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school me on 1903s

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by carterbeauford, Dec 20, 2006.

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  1. carterbeauford

    carterbeauford member

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    Forgive me, I can't make up my mind with the new C&R. Rather than buy something inexpensive just to use the license, I've been thinking about making an investment. Besides, US surplus rifles trip my trigger more than those from overseas. Basically I am looking for something historically significant, nice to shoot, and pretty to hang on my wall.

    I've heard they are one of the most accurate bolt action rifles in history. Please elaborate, accurate with any special load?

    I think the 1903A4 snipers are one of the sexiest rifles I have ever seen. Do I even want to know what one costs with an authentic original scope?

    What is a good source? I see the CMP is sold out and not accepting orders :(
     
  2. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    You could write a book. Brophy did.

    Most accurate? Probably not, the 03 was liklier more accurate than the 8mms it fought but not enough to matter much. The Swiss and Swedes had equal or more accurate infantry rifles, but the Swiss and the Swedes weren't fighting any wars.

    An original and authentic '03A4 would cost you several thousands. A good fake, properly acknowledged as such, would be a thousand or two.

    You will just have to haunt the gun shows and www sites. The CMP greatly increased the number of surplus rifles an individual could buy and the speculators were grabbing them by the dozens as long as they lasted and are now taking their profits.
     
  3. langenc

    langenc Member

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    They are also grabbing the garands the same way and will make lots of bucks one day.
     
  4. mete

    mete Member

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    You could get a Mark I which is more reliable since it has two ejection ports !!
     
  5. Colt46

    Colt46 Member

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    Beautiful piece of history

    I think they are the sexiest bolt action milsurp ever. Something with that hump back, I guess.

    I don't think they are really all that accurate. I think it was something to do with slow lock time. I think the Garand made a better sniper platform.
    They have a slightly less than 24" barrel courtesy of Springfield's need to rechamber them when they decided that the .30-03 wasn't quite what was needed to counter the latest spitzer bullet design from Europe. They were originally equiped with a slender 'rod' bayonet that is quited valuable. It was lambasted and changed for a more conventional style after only a few years.

    At one point, thousands were modified to accept a new magazine and fire a handgun cartridge similar to the .32 ACP. These "Pederson" Devices are extremely rare and worth a bazillion dollars if they ever show up on the market. More numerous are a number of rifles that had another port cut into their recievers to accomdate the Pederson's. The system was never used in combat as Springfield was concerned that troops would lose the bolt that needed to be removed for the device to be employed.

    The 1903 were supposed to be the US army's answer to the 98 mauser sold all over the world to everybody, but the brits and the russians. We took great pains to correct all the problems that the Krag proved were wrong with Springfield Armory and their ideas of the perfect combat rifle.
    Mauser was so flattered by our end product that they sued for patent infringement and ended up winning a judgement that was pretty steep by early 20th century standards. I think we were still paying Mauser royalties until we opted in to WWI in 1917. As retarded as our National Armory has been over the years I'm thinking that they probably still paid even then!
     
  6. tdubya

    tdubya Member

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    heard a rumor that the CMP may be getting some 1903's in 2007. Anyone heard this rumor? Cant remember where i heard it:confused:
     
  7. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

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    I believe the only thing done to the A4 (sniper version) was leave off the sights and set it for the scope. No accurizing was done.
     
  8. perpster

    perpster Member

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    US Entry into WWI: Little Known Fact

    Actually, a little known fact of history is that the primary reason the US entered WWI was to have an excuse not to pay any more royalties to Mauser. SA was government run and operated, and those royalties were making a big dent in the budget (there weren't any income taxes yet). Mauser being German, the war was the perfect excuse to stop paying. You won't read about this in the history books (hey, they're written by the winners, right?), but trust me on this. :neener:
     
  9. rustymaggot

    rustymaggot Member

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    i have a remington 1903a3 sporter (if i have the correct name for what i have) it has a bushnell 3-9 scope and using a bipod ive had it do .61 5 shot groups at 50 yards. that was using some name brand ammo i forget what but i believe it was winchester white box. ive gotten a few boxes of old lc national match i am itching to try out. ive heard the lc will be more accurate but im not sure i can shoot much better than ive done already.
     
  10. Gewehr98

    Gewehr98 Member

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    Original cartouched and papered 1903A4 snipers run from $3-$6K of late.

    I found a 1903A4 that had been Bubba'ized into a deer rifle, and spent several years restoring it once I realized it had the proper offset serial number on the receiver. Even a restoration can cost a buttload of money. I purposely avoided adding the stock cartouches on my own 1903A4 restoration, and I've electropenciled the restoration date and my name on the bottom of the barrel so any future appraisers after I've taken my dirt nap will know the real story.

    [​IMG]

    A true 1903A4 has the offset serial numbers on the front receiver ring, no front sights or evidence of a front sight having been installed, a properly bent and clearanced bolt, and may come with either 4-groove or 2-groove barrel. The stock may be either the S-type "scant" stock with rudimentary pistol grip, or the 1903A1's C-type stock with full pistol grip.

    Accuracy with a 1903 variant is best determined by the condition of the specimen you're working with. If it looks like it's been dragged to hell and back, with a cleaning rod-eroded bore at the muzzle, or pitting inside the barrel that's more pronounced than the rifling, then of course it won't shoot well. Problem is, there aren't that many examples of a pristine or even genuinely well-kept 1903 Springfield out there, compared to all those nice Swedish M96 and M38 Mausers, or Swiss M1911 and K31 Schmidt-Rubins, which really didn't see much wartime use or hard service.

    Obviously, a well-maintained 1903A4 sniper with either M73 or M73B1 scope at 2.5x will give excellent accuracy. Mine goes about 3/4 MOA, and it sports a NOS 2-groove barrel. However, there was something to the old WWI adage about the Germans bringing a hunting rifle to the fight, the British bringing a fighting rifle, and the Americans bringing a target rifle. This October 1918 Springfield M1903, later upgraded to M1903A1 configuration, is every bit as accurate as my Swedish Mausers or Swiss M1911 Schmidt-Rubin. So accurate, in fact, that I was asked not to bring it to any more John C. Garand matches, so that the guys with the M1 Garands had a chance to take home a few trophies. ;)

    [​IMG]
     
  11. MrDig

    MrDig Member

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    The '03 was commisioned to compete with the Mausers that out shot us in the Spanish American War. It was acutally designed from Mausers captured during the Conflict. Once SA finally presented the '03 to the War Department one General asked if the best they could do was copy the Mauser.
    The 03 was more common in WWII because of the logistics of getting new Garands to the troops as quickly as they were needed according to my Dad who used one.
    As far as accuracy goes the battle of (Beulieu?) Sp? In WWI Marines were recording 800 to 900 yd confirmed kills with iron sights. My guess is that is fairly accurate.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2006
  12. wanderinwalker

    wanderinwalker Member

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    No offense, but this just sounds silly. An M-1 Garand, M-14, AR-15, 1903A3 and M98 Mauser all have terribly slow lock times. If I remember reading correctly, this was in part because of the large, heavy striker on the Mauser action, which was intended to increase reliabity. By extention, the 03 would suffer the same problem. The semis have this "problem" because they are hammer fired, which is way slow compared to say, a titanium firing pinned Remmy 700, or even a stock 700.

    At any rate, my father's Remington 03A3 is way accurate for something so old and rough. The bore is dark and the trigger is only OK. Thing will still shoot 1 1/2 MOA for five shots. It may or may not be any better than a good shooting Mauser, but it is no excuse for a miss! ;)

    Your best bet to locate a good one is gunshops and gun shows. And be prepared to spend a little. I don't remember seeing a decent one for under $700 for a while. M-1 Garands are getting crazy too; locally about $900+ for a solid one.

    Good luck in your search, they are fine old rifles.
     
  13. telomerase

    telomerase Member

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    Where's a good table of lock times?
     
  14. Limeyfellow

    Limeyfellow Member

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    My neighbours original 03a4 was stolen last year. It makes me sad as he would probrobly have gave it to me as a present. Such is life.
     
  15. Novus Collectus

    Novus Collectus Member

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    Someone once said (I foget who) when describing the rifles of WWI, they said that the British had the best battle rifle (Enfield), the Germans had the best hunting rifle (Mauser), and the Americans had the best target rifle (M1903).
     
  16. rustymaggot

    rustymaggot Member

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    novus,

    why was each called what it was? what made the mauser better for hunting? i ask because the 30-06 cartrige isnt exactly a spitwad.
     
  17. Novus Collectus

    Novus Collectus Member

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    The sights on the M1903 were precision sights for long distance shooting which was somewhat of a holdout from military thinking of days gone by. The flip up leaf sight goes up to 2,800 yards if that tells you something and it has peep sight, v notch sight, a battle sight set for over 500 yards......
    I don't have a German Mauser, but I think the sight was much more basic and was great for quick acquisition for like when hunting. The accuracy was excellent, but I have heard people say the M1903 was more accurate and of course there is the target sights the M1903 has.

    The Enfield was supposedly not too accurate at long distances, but having more rounds in the mag and supposedly a very fast bolt action, it was better used for attacks on trench positions.
     
  18. rustymaggot

    rustymaggot Member

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    cool info. thank you.
     
  19. carterbeauford

    carterbeauford member

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    Seconded, I appreciate the information. This rifle has been added to the list, right below the M1 Garand. I need to make the drive to Camp Perry before there aren't any left.
     
  20. MrDig

    MrDig Member

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    Enfields seemed to cycle faster due to the cock on open feature in the bolt right? My Ishapores in 308 cycle faster (to me anyway) than my O3A3. Faster than I can attribute to just the shorter round length.
     
  21. Novus Collectus

    Novus Collectus Member

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    I should point out that I was referring to the M1903 sights and M1903 accuracy. The 03A3 had different sights and were a little more cheaply made, but still extremely respectable I hear.
     
  22. Novus Collectus

    Novus Collectus Member

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    You mean it cocking on the oppenning of the bolt instead of on the closing? not sure, but what I do know is that my I am far from used to using my Enfield bolt quickly and I can use my M1903 very fast (a former soldier showed me how they used to be trained to do it quickly before he got into the service). But I operate my M1903 under ideal conditions and not while marching accross a field, my Enfield is in terrible shape and I am not used to Enfield action at all. I am just going on what I have heard about the action being quicker.
     
  23. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Rear locking shortens the bolt throw, maybe that is an advantage of the Enfields. Another is that the bolt handle is a little behind the trigger, suiting it for the peculiar British rapid fire technique in which the bolt is opened by the forefinger and closed by the thumb in a rocking motion of the hand. Trigger is pulled by the middle finger.
    Springfields and Mausers have the bolt handle a little ahead of the trigger, you have to reach for it.
     
  24. dglockster

    dglockster Member

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  25. Novus Collectus

    Novus Collectus Member

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    I have a low serial number Rock Island reciever and I feel perfectly safe firing it. Just about all the recorded failures occured before or during WWI. If it hasn't blown up yet after 95 years and two months, then it isn't one of those few poorly heat treated ones in my eyes.
     
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