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jonsidneyb
05-22-2011, 02:55
Is there a way to improve the lock time on a 1903 springfield?

mhb
05-22-2011, 03:16
there is no source of a speedlock kit or parts for the 1903. There has been considerable work done in the past, from attempts to lighten the parts themselves (removing the knob, fluting the striker rod and\or firing pin, etc.) to complete re-design of the firing assembly by John Garand. "Hatcher's Notebook" will give you some of the background information and pictures of the Garand assembly. At one time, Numrich offered its 'Speedlock' replacement set (Makes Your Springfield as Modern as Tomorrow!), but they are no longer available, and didn't work well - nor were they well-made, consisting basically of a one-piece firing pin and cast sear held together with the flanged cocking piece from the M2 .22 caliber rifle - it shortened the firing pin travel, but did nothing (in my experience, having tried it) to improve accuracy or functionality.
If you were building a benchrest or free rifle on the 1903, a speedlock might be a worthwhile improvement, but I have never found that it is needed for any reasonable, practical use of the 1903. Properly set up, with good ammunition, the 1903 is capable of accuracy good enough for any competitive or hunting use, with the possible exceptions noted, and the theoretically long lock time (ca. 5.7 ms) will not be the cause of any poor shooting.
mhb - Mike

Emri
05-22-2011, 04:06
You could try one of these. Relatively inexpensive and easily reversable. They will change the way your military trigger pull feels. A custom trigger should still break the same regardless of mainspring tension.

http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=16583/Product/BLITZSCHNELL_STRIKER_SPRINGS

pelago
05-22-2011, 04:22
it is a simple effective trigger it is adjustable with wet stone, you can shorten the first stage and make the 2nd stage quite sharp, or make it slow, and you can fully adjust the 2nd stage, my competition 03A3 has a shortened first stage and it breaks at 3 3/4lb, i do well with it at the CMP games, and usually shoot 289 and up, it is right out of the box, has a new issue 1943 barrel, remington 2 groove and is a SHOOTER, also has a "C" stock

mhb
05-22-2011, 06:39
jonsidneyb was asking about lock time, not trigger function. Changing the trigger will have no effect on lock time, though a better trigger may make the rifle easier to shoot accurately.
mhb - Mike

jonsidneyb
05-22-2011, 06:42
I have always had the belief that a fast locktime helped the most when you where shooting in an unsupported position, less time for movement to affect the shot.

The only reason I asked is it seems that some people are critical of older bolt guns relatively slow lock times compared to newer guns.

Peconga
05-22-2011, 08:14
From my subjective experience, a headless cocking piece does provide a noticeable improvement in lock time. This is based on casually shooting National Match 1903 with an original headless cocking piece, side by side with a standard 1903 with the cocking piece knob. By subjective I mean with no attempt at scientific measurement, so I can't say how much benefit it provides in practice. However basic physics shows that reducing the mass of the firing pin assembly (the moving part) will necessarily reduce lock time, all else being equal. As far as modifications go, removing that big old knob is a pretty easy one, and won't have any adverse effect on safety or reliability.

On the other extreme, I once owned a Niedner custom 1903 sporter which was fitted with an extraordinarily large and complex peep sight attached to the cocking piece. The sight was a marvel of engineering and machine work, and was adjustable for windage and elevation, as well as having multiple folding apertures. As you can imagine, it was also heavy and impractical as all get out, and slowed lock time to something like a side hammer percussion rifle. Probably not one of Mr. Niedner's better ideas, but it was almost certainly done at his customer's request.

jonsidneyb
05-22-2011, 09:11
What is the purpose of the cocking piece? My other bolt guns didn't have this.

PhillipM
05-22-2011, 09:42
... won't have any adverse effect on safety or reliability.


What is the purpose of the cocking piece? My other bolt guns didn't have this.

Other than the obvious ability to re-cock the rifle should the cartridge fail to shoot it is a safety device that funnels hot gases away from the shooter's eye in case of a case rupture. Admittedly, with glasses it wouldn't be a big deal. When I was a teen a pierced primer in an 03 shot hot gases back, my eye caught some and smarted a bit but I was otherwise unharmed.

Art
05-22-2011, 09:48
What is the purpose of the cocking piece? My other bolt guns didn't have this.

While some other countries used cocking pieces on their bolt action rifles we and the Brits were the most taken with them and used them on our military bolt guns until the end of the bolt action rifle era, the Pattern 14/Model 1917 rifles being the exception. The cocking piece allows a second blow on a dud primer without having to cock the striker by raising the bolt handle. Some folks have used them improperly to lower the striker on a live round, a very bad idea.

On the O.P., In response to complaints about the Model 1903's sluggish lock time from high end competitive shooters, John Garand designed a high speed striker for the M 1903 rifle. It improved the lock time from a nominal .0057 seconds to .0022 seconds, a big improvement. As was mentioned earlier I don't think his "speedlock" or any other similar device is still being made though there have to be some floating around out there.

jonsidneyb
05-22-2011, 09:56
John Garand designed a high speed striker for the M 1903 rifle. It improved the lock time from a nominal .0057 seconds to .0022 seconds, a big improvement. As was mentioned earlier I don't think his "speedlock" or any other similar device is still being made though there have to be some floating around out there.

I wonder what is the best way to try and find one is?

PhillipM
05-22-2011, 10:05
One example I saw was holes drilled in the cocking piece rod, it looked like swiss cheese. Wolf makes a heavier striker spring but the tradeoff is heavier bolt lift.

I went down this road once, scrounged up a headless cocking piece and tried it out. The gun wouldn't go bang, turns out I'd purchased a cocking piece for the M1922 rifle which is too short to work in it's cousin.

Art
05-22-2011, 10:09
The Garand high speed system was sold as an option on Springield Armory match rifles but any such rifle would be outrageously priced. They are easily identifiable by their lack of a cocking piece.

It would probably be easier to find one of the commercial ones than one of the S.A. ones. The internet is a marvelous thing for looking for such stuff.

PhillipM
05-22-2011, 10:26
http://books.google.com/books?id=vb3dDN9FiekC&pg=PA140&lpg=PA140&dq=Garand+high+speed+system&source=bl&ots=MaVjIwCZB5&sig=SlIMhTLq8IZF8xtznGTsYNt1B-E&hl=en&ei=m-_ZTbuiB8re0QGhxbX8Aw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CEEQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q&f=false

Go to page 140 if the link doesn't take you there.

jonsidneyb
05-22-2011, 10:28
This says speedlock but does not look right.

http://www.daytraco.com/Products/Speed-Lock-Kit-M1903-1903A-Springfield__DSL03.aspx

mhb
05-23-2011, 10:48
It isn't. It's one of the D-T adjustable triggers with a heavy firing pin spring. It would be necessary to re-shape the sear and possibly cocking cam on the original cocking piece in order to shorten the firing pin fall to 3/8" (from about 1/2"). This is what the Numrich kit did, in essence, but it wasn't a good solution. How much work is involved with the D-T set I don't know, but wouldn't bother, myself.
The original SA headless cocking piece reduced lock time to about 4.3MS, IIRC, so was not a quantum improvement. The Garand speedlock really was faster, being an entirely different design with lighter parts, shorter fall, and using a specially designed 'Keystone' square cross-sectioned spring wire which stacked-up nearly solid when cocked, providing maximum power in a spring of dimensions which would fit in the '03 bolt.
I've never seen an original Garand speedlock parts kit offered for sale in about 45 years of looking, though I do have two or three of the special springs.
The original impetus for the speedlock was the desire to produce a free rifle based on the 1903 action which was able to compete with the Martinis of the Swiss International shooters - the Martini had a very fast lock time and was fitted with excellent set triggers; both of which offered advantages in the difficult 300 meter offhand competitions. SA also tried a variety of set trigger designs on its free rifles in conjunction with the speedlock work. SA went so far as to procure some Haemmerli/Martini rifles which were fitted with heavy barrels and chambered in .30-06, but the actions proved unsuited to the cartridge, so the Martini project was dropped and the rifles sold as surplus.
It may be worth noting that SA dropped the headless cocking piece originally used in the NM rifles, and that the original design was retained throughout the remaining service of the 1903 match and target rifles, which continued to set new records for accuracy in competition.
mhb - Mike

Peconga
05-23-2011, 10:54
http://books.google.com/books?id=vb3dDN9FiekC&pg=PA140&lpg=PA140&dq=Garand+high+speed+system&source=bl&ots=MaVjIwCZB5&sig=SlIMhTLq8IZF8xtznGTsYNt1B-E&hl=en&ei=m-_ZTbuiB8re0QGhxbX8Aw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CEEQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q&f=false


Thanks for the link, which shows a picture of Garand's speed-lock design in Brophy's book. Interesting design which essentially looks like a skeletonized arsenal parts, with every bit of excess metal removed.

It reminds me of Colin Chapman's design philosophy (designer and founder of Lotus racing cars); his most famous quote was "To add speed, add lightness."

chuckindenver
05-24-2011, 07:28
lock time, and trigger pull....2 different things,...lock time is the time it takes for the firing pin to strike the primer, when the sear is tripped.
yes you can improve it....will you tell ? likely not.
the knob on a 1903 or A3 was made to guide hot gas away from the shooters face, in case of a primer failure,,,not to cock the rifle.
a headless cocking rod will help spead the lock time. playing with cocking rod springs will change this as well.
simply smoothing the action, lapping the lugs, and using well matched parts will improve things quite a bit, if you check CMP match rules, double stage trigger pull cant be lighter then 4 1/2 pounds i belive...anything under 3 is dangerous, and likely to set off with rear pressure on the cocking rod.
a smooth and crisp trigger around 4 to 5 pounds is about the safe best you can hope for..remember.....inch pounds not foot pounds.
just about every speed lock set up iv seen or played with has been a POS in some form or another, what iv found is that they usually work great, and the safety wont engage or the safety works and they have a mind of there own...
soooo....whats the lock time on a standard 1903? click"...about that fast...
Remington 788 has about the fastest lock time you can get for a stock out of the box rifle...

EriCal
05-24-2011, 09:14
This is the "Speedlock" and "Reversed Safety Lever" on one of my (treasured) NRA Sporters.

Eric

http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b188/RubEric/IMG_1620.jpg
http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b188/RubEric/IMG_1617.jpg

jonsidneyb
05-24-2011, 12:24
lock time, and trigger pull....2 different things,...lock time is the time it takes for the firing pin to strike the primer, when the sear is tripped.
yes you can improve it....will you tell ? likely not.
the knob on a 1903 or A3 was made to guide hot gas away from the shooters face, in case of a primer failure,,,not to cock the rifle.
a headless cocking rod will help spead the lock time. playing with cocking rod springs will change this as well.
simply smoothing the action, lapping the lugs, and using well matched parts will improve things quite a bit, if you check CMP match rules, double stage trigger pull cant be lighter then 4 1/2 pounds i belive...anything under 3 is dangerous, and likely to set off with rear pressure on the cocking rod.
a smooth and crisp trigger around 4 to 5 pounds is about the safe best you can hope for..remember.....inch pounds not foot pounds.
just about every speed lock set up iv seen or played with has been a POS in some form or another, what iv found is that they usually work great, and the safety wont engage or the safety works and they have a mind of there own...
soooo....whats the lock time on a standard 1903? click"...about that fast...
Remington 788 has about the fastest lock time you can get for a stock out of the box rifle...

I know there is a difference between trigger pull and lock time. One of the big selling points on the 788 was lock time but I think out of the box the Anschutz, Hammerli, and Kepplers where faster yet.

I might not even try and get a 1903 faster and would not think of trying to get it to match some other guns. If it could be cut by 1/3 that would be nice but not needed. If it can't be done without compromising the gun I wont do it.

chuckindenver
05-25-2011, 07:28
awesome rifle. thanks for sharing...from what iv read, the headless cocking rod didnt do enough to loose the safety of the flared knob.. you can play with different spring rates, polish parts ect...personally a good crisp 2 stage trigger thats safe, and with a good working safety works best for me.. other then using a modern rifle...hard to beat the original parts in an 03.