The idea was not to damage the firearm as much as render it not to chamber and fire live rounds.
and sometimes like the brits they went overboard.
L59A1 Drill RifleThe L59A1 was a conversion of the No4 Rifle (all Marks) to a Drill Purpose Rifle that was incapable of being restored to a firing configuration. It was introduced in service in the 1970s. A conversion specification of No.1 rifles to L59A2 Drill Purpose was also prepared but was abandoned due to the greater difficulty of machining involved and the negligible numbers still in the hands of cadet units.
The L59A1 arose from British government concerns over the vulnerability of Army Cadet Force and school Combined Cadet Forces' (CCF) stocks of small arms to theft by terrorists, in particular the Irish Republican Army following raids on CCF armouries in the 1950s and 1960s. Previous conversions to Drill Purpose (DP) of otherwise serviceable rifles were not considered to be sufficiently incapable of restoration to fireable state and were a potential source of reconversion spares.
L59A1 Drill Rifles were rendered incapable of being fired, and of being restored to a fireable form, by extensive modifications that included the welding of the barrel to the receiver, modifications to the receiver that removed the supporting structures for the bolt's locking lugs and blocking the installation of an unaltered bolt, the removal of the striker's tip, the blocking of the striker's hole in the bolt head and the removal of most of the bolt body's locking lugs. Most bolts were copper plated for identification. A plug was welded in place forward of the chamber, and a window was cut in the side of the barrel. The stock and fore end was marked with broad white painted bands and the letters "DP" for easy identification.
in the Springfields case.
TodayDue to its balance, it is still popular with various military drill teams and color guards, most notably the U.S. Army Drill Team. M1903 rifles (along with the M1 Garand, M1917 Enfield and M14 rifles) are also common at high school Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) units to teach weapons handling and military drill procedures to the cadets. JROTC units use M1903s for regular and inter-school competition drills, including elaborate exhibition spinning routines. Exhibition teams often use fiberglass stocks in place of wooden stocks, which are heavier and more prone to breakage when dropped. The M1903 is also the standard parade rifle of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, which has over six hundred M1903s, a very small percentage of which are still fireable.
U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps color guard rifles bear many similarities to the Springfield.
For safety reasons, JROTC M1903s are made permanently unable to fire by having a metal rod welded into the barrel, or having it filled with lead, soldering the bolt and welding the magazine cutoff switch in the ON position.
In 1977, the Army located a rather large cache of un-issued M1903A3 rifles which were then issued to JROTC units as a replacement for their previously issued M1 Garand and M14 rifles, which were then returned to Army custody due to concerns about potential break-ins at high school JROTC armories. After the creation of the privatized Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) in 1996, the Army has located additional M1903 and M1903A3 rifles which have been made available for sale to eligible CMP customers. The CMP announced over Halloween weekend 2008, that they had a handful of M1903 and M1903A3's available for sale. The following Monday the CMP received over 700 pieces of mail, and most of the rifles have since sold out, per the 11-17-08 update from the CMP.