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#7241364 - 07/31/18 08:30 PM Reloading for 100 year old bolt action rifle
BoltVanderhuge Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 11/17/14
Posts: 11
I just came into possession of my grandfather's old rifle, a Springfield model 1903. The serial number puts it at made in 1918. Looks like it has a different stock than the original, and instead of open sights a rail and scope were put on it, a really cool (imo) old Leupold 4x fixed power scope. It's chambered in 30-06.

I'd love to go shoot it, and if accuracy is acceptable, I'd love to hunt with a rifle used by my grandfather who died long before I was born, but I'm a little hesitant about putting modern ammo in a century old rifle. I already handload for .30-06 so I can put together some low pressure loads with components already on hand. My brother took it to a gun smith today, who did a cast and verified it's chambered in 30-06 and said it was safe to shoot in his opinion.

I think it makes since to start at book minimum on loads, with a lightish bullet (lots of 150gr on hand), but I'd like opinions on anything I should look out for, or different approaches I should take with such an old rifle compared to a modern rifle. Thanks in advance.

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#7241375 - 07/31/18 08:48 PM Re: Reloading for 100 year old bolt action rifle [Re: BoltVanderhuge]
javman Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 03/19/11
Posts: 346
Loc: McAllen, TX deep South Tex
Here is whatís out there in regards to the 1903.

Serial #s starting between 750,00 and 800,000 at Springfield and by serial number 285,506 at Rock Island Arsenal. Rifles manufactured after these serial numbers are referred to as "high numbered" receivers and are commonly stated to be safe to shoot.

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#7241377 - 07/31/18 08:49 PM Re: Reloading for 100 year old bolt action rifle [Re: BoltVanderhuge]
RiverRider Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 11/11/07
Posts: 8222
Loc: Wise Co.
I believe there is a range of serial numbers in the Springfields that were not properly heat treated, and IIRC they are on the brittle side. I surely may not recall correctly, though. LOL.

I'd look that up and make sure if I was you. I sure wouldn't label the rifle as being handicapped just for being a little over 100 years old, though. If it's not within the range of suspect serial numbers, then just about any factory ammo should be fine provided your gunsmith did a good job of evaluating its condition.
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#7241385 - 07/31/18 08:54 PM Re: Reloading for 100 year old bolt action rifle [Re: BoltVanderhuge]
RiverRider Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 11/11/07
Posts: 8222
Loc: Wise Co.
http://m1903.com/03rcvrfail/



This is one reason I do not guess when annealing brass. I use Tempilaq. Measuring is ALWAYS better than guessing.


Edited by RiverRider (07/31/18 08:55 PM)
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#7241391 - 07/31/18 08:59 PM Re: Reloading for 100 year old bolt action rifle [Re: RiverRider]
BoltVanderhuge Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 11/17/14
Posts: 11
Thanks, luckily the serial is in the "high" range.

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#7241403 - 07/31/18 09:10 PM Re: Reloading for 100 year old bolt action rifle [Re: BoltVanderhuge]
FiremanJG Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 25593
Loc: Wolfe City, TX
Wear ears and eyes, ease up in powder charge, stay within Hodgdon's max charge specs.

Stepson and I found the max charge of H-4895 in his 75 year old Garand, last week. I shot it for him, and well before max, I laid down a 1" group with those coarse azz irons. We agreed to stop there. Point being, precisely loaded hand rounds are far safer than ammo you would buy off the shelf.
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#7241454 - 07/31/18 09:53 PM Re: Reloading for 100 year old bolt action rifle [Re: BoltVanderhuge]
ChadTRG42 Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 09/16/09
Posts: 13260
Loc: Lewisville, TX
Very nice! If you can find some M1 Garand data, you can use that data to keep pressures on the mild side. It's about 3-5 grains less than the standard 30-06 load data, or pretty close to that.
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#7241504 - 07/31/18 10:54 PM Re: Reloading for 100 year old bolt action rifle [Re: BoltVanderhuge]
kmon1 Offline
junior

Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 23410
Loc: Texas
If wanting to keep loads real low pressure but still effective for hunting or even lower pressure plinking loads check out Hodgdons reduced load instructions for H4895. You could easily workup mild loads that perform like a 30-30 if you want. reduced pressure and recoil.
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#7241628 - 08/01/18 07:16 AM Re: Reloading for 100 year old bolt action rifle [Re: BoltVanderhuge]
RJH1 Online   content
Outdoorsman

Registered: 04/20/11
Posts: 96
Loc: Abilene
I think the gun would be fine with pretty much whatever, however i would go with garand loads just to be on the safe side. Google Master Po's data, there is some good garand data there

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