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1903 Springfield sight question?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Kor, Jun 30, 2004.

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  1. Kor

    Kor Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Tucson, AZ
    Okay, so I was at the range on Sunday with my newly-acquired, 1920-receiver/1942-barrel Springfield 1903 Mark I(thanks, phxtravis!) and some Korean PS74 .30-06 M2 ball ammo, trying to see how it shoots at 100yds.

    I start out with the rear peep set at 100yds, 'cause it's the most precise aperture on the rear sight slide, and everyone seems to prefer the peep over the "Christmas-tree" notch, let alone the battle-sight notch. Well, at 100 yds, the peep seems to shoot a few inches low.

    Okay, move the peep up to 200yds...closer, but point-of-impact is still low... 300yds on the peep...still low. :confused:

    (Edit: After due consideration, consultation and a thorough play-by-play analysis, I've determined that, last night, I typed "high" in the above paragraph when I should have typed "low." :eek: )

    Finally, out of frustration, my buddy Dan decides to use the battle-sight notch at 100yds. Now, I've done all the research, and I KNOW that the 1903 battle-sight is zeroed for 547yds - for Pete's sake, it SAYS so in black and white in my reprint of the 1944 Army TM on the 1903-series rifles. So, I'm thinking that Dan's gonna shoot a foot or two high...instead, I see his shot impact only about 2 inches high at 100yds through my spotting scope. :eek: After about 3 more shots to calibrate his hold-under, Dan completely destroyed a rock the size of my foot, up on the 100yd berm.

    Of course, I try the battle-sight also, just to see if Dan's shooting was a fluke...and I'm also hitting barely a couple of inches above point-of-aim at 100yds. :scrutiny:

    Now, from what I understand, the Marines used a taller, thicker front sight blade with a replacement battle-sight notch insert to re-zero 1903's for 200yds - but also, from what I understand, those parts are rare and expensive collector's items. Anyway, the front sight blade on my rifle doesn't look any thicker or that much taller than the front sight on my 1903A3. The dovetailed "moveable stud" for the front sight is stamped with the number "2", but I have no idea what that translates to in terms of sight height. (The stock is also stamped "2" just aft of the lower barrel band - coincidence, or is that supposed to mean something?)

    So, what gives with the battle-sight on this rifle? Did I just luck out, and my rifle just happens to have a 100-200yd battle-sight zero? Or was this something that the arsenals decided to do as a change on all or some of the WWII-reworked 1903's? I could see that being a desirable change on training rifles, so you wouldn't have to teach recruits how to aim with a 547yd battle-sight zero in Basic Training, only to "unlearn" it once they were issued an M1 Garand in-theater - thing is, I don't have any corroboration for this theory.

    Any Springfield gurus out there got any ideas about the zero on my rifle?
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2004
  2. 444

    444 Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    It sounds like someone changed your front sight with a taller one. I have never looked into the matter, but I am sure they are available. I know you can buy taller front sights for Mausers because a couple friends of mine bought them.
    This, to me, wouldn't be a good thing. It would mean that the graduations on your peep sight are now inaccurate. Of course you could take the rifle out and shoot it at the various ranges and see what the appropirate sight setting is, but I prefer to try to use a standard GI load and stick with the sight settings provided.
    I just got an 03 a couple weeks ago and haven't taken it out yet. After reading your post I plugged some numbers into a ballistic program to see where the rifle should be hitting. I used a velocity of 2700 fps, a 150 grain spitzer bullet and a 547 yard zero. It should shoot 24.34 inches high at 100 yards and at 300 yards be 51.85 inches high :what:
    I have read that the reason for that particular range was the result of the switch from the 220 grain bullet (? something like that) to the 150 grain bullet. They left the sights the same which resulted in the 547 yard zero. This seems crazy to me. Even at 50 yards it shoots a foot high.
    Never the less, we used it, in part to win two world wars.
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