1903 Sporter vs. Mauser sporter in .30-06


Golden Hound
December 20, 2008, 11:30 PM
There are two rifles online that I've noticed at what seems like a decent price. One is a Mauser-action sporter in .30-06. It is around $400. It's by "Firearms International." The other is a sporterized Springfield 1903 and it is $295 which seems a good price to me. The only downside of it is that it doesn't have iron sights - the Mauser does. Mauser's stock is also nicer.

One other that I'm looking at is a Winchester 70 "XTR." In .30-06. It is $375 and has iron sights and Weaver scope bases.

Anyone have any knowledge or experience of these different models? How do these prices sound? They are all online so I am unable to inspect them in person.

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Ohio Gun Guy
December 20, 2008, 11:35 PM
Well it depends on what you want them for.

If its accuracy.....WINCHESTER
Otherwise, between the Mauser and the 1903 I would go with the 1903 due to price. (AND no pictures)

The mauser would have to be really nice to justify 400.00 / And passing up the winchester......Just my opinion!

December 20, 2008, 11:39 PM
if you want iron go to a smith he can put some nice ones on for you

mine charges around 45 bucks plus the sights ( he has cheep ones in stock he does for free but nice ones he orders)

they will all be great guns for you
and ohio ive shot some 03's that shoot .5 moa and 200yards after just being bedded and and a new scope so unless you can tell me the winchester will do that out of the box i would go with the 03 for history and its jsut i nicer gun in my opinion

Jim Watson
December 20, 2008, 11:52 PM
You want to link us to the actual ads or play guessing games?

A sporterized 1903 could be a classic jewel, no way inferior to a new commercial rifle except maybe a little heavier. It could be a crude Bubba job you don't have the experience to identify. It might be a low number action that many people are scared of shooting. It might be a National Ordnance knockoff of no virtue at all.

A Firearms International Mauser is most likely on an FN commercial action, which is hard to beat. The exact model determines what else you get. Some of the plain grades, the Musketeers, actually had Springfield barrels. Not a BAD thing, but it would give the gunsmith a surprise if you ever had it rebarrelled. FI had enough pull to get FN to thread actions for the surplus American barrels so as to produce a less expensive rifle.

Winchesters have been of variable quality over the years. The ones between 1964 and 1968 apparently the worst. I THINK the XTR was an early effort to regain the reputation they lost with the early 1974s. Not a bad rifle.

December 20, 2008, 11:59 PM
My choices in order would be (1) Mauser,(2) Springfield '03 and distant (3rd) Winchester M70. Installing irons is no biggy.

Golden Hound
December 21, 2008, 12:14 AM
Winchester (http://www.simpsonltd.com/product_info.php?cPath=160_167_168&products_id=5409&osCsid=2f77d298217f2becad0a84a861a27f56)

Springfield (http://www.simpsonltd.com/product_info.php?cPath=160_169&products_id=4262&osCsid=2f77d298217f2becad0a84a861a27f56)

Mauser (http://www.jgsales.com/product_info.php/commercial-rifles/misc-rifles/p/mauser-98-30-06-firearms-international-sporter-very-good-condition/cPath/209_342_262/products_id/2005)

December 21, 2008, 12:20 AM
id get the '03 but its a personal thing i just love the 03 thew first thing id do is some lower rings

what is the gun going to be used for? if its a woods gun who carees what the stock looks like as long as it isnt ugly it can have some dings

if its a wallhanger and range queen then id go witht he mauser jsut beacsue it looks nice

if you want a really pretty 03 then get that throw a boyds stock on it some lower rings and your done

jim i like weight in a cal like .30-06 less kick

December 21, 2008, 10:08 AM
The Springfield scope mount permits the use of the existing safety. Problem: Miserable cheekweld.

The Mauser safety will be USELESS with the scope rings shown.

Now, I really like the big claw extractor and controlled feed of the milsurp rifles, but I'd choose the Winchester, if I were you. If your budget can stand it, the M70 Classic (iirc) has the same controlled feed magazine and big external claw extractor.

December 21, 2008, 10:25 AM
Sporterized Mauser in 30-06 or a sporterized Mauser clone in 30-06. Hmmmmm.

Golden Hound
December 21, 2008, 10:41 AM
Winchester it is - thanks.

December 21, 2008, 10:42 AM
i've been watching the 03 sporters on gb but i haven't seen one i would consider buying yet but i'm a little picky & cheap. $295 wouldn't be a bad price for the sportered 03 if it had nicer wood & had the 03 triggerguard instead of the stamped 03-a3 guard it has. i'd keep looking

if your looking for a mauser sporter with a commercial action jc higgins mausers used fn actions & can be had for under $400 if your patient. there is one on gb in 30-06 right now auction #118873453 starting at $325

the fi commercial mauser does have the fn style left side safety for scope use

Jim Watson
December 21, 2008, 11:45 AM
The 1903 is a Bubba grade job on a 1903A3 with too-tall scope mounts so they did not have to change the bolt handle and safety. Only serious gunsmithing on it was shortening and apparently drawfiling the barrel and drilling/tapping for scope bases. Bolt is a 1903, hope they checked headspace. Purple color to the receiver indicates poor temperature control in the bluing tank... or a National Ordnance cast copy.

The Mauser is an older F.I. rifle on the FN action. Very plain stock, the odd little rotary adjusting front sight, and the flip-over scope mounts mark it as a typical 1950s or 60s rifle.

The Winchester is a lot plainer than the XTRs I have seen and is even advertised as beat up.

Any would be a pig in a poke bought used mailorder. I think you can do better.

Smokey Joe
December 21, 2008, 12:16 PM
Golden Hound--None of the 3 choices rings my bell, HOWEVER, this is not to be my rifle but yours. I agree w/Jim Watson that you can do better. I too would want to handle a rifle before buying it. But it's your decision to make. Me, I like gun show rifles better than mail order rifles, as a general rule.

My opinion, FWIW, is that the Springfield is the least worst choice of the 3, but it wants work immediately, as has been pointed out. And it needs checking to be sure it isn't one of the dangerous "low number Springfields."

Are you committed to getting one of these 3 rifles and nothing else?

If not, and you want to do a project, were it me, I'd get a Mauser 8mm barrelled action, either a k98K or a Yugo M-48. (The M-48 isn't historic, and if you get a k98 that is already Bubba-ized, the purists won't howl at you.) The 8x57JS is so close to .30-'06 in ballistics as to be immaterial. Boyd's makes nice wood stocks; Timney makes great triggers, Buehler makes low safeties. You do the stock-finishing and glass bedding, and the screw-on parts, take it to a gunsmith for drill & tap for 'scope mount, and you'll be busy all this winter and have a really nice rifle next spring.

A Springfield bbl'd action would get you the same place, and in .30-'06, but those tend to be pricier.

Anyhow, good luck, and whatever rifle you end up with, may it turn out to be "your" rifle.

And, given the season, Merry Christmas!

December 21, 2008, 01:28 PM
Im a little biased here but if your buying a rifle in 30-06 you just cant beat a 1903. Its an all American gun, and for that price id defiantly buy it (but that price makes me think someone messed up the sporterizing part).

December 21, 2008, 01:32 PM
Follow up to above post. Id still consider the 1903 after looking at the pics (didn't read the whole thing at first). But keep in mind that you would pay at least several hundred to get it into good shooting condition. A finished 1903 project is very rewarding.

December 21, 2008, 01:32 PM
I like the Winchester best! I can appreciate the Mauser and 1903 in original form far more and would only spend $200ish on either of those sporterized rifles without being able to inspect in person.

December 21, 2008, 01:40 PM
LOL just was looking though Gunsamerica.com and found this one. Very good looking.


December 21, 2008, 03:17 PM
Get the Mauser,the other 2 are copies of the Mauser design. Before WWI Germany sued America for copyright infringement because of the Springfield. WWI stopped that litigation. If you don't like the current dress of the Mauser,you can upgrade it like this one. I built this one on a Colombian action originally in 30.06. It IS NOT a Remington 798!!! The only thing Remington is the stock. Rebarrelled to .308 Winchester with 24" sporter barrel,Parker Hale bolt,Bold trigger,Talley scope mounts and a Leupold VX1 scope. My personal opinion but I don't think the Springfield can look this nice.

cracked butt
December 21, 2008, 06:27 PM
Out of the 3, the Winchester is the only one approaching a decent deal, and I still wouldn't buy it.

The mauser would be my first choice, but is going to either need the safety reworked or will need a new trigger (TIMNEY, RIfle Basix,etc) if you want to have a safety and a scope at the same time. The price is already too high and figure another $100 is needed for the safety.

The sporterization on the 1903 is very poorly done, I wouldn't touch it with a 10' pole without inspecting it personally. It could have problems ranging from low serial# receiver, poorly made commercial receiver, or could be a 'remilled' action from a welded up drill rifle.

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