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Thread: 1903 or 1903-A3 headspace issue?

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  1. #1
    Member flintlock28's Avatar
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    1903 or 1903-A3 headspace issue?

    A relative of mine has either a 1903 or 1903-A3 that has been Sporterized. He lent the rifle years ago to another relative, and is now getting it back. The relative told Him that it has a headspace issue. I told Him I would look at it, and I purchased Clymer go, no-go, and a field gauges.

    If the barrel turns out to be in good condition, but the bolt does close on the Field gauge, would trying another bolt body be the first step in correcting excessive headspace? I read somewhere that Brown & Sharp bolts tend to run long, and I'm wondering if this is the first step to take?

    Any help appreciated.

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    Member Daan Kemp's Avatar
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    Find out why the lender thinks there is a "headspace issue", eg what did he do to the rifle to cause it?

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    Member flintlock28's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daan Kemp View Post
    Find out why the lender thinks there is a "headspace issue", eg what did he do to the rifle to cause it?
    My Brother in Law owns the rifle; He lent it out years ago to another relative. Whoever he lent it to, is the one who said it has headspace issues. I have no idea if the man he lent it to is competent, incompetent, or had the rifle checked out. I told my BIL that I would get gauges, and check it out. Supposedly, I will be getting the rifle in a few days.

    Is it common when headspace is excessive, to try a new bolt body?

    Let me know your thoughts.
    thanx

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    Contributing Member Doco overboard's Avatar
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    I was able to tidy up HS by fitting a WW2 replacement bolt on a 03 with a high Standard replacement barrel. The first bolt was OK on the field but I was lucky enough to find a nos bolt that worked well the first time around.
    The problem with this is you may need a large selection of bolts in front of you to choose from. I used a bf42 and there was some improvement, if it didn't work I wasn't too concerned because I could use the bolt elsewhere.
    I'm talking only a couple of degrees of rotation to where the knob stopped as a feel good measure, check to make sure there isn't something else going on that could be more problematic.

    It could just be someone doesn't want to turn the rifle back over either!

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    Really Senior Member Calif-Steve's Avatar
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    I agree that a BF bolt would likely help. But is there a problem? Maybe, maybe not. Strip the bolt, remove the extractor and run the test. Remember, do not force the gages, any resistance and you are there. Good luck.

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    Member flintlock28's Avatar
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    Thanks, i'm looking forward to trying out the gauges.

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    Advisory Panel chuckindenver's Avatar
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    Bolt set back is a common issue with headspace..
    a new bolt..{not used from another rifle } would likely cure it.
    R4 R6 R8 bolts are longer at the head then others and were made that way.

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    Member flintlock28's Avatar
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    Thank you everyone for the replies...

    Turns out the rifle is NOT a Springfield 1903 or 1903-A3, but a M 1917 Enfield, Eddystone made rifle, built in 1918. I saw as soon as it was out of the gun case, that it wasn't a Springfield.

    The rifle looks in very good shape, with the barrel cut down to about 21 inches, and probably an aftermarket stock installed. I believe the stock is stamped "Leaders" near the barrel channel.

    I found that the No-Go gauge did allow the bolt to fully close, but the bolt would not close on the Field gauge. I believe this shows the head space is on the long side, but still safe to shoot I am going to go over the rifle, use a copper remover to clean the bore, check everything over, and than take it to the range where I will try some Garandicon ammo that a buddy gave me. I will than examine every case to make sure everything looks o.k.. If the rifle shoots o.k., I'm going to refinsh the stock using Lacquer, and than use Cold bluing on all metal.

    Does this sound Kosher?

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    Senior Member rcathey's Avatar
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    Surface prep is key with the cold blue. Degrease *very* well, apply multiple coats, and oil it well.
    I used Oxpho-Blue on the top of a Colt 1911 from 1953 where I had to plug holes from an aftermarket sight rail. The color matched well and itís has stood up to lots of range time. Canít really say how it wears since I donít carry the gun but it hasnít rubbed off from simple handling.

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    Contributing Member Eaglelord17's Avatar
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    The two gauges that matter for headspace to the general shooter is 'go' and 'field' (should be called 'Min' and 'Max'). That is where the tolerances are for the cartridge. In this case provided it didn't close on the 'field' gauge and closes on the 'go' gauge your set in regards to headspace.

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