how to tell a 03a4 from a 03a3?


April 5, 2006, 10:37 PM
I know an older gent who has an 03a3 that might be a possible 03a4. How do you tell the difference. I heard that the receiver should still say 03a3 on it, but it and the serial will be moved to the sides more to make room for the scope mount. He just called it an 03 and claims everything about it is GI. He's not the type to spread the bull.

I haven't examined it. I've just seen it while picking up another gun. What would be a fair price on one? The gun itself looked to be in very good shape, but he said something on the scope or mount was broken or damaged. I think it was a peice on the mount that moved the scope to adjust it somehow. Any ideas for parts? If it is an 03a4, I intend to put away the money until I can talk him out of it.


If you enjoyed reading about "how to tell a 03a4 from a 03a3?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
April 5, 2006, 11:09 PM
How do you tell the difference. I heard that the receiver should still say 03a3 on it, but it and the serial will be moved to the sides more to make room for the scope mount.

That sounds right according to this:

1903A3 Simplified 1903 with a stamped receiver sight, long handguard and sometimes issued w/a two groove barrel (the two groove barrels shot very well indeed!). Mfg. By both Remington and Smith Corona. Production of the A3 and A4 versions were completed in March 1944.
1903A4 Sniper Model w/M73B1 Scope. Most were actually marked M1903A3 on the left side of the receiver so as to be seen when the scope blocks were mounted (I have seen a couple marked M1903A4, but not many.). Both types are mounted in type C pistol grip stocks.

April 5, 2006, 11:14 PM
Check the serial number here:

April 6, 2006, 12:53 PM
Thanks for the info. From what I recall it looks like it has a M73B1 Telescope mounted on it. I'll be heading his way this weekend and will take a close look at it.


April 6, 2006, 01:50 PM
Is to look at the location of the serial number on the front receiver ring. For the genuine 1903A4 series of rifles, the serial numbers were offset to the left side so they could be viewed even with the Redfield scope base mounted on top. 1903A3 rifles had their serial numbers closer to the top of the receiver ring. The 1903A4 serial numbers will also fall into the range listed above by member Alamo.

1903A4 rifles never had their front sight bases installed, so you'll find the key slots and pin channels intact, but parkerized completely. 1903A3 rifles still used their front sight assemblies, and a 1903A3 converted to a 1903A4gery will often have no parkerizing, or cold blueing to cover where that front sight used to be. A good 1903A4gery will have that parkerized, too.

The 1903A4 bolt will be modified to clear the scope, compared to the 1903A3.

As for the proper scopes, the one most people keep an eye out for is the Weaver M73B1, aka Weaver 330C, which was the 3/4" tube Weaver at 2.25x magnification. The substitute standard, per War Department Field Manual regs, was the 7/8" Lyman M73, aka Lyman Alaskan, at 2.5x magnification. (Which I like better, sharper optics, larger field of view, very clear) After WWII, the 1903A4 still saw service, so during the Korean War you'l find a mix of the previous scopes, plus the French-made M73B2, and the M81, M82, and M84 scopes as found on the M1D Garand. The M84-equipped M1903A4 is a darned fine combination in it's own right, I might add.

During the Vietnam conflict, there's some evidence that M1903A4 rifles were fitted with 1" Weaver K4-60B scopes and put into service, prior to the adoption of the Remington 700 family of military sniper rifles.

My own Z-prefix 1903A4, restored from a stripped receiver a few years ago:

Red Tornado
April 6, 2006, 03:37 PM
Dang it Gewehr, every time you post a picture I lose 15 minutes of productive work time drooling over it. I've probably lost hours of time due to you. :cuss:

BTW, could you post your whole collection somewhere? I need something to do this weekend. ;)

April 6, 2006, 07:29 PM
Thanks so much for the info Gewehr98. I'll look at it tomorrow and compare it with a 03a3. Any ideas of what a fair offer would be, assuming that everything except the damaged part is in very good condition? It's about time I add something really nice to the collection.

Beautiful rifle by the way.


April 6, 2006, 07:55 PM
Figure between $2-5K if it's the real deal, papers documenting the pedigree being the clincher for higher prices.

Blame Saving Private Ryan for the climb in prices.

My mutt above will never bring those prices, because I restored it from the stripped 1903A4 receiver, sourcing an original 03/44 barrel, bolt, and so forth to complete the job. I've put a slip of laminated paper in the cleaning kit pocket, documenting that it was a restoration accomplished on a given date. So there's no pedigree, save for the numbers on the receiver. That's also a blessing, because I have no problem shooting it whenever I feel like it. :D

Red Tornado, sorry about the lost productivity. :(

April 6, 2006, 08:22 PM
I knew it would be pretty high, but not that high. It most likely has no documentation---just the rifle with scope and mount as is. I'll be coming into some extra money next month, so that's why my sudden interest in it after all this time. By this time tomorrow I will know....

Since I first saw your signature line a few months ago, I've never been able to walk by anything Winnie the Poo and keep quite. :)

April 7, 2006, 12:53 AM
Bidding started at $2,499:

The CMP auctioned off one in August of 2005, it went for $4,810.50:

This one went for $5,435:

That gives you an idea of how much a real one could go for. That doesn't mean whoever has the one you're looking at knows what they're worth, so it could work in your favor. Let us know what you find out.

April 8, 2006, 11:27 PM
Sadly it's not the real deal, but a very good "fake" using 03a4 parts. I might still make him an offer on it though. He's got another 03a3 and a good Union Switch & Signal 1911 that he won a few matches with in the 60s & 70s that I'm also interested in. He has already sold his Garand :banghead:

Thanks for all the info guys.

If you enjoyed reading about "how to tell a 03a4 from a 03a3?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!