Springfield '03 - rifle of my dreams?


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monotonous_iterancy
April 6, 2013, 02:42 PM
Today I was seriously considering going down to my lgs to buy something he's had for years. An unissued, unfired, still packed in cosmoline M44 Mosin Nagant for $250. I want something that will appreciate in value, and has a monstrous blast, complete with a fireball that doubles as a flame thrower. I wanted my neighbors from all around to think I was shooting a cannon on the weekends, and to that end, I needed the Mosin, the gun of choice for bears when teeth just aren't enough.

So I drove down there, fully expecting them to have it on the rack as they always have, yet to my dismay, the Mosin was gone. So was the M38, the M91/59. So I ask, hoping to learn something that might assuage my horror,

"Do you have any Mausers?"

Nope. They were gone too, the two Yugos, the 98/22, the vz-24, and the Spanish .308. All gone. Every surplus gun had been bought.

The old guy behind the counter told me something that has been playing back in my head all day,

"We've had guns here for 30 years, and they're gone. That's why if you want something, you've got to get it now. By the time you're old, they'll be worth 2, 3, maybe 4 times what you paid for them."

I thanked him and walked out, angry at myself for letting it slip away. But I still had plenty of excess want and regret, so I drove 20 minutes to the next gun store I knew of. They had 4 battered Type 53s all priced at $189. There was also a 6.5 Carcano at $365. I mulled over my options.

Long story short, I asked to see a Springfield 1903. It was made in 1943 by Remington, and came with a sling and reproduction bayonet. $895.

When I held that gun, the wellsprings of patriotism rose within me. Forget about those poorly made commie guns, forget about the Mausers, the Carcanos and all that. This gun could have stormed Guadalcanal, it was quality, solid, and made in America for Americans. It would make a nice companion piece for the M1 Garand I'm getting.

So if you all will, talk me out of this gun, or tell me I'm getting a bad deal.

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TCB in TN
April 6, 2013, 02:46 PM
Its a lot of money, but I love my 03. It was my grandfathers. 1st center fire rifle I ever shot. I killed my first deer with it, I made a lot of great memories with that gun. It is my favorite, period. Don't look for me to talk you out of it.

50 Shooter
April 6, 2013, 02:57 PM
I just got one for coughfreecough and taking it out tomorrow, it was made in '22. Can't wait to send some 30-06 down range. For a rifle that's almost 100 years old its in great condition, rifling looks good so I hope it shoots as good as it looks.

Sorry but I'm not good a talking people out of buying something so cool.

Reloadron
April 6, 2013, 02:58 PM
While $895 seems a little high I haven't seen the rifle. Many years ago I got a Remington for my dad a WW II veteran who as a young Marne trained with the 03A3. It was a DCM rifle with all the original papers. When my dad passed away back n '99 I got the rifle as he wanted me to have it. To me, the time shared with my dad and that rifle have made it priceless.

I am seeing good condition 03A3 rifles going between $800 and $1,000 give or take.

An unissued, unfired, still packed in cosmoline M44 Mosin Nagant for $250.

The lesson here is if you snooze you lose. If you want this 03A3 then pay the piper and enjoy your new to you gun.

So if you all will, talk me out of this gun, or tell me I'm getting a bad deal.

I make it a habit not to talk people into or out of guns. Your call on it. As to worth? I don't know your finances either or what financial responsibilities you have? For me if the rifle was minty with correct stock and cartouche I would likely buy it. Then too, I am obviously not you. Your call....

Ron

leadcounsel
April 6, 2013, 03:12 PM
It's on the high side for price, but a fair value. If it's original and in good condition, buy it. You can't lose money on it because it will retain it's value.

I snapped up two beautiful 1903s in fantastic shape in 2011 and 2012, for about $475 and $400 each. I just lucked into them at a gun show and off a classified ad.

monotonous_iterancy
April 6, 2013, 03:33 PM
As to worth? I don't know your finances either or what financial responsibilities you have?


If it's original and in good condition, buy it.

Well, I currently have a very small income, but no financial responsibilities. So most of this will be paid for with money I've saved over the course of about a year. I didn't look at the rifling though, I wish I would have actually looked at the internals. All I know is that it said "Remington 1944" or something.

I'm sure it would increase the over-all value and coolness of my collection, but there's always this pull I feel between modern semi-autos and old bolt or older surplus semis. I don't have a proper battle rifle, as in an AR or AK type rifle.

Sure they're "tacti-cool", and I should probably get one eventually, but I'll still be able to buy an AR when I'm 30. These older guns will probably be a much rarer sight by then.

Reloadron
April 6, 2013, 03:46 PM
Well, I currently have a very small income, but no financial responsibilities. So most of this will be paid for with money I've saved over the course of about a year. I didn't look at the rifling though, I wish I would have actually looked at the internals. All I know is that it said "Remington 1944" or something.

I'm sure it would increase the over-all value and coolness of my collection, but there's always this pull I feel between modern semi-autos and old bolt or older surplus semis. I don't have a proper battle rifle, as in an AR or AK type rifle.

Sure they're "tacti-cool", and I should probably get one eventually, but I'll still be able to buy an AR when I'm 30. These older guns will probably be a much rarer sight by then.
Well while I can't tell you what to or what not to buy I'll share this much with you.

I turned the 30 you mention well over 30 years ago. I know well what a budget is as well as feeding and clothing children. Over all the years sine I was 13 and scrimped and saved for my first rifle things have changed. Life has been good, the children are out in their own lives with children of their own, the house is paid for and we are very financially stable. Your day will also come along. Now, when I see something I like, I generally just buy it.

You won't go wrong with an O3A3 that is for sure. I paid $300 for the one I mentioned earlier. My wife sees all the guns as investments and when I check out for the big range she can live well.

My guns bring me countless hours of enjoyment on the range as I would hope this O3A3 will bring you. Hard to nail a price on enjoyment but I figure a week in Disney World was money well spent and that is all that matters.

Read into all this babbling, buy the gun and enjoy it. :)

All in due time there will be more.

Ron

GBExpat
April 6, 2013, 04:03 PM
I asked to see a Springfield 1903. It was made in 1943 by RemingtonThis gun could have stormed Guadalcanal Sure ... until you consider that the Marines first went ashore on Guadalcanal in Aug'42 ... and they weren't carrying any 03A3s, only 03s. ;)

I really like the 03A3s and for that reason have been lucky to have acquired a few over the years.

Sorry but since the advent of the most recent firearms market craziness I am not familiar with current pricing ... but a few years ago good-condition Remingtons were going for, IIRC, $600-$700 ... so $895 might not be a bad price today.

ali9cg8
April 6, 2013, 04:49 PM
I inherited mine from my grandfather who bought it in the late 50' s for hunting but never shot it. It was army surplus, but never used. Spent two glorious weeks covered in cosmoline, replacing springs, and loving every minute. I learned how to shoot it by watching Rick Crawford (fellow leftie-great shooter) Camp Perry matches.

I would never want to pick favorites but I love that rifle.
Congratulations on your find, sounds like you won the gun lottery! Enjoy.

Steel Horse Rider
April 6, 2013, 07:17 PM
I was in my favorite gun store today and the smith brought out a pre 1930 Springfield '03 that may be unfired. It is as new as any rifle I have ever seen and has a silver presentation nameplate on the side of the stock with a soldiers name, unit, and a date of 1930. It is from a local collector of '03's who has decided to start selling off his collection. It is not on the rack yet and is probably going to be priced around $1500. I raised my hand to be the first buyer when he was ready. This one will probably be the only gun I have ever bought that I probably won't shoot. I already have a Smith Corona 03A3 for shooting purposes.

Baba Louie
April 6, 2013, 07:28 PM
If history is any indicator, it will never be cheaper to buy...

Talk you out of buying?!?!? Not me. Save, give blood, eat ramen, do whatcha gotta. He who hesitates... and all that.

Are they really asking that much for 03's nowadays? :eek:

Wow. I've been out of the loop for awhile I guess.

monotonous_iterancy
April 6, 2013, 07:53 PM
^ That's part of what I'm asking. Are 1903a3 Springfields really worth that much, or are they over-pricing?

wrench
April 6, 2013, 08:44 PM
$895 might be a fine price, might be a little high, hard to say without seeing the rifle.
My 1903a3s are all great shooters, and, is there any better looking rifle?????

NeuseRvrRat
April 6, 2013, 08:48 PM
When I held that gun, the wellsprings of patriotism rose within me. Forget about those poorly made commie guns, forget about the Mausers, the Carcanos and all that. This gun could have stormed Guadalcanal, it was quality, solid, and made in America for Americans.

an American copy of a German design, eh?

Roadkill
April 6, 2013, 09:32 PM
Too high - I got this one from a member here a few months ago for $500, be patient - should find a good one in the $500-$700 range.

http://www.hunt101.com/watermark.php?file=788670&size=1

1917 Springfield. 1940s RIA, 1944 Remington

http://www.hunt101.com/watermark.php?file=788673&size=1

monotonous_iterancy
April 6, 2013, 10:49 PM
So $895 is overpriced even for one in good condition with an accessory or two?

highpower
April 6, 2013, 11:22 PM
I think that it may be a bit high, but then again, everything has gone up over the last few months. I would think that if it is in really good condition and is indeed an original rifle, it may very well worth around $700 (or maybe a bit more) OTD, including the accessories. The reproduction bayonet is not worth all that much and the only other things that it would have been issued with is a sling and a buttstock oiler.

The operative words here are original condition. They were never manufactured with a scant stock and if it has one it is not original. There are certain parts that have certain finishes (blued or parkerized) and if they are not right it is also a clue that it has been reworked. Also there should be some cartouches on the left side of the stock and inspectors stamps in front of the triggerguard along with a single 'P' in a circle behind the triggerguard. It is getting to be really hard to find one that hasn't been through some kind of a rebuild or restoration. If you want, I can post some pictures of what the stamps and various parts should look like.

I have a few Springfields, both '03's and 03-A3's and IMO the A3 has better sights than the earlier model and makes a better shooter.

dvdcrr
April 6, 2013, 11:41 PM
I never liked 03's. Too much wood and metal pieces hanging off the barrel. I'd get a second Garand or a bunch of ammo and enblocs

monotonous_iterancy
April 6, 2013, 11:48 PM
Too much wood and metal pieces hanging off the barrel.

So I take it you don't much care for old bolt-actions?

monotonous_iterancy
April 6, 2013, 11:53 PM
If you want, I can post some pictures of what the stamps and various parts should look like.

I would appreciate that very much.

I too like the sights. From the Mausers I've handled briefly, the sights on them are small and awkward. I like the peep sights on the Springfield. It almost seems like it's an upgraded Mauser firing a more common round.

highpower
April 7, 2013, 12:03 AM
Too much wood and metal pieces hanging off the barrel

I'm curious to know what parts the Springfield has that the Garand doesn't?

Lets see:

bayonet lug? check
stacking swivel? check
upper sling swivel? check
wood that goes nearly to the muzzle? check
gas cylinder? not on an '03
operating rod moving back and forth at the front of the barrel? not on a '03 either.

The fact is, a properly tuned '03 is a heck of a shooter, as is a Garand. I say, why not have both.

dvdcrr
April 7, 2013, 12:08 AM
I've owned 2 03's. I've never cared for the way they break down. The upper handguard and retainers front and rear which have to be removed. I like the British no4 though. I like the Garand the best. I really like my M1a in the synthetic, I think a loaded stainless is where it's at.

dvdcrr
April 7, 2013, 12:10 AM
You can take a Garand apart without messing with the front handguard and hardware.

rondog
April 7, 2013, 12:13 AM
I can send you to a GS in Kansas that has a run-of-the-mill '03 for $1700.....

highpower
April 7, 2013, 12:16 AM
The thing is, there is no real reason to take a '03 apart.

dvdcrr
April 7, 2013, 12:39 AM
Yeah but reason never seems to stop me.

monotonous_iterancy
April 7, 2013, 12:42 AM
I assume that it would be like disassembling a Mosin right? I've only taken the handguard off it once. To clean the Springfield, wouldn't the only necessary thing to do be removing the bolt?

GBExpat
April 7, 2013, 07:38 AM
Yeah but reason never seems to stop me.
Apparently. ;)

You lobbed that one right over the center of the plate ... someone had to swing. <chuckle>

monotonous_iterancy
April 7, 2013, 11:06 AM
So the next time I go there, what exactly should I look for that would tell me if it's collectable enough to justify that price tag?

highpower
April 7, 2013, 12:14 PM
So the next time I go there, what exactly should I look for that would tell me if it's collectable enough to justify that price tag?

Here is a quick primer on what to look for:

The barrel date should be no more that three months earlier than the production date of the receiver. This the date that is located just behind the front sight. If it is marked H-S, SA or has a 44 date, it is the wrong barrel and I would walk away unless the price was substantially reduced.

The stock should be a straight grip type like this.
http://highpower.smugmug.com/Firearms/Remington-03-A3/i-pNvSHDN/0/XL/IMG_1537-XL.jpg

It should have cartouches on the left side of the stock at the wrist. This is a shot of the cartouches on a Smith-Corona.
http://highpower.smugmug.com/Firearms/Smith-Corona-03-A3/i-w5hL8bp/0/XL/IMG_1592-XL.jpg

All Remington and Smith-Corona stocks will have the same cartouches, except that later production Remington will sometimes have a 'RA' stamp in front of the crossed cannons and boxed 'FJA'. Sometimes the rifles went through an arsenal inspection and will have the inspecting facilities stamp on it also. Note the 'RIA' in front of the cut off recess and the 'RA' in front of the cartouches on this Remington. It is a bit hard to see on this one as some jackass sanded the stock in the past.
http://highpower.smugmug.com/Firearms/Remington-03-A3/i-Q3gcKMX/0/XL/IMG_1543-XL.jpg

There are inspectors stamps in front of the triggerguard. Remington:
http://highpower.smugmug.com/Firearms/Remington-03-A3/i-vF3mGGS/0/XL/IMG_1611-XL.jpg

S-C stamps look the same but use a different set of numbers inside of the circles/squares/triangles.
http://highpower.smugmug.com/Firearms/Smith-Corona-03-A3/i-tDPnBXM/0/XL/IMG_1756-XL.jpg

Note that the portion of the triggerguard just to the rear of the front guard screw is curved on the S-C and straight on the Remington.

There are two main differences between the original stock manufactures that are easy to spot. One is the cut out for the lower band retaining spring. the Remington cut in the stock has square ends and the S-C has round ends.

Remington.
http://highpower.smugmug.com/Firearms/Remington-03-A3/i-8pnCpCV/0/XL/IMG_1614-XL.jpg

Smith-Corona.
http://highpower.smugmug.com/Firearms/Smith-Corona-03-A3/i-vvPp3Lq/0/XL/IMG_1595-XL.jpg

The other sure fire way to tell is the firing proof stamp behind the triggerguard. Remington used a 7/16" stamp and S-C used a 1/2' stamp. If the rifle was rebuilt there will be a second 'P' stamp also. Sometimes the second proof is in a square or it may be just by itself.

Remington.
http://highpower.smugmug.com/Firearms/Remington-03-A3/i-K5fLxgQ/0/XL/IMG_1612-XL.jpg

S-C.
http://highpower.smugmug.com/Firearms/Smith-Corona-03-A3/i-ZbBzhtS/0/XL/IMG_1594-XL.jpg

All small parts on a Remington will be marked with an 'R'. If a part has a 'RA' or 'R-P' it is a replacement. The same parts that are marked on a Remington are usually unmarked on a S-C. Most small parts on a Remington are blued (bayonet lug, stacking swivel and band, lower band and sling swivel, bolt assembly, triggerguard and screws.

There is some other small details, but this should get you started.

xfyrfiter
April 7, 2013, 05:27 PM
I own an original bayonet with issue scabbard that was a WWII bring back off my dads issue rifle. Uncle would not let the rifle go, as it was an issue sniper, with a scope.

shafter
April 7, 2013, 05:35 PM
When I held that gun, the wellsprings of patriotism rose within me. Forget about those poorly made commie guns, forget about the Mausers, the Carcanos and all that. This gun could have stormed Guadalcanal, it was quality, solid, and made in America for Americans. It would make a nice companion piece for the M1 Garand I'm getting.



What better reason could anyone give for buying a rifle? I say go for it! Is your Garand coming from the CMP?

monotonous_iterancy
April 7, 2013, 05:53 PM
What better reason could anyone give for buying a rifle? I say go for it! Is your Garand coming from the CMP?

Yes. I haven't sent the check in, but I think I've finally got all the qualifications in order.

I just really, really hope they give me a Walnut stock. I don't care if it's original or new manufacture, I just don't want that ugly orange birch.

Reloadron
April 7, 2013, 07:31 PM
I just really, really hope they give me a Walnut stock. I don't care if it's original or new manufacture, I just don't want that ugly orange birch.

Ugly? Ugly you say? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

http://www.bearblain.com/images/Old%20and%20New.png

I like the ugly orange birch. I could easily stain it but I like it as it is. This ugly rifle looks fine to me. The GI stock was stripped and only an oil finish applied.

http://www.bearblain.com/images/DCM%201.png

I could put it in new walnut for about $100 but have come to like this ugly rifle. :)

Ron

monotonous_iterancy
April 7, 2013, 07:36 PM
I guess I just like surplus rifles to have darker wood. It makes it seem more tough, rugged, worthy of the name battle rifle. But that's just me.

I must say though, yours doesn't look bad.

NeuseRvrRat
April 7, 2013, 07:37 PM
ugly? debatable

not as pretty as the walnut with an oil finish? the vast majority would agree

Reloadron
April 7, 2013, 08:03 PM
:)

My walnut one is in the mix. I just had to comment on the ugly birch.

Now we can resume the 03A3............ :)

Ron

monotonous_iterancy
April 7, 2013, 08:10 PM
Alright, how does it compare to a Mauser?

The only large caliber bolt actions I've ever fired are a Mosin 91/30, and a Ruger M77 in .270. How does it compare to those?

Tinpig
April 7, 2013, 08:27 PM
I have a 1929 Springfield 1903 and a 1943 Remington 03A3. They are two of my favorite rifles to look at and to shoot.
http://i214.photobucket.com/albums/cc91/ccanhamjr/Guns/IMG_0125-1.jpg
The price seems a little high to me, but who knows these days.
You don't have to jump too fast, take your time and enjoy looking around, there are plenty out there. You will absolutely love the 03A3 or the 1903, or the 1917 for that matter. Garands are better than great, but there's also something special about the old bolt-actions.
Don't be distracted by bayonets and slings and pretty wood. If you're going to shoot it the most important thing to look for (assuming the rifle is safe) is the condition of the bore. A spotless, beautiful, inaccurate rifle gets tiresome fast.

Tinpig

50 Shooter
April 8, 2013, 12:18 PM
Had the 1903 out yesterday, what a great shooter! Ran surplus and reloads through it, everything worked great. Didn't have to do any adjusting to the sights other then adjusting it for different ranges. It hammered everything, I didn't need a spotter as you could hear the thump on the metal targets.

You did say you wanted the 1903 right? LOL

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