Am I going to cruffler hell?


September 19, 2007, 08:21 PM
At the same time I put money down on a Handi Rifle I put money on a sporterized 1903 Springfield. The nice Schnable tip stock caught my eye so I took a look. It is in pretty nice shape, one small spot of rust, the butt pad is so old it is dry rotted, and it has an old Tasco Pronghorn. The action is very slick. I took a look at the bore, which is dirty, but even if the barrel is pitted I can always get a new barrel mounted. I was amazed at how light and well balanced the rifle was. I am going to pick it up on Friday and I think I need to drop by Dunhams and get some cheap .30-06 to see how she shoots. On Friday the owner is going to double check the headspace for me. I would have stuck around this afternoon to have that done but I was going grouse hunting with another guy and the shop was a little busy. The best part is the price, $189. For that price I don't care how bad the barrel might be! I think I'm on the way to a record for the most number of right handed bolties owned by a lefty. The bad part? Right next to the Springfield was a nice Enfield No. 4 Mk I *, for $150. I have a feeling on Friday I may break down and buy my third Enfield.

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September 19, 2007, 09:09 PM
No you are not condemned to Cruffler Hell. You are one of the Saints that resurrect old and retired milsurps that have collected dust and suffered a little from bubba. The little nice rilfe just needs a little TLC and a good home + a good target to shoot at once in a while.:D

September 19, 2007, 09:35 PM
Nah, you didn't do the damage, you're fine.

Bubba'd guns aren't any less of a gun, and I certainly don't advocate bubbaing guns, but if hte damamge is already done, its no different than any other commercial gun out there.

September 19, 2007, 09:45 PM
Finn Mosin-Nagants both C&R and antique

September 19, 2007, 09:52 PM
I'm actually not worked up about it since I've wanted a sporterized Springfield forever. Whoever did the work did a nice job. A new butt pad, strip and refinish the stock (it has one good sized area where a chunk of the finish is missing) and a good rebluing would turn this thing from nice into really nice! I'm just curious to see how the bore cleans up and how she shoots!

September 20, 2007, 06:30 AM
I have had a sporterized 1903A3 since '84, shoots like a dream. I am not a purist and when I was a bit younger I didn't know what I bought until I bought it. Great gun. Love it, It's like a red headed step child.:D Love it anyway.

September 20, 2007, 08:44 AM
It may not even be a "bubba". Many '03's were sporterized by expert gunsmiths. I was lucky enough to own 2 of them...they were very good, rugged hunting rifles, and accurate shooters and neither was over $200.
I also owned a 98 Mauser sporter that had been made into a beautiful hunting rifle.
Many of these were done in the 1950's and '60's. The workmanship will be evident if you examine the details closely...since it has the schnabel and a good balance and feel, I'd bet it was a professional job.
I consider these rifles collectable in their own right, a small part of American shooting history.

FWIW, the Tasco scope probably was not the original on this rifle but it's a pretty good scope. I have been using one for about 12 years.


September 20, 2007, 09:55 AM
Purist sheep call everything a "Bubba" rifle. For many years mil surp rifles were considered an inexpensive way to build a low cost and effective hunting rifle. To call many of those who have done these conversions "Bubba" is an insult. These weren't prized collectors peices just war surplus. They used old WWII Jeeps for farming and hunting too and destroyed a bunch of them in the process - BIG DEAL!

September 20, 2007, 10:13 AM
Yeah, there is a difference between an exertly done sporterization and a bubba job. Both might destroy historical value, but one does it with style and grace and creates something that is both functional and beautiful. The other? Not so much.


September 20, 2007, 10:33 AM
My FIL has a sporterized 1903 that is certainly not a bubba job. And do be so quick to rebarrel it... some quality time with some brushes and solvent can work wonders.

Now, if you mount a Tapco plastic stock and a BSA red dot on it, then you'll go to cruffler hell.

September 20, 2007, 01:09 PM

I have an high number 03 that was cutomized by Williams in 1959. Purchased from the from the gentleman who had the work done, along with the original Williams brochure that he used circle the parts and smithing he wanted done.

Interesting gun with a documented history, and it shoots better then I can!

September 20, 2007, 01:12 PM

September 20, 2007, 07:42 PM

A new barrel is the last option. The bore is dirty so my plan is to clean it first and shoot it. If it doesn't shoot too well and there is some pitting I'm going to use some bore paste on it and see how that works.

I don't know the proper terminology for how the front sight was mounted, but the sight is attached to a round piece of metal that obviously had to be heated to expand it and then mounted on the barrel. When the metal cools it shrinks and the sight is very firmly attached to the barrel. Just that by itself makes me think that it was done by a pro. At the same time I was playing with the rifle one of the store employees gave me a left handed Ruger to play with. The Springfield was lighter and there was no comparison between the way it felt working the bolt, the Springfield won hands down!

September 21, 2007, 04:22 PM
The bore cleaned up pretty nicely. It looks like the stock was cut down and reshaped, with a nice pistol grip that was scarfed in somehow and some checkering cut into the grip and the forend. I'd bet the barrel was cut down and had the front sight mounted. The receiver has been cut for the Williams scope mount and there is another cut forward of the receiver where I should be able to mount a rear sight. It might sound bubba'd but the workmanship actually looks pretty good.

Does anybody have a website that you can use to identify the rifle by the serial number? It is in the 6, 200,000 range. Enough of me talking though I need to go shoot it. I also need to dig up my camera cable so I can download some pictures from my camera and see if anybody can give me some clues on whether or not the sporterizing was done by a pro.

Bazooka Joe71
September 21, 2007, 06:00 PM

Buying a bubba isn't wrong

Bubba'ing it yourself will send you straight to hell cruffler though.:p

September 21, 2007, 07:41 PM
The very first shot and that scope jumped up and bit me good! At first I could not even get a shot on paper and I started thinking "Well, 190 bucks is a little much but it sure would look nice hanging on my wall". I finally got the scope adjusted so I was hitting about 18 inches high at 50 yards. But in the process of adjusting the POI down I bottomed out the adjustment, when I went to turn it back a few clicks the whole turret moved! So much for the Tasco Pronghorn. Plus my fear of the scope was causing me to flinch pretty good at this point.

I stopped shooting to make sure all the screws and stuff were still tight and discovered how that pistol grip had been mounted to the stock. Some glue and a small wood dowel and the glue was obviously not up to snuff with the recoil. I decided to load up more than one round at a time and discovered that the recoil would shift the shells back in the magazine so that after the first shot the bolt could not pick up and chamber the next round. Don't ask me how that happens but I guess I'm going to become intimately familiar with the magazine of an M1903 in the near future. To top it all off the dry rotting butt pad actually started to disintigrate while I was shooting. That probably compounded the scope biting my eyebrow problem a bit.

There is some good news though! I forced myself to not flinch and torched off 5 rounds at the end of my range session. All 5 made a nice ragged hole at just about 60 yards :D I think this winter I'm going to be checking the scope mount to make sure it is level with the bore, finding a shorter scope, adding a new butt pad with a few spacers to lengthen the pull and regluing the pistol grip. If none of that works well enough Boyds has some nice sporter stocks for less than $100. I think with a little work (I live on Michigans UP, I'm sure I'll have a little down time this winter :)) this is going to turn out to be a really nice little rifle.

Any of you guys have any idea where I might be able to pick up an older Weaver scope? I want something older since the metal on the rifle has that nice patina you can only get from age and the stock looks like something that was finished back in the 40s or 50s. A shiny new scope would stick out like a sore thumb! Something along the lines of a 2x7 or maybe a fixed 4 or 6 power.

September 21, 2007, 08:01 PM
Does it still have the irons?

September 21, 2007, 08:10 PM
It has the front sight and a dovetail was cut for a rear sight. What are you thinking? Something I didn't post before was that I want to look into putting a rear sight into that dovetail but I would need to raise the scope a bit.

September 21, 2007, 09:39 PM
I've had a lot of fun with an old busted Mojo aperture I filed to fit a Puma 92. You could fit an aperture there or go with one the excellent Lyman 48 designed for the Springfield receiver. In that event just ditch the scope completely. You don't need it. Another option would be safari style flip sights which operate like a fast tangent sight so you can flip up to 100, 200, or 300. I believe Buf. Arms sells those, but I don't know if they have them for a Springfield's dovetail.

Here's my pojo:

September 21, 2007, 09:48 PM
No! You just bought yourself a sweet little hunting rifle. With a little bit of soul.:)

September 22, 2007, 02:55 PM
I also discovered today that the mag cutoff really does work. That would explain why it would only feed one round at a time. There are some old Weaver K4s on sale on Ebay, I might have to pick one up and see how they work.

Vern Humphrey
September 22, 2007, 04:44 PM
Bigfoot Wallace, my elk rifle, is a sporterized '03, done by CW Fitch in Phoenix in the late '60s or early '70s. It still has the original barrel, reamed out, re-rifled and chambered in .35 Brown-Whelen.

September 22, 2007, 06:28 PM
as someone else noted, customization isn't the same thing as bubba. crude or amatuerish customization isn't necessarily bubba, either. to me, bubba is characterized as a modifcation of the gun that is done little thought or passion. examples would be hacking the barrel down to 16.5 without recrowning, hacking the butt off to make a PGO rifle, or drilling and tapping the receiver to put a POS leapers scope on it using junk mounts and rings.

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