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1903 Vs: 1903a3

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by RTFM, Aug 15, 2005.

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  1. RTFM

    RTFM member

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    What is the differences in the Springfield 1903 VS: 1903A3?

    Thinking about getting a CMP bolt action but I am not familiar with the differences.

    Thanks

    RTFM.
     
  2. USSR

    USSR Member

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    The primary difference is the location and type of rear sight. The 03 has a regular rear sight mounted on the barrel just in front of the receiver, while the 03-A3 has a peep sight mounted on the rear receiver bridge. While the 03-A3 has some stamped parts where the 03's are milled, the 03-A3's rear sight is much superior, in MHO, to the 03's.

    Don
     
  3. shield20

    shield20 Member

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    The major difference is the 1903 had a traditional open sight mounted on the barrel, while the A3 has an adjustable ring sight mounted on the receiver. For comparison - the A3 sight is sort of like the adjustable sights on the later M1 carbines, while the '03 sight is close to what was on Mausers at the time. The handguard was also different to accomodate the different sight locations.

    Other differences include stamped parts on the A3 vs milled parts on the 03. (butt plate, barrel bands, magazine/floor plate/trigger guard, etc.)

    Also - the A3 was made by Remington (who came up with the changes) & Smith-Corona. The 03 was made by Springfield Armory (US), Rock Island, and Remington.
     
  4. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    The M1903 is the standard rifle adopted in 1903, modified in 1905 (new sights and knife bayonet, versus the original rod bayonet) and re-chambered for the .30-06 in 1906 (versus the original .30-03.)

    The M1903A3 is the WWII version, made as a supplement to the M1 Garand. it uses many stamped and welded non-functional parts (such as the trigger guard, sling swivels, bands, buttplate and so on) to speed manufacture. Many were made with 2-groove instead of 4-groove barrels. It also has an apereture sight mounted on the receiver bridge instead of the complicated mid-sight of the M1903. The finish is not quite as good.

    Having said that, let me point out that the M1903 mid-sight is an abomination. The battlesight is set for 547 yards -- much too far. The notches and apertures on the flip-up sight leaf are too small for anyone with less than perfect vision. For a shooter or hunting rifle, the M1903A3 is the better choice. For a wall-hanger or a target rifle (if you have perfect vision) the M1903 might be a tad better.
     
  5. RTFM

    RTFM member

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    Thanks guys!
     
  6. MechAg94

    MechAg94 Member

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    I have an 03A3 that shoots great. I like the peep site also. I always figured I would come back one day and order an 03 just to have both. We'll see. My gun fund is tapped out and more this year.
     
  7. Eightball

    Eightball Member

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    Outta curiosity, which rifle is cheaper from the CMP? And, just to delude a buddy of mine who wants to "bubba-ize" one if he gets it :barf: , which one is easier/harder to mount a scope onto? :p
     
  8. alamo

    alamo Member

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    Same price - $400
     
  9. jefnvk

    jefnvk Member

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    I'l disagree with Vern on one point, I like the 03 sights better for target shooting. Flip the sight up, and you have a forward ghost sight gratuated in 25 or 50 yard increments (forgot which),
     
  10. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    The '03 leaf sight comes into its own when shooting the old National Match course (out to 600 yards.) With the O'Hare micrometer attachment, precise repeatable sight adjustments can be made. With the A3 it is difficult to accurately switch settings from 300 to 600 yards, and you are allowed only limited sighters.

    That aside, the A3 sights are much superior. I only wish the Army had gone with them from the first, and included a wide, flat-topped front sight, like that on the M1917 Enfield.
     
  11. cracked butt

    cracked butt Member

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    I with they would have put the same sights on the A3 as they did on the M1, that would have made one outstanding rifle.
     
  12. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    Alphonso X of Portugal ("Alphonso the Wise") used to have a saying, "Had I been present at the creation, I would have given some helpful hints for the better ordering of things."

    I would have decreed an aperture sight on the receiver bridge with a 250 yard battlesight setting. The front sight would have been like the M1917 Enfield (which is not so differnt from the M1 front sight.)

    I would have had better gas handling (a thumb cut in the right raceway and a flange on the cocking shroud), a horzontal safety (like the Winchester Model 70), a bolt shaped for scope use, and scope bases forged integral with the receiver. I'd have ordered development of a 1" tube scope, probably 4X, and directed the Chief of Infantry to form a Sniper School.
     
  13. Ash

    Ash Member

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    You know, I never understood why they didn't just release the M1917's from arsenal storage. It was an accurate, proven, combat rifle that was available and would have allowed more production room for M1's.

    Ash
     
  14. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    At one time dropping the M1903 and adopting the M1917 was serioulsy considered. In those days, the insignia of the Infantry was the current rifle. When we changed rifles, we changed insignia. If you go to the Infantry School at Fort Benning, go to the Officer's Club, which was built in the 1920s. The Infantry Insignia is set in a mosaic in the floor at the main entrance -- and it's crossed M1917s.
     
  15. jefnvk

    jefnvk Member

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    Yeah, I do agree that he A3 was a superior battle sight. The rear big peep sights are much easier to use in a hurry, than the finer 03 sights.
     
  16. MechAg94

    MechAg94 Member

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    I kind of like the thin front sight for my target shooting. I feel like I can set it right under the bull's eye and hit where I am aiming. Each to his own I guess. It does take a little extra time to find when setting up the aim as it is so thin. I haven't tried to shoot it in the dark yet.

    I read a statement a while back that someone asked soldiers if they had actually looked and aimed through the peep site in battle. Almost no one had. This was back around WWII. I think they thought the notch sight was more easily used outside the rifle range. I can't remember where I saw that.
     
  17. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    Oh, it's a good target sight, if you have good eyes.

    Shooting at fleeting targets in combat, it ain't so good.

    That's probably some of SLA Marshall's "findings." All the film footage of troops firing in combat shows overwhelmingly they used the sights.
     
  18. AH-1

    AH-1 Member In Memoriam

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    here is another vote for the 1903 sights.maybe not the best for close range combat but then I would rather have a thompson anyways :) .
    remember the rear sight on the 03A3 each click is 4 moa for windage. kind of a pita where the 03 sight can be dialed in as long as you don't need a seeing eye dog on the firing line.
    AH-1
     
  19. cracked butt

    cracked butt Member

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    "you can't always get what you want" -Mick Jagger

    :D
     
  20. NEtracker

    NEtracker Member

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    I like my CMP 03 for punching paper, but I find that I shoot the 03A3 more often.... that is when I can manage to put down the M1! :D
     
  21. Sleeping Dog

    Sleeping Dog Member

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    Well, at least it HAS clicks. There's nothing so definite on the 03 windage adjustment, it just moves smoothly, no clicks. The elevation is even less definite on the 03, push the slider and tightin the screw. It may be more useful with a micrometer-type adjuster, as Vern mentioned, but that's another device to keep track of.

    The 03 and 03A3 front blade is nice for targets, but it would seem to be a pain for anything else. It's hard enough to find in good light at a range, but in bad light at dusk or in deep woods (Corregidor?) it would be a serious hindrance. Occasionally I see a reference to a "Marine" front sight. Did the Corps come up with their own blade? Maybe a wider one like on the M1 Garand?

    Regards
     
  22. AH-1

    AH-1 Member In Memoriam

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    it would seem to be a split on thoughts on the sights on the A3 vs 03 both are good sights.I like the 03 sights your mileage may vary :) .
    I guess after 20+ in the army and teaching basic marksmanship I like the fine sight picture but it just isn't for everyone.
    AH-1
     
  23. Mk VII

    Mk VII Member

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  24. Balog

    Balog Member

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    How difficult would it be to retro-fit an '03 with better sights?
     
  25. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    When I joined the Army in '62, I trained on the M1 -- with it's great rear aperture sight and fat front sight. And my Advanced Infantry Training company was the LAST one to train with the M1.

    So you GOTTA be older than I am! :neener:
     
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