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M1903 only feeds from the right side of the magazine

M1903, M1903A3 and M1917.
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Smokey
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M1903 only feeds from the right side of the magazine

#1 Post by Smokey » Fri Jul 27, 2018 7:04 pm

Cartridges from the left side of the magazine get angled too far to the right and do not enter the chamber. The ones on the right side have no problems. We may be somewhat of a right-sided family but the rifle needs to feed all rounds from the magazine.
Any idea where to start looking to fix this?
Arguing with someone who denounces reason is like administering medicine to a corpse.

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RWS
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Re: M1903 only feeds from the right side of the magazine

#2 Post by RWS » Sat Jul 28, 2018 9:18 am

Can you verify that the magazine follower is correct for a M1903 and not for a M1903A3?

If the follower is correct, with the magazine cut-off disabled will the bolt (correctly) refuse to go forward on an empty magazine? I had an '03 at one time where someone had ground an angle on the leading edge of the follower so the bolt could run home on an empty magazine without having to push the follower down. My rifle also failed to feed properly, although that was 30 something years ago and I don't remember if the failures were all on one side or not.

I do know that a correct, unaltered USGI replacement follower fixed my problem. Your problem may not be the same as the one I had though. In any event, I would recommend either buying or borrowing a correct replacement follower and see if the problem ceases to exist. Sarco has 'em for $7.
http://www.e-sarcoinc.com/1903spffollowermilled.aspx

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Re: M1903 only feeds from the right side of the magazine

#3 Post by Smokey » Sat Jul 28, 2018 12:53 pm

Worth trying the follower.
I need to add that the problem is with 220gr round-nose loads. M2 ball feeds just fine. The M2 tip enters the chamber just before the cartridge reaches the point when it wants to veer out of alignment. The lead tip on the round nose hits the edge of the chamber and hangs up there. I'm considering some careful filing of the left feed lip to reduce the tendency to veer out of alignment.
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Re: M1903 only feeds from the right side of the magazine

#4 Post by RWS » Sun Jul 29, 2018 8:00 am

Well, of course 03's were never meant to feed lead-tipped RN bullets. As a last resort you could try some 220 grain solids just to see if that made any difference. Won't be a cheap experiment though.

I had a friend that had a '98 Mauser rebarrelled to .243. It would never feed lead-tipped spitzer bullets reliably but somewhere he found some 6mm solids with the same bullet profile, reloaded them, and the old Mauser fed them all day long. Go figure.

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Re: A "kluge" but it worked

#5 Post by Smokey » Sun Jul 29, 2018 6:10 pm

Remembering that the cartridges fed OK from the right side, and I'm using an "03A3 straight grip stock (not necessarily the most precise fit) I thought the magazine box might be misaligned a bit. I removed the magazine assembly and built up the inside of the stock with masking tape (six layers) to shift the magazine box slightly to the right. On reassembly I could feed all five cartridges into the chamber, though the left side took a little more force. At some point I'll disassemble the rifle, slightly relieve the wood on the right side of the magazine well, and build up the left side with a little more masking tape. If that works as expected, I may eventually replace the tape with wood shims, but I will probably leave the tape in place.
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