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Old December 10, 2011, 10:38 AM   #1
tbone4
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'43 Remington made 1903A3

I posted this in the C&R section too but I don't feel like that section sees as much traffic as this one does.

A couple months ago I was given a Remington manufactured 1903A3 by my wife's grandpa. It was built in 1943. The story is that he bought it while stationed in Germany in the 50's. It is unmodified but looks as though it has never been cleaned. . . I don't think he shot it very frequently and if he did clean it, it probably consisted of spraying WD40 in the bolt and action. I do not have plans to modify it but the outside of the barrel has a little surface rust and I'm curious what your guys opinions are on "fixing" the rust. Should I just clean it up the best I can and keep it oiled or should I go the Duracoat route? I don't plan on ever selling the rifle but I would like to use it for deer hunting and as a range toy.

I have started to detail strip the rifle to give it a good deep cleaning job. Yesterday I soaked the bolt in Simple Green for about 12 hours and took apart as far as I was comfortable and gave it a good scrubbing. Wiped it down with CLP and wiped off the excess. The thing was covered with goop and a hard caramelized substance. . . I love Simple Green!! Removed everything I wanted it too! I'll be moving on to the action next.

Also, what are your guys opinions and ides on cleaning the stock. I don't want to change the color of the stain but I kind of want a nicer finish on the wood. I guess it doesn't really bother me but I figured since I'm cleaning everything else why not clean the stock too.

Last edited by tbone4; December 10, 2011 at 12:52 PM.
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Old December 10, 2011, 10:49 AM   #2
TX Hunter
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I have a 1943 Remington 1903 A3 Also, and its a great rifle, very acurate, and good looking.
Congratulations, its a wonderfull rifle, and yours has the strongest reciever of any 1903 variant. its nickle steel.
For the surface rust, I would recomend using some bore cleaning solvant and a Toothbrush.
Just wet the brush in Solvant and scrub the rust, wipe it off and look at it, then take it outside in the sun light, then work at it some more.
The Tooth Brush is soft eneough it wont remove metal.
It should clean up pretty nice. Please Post a Picture, this is my favorite rifle, and I really like to see pictures of them.
If I mispelled anything I aplolgize, I was a lousy student.

Last edited by TX Hunter; December 10, 2011 at 11:15 AM.
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Old December 10, 2011, 11:17 AM   #3
TX Hunter
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OOPS, I was wrong, Mine is a 1942 I had posted 1943. Sorry, it has a 1943 dated barrel though, anyhow its a great accurate rifle, and I love the sights.
Does yours have the sight cover? mine dosent, but I really like the skinny front sight post, It is easy to take precise aim with.
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Old December 10, 2011, 11:29 AM   #4
tbone4
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Mine doesn't have the sight cover either. I took it out to the range before I took it all apart and blasted through about 30 rounds of 1954 WCC M2 ball ammo. I didn't really check for accuracy, just wanted to make sure it would function. Looking forward to testing it for accuracy after I get it all put back together. I started handloading for it too. First rifle caliber I've reloaded. . . I'm 25 so most of my shooting buddies think it's weird that I'm into old rifles and wheel guns! Oh well, more for me to buy and shoot!
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Old December 10, 2011, 11:37 AM   #5
TX Hunter
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Tbone4

You just like good traditinal firearms, I do too.
You will love your 1903 A3, when you check it for accuracy, you will be very plesantly supprised, the 1903 is a very good target rifle, Im sure you noticed how smooth the bolt is, you will like it.
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Old December 10, 2011, 12:26 PM   #6
RC20
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My brothers (3) and I have been doing some things in that arena. Each gun is a different call.

My dad 1903 (surplus NRA or Sporter buy we are not sure) has a bad barrel. Its been changed and added peep sights. Pretty much valueless other than sentimental. We have bought a barrel that matches the action for era (mostly the profile so we did not have to mess with his beautiful bedding job on the stock). Its going to be a range gun for the brothers when done. It does represent a major genre of the pre and after WWII Sporterized guns. Who knows what that may become someday.

I bought my step dads 1903 to add to our collective collection. It was his dads. Its considered a "folk art" 1903 by the Folk Art expert in 1903s (Michael Petrov). Value, maybe $150 as a gun. However, its got a Lyman 34 sight, a 1907 Rock Island Sling, a stock that looks like a Winchester Marine sniper stock (as close as we can ID but is hand checkered with his initials on it), it had the barrel drilled and tapped for a scope at one time and a non 1920 Bolt. Value in pieces, probably $600. It should be kept intact as it has something unique even in the Sporter category.

The brother who has been our driving force, has 4 of them. He has made one up from parts that is era accurate for barrel, receiver, bolt and the magazine parts and the right stock. Nice job. Value, hard to say.

He has 3 others he is deciding what to do with (we need a spread sheet!).

As time goes by, even the modified ones will gain historic worth and value.

Keep in mind that unlike a lot of purist guns, a real 1903 went through the armory or field depots or even field repairs and had barrels changed, bolts changed, stock swapped. So what is really an authentic gun is one that is a mongrel that is beat up and not pretty.

There is a lot of movement now to historically correct context and not the purist correct items. The 1903s are somewhat unique in their long history, service and what was a real period piece in its service in combat, peace and a support arm.
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Old December 10, 2011, 01:35 PM   #7
kraigwy
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I use plain old fashion furniture polish like pledge to clean my surplus military rifles.

It cleans them quite well yet leaves the color and old marks that are part of the rifle's history.

Thank you for not wishing to "butcherize" (sporterize) rifle.
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Old December 11, 2011, 06:22 AM   #8
madcratebuilder
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Quote:
Also, what are your guys opinions and ides on cleaning the stock. I don't want to change the color of the stain but I kind of want a nicer finish on the wood. I guess it doesn't really bother me but I figured since I'm cleaning everything else why not clean the stock too.
Make a 50/50 mix of Boiled Linseed oil and turpentine. lightly scrub the furniture with 0000 steel wool, work with the grain of the wood. Carry a lot of the liquid to the wood, it well lift and carry away the years of dirt and grease. Wipe it dry with a clean cloth. You could apply one or two coats of straight blo after 24hrs. Rub it on with your fingers, allow it to soak for 20-30 minutes then wipe dry and allow 24hrs air dry before handling.
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Old December 16, 2011, 11:49 PM   #9
tbone4
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Ok, here are some pics after some work. I cleaned all of the metal with a Simple Green solution. Got all of the grime and goop off of it. I tried using CLP and a nylon brush on the rust on the barrel as well as #9 and a brush. Spent about 15 min. with each and was able to remove most of the rust. I then coated all of the metal parts with CLP, let it penetrate and then removed all of the excess. I haven't had time to work on the stock yet but hope to in the near future. As I said before, the stock doesn't really bother me as is but might be nice to clean it up. I plan to use boiled linseed oil on the stock.

Enjoy the pics and if any of you '03 buffs have any info you feel like sharing regarding stampings, I'm all ears!

Thanks
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 03A3-1.JPG (112.6 KB, 49 views)
File Type: jpg 03A3-2.JPG (168.9 KB, 37 views)
File Type: jpg 03A3-3.JPG (153.9 KB, 38 views)
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Old December 16, 2011, 11:50 PM   #10
tbone4
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More pics.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 03A3-4.JPG (188.0 KB, 33 views)
File Type: jpg 03A3-5.JPG (164.7 KB, 32 views)
File Type: jpg 03A3-6.JPG (165.6 KB, 31 views)
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Old December 16, 2011, 11:52 PM   #11
tbone4
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More pictures. . .
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 03A3-7.JPG (150.4 KB, 31 views)
File Type: jpg 03A3-8.JPG (161.5 KB, 26 views)
File Type: jpg 03A3-9.JPG (89.3 KB, 25 views)
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Old December 16, 2011, 11:53 PM   #12
tbone4
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One more. . .
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File Type: jpg 03A3-10.JPG (88.1 KB, 34 views)
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Old December 17, 2011, 08:34 AM   #13
TX Hunter
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Tbone4

AHH Man, thats a beauty, great looking Rifle, you did a great job cleaning it up.
It looks just like mine, but I think yours is in better condition.
The Metal looks great, and the stock looks good as well, your stampings on the wood are nice and clear, it dosent look like its ever been sanded.
This is my favorite rifle, Thanks so much for posting the pictures.
If you ever want to put a good looking leather 1907 Sling on it, Turner Slings makes a good one, I put one on mine.
Again, thanks, you will love this thing when you try it for accuracy.
I do know that the FJA on the left side stands for Frank James Attawood, he was the armoror that inspected your rifle.
One thing different about yours is the trigger guard, mine has the winter triger guard, but yours looks like an original 1903 trigger guard, thats strange for this model, but it looks nice.

Last edited by TX Hunter; December 17, 2011 at 08:40 AM.
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Old December 17, 2011, 09:11 AM   #14
tbone4
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Sorry for the crappy picture of the whole rifle. Didn't realize it was that blurry. I was thinking about a Turner's sling. . . Might have to spring for one now! Hoping to get out in the next week or so and get the sights dialed in. The longest range I can shoot at is 100 yards at the range I go to. . . Might have to find a place with some longer ranges to test myself and my rifle! I'm anxious to try my handloads too.

You can kind of see in the pictures that there is a crack in the upper hand guard. Any recommendations on how to fix it or should I just leave it alone? Maybe find another upper hand guard and put it on? I would keep the original of course. Just don't want to risk cracking it more than it already is.
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Old December 17, 2011, 10:34 AM   #15
TX Hunter
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Tbone 4

Dont know much about repairing the crack on the handguard, but Im sure some on here do, If you pick up a copy of Shotgun News, there is a page that has replacement parts for old Us Service Rifles, I believe they have have upper handguards, and stocks, You could find a replacement on your computer. If its not split all the way through it may be fine like it is. Good Luck
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