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Guilty! I created a Frankenchester. Purists may want to abstain..........
December 7, 2018
5:02 am
WACA Member
Forum Posts: 390
Member Since:
September 28, 2016
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I've always wondered exactly what it would take to convert a 1903 to 22 long rifle. As it turns out I believe there would be two ways to do it. The method I used or one could install a barrel liner in the existing barrel and simply rechamber to 22 LR.

Anyway here is what I did to this old 1903:

I wanted to be able to mount a scope on this rifle if it did work out. I milled the receiver top to accept 22 rings. Added a bit of cold blue to the cuts.

I needed a good butt stock for this project. (original 63's are running about $125 and 03's are nonexistent) I didn't want to tie up a bunch of money into a rifle that would never be worth much.  I found this semi inlet on Ebay and won the bid at $22.00 !!  Another $18 to ship. (still pinching myself)

The 63 barrel I traded some parts for so that was easy. The barrel is semi butchered, it's been cut down to 19" and under the sling band some one drilled a dimple into the barrel for the sling stud to set into so it didn't rotate. The 63 barrel was only hand tight at the proper indexing point so I used blue Loctite to keep if from coming loose

The first problem I encountered after installing the barrel was the bolt wouldn't close all the way. I pulled the bolt back out and discovered the 03 bolt has two little nubs that stick out on the face of the bolt on the ejector side. 03 barrels have a notch cut in the barrel to accept these nubs. 63's don't. I simply ground the nubs off a few thousandths high, touched them up with a needle file, hit the filed area with a bit of 240 and applied a little cold blueing. Problem cured.

The next problem Was the forearm tenon, it was way to tight in the dovetail. A few swipes with a 3 corner file in both corners of the dovetail got the tenon moving freely as it should.

The next dilemma was the forearm cap. The screw holes in the forearm cap were about .040" to far forward, I flipped the tenon around and the same scenario. The wood on these forearms is paper thin around the forearm cap area so instead of setting the wood back I took the .040" off the end of the forearm cap. It worked out very well, about 10 minutes VS. a couple hours of wood work.

After everything was reassembled, I loaded 5 rounds of Remington Golden bullets for the test fire and it ran like a Swiss clock. I hope to do a little paper punching this weekend with a few different types of ammo and see how the accuracy is with the shortened barrel. The crown on the muzzle looks good but one never knows.

Here are a few pics.

IMG_3281.JPGImage EnlargerIMG_3282.JPGImage EnlargerIMG_3283.JPGImage Enlarger

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December 7, 2018
5:16 am
Location: 32000' +
WACA Member
Forum Posts: 1195
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July 17, 2012
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Looks great, nice job! Beautiful piece of wood on the butt stock.

Thanks for the write-up, I am sure that will be helpful to others.

Best Regards,

WACA Member #6284 - Specializing in Pre-64 Winchester .22 Rimfire

December 7, 2018
5:56 am
SO. Oregon
WACA Member
Forum Posts: 496
Member Since:
June 5, 2015
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Looks good. 

Southern Oregon
NRA member
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December 7, 2018
1:55 pm
Northern edge of the D/FW Metromess
WACA Member
Forum Posts: 2016
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November 7, 2015
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Nicely done! Transformed a pile of parts into an attractive shooter. Doesn’t really qualify as a Frankenchester IMHO because there’s nothing “monstrous” about it. 



Life Member TSRA, Endowment Member NRA
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Smokeless powder is a passing fad! -Steve Garbe
I hate rude behavior in a man. I won't tolerate it. -Woodrow F. Call, Lonesome Dove
Some of my favorite recipes start out with a handful of depleted counterbalance devices.-TXGunNut
Presbyopia be damned, I'm going to shoot this thing! -TXGunNut
December 7, 2018
5:25 pm
WACA Member
Forum Posts: 58
Member Since:
May 26, 2018
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I think you did a swell job.  I have to ask though, wouldn't it be better to use standard velocity ammo since the receiver is 03?

That wood is really icing, good job on picking and finishing it.

Thanks for the post.

December 7, 2018
7:03 pm
WACA Member
Forum Posts: 390
Member Since:
September 28, 2016
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Thanks for the compliment guys! I know the butt stock was overkill for a designated shooter but the price was right.Smile

Anyway, as far as Jban's question concerning standard velocity ammo it's a no go without further modification. I think the easiest method would be to put a lighter main spring in. I tried CCI standards just prior to replying to this post and it was a jam on the first shot. As far as pressure concerns with the 03 receiver I don't believe there is much to worry about. The 63 barrel itself is taking the pressure along with the bolt at the rear. The 63 specifically calls for high velocity ammo so using a 63 barrel I think it's good to go. Unfortunatley SAAMI does not list pressure specs. for Winchester 22 Auto ammunition. It does list WRF ammo @ 4,000 psi less than 22LR. The 22 Auto is basically a shortened WRF. One should not assume they operate at the same pressures tho….

On another note, there is no sign of the recovered empty high velocity empty casings showing excessive pressure. The rifle ran flawlessly, so at this point I'm going to leave well enough alone.

Hope this helps with your question.



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