|Freeing Cut-Off||Turn Down Bolt||Pesky Screw|
In the fall of 2011, the CMP held a "junk" auction. There were over 200 pallet sized lots of M1 Garand stocks, bayonets, scabbards and Springfield drill rifles.
There were over eighty lots of drill rifles and most lots contained 100 rifles. Here is a closer look at one lot of drill rifles.
These rifles were not de-milled, but de-activated. They can be restored to firing condition. They were de-activated for use by ROTC, JROTC and high school honor guards and drill teams. To de-activate the rifle several things were done in order to make it difficult to easily return it to service.
Biggest thing was the chamber was cut and a steel rod welded into the barrel. It is safe to say the barrel was de-milled!
In many the rod was positioned almost to the bolt face and you cannot even chamber the head of a cartridge in it and close the bolt!
Next, they spot weld the barrel to the receiver. This was to prevent the barrel from being easily unscrewed.
However, even un-welded '03 barrels are a bear to remove and require a barrel vise and receiver wrench. Tools not usually found in a high school metal shop.
The bolt face is welded over closing the striker hole and the tip of the striker is broken or ground off.
This is to prevent the striker from somehow pounding its way through the weld or getting bent up and jambing the action.
Finally, with the bolt in the action, the magazine cut-off is welded in the down position. This was certainly intended to keep the bolt from getting "lost" as well as making it difficult to replace the bolt body with one that wasn't welded over.
Front to Back
Non-Gun and C&R
If you have been poking around the web I am sure you have seen ads for drill rifles that are non-guns and require no FFL.
Well for an '03 to be a non-gun it has to have all the modifications as listed above AND the recoil lug must be removed and the receiver cut in two places.
The only reason I can think to cut out the recoil lug is in order to sell the rifle without FFL involvment.
Receivers with the recoil lug removed and cut in two places cannot be safely restored to firing condition.
Additionally, you may have seen ads that proclaim '03 drill rifles as C&R (03 FFL) eligable. This is true, but only for complete rifles. A barreled action or stripped receiver still must go through an 01 FFL.
Next is the barrel to receiver weld. You can't see this without taking the action out of the wood.
However, my experience is if you have a small tack at the cut-off, you will have a small tack at the barrel.
Most welds used stainless steel filler rod and it will not parkerize.
A very small number of receivers in my lot had mild steel filler used at the cut-off while stainless was used for the barrel weld. Go figure!
Stainless is always bright with the color of a US nickel. You can test for mild steel with cold blue.
Then the cut-off is out, the bolt may be removed to the rear.
Clean up the front and rear faces of the slot where the cut-off sits with a file or abrasive stone. Do the same for the cut-off if it is savable.
Getting the "ruined" barrel off requires grinding or machining through the weld. Take care here not to grind into the receiver.
.005 from face
cut into barrel
At this point you will now have a good 03-A3 receiver.
If you purchased a complete rifle to start with here are the parts you will need to add:
To insure the cut is square to the bore, I hold the barrel by the muzzle in the lathe chuck and put a live center into the breech end and take a light cut. At this point I back off the tail stock and spin the receiver on again and re-caculate how much to remove before taking a final cut.
Now all you have to do is put the barrel in a barrel vise and using a receiver wrench tighten the two together until the lines are coincident.
If you have a GI barrel, it might head space right off. If not you will have to ream the chamber until your bolt closes on the Go-Gage.
All that is left to do is re-assembly and go shoot!
A4 Scope Base Hole Dimensions