Help Me Decide...


November 22, 2009, 08:56 PM
First let me say my expertise is in handguns, though I do have a few rifles I use for hunting. My Father in law passed Nov'08 and I really miss him. Today my Mother in law told me to go to the gun cabinet and there were two guns that were in a case left by my FIL, for me after his death. One is for me and one is for his other Son in Law, but I get first choice. Here is where the fun begins. I know absolutely nothing about these rifles except they are older and one is in great condition...the other not so good. I should take the one in great condition...right? Please help me decide by educating me on what they are. This is all I have to go on, found on the top of both breeches. Both are bolt action and both have fore stocks that go to within about 3" of the front sights. They are both bone stock!!!

What have I to choose from here?

What caliber are they?

Are they both US Military rifles?

Anything else I should know about them??

Why would you choose one over the other???

Newer looking rifle:

Rough Looking Rifle:

Thanks in advance


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November 22, 2009, 09:05 PM
Both are classic military rifles. Wikipedia has articles on both.

If that 03-A3 is in as good of condition as you say, go with it, but if you plan to shoot it, you will want to verify that it is not one of the "low" serial numbers. The low serial numbers had actions that were brittle. This was fixed in the higher numbers. CMP has a brief description here:

November 22, 2009, 09:07 PM
Also, with any older guns, a visit to the smith is in order before you shoot it.

November 22, 2009, 09:14 PM
A M1917 and M1903A3 in similiar condition have equivalent worth.

Pick the one in better condition. Look for all original finish, bright shiny barrel with strong rifling and all original parts.

All the parts on the Eddystone should have an "E" stamped on them. Parts stamped with "W", "R", are from Winchester or Remington.

All the major parts on the Remington A3 should have an "R" stamped on them.

November 23, 2009, 12:30 AM
I would take the 1903 without question; it is in better condition, and has a Mauser action. The 1917 is a odd, hybrid design (seemingly part Mauser and part Enfield design), and the "cock-on-close" takes a bit of getting used to (at least for myself). Both have quite a bit of history, and should be good shooters if everything gauges good and the bore is in good condition.


November 23, 2009, 10:11 AM
Thank you all for your insightful replys. It will help me to make a difficult decision a bit easier.


April 4, 2010, 07:35 PM
SO, Which one did you pick? If it were me I would have gone with the 1917. But then again I love mine. For one thing, it is one of the strongest actions made and what all modern bolt actions are based on. They make a kit to change it from cock on close to cock on open. It includes a new trigger group as well. Mine will shoot 3 in 1/2" and 5 in 3/4" at 100yds. Good luck!


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