1903-A3 loads


November 3, 2007, 08:05 PM
I got my A3 through CMP and it has turned out to be a really good rifle. I have been shooting surplus lake city and it has done well. I am wanting to reload for it and need some starter info. I do reload for my garand and using 168gr sierra hpbt. Would like to stick to that if possible. I know the lake city surplus is 150 gr bullets. If anybody has had better luck with them let me know. I use imr 4895 in my garand so not sure if this a good powder for the A3. Would be nice not having to keep a bunch of different powder. Anyway if anyone has some good load info I sure could use it.

Also does anyone know where I can get different size front sites for the A3. It is shooting low at 200 yards and I have it set for 200 so cant really adjust it any more. Thanks

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November 3, 2007, 08:10 PM
My 03-A3 likes a 150 Sierra Spitzer over 49 Grains of Bl-C.

November 3, 2007, 09:33 PM
Power is important for the Garand and M1A because of port pressure, but with the '03 you are free to experiment to your heart's content with bullet and powder. I've got a few '03's and the seem to like 168 grain bullets the best

November 3, 2007, 10:52 PM

46.5 to 47.5gr of IMR4895 behind the 168SMK's will give you a load that you can use in either the 03-A3 or the Garand.


November 4, 2007, 09:43 AM
Use Don's load data and you will not find a "better" powder for you M1903A3 than IMR 4895.

When the 30-06 was still used in competition the three powders used by most bolt gunners were IMR 4064, IMR 4350, and IMR 4895. IMR 4350 is too slow to use in a Garand, IMR 4064 works well, but not as well as IMR 4895. In my opinion. 4064 is a bit longer and does not throw as well, and that's my only beef with the powder. Heck I am still loading the last of my 4064 in 308, but no more new 4064 for me.

All of these powders were so good that no one could "prove" one was better than the other, so it came down to a choice between preferences.

When you get down to it, 4895 is really a good choice in the 30-06. You can load accurate loads with IMR 4895 (in a bolt gun) with something as light as 42.0 grains IMR 4895 and a 168. I used that as my standing and sitting rapid fire load, and it will shoot cleans at 200 yards. At three hundred yards I used 47.0 IMR 4895 with the 168. I also tried an old tried and true load of 55.0 grs IMR 4350 with a 168, and while both were equally accurate, the 4895 load just seemed to kick less.

Novus Collectus
November 4, 2007, 10:13 AM
The origional 03s using the 30-03 bullets before being rechambered were using very heavy 220 gr bullets, then they used 150 gr I think in the 30-06 round, then 173 gr by WWI, then back to 152 gr.
With slight adjustments to elevation, you can use a wide range of everything in the 03s IMO. They are extremely robust and excellent rifles.

As far as the sights, I am not sure, but maybe you can buy a spare and file the spare down?

November 4, 2007, 03:31 PM
I have one more question relating to coal. I use 3.325 on my garand. On the A3 should i use coal listed in my 2006 Sierra reloading book for 30-06 springfield. It shows a coal of 3.285 for the 168 sierra hpbt.I know it probably is a starting point as all rifles vary once you start figuring out where to seat them but just thought i had better ask and see if that is ok for the 1903-A3.

I think based on comments earlier i will use the imr4895 and the 168 hpbt sierra's. I dont think i will purchase some of the 150 gr bullets and see how they do. It would be a good check. Thanks

November 4, 2007, 04:12 PM

The 3.325" OAL length you use for the Garand is fine for the 03-A3 as well.


November 4, 2007, 05:28 PM
Cool. Thanks Don. Just wanted to make sure. Thanks again. Guess I need to start the reloads.

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