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Difference between 1903 and 1903A3

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Spinner, May 10, 2006.

  1. Spinner

    Spinner Active Member

    Dec 8, 2003
    New Zealand

    Hope you folks can help me out. I would like to know the principle differences in the metalwork between the Springfield 1903 and the 1903A3. In particular the differences in metalwork that would affect the fitting of a stock or a scope mount.

    I have inherited my father's sporterised RIA Springfield 1903. I gather that it used to have a rear sight that was fitted by means of a sleeve just forward of the receiver but now wears what appears to be an aftermarket peep sight on the rear of the receiver.

    This rifle is already sporterised and I was thinking of restocking it with a stock that fits me better, fitting a scope and taking it hunting. I need to know if the absence of the rear sight sleeve makes it more like a 1903A3 for stock fitting purposes and if there was a difference in receiver between the 03 and the 03A3 that would affect a scope mount.

    Thanks for any help you can provide.

  2. impalasbelair

    impalasbelair New Member

    Apr 24, 2006
    Look at photos in sight www.labradorman.com/Guns/M1903A3_Springfield.htm to see A3 verses A4 models (sniper model with scope). I just last week inherited a 1903-A3 that my grandpa bought my dad when he was young. My grandpa said it was the same gun he used in Europe. I know nothing of guns, I've shot this 3 times in my life, it looks brand new. Has the rear peep sight. I love history and have some of my grandpa's photos on sites dedicated to the 44th Division and the gun is very symbolic to me of his life and that era of history which I have studied since childhood. Would like original strap and cleaning kit.
  3. Limeyfellow

    Limeyfellow Participating Member

    May 31, 2005
    NC, USA
    You had the older 1903 then. The 1903a3 and after had peep sights the other side of the reciever.
  4. thales

    thales New Member

    May 10, 2004

    The 03A3 has the rear aperture sight mounted on a dovetail at the rear of the receiver. The 03 has the rear open sight mounted, as you mentioned, on a press-fit sleeve on the barrel just ahead of the receiver. The scope mounts are different. Both types of scope mount should be available from Brownell's, and will take drilling and tapping by somebody who knows how. Your receiver mounted sight may or may not complicate things. If the sleeve on the barrel is still there, it is unaesthetic and will complicate stock-fitting a little.
    The trigger guard on the 03 is a nice looking piece of milled steel. On the 03A3 the trigger guard is stamped and spot-welded; ugly, in other words. These are minor differences and usually will not prevent fitting a stock rather easily.

  5. Gewehr98

    Gewehr98 Mentor

    Dec 24, 2002
    Visual cues...

    This is a 1903, or more specifically, a 1903A1 (pistol-gripped 1903). Note the rear sight is on the barrel, the barrel band, bayonet lug, and trigger guard assembly are milled, the rear of the receiver is clean, and the front handguard ends in front of the rear sight:


    Contrast that to the 1903A3 or 1903A4 Sniper, which has the front handguard ending at the receiver, a rear sight mounted on the rear receiver ring dovetail, and stamped hardware to include the barrel band, bayonet lug, and trigger guard. The 1903A3/1903A4 trigger guard assembly is also one-piece, with no provision for dropping the floorplate to empty live rounds - they must be removed through the top of the action, usually by cycling through the action. Here's a 1903A4 for comparison, my 1903A3 restoration project isn't ready for public viewing yet: ;)


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