1903...Bubba'd or a beauty?


June 11, 2012, 08:45 PM
So, what do you say?


If you enjoyed reading about "1903...Bubba'd or a beauty?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
June 11, 2012, 08:50 PM
My vote is bubbafied. I just don't like the customs made out of old military rifles. I feel that customizations erase all the history of the firearm.

That being said, the work was nicely done. I like the figure of the wood. There was some serious time, money and effort put into that sporter.

Jim Watson
June 11, 2012, 08:53 PM
Looks pretty nice, don't see many sporterized surplus with such nice wood and checkering.

Is that a replacement barrel? If so, what caliber?
The big old Weaver scope looks like a pretty high power fixed mag, so seems suitable for a varmint or maybe antelope rifle.

Used to have a side mount on it.

As far as the Bubba stuff goes, I will give it the benefit of doubt and assume it was sporterized back when it was a cheap obsolete army surplus rifle and not the Significant Historical Artifact and Valuable Collector's Item that the Internet Generation is accustomed to.

June 11, 2012, 08:55 PM
That gun likely had a colorful military history...1942 issue, plus the holes appear to be for a Warner Swasey sniper scope. The possiblility of it being a above accurate piece could be why it was chosen to be sporterized. True, I probably wouldn't build one today out of a vintage rifle. However, this one was likely built in the 60's....It is still a .30-06 and appears to have the original barrel. The scope is a 10x.

June 11, 2012, 08:58 PM
Tastefully done, I don't mind custom work like that, although I do prefer un-modded Mil-Surps...and that is VERY well done

Now if you're talking about a real Bubba job, done at the coffee table by Bubba, Jim-Bob and Dremel....yeah that bothers me

June 11, 2012, 09:04 PM
I think it looks great, very tastefully done.

June 11, 2012, 09:12 PM
I don't really like sporterized rifles unless the rifle was previously beat up horribly and has little to no historic value.

June 11, 2012, 09:19 PM
I think it's done well for the conversion. I'm not a huge fan of most conversions but this looks done well. It's previous condition makes a big difference but I'd guess it's more useful now than previously.

June 11, 2012, 09:22 PM
Beautiful rifle. Very tastefully sporterized. I like it. And you're right, that rifle was an ex-sniper. Should be extremely accurate. I'd be proud to own that piece.

It's only taboo to newly sporterize a classic rifle because there's a dwindling supply of good-condition ones. However, I have no issues with ones that were sporterized in the past in a tasteful manner. I picked up a nicely sporterized Nazi K98 last year. While I'd never consider doing that to a historical piece, the modification was probably done in the 1950s to 1960s, when there were plenty of good machinists and gunsmiths to go around. It clearly wasn't a recent modification.

I really just wanted a scoped large-caliber hunting rifle, and wasn't about to butcher one of my milsurps. I also couldn't afford a new one. For $250, I got a nice-looking rifle that shoots 1" groups. No complaints here.

http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s279/WardenWolf_1982/th_Mauser1.jpg (http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s279/WardenWolf_1982/Mauser1.jpg)

Here's a closeup of the work that was done on the bolt by the person who sporterized it:

http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s279/WardenWolf_1982/th_MauserBolt.jpg (http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s279/WardenWolf_1982/MauserBolt.jpg)

hang fire
June 11, 2012, 09:29 PM
Kiln: I don't really like sporterized rifles unless the rifle was previously beat up horribly and has little to no historic value.

If it was a battlefield pickup and beat up horribly. I would say that has more historical value than the seldom if ever fired immaculate safe queens collectors gush over.

June 11, 2012, 09:32 PM
Bubbafying ends up ugly, THIS is an improvement! Don't let the snobs get you down. It could use some irons though. The whole thing looks great. I would love to have one that good looking.

June 11, 2012, 09:33 PM
I really hate military rifles unless they are sporterized/bubbaized. The best ones, IMO, are the ones that employ an altered version of the original stock. The more rare and collectable, the better.

June 11, 2012, 09:41 PM
Looks very nice, tastful, my vote however is contengent on when it was sporterized. there are too few '03s out there now to be cutting one up when you can buy a new gun for the same money.

Tim the student
June 11, 2012, 09:41 PM
Looks very nice...

But I much prefer un-bubbad myself.

June 11, 2012, 09:43 PM
Looks nice to me.

I'm not a fan of bubba'd guns unless the work is done well and that to me looks very professional and attractive. There are still plenty of 1903's out there that are in original historical configuration so don't fret over it and just enjoy it, I would wager it's a pretty decent shooter and that's what really matters.

June 11, 2012, 10:00 PM
Looks better than the poor A3 with modern rings and leapers scope that was for sale at the Medina show for $1,000... A4 indeed.

Art Eatman
June 11, 2012, 10:07 PM
Beautiful piece of wood in that stock. Looks like a clean job of customizing, not at all bubbafied via hacksaw and sloppy work. Nice sporter.

That scope looks much like the K-10 my uncle put on a Varminter setup: Bishop stock, Mauser 98 action, and a Jerry Gebby Varminter barrel (forerunner of the .22-250).

A heckuva lot of those old custom-built rifles really put today's factory stuff to shame for fit and finish--and, quite often, tight groups. Labors of love, not just some accountant's notion of bottom line.

Float Pilot
June 12, 2012, 12:57 AM
While I would not sporterize a nice 1903 these days, I have one right now that I am working on since somebody already ruined the collector value. Plus I put myself through college many moons ago by sporterizing mil-surp rifles into what the customers of that time wanted.
Yours was nicely done...

June 12, 2012, 01:19 AM
I'd take that over a surp 03 any day! than I would buy a stock 03 surp and put em in the same cabinet together! one for plinkin the other for huntin.

June 12, 2012, 07:10 AM
It was a different mind set in the 1950's and 60's. Mil-surp rifles could be bought for $15 on average, with a little skill a guy could have a very nice, custom hunting rifle for 1/4-1/3 the cost of a commercial rifle. Every hardware store in the country had 55gal drums full of mil-surps, they had little collector interest at the time. Most of the guys buying these had just spent 5 plus years carrying them in war, they wanted a cut down, light weight rifle that was different from the rest.

June 12, 2012, 07:25 AM
If you've ever walked fifteen miles with a full rucksack and an M249, you can really appreciate what old bubba does to a combat rifle to get her down to sporter weight. Bubba knows.

June 12, 2012, 08:21 AM
If it was a battlefield pickup and beat up horribly. I would say that has more historical value than the seldom if ever fired immaculate safe queens collectors gush over.
Hey I can't really say much, I bought an Enfield No. 3 that had been cut down into a No. 5 a few years ago just because I was so impressed with the work. I'd rather have found an actual No. 5 in that condition but am satisfied with what I got.


June 12, 2012, 08:36 AM
I like it OP, but I just can't love a Monte Carlo stock...

June 12, 2012, 08:46 AM
I would love to own that rifle. A very nice piece of work. Bubba didn't have anything to do with it.

As madcratebuilder has already pointed out, it WAS a different mind set back when all the surplus rifle sporterizing was being done whether by Bubba or someone that knew what they were doing. They were just ugly old military rifles that were a source for cheap hunting rifles. They were everywhere and dirt cheap.

I don't have a problem with those that want to keep them original now. I do have a problem with those that condemn past generations for their actions
then when entirely different conditions existed than what exist today.

Buck Kramer
June 12, 2012, 09:30 AM
I'll normally hate on anything bubbified, but this was done REALLY well.

June 12, 2012, 10:06 AM

June 12, 2012, 10:27 AM
I voted Beautified, it is done much better than the one I own. I bought it modified and it is really not possible to return it to original configuration since the receiver has been drilled and tapped.
This looks well done and is not slapped together.
I am of the school that thinks "it's my gun, I paid for it with my own money so it's my choice to modify it"
I also understand collector value and if a guns collector value would be destroyed I would keep it original.
My 03A3 was already modified so I am not inclined to keep it as I bought it.

June 12, 2012, 10:34 AM
Absolutely nothing wrong with it in my opinion.

June 12, 2012, 11:12 AM
This is a well done sporter which I would be proud to show. No telling what the condition was before and though I wouldn't change a military rifle today, this might have been done long ago.

Arkansas Paul
June 12, 2012, 11:12 AM
Beauty all the way. I'm not messed up at all about sporterizing, provided it's done well. The problem is, it rarely is done well. This particular specimen is very nice.

June 12, 2012, 11:20 AM
It looks well done. Not done in a flavor I like, but it isn't my rifle!

June 12, 2012, 11:31 AM
I guess it depends when the work was done. I mean this is what was done back when...40's, 50's, 60's. If that is what this is or is a fixer upper of a previously badly done bubba then sure...it's great.

If some body today finds a real nice 03 or 1917 in military condition and does even this to it, I call BUBBA.

There are plenty of these old war horses that had a bubba version 1.0 that would greatly benefit from either bubba version 2.0 (which would be to well made, attractive sporter with nice wood or top-notch synthetic) or returned to some semblance of milspec I suppose.

June 12, 2012, 11:39 AM
when i opened this thread i was dead set that i would be saying "bubba'd" but i just couldnt do it when i saw the pics... dang she is purdy! love to see good wood on a rifle!

June 22, 2012, 02:13 PM
Since I started this thread, I've been working up a varmint load seeing that it's a long time until deer season. One thing I can say is the gun is consistent. No matter what load I put in it be it, either factory or handloaded, the gun will always shoot about 1.5" five shoot groups....With a little trial and error, I finally found a 110 gr VMax load that will put all 5 shots touching. The group in the pic is of 5 shots. Three made a cloverleaf and then other two went thru the middle....It's not quite as fast as I would like, but it is accurate.


June 22, 2012, 02:28 PM
Wow, nice! That's at 100yds? It looks great AND shoots great :D

June 22, 2012, 02:32 PM
Yes, it is at 100 yards...Thanks.

June 22, 2012, 08:52 PM
So, what do you say?

I say damn nice, a thing of beauty, a very beautiful rifle..............

June 22, 2012, 09:25 PM
Execellent piece of wood and nicely done, but I could live without that scope.


M2 Carbine
June 23, 2012, 05:18 PM
Back when "The Government" was still "Our Government" (1961) I bought this 03A3 and 03A4 from our government for $14.50, delivered to my door by the postman. Both guns were in new condition. The NRA used to run articles in the Rifleman on how to sporterize these rifles. Everything from just removing the excess wood and metal to turning it into a very nice hunting rifle.

Once when a (younger) friend saw these guns he got all upset that I would do this to these rifles. I told him, "Don't get your panties in a twist. They are $14.50 guns. Heck the scope mount on the 03A4 cost more than the rifle."


If that gets you upset you better not look at this brand new GI 1911A1 I bought from our government for $17.00 in 1961.
It's changed a little since then.:D


June 23, 2012, 05:53 PM
M2 nice guns...I think it is great that you were able to convert "surplus" into something that you have found useful for half a century.

June 23, 2012, 06:27 PM
Colt P.E. it's a beauty.

June 23, 2012, 06:38 PM
Beautiful. No sense in letting them "go to waste". If a collector offers the right price in "as is condition" before chopping, by all means, sell it to someone that appreciates it. If not, turn it into something beautiful.

I can't imagine that if the things had feelings, they wouldn't rather be turned into something beautiful and "useful" rather than just being stowed away somewhere, only looked at occasionally.

June 23, 2012, 07:00 PM
That is a nice looking rifle and if you think about it, it with others also makes the ones that remained mil-spec fewer and thus more valuable.

June 23, 2012, 08:07 PM
I honesty never thought the mil-specs would be worth what they are. I regret passing on the last near mint 1903 that was offered to me for 200 bucks.

June 23, 2012, 11:40 PM
there are some awesome sporter jobs. once saw an m1 carbine in full length manlicher style stck that almost made me cry it was so pretty

June 24, 2012, 08:26 AM
Honestly, it is tough to get upset over what other people choose to do with their property. It is there guns after all, they can do with them what they please. I wouldn't modify a mil surp today, but back then when they were more common? Maybe.

However, I will admit to cringing when I see a poorly done modification. A true Bubba job. Same thing on classic cars, I barf a little in my mouth when I see a 64 Pontiac GTO that was clearly painted with one, thick glopped on coat of paint (lots of orange peel, mottling, heavy finish variation, overspray, etc). Lord knows what kind of metal problems Bubba was trying to hide.

ColtPython's 1903 by definition is NOT a bubba job. Very nicely done from what I can see. And back then, sporterizing mil surps was probably more common than not, unlike today.

June 24, 2012, 08:32 AM
not my $$--don't care. :neener:

June 24, 2012, 12:38 PM
They are only buubbafied when you take a known collectable and turn them into something else. Most likely this was changed many years ago before the collectors factor kicked in. I have my father-in laws fathers 1917 that was sporterized in the 1950's. Back then it was a $15 necessary tool for putting meat on the table.
That's a nice looking sporter.

June 24, 2012, 08:19 PM
I think Bubbafucation is in half-assin' a sporterization. Even CMP and the NRA as proponents of the old CMP had wonderful generalized guidelines for the sporterizing of these in an attempt to broaden the base of interest.

Current values not withstanding, I think a tasteful sportitude is a well deserved second life to these, for that matter, many were never line/combat weapons anyhow.

I'd say there wasn't a Bubba anywhere within hollerin' distance of the OP's or M-2's sporterizeratorfication of their respective wonderful surplus firearms.

June 24, 2012, 09:36 PM
Definitely a beauty! I have several Milsurps still in military trim and they will stay that way but... I have an 03-A3, a 1903, and two Lee Enfield No 4 Mk Is that were sporterized in either '50s or '60s. All are pretty good shooters, especially the 1903. One of the Enfields is really a bubba and not a sporter. But it shoots well also. I wouldn't sporterize one today but I have no problem owning and enjoying quality work that was done years ago when these rifles had little value.

June 24, 2012, 10:54 PM
Really nice '03! Beauty in my eye. Back in the day, that was a common, cheap rifle (as in $15.00). This was the chance for lots of common folks with rag-tag rifles to pick up a top-notch high quality piece of workmanship for next to nothing. Of course, most of those people had no need for a military rifle, they needed a hunting rifle, so they modified them to suit their needs. That's exactly the point, correct? A rifle is a tool and if the tool doesn't fit the task, you modify it to work, or get another. Look at what we're doing to AKs, FALs, etc... 80 years from now, folks will be calling you AK modifiers "Bubba".

My grandpa put a '03-a3 on a rinehart fagen monte-carlo stock and left it otherwise stock. That was the gun he and his family used and was proud of. I figure get a gun you want, change it however you like, and to heck what other people think. I wouldn't mod an '03-a3 today, but I sure would have back then, as many of us would.

June 24, 2012, 11:46 PM
I'm usually against sporterizing rifles that would be worth upwards of $600 in any other condition but that is a pretty splendid job.

Joshua M. Smith
June 25, 2012, 01:23 AM
So, what do you say?

<pics snipped>

Colt, you didn't get that from Bass and Bucks, did you? If not, its twin is sitting there, old-style reticle 'scope and all, in .300 Win Mag.

I've almost bought it several times, but the caliber keeps turning me off. I'd want to put it back into an original stock and use a period sniper's 'scope, but I don't do anything with the .300 and have no need for anything that powerful around here.

I guess I like them in their original stocks, just because I have more to work with, but I'm not fanatical about it by any means.



June 25, 2012, 07:51 AM
looks dead sexy to me. and very very far away from Bubba, his hacksaw and his imagination.
This rifle looks to have been worked on by someone with the knowledge to do their work well. Easy on the eyes and functional(accurate) has a beauty all its own.

June 25, 2012, 10:45 AM

No, my rifle is not the same as the one you saw...Mine is still an '06.


You are correct. The man who did this rifle did some skilled work. I need to take some detailed pics of the mods made....For instance, the bolt was modified. It not longer has the knob on the back or the safety on the bolt. It now has a crossbolt style trigger block safety in the trigger guard. The scope mounts are also unique and machined to fit to the gun. They may even have been made just for the rifle.

Jim Watson
June 25, 2012, 10:53 AM
We definitely need those closeup pictures.
Removal of the cocking piece knob takes some knowhow, not just a hacksaw; and a crossbolt safety like Muh Scattergun is a lot of work on a bolt action.

June 26, 2012, 02:54 PM
Here are some pics. I recently purchased the rifle and do not know who the gunsmith was. I'd guess from the style of the rifle, the work was done sometime in the 60's.

The trigger guard safety and modified bolt:

June 26, 2012, 02:56 PM

June 26, 2012, 03:01 PM
A good crown job on a nicely turned down barrel:

June 27, 2012, 12:37 PM
Looks nice to me. I'm not a fan of early 20th century military firearms. In fact I see them as nothing more then tomato stakes. This one is the first I've ever liked, and that says alot.

June 27, 2012, 01:42 PM
Tragically bubba'd. A fine piece of history turned into a plain old hunting rifle.

The work technically appears to be very good, and aesthetically a nice job, but to me it just defacing a classic in its own right.

But, just my own opinions. A man can do whatever he like to his own property, I suppose.

July 30, 2012, 11:48 PM
its a shame. They did her like that, they did it to alot of them But that only makes my original Remington 03 A1 b ring a premium price tag.

If you enjoyed reading about "1903...Bubba'd or a beauty?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!