American Rifleman - May 2011 - (Page 46)

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS Winchester Model 1895 in .30-'03? Q I own an 1895 Winchester with a 24" barrel marked ".30 US Mod 1903." A retired gunsmith said I have a 30-'03 and if I shoot a .30-'06 Sprg. round it could cause damage and injury. Is it a wall hanger? Having once owned and fired a Model 1895 in the same chambering, I agree that the issue can be confusing. The .30-'03 and .30-'06 Sprg. cases are identical, except the neck of the former is 0.070" longer. The .30-'03 was the original cartridge designed for the U.S. M1903 rifle. It featured a 220-gr. roundnose bullet and a muzzle velocity of 2300 f.p.s. Progress and improvement in cartridge design in Europe motivated the U.S. military to consider a lighter projectile with a higher velocity. The .30-'06 Sprg. cartridge was the result. All but a few of the M1903 rifles that had been manufactured were converted to the new cartridge and the issue was closed. Regarding the firing of .30-'06 Sprg. ammunition in .30-'03 rifles, I find it best summed up by Frank Barnes in Cartridges O f The World, "The 30-06 version can be chambered and fired in any rifle made for the original 1903 round, but the reverse is not always true because of the difference in case length. For many years both the 1903 and 1906 loadings and case configurations were loaded by sporting ammunition manufacturers." -JOHN W. TREAKLE A Q Sears Model 54 I have a Sears Model 54 in .30-30 Win. It is also marked "273.811 Sears Roebuck". The serial number is V56XXX. Can you tell me when it was made? The gun looks brand new. Through the decades, Sears Roebuck was a primary source for firearms, serving the entire country. Besides major brand names, Sears also sold a variety of private-label guns, under J.C. Higgins, Ted Williams, and its own name. These guns were produced, usually by the lowest bidder at the time, by High Standard, Mossberg, Winchester and several others. Most of these guns differed from regular production only by the markings, and sometimes by finish or features. The Sears Model 54 is essentially the same rifle as Winchester's Model 94 of that period. Sears labeled these guns with a numeric code. The code for Winchester was 273; any numbers following the decimal identified model, finish and features. Dating your rifle may be difficult. Sears stopped offering firearms around 1980, and the only Model 54s I have seen were of the "post-'64" style. I am unaware of anyone who has published any serial number data for Sears-marketed guns. -JOHN W. TREAKLE A From the thousands of questions and letters on guns, ammunition and their use that American Rifleman receives every year, it publishes the most interesting here. Receiving answers to technical and historical questions is a privilege reserved to NRA members. Questions must be in the form of letters addressed to: Dope Bag, NRA Publications, 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, VA 22030-9400; must contain the member's code line from an American Rifleman or American Hunter mailing label or membership card; must be accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed, legal-size envelope; and must be limited to one specific question per letter. Non-members may submit a question with a membership application. We cannot answer technical or historical questions by telephone, e-mail or fax, and we cannot place even an approximate value on guns or other equipment. Please allow eight to 10 weeks for replies. 44 M AY 2011 WWW.AMERICANRIFLEMAN.ORG "Questions & Answers" is compiled by staff and Contributing Editors: Hugh C. Birnbaum, Bruce N. Canfield, O. Reid Coffield, Charles M. Fagg, David Fischer, Angus Laidlaw, Charles E. Petty, Jon R. Sundra, John M. Taylor and John Treakle. http://WWW.AMERICANRIFLEMAN.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - May 2011

American Rifleman - May 2011