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H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619

1903 Springfield Bolt Smoothing

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I have a couple of 1903 Springfields in pretty nice shape. One is an A1 version, and the other is an A3.

 

But, I have noticed that compared to my Mausers, and really compared to my Krag, that the bolt action can best be described as "klunky." Okay, I know, comparing it to the Krag isn't fair, but comparing it to the Mauser's is, since it is a Mauser design.

 

Anyway, one time when I was using the A1 at a Wild Bunch shoot, the klunkiness of the bolt got down right sticky and even jammed a couple of times. So, with that in mind, is it possible to smooth out the action on this rifle, or is it what it is, and it must be endured? I am really surprised that a combat arm has such a rough action.

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it's a combat weapon. You will never notice clunky during a firefight.

 

And I have handled a lot of clunky Mausers too.....

 

Smoothness has a direct correllation to date of manufacture, arsenal as well as how much it has been fired...

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Not sure what you mean by clunky but A3's are definitely finished rougher than '03s; so unless you find new bolts for them, which are available, there isn't much that can be done.

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The 03 can be smoothed up, it can also be bound up just the way the bolt is operated. Many war time bolts have a lot of tool marks on them. also look at the side of the extractor and see if it is rubbing the side of the action where the collar holds it. To test for smoothness set the cut/off so the mag. follower does not stop the bolt, grab the cocking knob with the bolt open and slide bolt in and out, if the bolt does not bind with this test then the shooter is binding it when operating with the bolt handle. I polish the bolt body sides and the cocking cam for the striker and place some wheel bering grease on the body of the bolt and top and bottom of the bolt lugs, this does not take much just a thin layer. The nickle steel springfields are quite gummy as both recievers and bolts are nickel steel. Good Luck Keep at it and make some dummy rnds. to practice with. Gary

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Well to the nay-sayers, I have proof that a 1903-A3 CAN be slicked up to work effortlessly and flawlessly.

 

I and a buddy bought 10 of these rifles from the DCM back in 1959, brand new, crated and in cosmolene ready for overseas shipment. They were all manufactured by Smith Corona.

 

The one I still have today was partially sporterized right after I received it, and I later finished the job complete. In the original job, the action was slicked up and the bolt polished to a chrome-like finish, and the extractor slide plated, (mostly for cosmetic reasons), and in general, a complete smoothing of all action parts, and the bolt handle lowered for scope clearance. With the follower locked down, the bolt will freely slide either direction, just by elevating or lowering the muzzle. The action has worked flawlessly for the past 50 years.

 

So, YES, with a knowledgeable Smith doing the work, they CAN be slicked up very nicely.

 

RBK

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