pressure of the Standard 150gr 30-06 is around 62kpsi. I’d sure like to know what the typical chamber pressures were in 1917. Now trying to find the chamber pressure for 125gr Managed Recoil.

Any thoughts re: where I could get that?

Thanks again for the comments.

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doesn’t have a date but would be the corresponding ammo grade

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and didn’t seem to bother the military

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Concur. Gen Hatcher’s report was thorough. Because I don’t shoot long ranges or use my 1903 to hunt large game I’ll continue with the Managed Recoil. A 125gr at those velocities is good enough for me.

Thanks for your response.

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That don’t seem like a lot of failures, Most of those rifles were put through hell. I know the national ordinance 03 A3 rifles should not be shot.

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common consensus is, any rifle that was going to fail has already failed…