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Title:RIFLE, MILITARY -  U.S. RIFLE MODEL 1903 .30 SN# 409687
Date of Manufacture:1911
Eminent Figure:
Catalog Number:SPAR 6187
Measurements:OL:127.6CM 50 1/4" BL: 30.12 W/SILENCER

Object Description:

U.S. RIFLE MODEL 1903 .30 SN# 409687
Manufactured by Springfield Armory, Springfield, Ma. - Model 1903 bolt-action 5-round clip-fed magazine rifle with M1910 Maxim silencer attached to barrel. This model silencer required a special bayonet that has a male dovetail that mated into the female's dovetail on the bottom of the silencer. Warner & Swasey mounting rail on right side of receiver. Stock is a replacement. Bayonet with serial number 67133 once attached to this weapon.

Receiver: U.S./SPRINGFIELD ARMORY/MODEL 1903/409687.
Barrel: SA/Ordnance bomb/2-10. (Bottom:) 14 just behind silencer. Underside: 14, B, P, K, C30, 3.
Bayonet lug: H.
Safety lug: J1 on bottom.
Silencer: MAXIM/PAT. MARCH 30, 1909.
Rear sight base sleever: Z.
Cutoff recess: O.
Stock: 76 behind triggerguard.

This weapon was exhibited at The Sesqui-Centennial International Exposition in Philadelphia in 1926.

Annual Reports:
AR, 1910 - "A magazine rifle, cal..30, Model of 1903, and a Springfield rifle, cal..45, were equipped with Maxim silencers and fired to determine the relative efficiency of this device as a silencer with these two calibers of arms and with relative high and low velocities. The silencer was found much less effective with the cal. .45 arm, reducing recoil but very little the sound of discharge."

Notes: Letter addressed to the Chief of Ordnance, Washington, D.C., from Colonel S.E. Blunt, SPAR commanding officer, dated 2 January 1909 (38544-240) - "TEST OF MAXIM SILENCER OR MUFFLER ATTACHED TO THE SERVICE RIFLE: This device consists of a numbers of discs perforated in the center for the passage of the bullet, and assembled face to face in a tube. The tube is screwed into a base which is screwed to the muzzle of the gun, threads being cut in the extractor of the muzzle for the purpose. The discs are of a peculiar shape, calculated to receive the gases of the discharge and prevent their escape with sufficient force to cause noise. The silencer weighs 11 ounces, length of body 5 15/16 inches, diameter of body 1 5/16 inches.
As a result of these tests the Board concluded that approximately 66% of the noise is eliminated by the present form of the silencer. In these tests the gun was fired into a butt so close to the muzzle as to eliminate the bullet noise and allow only the noise of the discharge to be heard.
Tests made in a recoil measuring machine indicate that the recoil of the rifle with muffler attached is approximately 67% of the recoil of the same gun with muffler removed.
Results of the tests also indicate an increase in velocity with muffler attached and that the use of the muffler does not cause and loss in accuracy.
The Board upon test of the Maxim silencer in rapid fire reported that in view of the fact that this silencer withstood 400 rounds, fired in series of 100 each, at a rate of 30 and 33 rounds per minute, before giving away, it was of the opinion that the body and other parts as at present constructed, withstand any rapid fire to which they could be exposed in service under ordinary conditions, but recommended an increase of one half in the thickness of the front closing plate."

"Summary of Tests and Reports on MAXIM SILENCER FOR CALIBRE .30 SPRINGFIELD SERVICE RIFLE. School of Musketry, U.S.A. - These tests were conducted with a detachment of twenty-four soldiers picked at random, and all equipped with rifles fitted with Silencers. It was found and reported that the Silencer gave the following advantages:
The lesser recoil of the rifle with Silencer operated in two ways: It greatly facilitated instruction of recruits in rifle firing. It materially lessened the fatigue of the soldier in prolonged firing, such as would occur in modern battle, which is a distinct military advantage.
The muffling of the sound of discharge and the great reduction in the total volume of sound which permits the voice to be heard at the firing point about the sound of a number of rifles in action, greatly facilitate the control of the firing line, and extends the influence of officers and non-coIt was found where the tactical conditions required a quick opening of fire, a sudden cessation of the fire and several quick changes of objective - all of which are difficult with several rifles firing - that verbal commands could easily be heard, and that it was possible to give perfectly audible instructions when the Silencer was used.
It was said that the Silencer is an important military adjunct to the modern high power shoulder arm, because with it the effect upon the organs of hearing is much less severe. In consequence of the severity of the unmuffled report of the present service rifle, ear protectors in one form and another have come into common use. These prevent the men hearing their commands. Furthermore, in prolonged firing the strain upon the nervous system resulting from continuous discharges of the service rifle would be materially diminished.
The Silencer annuls the flash. This quality conveys a positive military advantage in view of the extent to which night operations may be employed in future wars.
The diminution of the noise of the report of the service rifle increases confusion in locating a firing line. The principal noise made when the Silencer is used is that made by the bullet. The noise gives little idea of the location of the gun. At the present time the bullet velocity brings it up more quickly than the report sound is brought up. The two sounds are divorced at a distance in excess of 300 yds. The separation enables the report sound of the gun to be generally located, and also the probable number of guns to be determined. With the Silencer, the report noise is so reduced that it cannot be heard on many occasions, and hence, having only the bullet sound to go by, increased difficulty is offered to determining the location of the firing party. To show the improvement effected by the Silencer upon marksmanship, the men selected averaged the following, the total number of shots fired in each instance being 100:
Range Score with Range Score without
600 yds 397 600 404
800 yds 425 800 389
1000 yds 346 1000 339
The reason for the improvement is probably due to the stopping of the desire to flinch when pulling the trigger of the present service rifle. With the Silencer the recoil of the rifle is a softened push instead of a blow, and the report concussion is very much reduced.
Tests at Fort Snelling, conducted by Capt. J.H. Parker, U.S.A. - Several men who were the despair of their company, never having been able to make a good score, being known as 'chronic flinchers,' were put through a course of training with rifles equipped with Silencers. The reduction of the shock when firing gave these men the idea of shooting properly, and they were able to make their best scores ever made in their lives. After a training with rifles with Silencers they were able to do better than ever had been the case before with the unsilenced service rifle. It was plain that the Silencer gave them a chance to learn how to stop flinching.
As a result of the tests the officer in charge made the following findings:
The reduction in sound was very noticeable. It was absolutely evident that a large element of uncertainty would be added to the perplexities of an enemy who might find himself attacked by troops armed with Silencers on their rifles.
The reduction of recoil was very marked. About 60 per cent of the whole recoil is absorbed and the remained so softened that there is no shock left in it. A push, rather than a blow on the shoulder, is the effect.
There is no doubt of the ability of the Silencer to make possible an increase in the powder charge of machine guns. A gun of the type of the Benet-Mercie, if equipped with a Silencer might be raised to 50 per cent greater pressure, with consequent increase of danger space at long range, without greater shock to the rifleman than he now receives.
The equipment of at least one Machine Gun Platoon with Silencers, on the Benet-Mercie when issuPaper prepared at Army Staff College by Capt. H.V. Evans, U.S.A. - The conclusions arrived at as a result of tests of the Silencer on the service rifle were as follows:
The instruction of recruits in rifle practice is greatly facilitated.
The fatigue of the soldier incident to prolonged firing such as would occur in modern battle is materially diminished.
A prominent factor operating to cause poor shooting is removed.
Officers are enabled to give verbal commands to the firing line when such would be impossible if troops were firing without the use of the Silencer.
Better opportunities are afforded to conceal positions of sentinels and to deceive the enemy as to the position of the firing line.
A prominent cause of nervous shock due to effects on organs of hearing is removed.
Absence of visible flash while firing, which will prevent disclosure of firing line at night."

"In 1909 the Department of Experiment at Springfield Armory became interested in the silencers produced by the Maxim Silent Firearms Company, of Hartford, Conn., under patents of 1908 and 1909. With the thought in mind that one or two might be issued to each organization (and to the Militia on requisition) 'for instruction of recruits in target shooting', they tried several designs, finally selecting the type designated by the manufacturer at 'Model J.'
This silencer consisted of a series of baffles inside a tube. The baffles were perforated (near the top) to about .341" diameter to prove a bullet way, and were shaped so as to provide an approximation of a spiral path for trapped gases. The baffles were secured against rotation of a spiral path for trapped gases. The baffles were secured against rotation by a lengthwise 'spline' pressed in the bottom of the tube. The theory was that the gases would be held in the silences until their velocity was reduced sufficiently to allow them to escape the 'centrifugal force' acting on them by virture of their being 'made to whirl around inside the Silencer.'
The tube, with its baffles, was screwed into a 'body' that was slipped onto the barrel, where it was secured against rotation by the barrel's front sight spline, and held in place by a pin corresponding to that normally holding the front sight fixed stud.
The front sight moveable stud was normally the standard Service rifle stud; but when the Maxim was applied to the first of the rifles having the M1908 Telescopic Musket Sight, the stud was made curiously offset, so as to position the blade .10" to the right, apparently to ensure clearance of the iron sight line-of-sight from the scope eyecup to facilitate alternate iron sight use (the rear sight being set four 'points' right to match the offset of the front of the front.)
Because Hiram Percy Maxim, son of the famous Sir Hiram and inventor of the spiral-baffle silencer, expected the Army to equip all its rifles with his silencers, he provided a lug under the body with a fore-and-aft dovetail slot that would accommodate a bayonet having a guard configured with a small male dovetail vice a barrel hole.
M1910 Brief Use - The board to which this silencer was submitted for test in 1910 found that the silencer actually reduced the report of a shot by an apparent 2/3 (from 75 static f.p. to 60 static f.p.). They therefore recommended the silencer for adoption; but further recommended that it be applied to the two scope sighted, star-gauged rifles being issued that year to each company and troop. Supply records indicate that this silencer was given the designation: M1910.
The idea of putting the silencers on the two rifles in each company that were already non-standard by virtue of their mounting scopes might have been creditable except that the scope rifles were for Experts - not recruits. The issuing of silencers on the sniper rifles implied that the mission of the silencers was allow a sniper to fire without being located by the sound of his firing. Of course the 'crack' of a high-velocity bullet in flight cannot be silenced; but the source of the 'crack' wouIn the consequent attempt to find a more efficient silencer, the Corumbeof and the Moore Silencers were tested (1912), and 100 of the Moore type were purchased and fitted for field evaluation in comparison with the Maxim. But nothing was found that would silence the report sufficiently that the source of a shot could not be determined; so it was decided that the silencers were not worthwhile, and they were drawn from issue.
Planned WWI Use - But there seems to have been a special use planned for accurate, iron-sighted, silenced weapons during WWI that resulted in the assembly of a batch of star-gauged rifles fitted with Maxim silencers and provided with the special Maxim bayonets - the entire production of 9,100 of the latter having been produced (according to Lt. Col. Brophy) in 1918 and 1919.
The Maxim-equipped star-gauged '03s advertised for sale by the Director of Civilian Marksmanship in the 1 Nov. 1920 Arms and the Man were presumably from this batch of rifles. And it must have been the most unsold balance of this batch of rifles that was added to the list of obsolete items in March 1925 by Ordnance Field Service Bulletin No. 2 as 'Maxim Silencer & U.S. Rifle Cal..30 fitted for same.'" - Campbell

"In World War I, the United States used the Model 1903 Springfield fitted with the Model 1913 Telescopic Musket Sight. The scope, by the Warner and Swasey Company of Cleveland, Ohio, was mounted on selected, star gauged M.1903 rifles. It was mounted offset to the left on a side bracket so that the weapon could be clip loaded. This also allowed the alternate use of iron sights. The telescope itself was poor. It was of 6 power, had a very short eye relief, and the reticule was etched on the glass. The outfit was equipped for elevation and windage adjustments. Many of these rifles were also fitted with Model 15 Maxim silencers." - Tantum

"Silencers - Method of cleaning Maxim. S.A. 474.8/485 - 1928 - also S.A. 474.8/470 - 1928." - Brophy

See, Brophy's THE SPRINGFIELD 1903 RIFLES, pp. 236, 428-433.

Brophy, William S. THE SPRINGFIELD 1903 RIFLES. Stackpole Books. Harrisburg, Pa. 1985.
Collector Grade Publications Inc. Cobourg, Ontario, Canada. 1994.
Tantum, William. SNIPER RIFLES OF TWO WORLD WARS. Historical Arms Series. No. 8. Museum Restoration Service. Alexandria Bay. N.Y. 1997.

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