I recently came in to possession of a Rock Island Armory Springfield 1903 rifle. I was so happy that I was going to have it restored with a new stock to return it to military configuration. Serial number dated the rifle to the original year of manufacture- 1903! Yes, the serial is only four digits long. Turns out from reports I read that the early serial 1903's were made using a flawed method of testing for proper heat treating of the barrels, making them too brittle. There's a very high risk for receiver failure and having the bolt fly right in to your face. Turns out all I have is a conversation piece.