Had a M1903 come through...

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing Forum' started by danf_fl, May 27, 2019.

  1. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

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    The customer bought one at an estate auction.
    He thought it would have been rebarreled to 30-06 base on month and year on the barrel.

    Well, 30-06 would not chamber. The round goes about 3/4 of the way in and stops. Like it was rechambered to another caliber. I don't believe that there is a broken case in the chamber. The bore was larger than the 30-06, too.

    Could it have been modified for some sort of blank firing for parades / funerals? Possible

    Getting some cerrosafe and going to make a chamber casting and slug the bore to see if we can figure out the caliber.

    The gun was advertised as being a "50 caliber", but it is no where near that
     
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  2. Rifling82

    Rifling82 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Cool, a mystery!...... U have any pics of the rifle?
     

  3. Caveman Jim

    Caveman Jim Well-Known Member

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    Me loves a good mystery, please keep us informed!!!;)
     
  4. Trez

    Trez Well-Known Member

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    Is the barrel welded to the receiver? Thats something they did drill / parade rifles... /Maybe one of those old military chamber inserts, used to make a 06 chamber into a 7.62 nato?
     
  5. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

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    The bore at the muzzle allows the bullet of a 30-06 to have room to wiggle in the diameter of the bore (on mine the bullet does not go in to the casing, on his it does. Again, this is at muzzle.)

    7.63 NATO does not chamber either, but comes closer.
     
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  6. Trez

    Trez Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like some sorta weirdness going on... So, the barrel is a bigger diameter (or shot out?) and the cases dont fit... Time for a new barrel?
     
  7. Trez

    Trez Well-Known Member

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    Does it still have the dated military barrel?
     
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  8. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

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    It still has the military dated barrel (from 1918). Looking up the 30-03 cartridge versus the 30-06, there is not the significant differences between the two that this barrel displays.

    I suggested a new barrel, and the customer is considering that. Though he would like to keep it "original" (and considering the money he already put in it), that is a good possibility.

    Customer went home with the rifle, and I asked that he inform me of his decision.

    I wonder if someone put some time in and rechambered it for something like the 35 Whelen?
     
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  9. SGWGunsmith

    SGWGunsmith Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If that rifle were to be on my bench..........I'd do a chamber cast. Otherwise, it's sorta guessing, like "how many jelly-beans are in the big glass jug?"
     
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  10. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

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    That is where we left it. Customer is to do a chamber casting and barrel slugging (trying to save a couple of bucks). I'm waiting to see where this goes.
    Just be careful when working on some of the old rifles.
    Like this, they could be rechambered and not marked.
     
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  11. SGWGunsmith

    SGWGunsmith Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You know that's not an uncommon thing done back in the day. All it requires is a .35 Whelen finish reamer. But if that's the case, .35 Whelen as is, a .30-06 case should still go in, unless they went with the .35 Whelen Ackley improved. That case has a pretty straight wall and much sharper shoulder.
    You have an interesting project going.
     
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  12. Chainfire

    Chainfire Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If the rifle was all original, I wouldn't worry about it, but keep it as a historical piece. It is permissible to own a firearm without shooting it, though I try not to....

    If it has been altered I would have a new barrel put on it and shoot the snot out of it in the original caliber.
     
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  13. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

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    The problem is Chain that the customer and I did not figure out what is the correct caliber.

    The bore is larger than 30 Caliber.
     
  14. Chainfire

    Chainfire Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I understood that part. If we are talking about a '03 Springfield, then it was originally 30.06. If it is not '06 then it has been rebarreled or rebored. Either takes away the historical provenance and greatly reduces collectability. If it is just shot-out but with the original barrel then it retains some collectibility. In my thinking, I would rather have it worn out and original. Of course it will be interesting to see what is discovered with a bore/chamber sizing, and that should answer all questions.

    I suspect that it would cost nearly $400.00 to rebarrel the rifle with a new production '06 barrel, so unless you find out that it is in good shape with an presently unknown caliber it would be expensive to make a shooter out of it.

    I have a situation with a Winchester M-1917 where some jackass cut off the barrel, and a different jackass bought it to restore and figured out it is not worth the effort. I believe I am going to resolve it by selling it to someone who wants a 1917 with a cut barrel......It is really a shame too. The 1917 was in near perfect condition before it was butchered.
     
  15. superc

    superc Active Member

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    Back when they were available surplus on almost any mail order page of any gun magazine for about $30 (i.e., pre 1968 when the after affect of Lee H Oswald smacked the country) it was very common to rechamber an old '03. .30-06 improved, .35-06, etc. There were lots of cool conversion calibers. Back then collector interest was in things like 6mm Lee Navy, Spencer carbines, etc. The interest in WW2 and WWI guns was minimal because so many had one, or had used one already and wasn't impressed. Today those guys are dead and we pick through the detritus they left behind. So it is here.

    My guess is you have either an 8-06 (30-06 case blown out to 8mm, great for moose), or a .35-06. But those are guesses and until someone actually makes the Cerrosafe casting, well this discussion is pointless.