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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello, I'm new to the forum so please bare with me if I'm not posting correctly.
I recently purchased a 1895 Winchester I 30-03, I love this gun, always wanted an 1895 so when I saw this very clean rifle I bought it. Well I guess I should of done some research first, I didn't know the problems I would incur finding Ammo. The fellow I purchased it from told me I could shot 30-06 no problem, and I suppose I could but from what I've been told the chamber pressure is much higher and the 30-06 neck is 0.07 shorter so I'd have to use 220 grain round nose shells.
Here's where my problems start, I stopped by my local gun shop and had the smith check the head space, he said something to the effect of there's a GO and a NO-GO head spacing. Mine will close on the NO-GO head spacing (barely) so it's right over maximum allowed head spacing. Not good, he explained that at this point there's a chance of rupturing a case, especially since I wanted to use factory 30-06 loads. So I was on top of the world one day and rock bottom the next.
My question is, what to do? Does anyone have any suggestions? All help will be much appreciated.
The exact rifle in question is a 1895 Winchester (break down model) in .30-03 manufactured in 1914 it has been re-blued some time in the past but a very nice job of it, and the wood is in excellent condition.
Thanks or your help,
'RedDog' Manuel
 

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I'm not a gunsmith or an expert on the Winchester 1895. I believe your problem is the caliber itself.

The .30-06 was developed FROM the .30-03. The cartridge case was altered in 1905 and the changed version became standard in 1906 - this the ".30-06". My "The Handloader's Manual Of Cartridge Conversions" doesn't even list the .30-03, so I can't give you the specifications.

As I recall, the early 1903 Springfields were originally chambered in the .30-03, and when the 1906 cartridge was standardized, the early rifles were taken back to Springfield where the chambers were altered and the barrels set back a thread or two.

I do believe that this is why you are having 'head space' problems. Having no references to go from, I can only go back on my poor memory - and it seems to me that the .30-03 generated lower chamber pressures than did the later .30-06. Altering your antique lever action rifle for the higher chamber pressures might not be a wise idea. Somewhere out there must be someone with a GO/NO GO set for the .30-03. Reloading die companies make dies for every imaginable caliber, so it must be possible (if expensive) to obtain dies for that caliber.

I think I'd NIX the idea of running any .30-06 ammo thru it. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm not a gunsmith or an expert on the Winchester 1895. I believe your problem is the caliber itself.

The .30-06 was developed FROM the .30-03. The cartridge case was altered in 1905 and the changed version became standard in 1906 - this the ".30-06". My "The Handloader's Manual Of Cartridge Conversions" doesn't even list the .30-03, so I can't give you the specifications.

I do believe that this is why you are having 'head space' problems. Having no references to go from, I can only go back on my poor memory - and it seems to me that the .30-03 generated lower chamber pressures than did the later .30-06. Altering your antique lever action rifle for the higher chamber pressures might not be a wise idea. Somewhere out there must be someone with a GO/NO GO set for the .30-03. Reloading die companies make dies for every imaginable caliber, so it must be possible (if expensive) to obtain dies for that caliber.

I think I'd NIX the idea of running any .30-06 ammo thru it. Good luck!
Jim B,
Thanks for your reply, and yes I did have a gunsmith check the headspace, they are identical for the 30-03 and 30-06 so either way my headspace is excessive. I'm looking to either re-chamber or re-face the bolt I guess, either way I don't expect it to be in-expensive,
Thanks for your help thou, if it wasn't for the headspace issue I could just use 220 grain Ammo loaded mildly.
 

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Not be argumentative, but I'm not ready to accept the idea that those two calibers headspace exactly the same. If they did, the Government would not have gone thru the expense and trouble of rechambering all of the early rifles and setting back the barrels when they altered the cartridge. If your gunsmith is telling you that they both are exactly the same, I'm thinking I'd be giving that gunsmith the 'ole fish eye' look.

The other part is the chamber pressure of the .30-06 in a lever action rifle. You're talking somewhere 50,000 PSI for that caliber. You might get away with it, or you might not. Best and safest bet would be to copy the loads for the .30-03 in pressure and velocity.

By the way - welcome to TFF! Lots of REAL experts here, so maybe someone will chirp in and educate the both of us. You've got me curious.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Not be argumentative, but I'm not ready to accept the idea that those two calibers headspace exactly the same. If they did, the Government would not have gone thru the expense and trouble of rechambering all of the early rifles and setting back the barrels when they altered the cartridge. If your gunsmith is telling you that they both are exactly the same, I'm thinking I'd be giving that gunsmith the 'ole fish eye' look.

The other part is the chamber pressure of the .30-06 in a lever action rifle. You're talking somewhere 50,000 PSI for that caliber. You might get away with it, or you might not. Best and safest bet would be to copy the loads for the .30-03 in pressure and velocity.

By the way - welcome to TFF! Lots of REAL experts here, so maybe someone will chirp in and educate the both of us. You've got me curious.
Jim,
Sorry for the delay, I was doing some internet searching for headspace for the two rounds.
I didn't find the answers we're both interested in finding out. But it looks as thou the military rechamberd the 30-03 because the bullet in the 30-03 was 220 grain and the powder used burned too hot and caused corrosion in the barrels and the trajectory of the heavy bullet wasn't as good as other nations were using. But my question is... Why didn't they do some changes to the cartridge instead of the rifle? But you're right I have lots of research to do before I decide how to move forward with this.
I'd like to hear others opinions of this too, I'm sure someone out there has dealt with this issue before.
Thanks for responding, maybe we can both learn something here.
 

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Jim, this is my understanding of the 30-03 vs the 30-06.

They are the exact same case, with the exact same shoulder so have the same headspace.

Except the 03 had both a longer neck and was loaded with a 220 RN bullet.

When they shortened the neck and loaded it with the shorter 150 Spitzer bullet, in the 03 chamber it had about 1/8" too much leade.

So they set the barrels back and rechambered to keep accuracy.

Also the 95 Winchester was available in 30-06, so "06 in a lever" should not be a concern.

I have a couple of thoughts on how to make the rifle shootable. They would ruin any collector value.

Could have the barrel set back and then recut to 06.

Could reline the barrel and chamber to 06.

Or could handload for it, putting a false shoulder on the brass to correct the headspace and then neck-sizing. But you still have the excessive leade, since 03 brass is not available.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Jim, this is my understanding of the 30-03 vs the 30-06.

They are the exact same case, with the exact same shoulder so have the same headspace.

Except the 03 had both a longer neck and was loaded with a 220 RN bullet.

When they shortened the neck and loaded it with the shorter 150 Spitzer bullet, in the 03 chamber it had about 1/8" too much leade.

So they set the barrels back and rechambered to keep accuracy.

Also the 95 Winchester was available in 30-06, so "06 in a lever" should not be a concern.

I have a couple of thoughts on how to make the rifle shootable. They would ruin any collector value.

Could have the barrel set back and then recut to 06.

Could reline the barrel and chamber to 06.

Or could handload for it, putting a false shoulder on the brass to correct the headspace and then neck-sizing. But you still have the excessive leade, since 03 brass is not available.
Alpo,
Yes, Thank you sir!
You have said exactly what I've been reading and finding out, now to find a smith who can shorten and rechamber the barrel. And do it for a reasonable price. Is there any other calibers I could go to other than the 30-06? Id like to be sure the headspace issue wouldn't come back and I've read the 1895 had some problems with that in 30-06
You seem very knowledgeable on this, can you give me any idea on what re-chambering might cost? It's a beautiful gun, it's in such great shape, but it's been re-blued sometime in the past so it's not a great collectors gun, but I'd like to make it a great shooter.
Thanks for all your help, I'm looking forward to your reply,
Manuel alias 'RedDog'
 

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I have no idea. I talked to Redman, several years back about getting one relined. It was 200 bucks back then. But he does not do high powered rifles (that one was a 32-20).

I was thinking of 30US, as a alternative, since it is the PERFECT 95 caliber.

But it's rimmed, so would require bolt work, and probably some other stuff.

35 Whelen, maybe? It is based on the 06. Would have to have the barrel rebored to .358, and then the chamber recut. That would solve the leade problem. Not sure if it would fix the headspace.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/.35_Whelen
 
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Discussion Starter #9
I have no idea. I talked to Redman, several years back about getting one relined. It was 200 bucks back then. But he does not do high powered rifles (that one was a 32-20).

I was thinking of 30US, as a alternative, since it is the PERFECT 95 caliber.

But it's rimmed, so would require bolt work, and probably some other stuff.

35 Whelen, maybe? It is based on the 06. Would have to have the barrel rebored to .358, and then the chamber recut. That would solve the leade problem. Not sure if it would fix the headspace.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/.35_Whelen
 

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Alpo,
Yes, Thank you sir!
You have said exactly what I've been reading and finding out, now to find a smith who can shorten and rechamber the barrel. And do it for a reasonable price. Is there any other calibers I could go to other than the 30-06? Id like to be sure the headspace issue wouldn't come back and I've read the 1895 had some problems with that in 30-06
You seem very knowledgeable on this, can you give me any idea on what re-chambering might cost? It's a beautiful gun, it's in such great shape, but it's been re-blued sometime in the past so it's not a great collectors gun, but I'd like to make it a great shooter.
Thanks for all your help, I'm looking forward to your reply,
Manuel alias 'RedDog'
I'd put this question to our well known member, Goofy. He specialises in restorations, but he's a treasure trove of knowledge about these older guns and what can be done with them. I can rechamber it with the tools I have, plus the cost of the right reamer for your target caliber, but I think Mike can give you better advice about what you should do to get the best value from this fine gun.

Congratulations, BTW, on scoring an excellent purchase. Some pictures would be welcome, as we all love gun porn here!:D
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Ok, thank you Alpo.
Now I have somewhere to start looking, I really don't think it's a great idea to rechamber for the 30-06 since it was always an issue. I'll check out the .30 U.S. and the .35 Whelen.
I wouldn't mind going to a larger bore too if the pressures were low enough, I like the 45-70 and the .444 Marlin but I don't know if that's an option.
I appreciate the help.
I'd put this question to our well known member, Goofy. He specialises in restorations, but he's a treasure trove of knowledge about these older guns and what can be done with them. I can rechamber it with the tools I have, plus the cost of the right reamer for your target caliber, but I think Mike can give you better advice about what you should do to get the best value from this fine gun.

Congratulations, BTW, on scoring an excellent purchase. Some pictures would be welcome, as we all love gun porn here!:D
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
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rawright54,
Thank you! I will try to send this question to Goofy,
All this help is much appreciated, I know we all get excited at the prospect of a new (old) gun, but this one is very special to me. 50 years ago as a kid I'd read all the Guns & Ammo books and the 1895 Winchester was always my favorite. Then many years later in about 1990 I went to Buffalo Bill Cody / Winchester Museum in Cody, Wy. I saw Theodore Roosevelt's 1895 Winchester there and I haven't been able to forget it since. Day before yesterday I went to a local garage sale here in Nevada and lo and behold there set a beautiful condition 1895 !!!
I still think I made a good buy even with headspace issue's. It's not a collectors quality gun since its been (very nicely) re-blued, but I want a shooter anyhow. If I can possibly get it re-chambered or at least the headspace corrected and it's not to expensive. So far I have a total of $550 invested.
Thanks again for the info, and I'll try to add some pictures to this post if I can.

'RedDog' (Manuel)
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
I'm trying to tag Mr. goofy in this post, hopefully I've done it correctly because he was highly recommended.
Also I don't remember if I mentioned I checked the serial number (71XXX) and this rifle was made in 1914
All help is appreciated,
Thanks
'RedDog' (Manuel)
 

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I have always been an advocate of Ross Seyfried's belief of altering the ammo, not the rifle. As that one has been re-blued and restocked any collector value is already out the window so re-chambering won't hurt anything. If re-chambering I would concur with Alpo and his suggestion of going with the 30 US even though that would require bolt face and maybe some magazine work. The 30 US, or 30-40 Krag, operates at a lower pressure and I'm just not a fan of pushing old rifles...and that's my opinion and worth what you paid for it....which basically means my opinion and $2.00 will get you a cup of coffee somewhere.....:D
 
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Discussion Starter #15
I have always been an advocate of Ross Seyfried's belief of altering the ammo, not the rifle. As that one has been re-blued and restocked any collector value is already out the window so re-chambering won't hurt anything. If re-chambering I would concur with Alpo and his suggestion of going with the 30 US even though that would require bolt face and maybe some magazine work. The 30 US, or 30-40 Krag, operates at a lower pressure and I'm just not a fan of pushing old rifles...and that's my opinion and worth what you paid for it....which basically means my opinion and $2.00 will get you a cup of coffee somewhere.....:D
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sharps4590,
I do very much concur, I'd prefer a round with a little less pressure too. From what I've read to .30 U.S. (30-40) didn't have the headspace issues the 30-03 and 30-06 have had.
Depending on the price I was thinking of going to a little larger caliber so I could have it re-rifled also. (It I can find a suitable cartridge that works under low enough pressure) The existing rifling's are pitted, another side affect of the heat and pressure generated to drive a 220 grain bullet at acceptable levels.
I have a picture of the rifling's taken from the breech, if you can see enough detail, what do you all think of them? Granted these pictures were taken as soon as I got her home, they actually look a little better now that I've given her a real good cleaning.
All help and opinions are very much appreciated, including the idea of a cup of coffee.
Thanks again,
'RedDog' (Manuel)
 

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First off, welcome to TFF.

As you've found the .30-03 isn't going to work for you and it could likely be re-set to .30-06 which is probably the easiest route to take. With the 1903 Springfield rifles, the barrels were turned back two threads and the chambers were recut and would imagine the same process for the 1895. You mentioned .45-70 but, I don't believe you're going to have the option of going to a caliber larger than the .405 Win models because I don't see enough metal left in the barrel to bore out that far. Having original 1895's in both .30USA and .405 Win, I can't see going any further when looking at the barrels. The pitting in the bore of your rifle most likely occurred from a combination of corrosive ammo and improper care. Just a side note: The rear lockup of the 1895 allows the brass of .30-06 ammo to stretch a bit much when using full power loads, thus reducing the life of the brass.
Oh, and not to be nit-picky but, the model you have were most commonly referred to as TD or take down models as opposed to break downs. ;) (One of my .405's is a TD.)
Left to right, .30-03; .30-06; .30 USA
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The Krag shouldn't have any headspace problems, It headspaces on the rim. You could do like Ken Waters did one time and make up your own cartridge. I forget what he did with what but in your case you could take the 30-40 Krag up to .338 pretty easy if that would be enough to clean up the bore. I would think so. Maybe blow out the body taper a little so you'd still have a good shoulder. I don't believe you would even need a set of custom dies. Fireform and use about any 338 die that is short enough to neck size and you're there. Should make for a dandy wildcat and one someone has probably done already.

The rifling in your rifle looks a heck of a lot better than the rifling in a W.J. Jeffery Rook rifle I'm working with right now. I'd be tickled to death if mine was that good.

I'm kinda hard core about some stuff. I believe if it were me I'd be looking to do as I believe Alpo mentioned and fire form a false shoulder and load -06 cases to low levels with 220 gr. bullets. I'd bet that bore would shoot a lot better than you're thinking it will.
 
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Discussion Starter #18
First off, welcome to TFF.

As you've found the .30-03 isn't going to work for you and it could likely be re-set to .30-06 which is probably the easiest route to take. With the 1903 Springfield rifles, the barrels were turned back two threads and the chambers were recut and would imagine the same process for the 1895. You mentioned .45-70 but, I don't believe you're going to have the option of going to a caliber larger than the .405 Win models because I don't see enough metal left in the barrel to bore out that far. Having original 1895's in both .30USA and .405 Win, I can't see going any further when looking at the barrels. The pitting in the bore of your rifle most likely occurred from a combination of corrosive ammo and improper care. Just a side note: The rear lockup of the 1895 allows the brass of .30-06 ammo to stretch a bit much when using full power loads, thus reducing the life of the brass.
Oh, and not to be nit-picky but, the model you have were most commonly referred to as TD or take down models as opposed to break downs. ;) (One of my .405's is a TD.)
Left to right, .30-03; .30-06; .30 USA View attachment 102408 View attachment 102409
BobMcG,
Thanks for the info, I plan on visiting another gunsmith next Tuesday. Hopefully he'll have some answers for me that I can afford.
With everyone's help, I'm starting to think if I fix the headspace issue I could load long heavy cartridges with a mild powder charge and probably be a sufficient option without over spending. I don't do my own re-loading, perhaps now would be a good time to start, at least 30-06 brass is readily available.
Your pictures were awesome, if I'm reasoning this out correctly there's only 0.07 difference in 30-03 & 30-06 so a long heavy bullet should be the answer.
Let me know what you think, but I'd rather load lite than re-chamber.
'RedDog' (Manuel)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The Krag shouldn't have any headspace problems, It headspaces on the rim. You could do like Ken Waters did one time and make up your own cartridge. I forget what he did with what but in your case you could take the 30-40 Krag up to .338 pretty easy if that would be enough to clean up the bore. I would think so. Maybe blow out the body taper a little so you'd still have a good shoulder. I don't believe you would even need a set of custom dies. Fireform and use about any 338 die that is short enough to neck size and you're there. Should make for a dandy wildcat and one someone has probably done already.

The rifling in your rifle looks a heck of a lot better than the rifling in a W.J. Jeffery Rook rifle I'm working with right now. I'd be tickled to death if mine was that good.

I'm kinda hard core about some stuff. I believe if it were me I'd be looking to do as I believe Alpo mentioned and fire form a false shoulder and load -06 cases to low levels with 220 gr. bullets. I'd bet that bore would shoot a lot better than you're thinking it will.
sharps4590,
Thanks for all the help, and yes, I'm leaning toward fixing the headspace problems and if possible at the same time re-chamber for 30-06
That seams to be the easiest option, as long as I keep the pressure down. If I don't re-chamber I'll just load (or have someone load) 30-06 cases with long heavy round nose bullets protruding out 1/16" further than normal.
I appreciate you thoughts on the riflings too, I bet your right, after all it's not going to be a scoped gun, if I could get 6" MOA @ 100 yrds I'd be happy as hell.
And thanks for correcting me on "TD"
I'm still looking forward to hearing yours and others opinions, perhaps someone will mention a different option that would also work.
I'm hoping to hear from Mr. goofy, it sounds as thou he's also pretty knowledgeable on these matters two, and perhaps a member lives near Smith Valley, Nv who can recommend a gunsmith with experience with 1895's
Much thanks, have a great Sunday.
'RedDog' (Manuel)
 

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Jim, this is my understanding of the 30-03 vs the 30-06.

They are the exact same case, with the exact same shoulder so have the same headspace.

Except the 03 had both a longer neck and was loaded with a 220 RN bullet.

When they shortened the neck and loaded it with the shorter 150 Spitzer bullet, in the 03 chamber it had about 1/8" too much leade.

So they set the barrels back and rechambered to keep accuracy.

Also the 95 Winchester was available in 30-06, so "06 in a lever" should not be a concern.

I have a couple of thoughts on how to make the rifle shootable. They would ruin any collector value.

Could have the barrel set back and then recut to 06.

Could reline the barrel and chamber to 06.

Or could handload for it, putting a false shoulder on the brass to correct the headspace and then neck-sizing. But you still have the excessive leade, since 03 brass is not available.
See - even an Old Dog like me can learn something! Thanks Alpo and everyone else, including and maybe even especially RedDog. Very interesting post!!! (I was thinking about this, and maybe Alpo had a Leg Up on this question - beings as he was around when they did all of this - but he was MUCH younger then...);)
 
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