Why are M1903s so much more expensive when compared to other WWII bolt actions?


Carolina Kalash
May 15, 2011, 06:33 PM
M1903s I've seen are often $1000 or more, and the ones that aren't are still about twice as much as a decent Kar98k. I don't understand it.

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Shadow 7D
May 15, 2011, 06:42 PM
cause your in the US of A and that 'our' gun

May 15, 2011, 07:39 PM
Depends on the rifle you're comparing it to as well. For instance, I have a 98k that has been appraised at $1800, well out of the neighborhood of many of the recent Russian capture rifles and similar ones.

Many 03's were also sporterized, altered or welded up as drill rifles, further reducing an already limited number available.

Larry Ashcraft
May 15, 2011, 07:59 PM
"Saving Private Ryan" would be my guess. My dad paid $12 for a Rock Island in 1945, and I have a framed receipt my father in law got when he ordered one in the 1950s from the Tooele arsenal. It was under $50. They were just rifles back then, so guys would buy one and sporterize it, rather than spend $100 on a Winchester.

I bought a nice two groove Remington 03A3 back in the 1980s for $85, complete with bayonet, great shooter too.

American war rifles are just hot right now. Try pricing a nice M1 or M1 Carbine.

Ohio Gun Guy
May 15, 2011, 08:42 PM
Supply and Demand.

Our rifles are not warhoused in the stock piles of other countries or brought home in duffle bags. The Soviet Union disolved and I believe many of the MN91/30s are Ukranian in origin...

Also, we didnt turn them out like the Soviets did with the Mosin Nagant & the Germans 98k. MILLIONS and MILLIONS of them produced. We sometimes forget many of the Largest battles of WW2 were between the Soviets and Germans on the "Eastern Front".

My humble opinion!

May 15, 2011, 09:53 PM
Ask any machinist what it would cost to build or even repair that 03 rear sight for starters. Then go from there.

Jim K
May 15, 2011, 10:20 PM
Demand, but also partly supply. There were onlly some 1.5 million "real Springfields" (that is M1903 rifles made by Springfield) ever made. Add up attrition in two wars, plus hundreds of thousands of guns sold surplus and "sporterized", more converted to drill rifles, more sold or given away as military aid, and the result is that good, original M1903's are scarce. There were many millions more K.98k rifles made, and while there was a high attrition rate, so many were brought back by GIs and brought in after the war by importers, that there are probably more K.98k's in the country than Model 1903's. Of course, the Mausers also were "sporterized" by the thousands, but quite a few were not and those are now becoming much more valuable.


May 15, 2011, 10:48 PM
Strange, I see 03s and 03a3s all the time for $400-600 in my part of the northeast. I'd guess it's a regional demand plus shop markup sort of thing.

Jim K
May 16, 2011, 10:45 PM
There are a goodly number of M1903A3's around, thanks to DCM sales in the 1960's, but good M1903's are pretty scarce. Most have been rebuilt, refinished, or worked on in some way so that they are no longer desireable collectors items.

One amusing gun I saw a few years ago at a PA gun show was a "rod bayonet" M1903. I guess the guy had heard of such a thing, but I doubt he had ever seen one. He drilled a hole in the front of the stock under the barrel and stuck in a cut off piece of a Model 1888 rod bayonet. That would have been funny enough, but he did it to a M1903A3! And it apparently didn't occur to anyone that a "rod bayonet" really should be usable as a "rod"; the .45-70 rod wouldn't even fit in the .30 barrel. Even more hilarious was watching a couple of yuppie "experts" discussing whether the Parkerized finish was original and how much money they could make reselling the gun. They shelled out $2500 for it, getting a "special deal."


May 17, 2011, 04:40 PM
I bought a 1903 A3 off a guy who had a sporter stock made for it. BUT he kept all the original stock and hardware. I was a little shocked to learn this old rifle could be worth 900+ dollars just 15 years later.

Real German 'untouched' Mausers have been up in that price range for a while.

Real 1903's of WW1 vintage have been pricey for a while.

Ron James
May 17, 2011, 05:26 PM
Why do 1903's cost more?? other than the fact so many 1903's were sporterized, the law of supply and demand takes over. At a very conservative guess, I would say at least 10 times as many K-98's were made than 1903's

May 17, 2011, 05:29 PM
The demand, driven by nostalgia and a certain amount of patriotism, is the key. I think of 03's as the American Mauser, which is really what it is. But saying that can start a serious fight!

There are many WWII vintage rifles far rarer than the Springfield 03's. Most any Finnish Mosin-Nagant, for example. The M28 I recently bought (for far less than an intact 03) is much more likely to have seen active combat in that war than a Springfield, and is much rarer. But not many US gun owners have bothered to learn about such rifles.

May 17, 2011, 06:18 PM
Plenty of $600- $700 1903's around, you just have to look and not at gunshows and shops.
Keep looking in gun forum For Sale

May 17, 2011, 06:34 PM
Yep, I've bought an A3 and a MKI over the forums for 600ish shipped within the past year or so. Keep your eyes open. :cool:




Jim K
May 18, 2011, 02:35 PM
Not a "serious fight"; the M1903 is derived from the Mauser, but it is not a Mauser or a Mauser copy. It really is a sort of shotgun marriage (or rifle marriage) between a Model 1893 Mauser and a Model 1898 Krag. Contrary to what many ignorant writers have said, it owes nothing to the Model 1898 Mauser, and there seems to be no documentary evidence that the Springfield designers ever saw a Model 1898 Mauser.


May 18, 2011, 02:44 PM
I know where there's an 03 still swathed in cosmo, priced at $1700! Thing is, I'd bet money that rifle was bought from the DCM by a farmer in the 60's, and when he saw the goop on it he stuck it in the closet and never touched it. Then he died and his heirs took it to the local gun shop in the nearest little Kansas town, and the shop owner thinks it's gold.

32 Magnum
May 18, 2011, 04:03 PM
There's some interesting info about the Mauser vs U.S. patent infringement case:

In part it reads: Lesson Learned

The new rifle "borrowed" a number of features from the superior Mauser design, the single most important of which was the "charger loading" system. The advantage in firepower afforded by this simple, but ingenious patented feature was soon to be placed in the hands of United States forces, however it was going to arrive on the wings of controversy and at the cost of millions of dollars.

The bolt's dual, forward locking-lug design, the flag-style, bolt-mounted safety and staggered internal box magazine were additional Mauser features incorporated into the new Springfield. The addition of a magazine cutoff while different than the contemporary Gew 98 Mauser, was still a feature Mauser had used on the Turkish Model 1893. The few features on the Springfield actually different are an attempt to skirt Mauser's patents and avoid paying royalties. There was no advantage to the '03's two-piece firing pin or ugly third locking lug (1) That the Springfield was without question a Mauser clone was confirmed in a series of patent infringement patent infringement lawsuits filed by Mauser. Mauser won and the court ordered the US Government to pay damages. This is where popular myth takes over. The myth says the US Government lost the case, appealed, lost again, but war intervened and only a small amount of the judgment, approximately $250,000, was actually paid to Mauser. The balance of the huge award was never paid and the Great War provided the US Government an easy out.

The truth is a much more fascinating story. It was thought most of the DWM and Mauser company records were lost forever during the Allied bombing of Germany during World War Two . Not so the records of their attorney's--including the files of the US law firm handling the Mauser vs. the US suits here. Based on recent research by the firearms author, collector and historian, Jon Speed, this fascinating story is soon to be told. Jon's research of these long-lost records indicates the US paid huge sums of money in the form of both penalties and licensing fees, even up to and during the early years of World War One while the US remained neutral. The details of this fascinating story will be appear in Jon's upcoming two-volume work on the history of the Mauser firm.


May 18, 2011, 07:52 PM
ontrary to what many ignorant writers have said, it owes nothing to the Model 1898 Mauser

What about the third lug--the safety lug?

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