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firelt 11-27-2012 10:14 PM

Raising a serial number
A family member recently passed and I was given an old sporterized 1903 that he had. I was going to re-blue it and fix it up to be a deer/hog rifle. Imagine my surprise when I found a nice, shiny flat spot on the receiver where the serial number should have been. Yup, some fool ground it off. Since I don't really want to be in violation of the FFA of '68, I'd like to take a shot at raising the serial number with some sulfuric acid. Anyone out there got any experience with this? If I can raise the number enough to read it I'll have it checked to make sure it's not stolen, but if I can't I guess it has to go away. Too bad, it's got potential.

Txhillbilly 11-28-2012 12:58 AM

I'm not completely knowledgeable about the serial # laws,but since the 1903 was produced before 1968,it wasn't required to have a serial # by law-even though they did come with them. You might want to contact the BATFE,and inquire the legality of it.You may not have to worry about it,since the action was made prior to the law requiring serial #'s.

trip286 11-28-2012 01:08 AM

Txhillbilly I believe is correct. These were serialized more to track them through the service, I think. Different makers were awarded contracts for a certain number of product, and these numbers were often tracked through their numbering systems.

Also, because it is a 1903, I simply highly doubt it was ever stolen. They were sold by the barrel full, just like many other military surplus rifles.

robocop10mm 11-28-2012 01:27 AM

While pre 68 long guns were not required to have serial numbers, possession of such a "deserialized" rifle (in Texas) would be a violation of the law (Possession of Altered ID Numbers).

I have raised some numbers using acid and found it works much better with a bit of heat. Once the numbers are raised and legible, they can be checked for stolen via your local LE Agency. If not stolen, ATF can authorize the restamping of the numbers.

c3shooter 11-28-2012 02:02 AM

Yep- what he just said up there ^^^. Not only violation of Texas law, but Federal law as well. It is a felony to possess a firearm from which the SN has been removed or defaced. Even if it was not required to have one, it is illegal to remove one.

In some cases, due to wear, refinishing, etc, the SN may be lost. The ATF MAY grant permision to restamp, but THEY assign the SN to be stamped.

And yes, the technique is polished smooth metal, warmth, acid.

firelt 01-19-2013 05:44 AM

It didn't work, so I found a receiver and bought it. Old one has been removed and placed permanently out of service.

oldpapps 01-19-2013 02:35 PM

Sad, some law pushed on us to 'protect us' has the effect of destroying an old and valued war horse. Value is not dollars but sense.

robocop10mm 01-21-2013 09:42 PM

The "law" is intended to protect the owner of a gun and society from stolen guns. If the gun is stolen and the S/N removed/defaced it is difficult to prove the gun was stolen. By declaring the possession of altered numbers illegal, the thief will still face some punishment. Just like the removal of a VIN on a motor vehicle is illegal.

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