1903 Vs: 1903a3


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RTFM
August 15, 2005, 07:37 AM
What is the differences in the Springfield 1903 VS: 1903A3?

Thinking about getting a CMP bolt action but I am not familiar with the differences.

Thanks

RTFM.

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USSR
August 15, 2005, 10:25 AM
The primary difference is the location and type of rear sight. The 03 has a regular rear sight mounted on the barrel just in front of the receiver, while the 03-A3 has a peep sight mounted on the rear receiver bridge. While the 03-A3 has some stamped parts where the 03's are milled, the 03-A3's rear sight is much superior, in MHO, to the 03's.

Don

shield20
August 15, 2005, 10:26 AM
The major difference is the 1903 had a traditional open sight mounted on the barrel, while the A3 has an adjustable ring sight mounted on the receiver. For comparison - the A3 sight is sort of like the adjustable sights on the later M1 carbines, while the '03 sight is close to what was on Mausers at the time. The handguard was also different to accomodate the different sight locations.

Other differences include stamped parts on the A3 vs milled parts on the 03. (butt plate, barrel bands, magazine/floor plate/trigger guard, etc.)

Also - the A3 was made by Remington (who came up with the changes) & Smith-Corona. The 03 was made by Springfield Armory (US), Rock Island, and Remington.

Vern Humphrey
August 15, 2005, 10:29 AM
The M1903 is the standard rifle adopted in 1903, modified in 1905 (new sights and knife bayonet, versus the original rod bayonet) and re-chambered for the .30-06 in 1906 (versus the original .30-03.)

The M1903A3 is the WWII version, made as a supplement to the M1 Garand. it uses many stamped and welded non-functional parts (such as the trigger guard, sling swivels, bands, buttplate and so on) to speed manufacture. Many were made with 2-groove instead of 4-groove barrels. It also has an apereture sight mounted on the receiver bridge instead of the complicated mid-sight of the M1903. The finish is not quite as good.

Having said that, let me point out that the M1903 mid-sight is an abomination. The battlesight is set for 547 yards -- much too far. The notches and apertures on the flip-up sight leaf are too small for anyone with less than perfect vision. For a shooter or hunting rifle, the M1903A3 is the better choice. For a wall-hanger or a target rifle (if you have perfect vision) the M1903 might be a tad better.

RTFM
August 15, 2005, 10:55 AM
Thanks guys!

MechAg94
August 15, 2005, 11:46 AM
I have an 03A3 that shoots great. I like the peep site also. I always figured I would come back one day and order an 03 just to have both. We'll see. My gun fund is tapped out and more this year.

Eightball
August 15, 2005, 01:08 PM
Outta curiosity, which rifle is cheaper from the CMP? And, just to delude a buddy of mine who wants to "bubba-ize" one if he gets it :barf: , which one is easier/harder to mount a scope onto? :p

alamo
August 15, 2005, 01:24 PM
Same price - $400

jefnvk
August 15, 2005, 02:17 PM
I'l disagree with Vern on one point, I like the 03 sights better for target shooting. Flip the sight up, and you have a forward ghost sight gratuated in 25 or 50 yard increments (forgot which),

Vern Humphrey
August 15, 2005, 02:24 PM
I'l disagree with Vern on one point, I like the 03 sights better for target shooting. Flip the sight up, and you have a forward ghost sight gratuated in 25 or 50 yard increments (forgot which),


The '03 leaf sight comes into its own when shooting the old National Match course (out to 600 yards.) With the O'Hare micrometer attachment, precise repeatable sight adjustments can be made. With the A3 it is difficult to accurately switch settings from 300 to 600 yards, and you are allowed only limited sighters.

That aside, the A3 sights are much superior. I only wish the Army had gone with them from the first, and included a wide, flat-topped front sight, like that on the M1917 Enfield.

cracked butt
August 15, 2005, 04:26 PM
I with they would have put the same sights on the A3 as they did on the M1, that would have made one outstanding rifle.

Vern Humphrey
August 15, 2005, 04:57 PM
I with they would have put the same sights on the A3 as they did on the M1, that would have made one outstanding rifle.

Alphonso X of Portugal ("Alphonso the Wise") used to have a saying, "Had I been present at the creation, I would have given some helpful hints for the better ordering of things."

I would have decreed an aperture sight on the receiver bridge with a 250 yard battlesight setting. The front sight would have been like the M1917 Enfield (which is not so differnt from the M1 front sight.)

I would have had better gas handling (a thumb cut in the right raceway and a flange on the cocking shroud), a horzontal safety (like the Winchester Model 70), a bolt shaped for scope use, and scope bases forged integral with the receiver. I'd have ordered development of a 1" tube scope, probably 4X, and directed the Chief of Infantry to form a Sniper School.

Ash
August 15, 2005, 05:12 PM
You know, I never understood why they didn't just release the M1917's from arsenal storage. It was an accurate, proven, combat rifle that was available and would have allowed more production room for M1's.

Ash

Vern Humphrey
August 15, 2005, 05:24 PM
You know, I never understood why they didn't just release the M1917's from arsenal storage. It was an accurate, proven, combat rifle that was available and would have allowed more production room for M1's.


At one time dropping the M1903 and adopting the M1917 was serioulsy considered. In those days, the insignia of the Infantry was the current rifle. When we changed rifles, we changed insignia. If you go to the Infantry School at Fort Benning, go to the Officer's Club, which was built in the 1920s. The Infantry Insignia is set in a mosaic in the floor at the main entrance -- and it's crossed M1917s.

jefnvk
August 15, 2005, 05:29 PM
That aside, the A3 sights are much superior. I only wish the Army had gone with them from the first, and included a wide, flat-topped front sight, like that on the M1917 Enfield.

Yeah, I do agree that he A3 was a superior battle sight. The rear big peep sights are much easier to use in a hurry, than the finer 03 sights.

MechAg94
August 15, 2005, 05:29 PM
I kind of like the thin front sight for my target shooting. I feel like I can set it right under the bull's eye and hit where I am aiming. Each to his own I guess. It does take a little extra time to find when setting up the aim as it is so thin. I haven't tried to shoot it in the dark yet.

I read a statement a while back that someone asked soldiers if they had actually looked and aimed through the peep site in battle. Almost no one had. This was back around WWII. I think they thought the notch sight was more easily used outside the rifle range. I can't remember where I saw that.

Vern Humphrey
August 15, 2005, 05:41 PM
I kind of like the thin front sight for my target shooting. I feel like I can set it right under the bull's eye and hit where I am aiming. Each to his own I guess. It does take a little extra time to find when setting up the aim as it is so thin. I haven't tried to shoot it in the dark yet.

Oh, it's a good target sight, if you have good eyes.

Shooting at fleeting targets in combat, it ain't so good.

I read a statement a while back that someone asked soldiers if they had actually looked and aimed through the peep site in battle. Almost no one had. This was back around WWII. I think they thought the notch sight was more easily used outside the rifle range. I can't remember where I saw that.


That's probably some of SLA Marshall's "findings." All the film footage of troops firing in combat shows overwhelmingly they used the sights.

AH-1
August 15, 2005, 06:35 PM
here is another vote for the 1903 sights.maybe not the best for close range combat but then I would rather have a thompson anyways :) .
remember the rear sight on the 03A3 each click is 4 moa for windage. kind of a pita where the 03 sight can be dialed in as long as you don't need a seeing eye dog on the firing line.
AH-1

cracked butt
August 15, 2005, 06:35 PM
Alphonso X of Portugal ("Alphonso the Wise") used to have a saying, "Had I been present at the creation, I would have given some helpful hints for the better ordering of things."
"you can't always get what you want" -Mick Jagger

:D

NEtracker
August 16, 2005, 09:27 PM
I like my CMP 03 for punching paper, but I find that I shoot the 03A3 more often.... that is when I can manage to put down the M1! :D

Sleeping Dog
August 17, 2005, 05:15 AM
on the 03A3 each click is 4 moa for windage. kind of a pita

Well, at least it HAS clicks. There's nothing so definite on the 03 windage adjustment, it just moves smoothly, no clicks. The elevation is even less definite on the 03, push the slider and tightin the screw. It may be more useful with a micrometer-type adjuster, as Vern mentioned, but that's another device to keep track of.

The 03 and 03A3 front blade is nice for targets, but it would seem to be a pain for anything else. It's hard enough to find in good light at a range, but in bad light at dusk or in deep woods (Corregidor?) it would be a serious hindrance. Occasionally I see a reference to a "Marine" front sight. Did the Corps come up with their own blade? Maybe a wider one like on the M1 Garand?

Regards

AH-1
August 17, 2005, 07:31 AM
it would seem to be a split on thoughts on the sights on the A3 vs 03 both are good sights.I like the 03 sights your mileage may vary :) .
I guess after 20+ in the army and teaching basic marksmanship I like the fine sight picture but it just isn't for everyone.
AH-1

Mk VII
August 17, 2005, 11:16 AM
the Marine Corps came up with a higher, wider blade, and undercut at the back, which also brought the battle sight zero down towards something more realistic. A new drift slide was provided with a single, larger aperture.
see http://www.jouster.com/articles30m1/usmc_rebuilding_m1903.htm

Balog
August 17, 2005, 11:23 AM
How difficult would it be to retro-fit an '03 with better sights?

Vern Humphrey
August 17, 2005, 11:28 AM
I guess after 20+ in the army and teaching basic marksmanship I like the fine sight picture but it just isn't for everyone.


When I joined the Army in '62, I trained on the M1 -- with it's great rear aperture sight and fat front sight. And my Advanced Infantry Training company was the LAST one to train with the M1.

So you GOTTA be older than I am! :neener:

Ash
August 17, 2005, 11:29 AM
You couldn't do it easily without drilling the reciever. Perhaps someone makes an peep sight for the standard sight like they do with Mosins. As it stands, I would keep an 03 just the way it is (or trade it to a fellow who has an A3 but wants an 03).

Ash

Mk VII
August 17, 2005, 11:46 AM
some commercial sights using the existing fixed base were made 'back in the day'. Most were open types, as a peep will still be too far from the eye for optical correctness.

AH-1
August 17, 2005, 03:16 PM
Today, 10:28 AM #25
Vern Humphrey
Senior Member



Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Deep in the Ozarks
Posts: 2,410 Quote:
I guess after 20+ in the army and teaching basic marksmanship I like the fine sight picture but it just isn't for everyone.




When I joined the Army in '62, I trained on the M1 -- with it's great rear aperture sight and fat front sight. And my Advanced Infantry Training company was the LAST one to train with the M1.

So you GOTTA be older than I am!


nope vern, you have me by about 10 years.the 03 I shot was my dads from a kid until I joined up(with a green card).first issue was a M16 without the fwd assit or a cleaning kit.aim small, miss small.
pete
AH-1
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v238/txpete/2003_0401wings0001.jpg

Vern Humphrey
August 17, 2005, 03:37 PM
nope vern, you have me by about 10 years.the 03 I shot was my dads from a kid until I joined up(with a green card).first issue was a M16 without the fwd assit or a cleaning kit.aim small, miss small.
pete


Some years ago, I took a young captain to a rifle match at a civilian club, where he drew a club M1 to shoot. He was quite impressed by it. I showed him how to strip it, and remarked, "Of course in my day, only real men were allowed to enlist." :neener:

AH-1
August 17, 2005, 03:59 PM
:neener: looks like you made the cut and retired,so you can't be that bad. :neener:

Vern Humphrey
August 17, 2005, 04:05 PM
Used me up in 22 years and put me on the shelf. :fire:

I called up on 9/11 -- and every day for a week after that, and they won't call me back.

AH-1
August 17, 2005, 04:08 PM
20 years 10 months and 6 days not that I was counting.grunt then cobra's.they don't want me either as the aircraft I worked on are in museums :) .

Vern Humphrey
August 17, 2005, 04:18 PM
20 years 10 months and 6 days not that I was counting.grunt then cobra's.they don't want me either as the aircraft I worked on are in museums

We'd show them young whipper-snappers a thing or two! :D

AH-1
August 17, 2005, 04:30 PM
:) :) :)

god bless the soliders out there today in harms way.they are doing one hell of a job...
pete

cracked butt
August 17, 2005, 05:24 PM
You couldn't do it easily without drilling the reciever. Perhaps someone makes an peep sight for the standard sight like they do with Mosins

If you get creative, a better sight can be added to the 03A3.

I've seen a websight where a guy took a spare 03A3 rear sight, removed the sight part, and cut the 'ears' off the base then either drilled/tapped the sight base and mounted a Lyman peep sight to it. In a pinch, the modified sight base can be drifted off and the original sight could be put back on.

pdh
August 17, 2005, 08:08 PM
This thread popped up at a good time for me.

I have a 1903....worked over by Roland Beaver and a 1903a3.

Both are great shooting rifles.

I shoot the 1903 way better with the leaf sight up and using the peep on it.. than with the leaf down and using the notched open sights.

My 1093...with the leaf up and using the peep...fired a 3 shot group at 200yd measuring 2.427"....using remington 150gr factory ammo.

At 100yds...the 03 can group around an inch with the same ammo...when I do my part.

With the leaf sight down....I canNot get the good groups that I can get with the peeps...sights to hard to see for me....just shoot better with peeps.

The 03a3....never shot it at 200yd...but at 100yd...she shoots around inch to 1/12 inches.....love the sights on it.

Great guns..........Fun to shoot....

Gabe
August 18, 2005, 01:24 AM
Does the switch to a fixed floorplate in the A3 present any tactical disadvantage?

Trebor
August 18, 2005, 04:29 AM
Does the switch to a fixed floorplate in the A3 present any tactical disadvantage?

Why would it? Loading was always done through the top with strippers.

In fact, I'd think the fixed floorplate would be advantageous in that it would be unable to accidently open and dump the rounds out like a spring loaded floorplate.

Vern Humphrey
August 18, 2005, 11:21 AM
Does the switch to a fixed floorplate in the A3 present any tactical disadvantage?

Just the other way around. Occasionally the removable floorplate would pop open. As a result, in the 1920s, all floorplates were ordered pinned -- thus making them just as fixed as the later 03A3 floorplates.

Sleeping Dog
August 18, 2005, 01:34 PM
in the 1920s, all floorplates were ordered pinned

Thanks, Vern. I thought those brass pins were only on the "Greek" '03's.

Regards.

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