The 1903 Springfield bolt-action rifle was the primary firearm of the United States armed forces beginning in 1905 and lasting until the beginning of World War II, at which point the semi-automatic M1 Garand replaced it. Many U.S. troops still went into WWII carrying the Springfield, however, due to a shortage of the newer rifles. As with any firearm, it is crucial that you know how to break down your Springfield in order to clean or repair the weapon. In this case, the bolt and bolt receiver are the only moving parts on the weapon and so the only parts you need to worry about breaking down.
Pull the bolt back and eject any rounds that may be loaded into the Springfield. Clearing your weapon should always be the first step whenever you are working on a firearm.
Push the bolt forward and down, then flip the safety lever at the back of the bolt into the "middle" position.
Pull the bolt back and out of the rifle.
Push the small button on the top of the bolt assembly, then rotate the back of the bolt counterclockwise to unscrew the bolt from the bolt sleeve. Place the bolt sleeve aside once this is complete.
Press the front end of the bolt and firing pin assembly vertically onto a padded or wooden surface and compress the spring on the main bolt body downwards. While the spring is compressed, flip the safety lever to the "Ready" position.
Allow the spring to decompress slowly, then flip the bolt around so that the base of the bolt is on a flat surface and the firing pin is pointed up.
Pull the main spring and the firing pin sleeve downwards. Maintain the pressure on the spring, then slide the firing pin striker sideways and off the bolt assembly.
Allow the main spring and firing pin sleeve to decompress slowly, then pull it all the way off the bolt and set it aside.
Pull the firing pin backwards out of the bolt sleeve. This is as far as it is recommended to disassemble your Springfield's bolt for cleaning.
Joshua Benjamin began as a professional freelance writer in 2009. He has successfully published numerous articles spanning a broad range of topics. Benjamin's areas of expertise include auto repair, computer hardware and software, firearms operation and maintenance, and home repair and maintenance. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration from California State University, Fresno.