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Old September 15, 2008, 01:36 PM   #1
Sixer
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Springfield 1903

I had a chance to take a look at my Uncle's 1903 Springfield this weekend. Very neat rifle! It has never been fired and the chamber was still caked in grease. I had never seen one up close and I just remember thinking that lugging that thing around on the battlefield would be a bit of a chore.

When he first brought it out I thought is was an M1 Garand. They looked very similar. Anyway he wasnt sure about the value of the gun so I thought I'd ask the experts! I really dont have any more details but thought I would ask... Thanks
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Old September 15, 2008, 01:42 PM   #2
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That one would be impossible to answer without a physical examination of the rifle itself.

Springfield M1903 collecting is a hobby unto itself. Tremendous amounts of money turn on tiny metal stampings and the crispness of a correct stock cartouche.

It is no exaggeration to say that an M1903 Springfield could be worth anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on many, many factors.
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Old September 15, 2008, 01:53 PM   #3
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1903

It is important to know the serial number and the manufacturer. Early M1903's manufactured by Springfield Armory with serial numbers of 800,000 and under as well as M1903s made at Rock Island Arsenal serial numbered 285507 and lower have been the subject of a "do not shoot" caution for many years due to the improper heat treatment of some of the receivers made in those serial number runs. Their value is affected by this.
Is it an '03 or an '03a3? The 03s typically had a ladder sight mounted on the receiver; the 03a3s typically had an aperture sight on the bridge of the receiver. There were a number of manufacturers of the 03a3 and thus some are rarer than others.
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Old September 15, 2008, 07:52 PM   #4
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Very interesting. I honestly have no idea what the serial number was. I really didnt get a chance to examine it that close. Next time I visit I will take a few pics and get all the numbers. He didnt act like he knew exactly what it was worth but I'm certain he would like to know. Maybe I will just tell him it's nothing special and see if he will take $150 for it
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Old September 15, 2008, 08:19 PM   #5
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There are a ton of variables to the 03's that can make them a curio or a serious collector. The serial number on the action will tell you the year of manufacture and if it is a good one or an early one that suffered from uneven heat treatment and are considered dangerous. If you have one over 800,000 in serial number, you have a good one. The date of the barrel should correspond with the date of the contract serial number. There were a lot of rebuilds and these are not worth as much. There are different models. I have several National Match 03 and some 03A4's which were the sniper rifles. The early models of the 03 had the sights in front of the receiver. The later ones the sights were on top of the receiver. There can be different grooves in the rifling in the barrel and different and unusual barrels. I have 2, 4, 5, and 6 groove 03's and all are correct. The 2 and 4 groove are fairly common. The 03A4's and the National Match are the high dollar collectibles along with the ever elusive carbine model. I only have one carbine and it's the only one I've ever seen but the NRA did an article on them many years back and they were only issued for the Philippine campaign for jungle fighting. The barrel length is 16". The fact that it is in cosmoline helps the value and kindly leave it that way. It may or may not be a rebuild as they packed them both in cosmoline but it adds significantly to the value. If you can post pics and serial numbers, inspectors marks on the wood and barrel, I can pretty much tell you all you'll need to know about it and maybe even the value.

And let's not screw Uncle on this thing. You need to be straight up with him about the value. He may just hand it to you anyway but he deserves an honest answer.
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Old September 15, 2008, 08:21 PM   #6
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I used to pay $35 for A3's and even had them thrown into a deal just to sweeten the pot. At a local gunshow I swapped one of the 'freebies' for a 1894 Marlin .44 w/scope and $300, bought a soft case for the Marlin, some ammo and waltzed out the door with $$ in the pocket.

I know that it was issued in the Pacific Theatre in WWII and it wasn't in great shape.
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Old September 17, 2008, 03:02 PM   #7
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Also check to see that it is a genuine GI M1903. Some were made/assembled after WWII by companies such as Santa Fe Arms and National Ordnance-I have one of the latter, sporterized, good shooter.
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Old September 30, 2008, 09:30 PM   #8
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1903??

sixer: the 1903 is a bolt gun how can it look like a garand.it sounds like a
1903A1 as I cant see a 1903 still being in grease.altho rem made 1903s untill they changed to A3.
all springfields were proofed and I have a 500, that I shoot with target loads.
The gov called in all the unders so there are not to many around and most were rechecked.amazing the germans turned out rifles and seem to never had the problem.I never thought to highly of the ordnance dept except for the 1911 and M1 garand.and the 1919 belt feed I still think is better than that M60.
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Old September 30, 2008, 10:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Maybe I will just tell him it's nothing special and see if he will take $150 for it
Watch out, you may overpay with that approach.

I've got an 03A3 parts gun (made from random, mixed parts) with a receiver that looks like it was dragged through every salty swamp in the South Pacific. $150 would probably be a little high for mine.

But the barrel is a late-WW2 champ, beautiful condition, shoots like crazy.

Great rifles. Try to get it, you won't regret it.
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Old October 1, 2008, 07:34 AM   #10
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Quote:
$150 would probably be a little high for mine.
So you'll take...maybe...say, $130 for it?
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Old March 13, 2009, 07:22 PM   #11
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Springfield 1903

I have a 03A3 Mark I that has been with me for over 50 years. I would say it is 90 to 95%. Barrel date is 8-18. I have Fjestad's Blue Book and have looked on several websites but can't get a handle on value. Anyone have an idea?
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Old March 13, 2009, 07:39 PM   #12
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Correct stock?
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Old March 13, 2009, 08:19 PM   #13
pls5160
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Yes, correct stock. All original
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Old March 13, 2009, 08:58 PM   #14
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[I have a 03A3 Mark I that has been with me for over 50 years. I would say it is 90 to 95%. Barrel date is 8-18.]

Not all original issue, as I understand your post.

The 1903-A3 is a peep-sighted WWII rifle, made by Remington & Smith-Corona.

The barrel date "8-18" indicates August 1918 - well before WWII.

Many Springfields were arsenal refinished and/or rebarreled with whatever was on hand.
Gunsmiths and others have been known to install a replacement surplus barrel for whatever reason.
An 03A3 barrel would typically be dated behind the front sight in the 40's, and be smooth in the area where the 1903's rear barrel sight would have fitted, ILO grooved or drilled for a sight base setscrew somewhere.

There was also the 1903-A1, which (since made 1930-41) also wouldn't have a 1918 barrel as the original issue.

.
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Old March 13, 2009, 09:02 PM   #15
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pls;
Quote:
I have a 03A3 Mark I that has been with me for over 50 years. I would say it is 90 to 95%. Barrel date is 8-18.
If you have a barrel dated 8-18 (August 1918) , the rifle cannot be an original 03A3. See next:

'The U.S. Model 1903 Springfield Rifle replaced the Krag-Jorgensen and was the primary U.S. battle rifle until 1936, when it was replace as the primary battle U.S. battle rifle by the M1 Garand. In 1942 Remington Arms redesigned the 1903 rifle using some stamped parts and designated it the U.S. Model 1903A3.

There is a great lineage of 1903 models that were manufactured from the introduction of the 1903 to the development of the 03A3 rifles, *including but not limited to:

* M1903 Rod Bayonet Rifle;
* WWI 1903 Rifle;
* M1903 Mark 1 Rifle;
* M1903A1 Rifle;
* Remington M1903 Modified Rifle;
* Remington M1903A3 Rifle;
* Smith-Corona M1903A3 Rifle.'
Pete
ps - was writing at the same time as post above. sorry for duplication.
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Old March 14, 2009, 07:56 AM   #16
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S'ok - Two heads are better than one !

I didn't take the time for the formatted history line-up, or you would have probably answered earlier.

come' se, come' sa.
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Old March 14, 2009, 08:26 AM   #17
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Quote:
When he first brought it out I thought is was an M1 Garand. They looked very similar.
Well, they both have wood stocks at least

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Old March 14, 2009, 11:29 AM   #18
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It's an easy-enough mistake to make, for someone not familiar with both - especially if the '03 had the bolt removed at first glimpse.

I've made similar errors, with unfamiliar pieces - especially some of the foreign ones.

.
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Old March 14, 2009, 11:59 AM   #19
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I'm only funnin' ya
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Old March 14, 2009, 01:50 PM   #20
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Try to get pictures of it. And you might ask him what he wants for it to see if he even wants to sell it and you might just get it for a $100 like I did with mine(see below)

I picked it up from a little old lady at a yard sale 5 years ago and when I asked her where she got it she said her husband got it when he was in the military. she had it marked at $75 for it but I gave her a $100 because I knew that any rifle in 30-06 was worth that. It is a 1917 Eddystone serial 6887xx and on the stock someone carved RAAF very lightly. I don't know if the serial numbers match because I haven't taken it apart and dont plan on it



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Old March 14, 2009, 07:23 PM   #21
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1903/1903a3

every one has an opinion on old springfields.no broken 03 after 1929,and most were destroyed because of 8 mm ammo,and a few did get broken.
the Navy never turned theirs in and the marines on guadalcanal carried the old 03s.I have one 1914 barrel and serial under 500,000,I shoot it but because the barrel is perfect I use lead bullets and a target load.not all guns had a problem it depended on the day and person heat treating the receiver.
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Old March 15, 2009, 07:02 AM   #22
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I'm confused about that...what do you mean "no broken 03 after 1929"? I don't understand what you're saying

I know that it is something of a rule of thumb to not shoot 03s that have an s/n under 1,000,000 but I do not understand this "8mm ammo" reference you have made. The 1903 is chambered for M2 ball, .30-06

I am not an 03 expert by any means but I have a long history with them for a 37 year old...the 03A3 in the photo above (taken summer '08) is the first firearm I ever fired. I was 9 That thing is slick as snot and accurate as all git-out...but I've never seen an 03 chambered for 8mm




Nice Eddystone by the way, M4Sherman
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Old March 15, 2009, 09:17 AM   #23
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I've always heard that 03's above serial number 800,000 (Springfield) and 286,506 (Rock Island) were double heat treated and hence considered "safe".
I put safe in quotes, as even late Springfield receivers have failed, as have Mauser, Arisaka, Enfield, Carcano, and Mosin Nagant receivers.
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Old March 15, 2009, 04:58 PM   #24
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[I'm confused about that...what do you mean "no broken 03 after 1929"? I don't understand what you're saying]

Most likely a reference to the US Ordinance Dept recall of all low-numbered 1903's in service for re-heatreating. The recall, however, doesn;t guarantee that ALL were done - as (for instance) the USMC didn't return theirs.


[I know that it is something of a rule of thumb to not shoot 03s that have an s/n under 1,000,000 but I do not understand this "8mm ammo" reference you have made.]

Some folks have forced German Mauser 8x57 ammo into the .30-06 chamber, and fired it, figuring "military ammo - it must be OK".
8mm-.323"vs .30" bore.


.
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Old September 16, 2009, 11:01 PM   #25
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Hello,

New here, this thread caught my eye, am trying to value a Rock Inland 1903, barrel is stamped RIA , the flaming bomb and 8-18, SN# is 317XXX, according to the SN# search I did the rifle was produced in 1918, rifle has not been sanded, has a p in circle stamp and a triangle with a 1 on the stock and has a great bore. Is about a 80% or better condition rifle.

My questions is about its stamps

The bolt is stamped R and has only one number on it a 14. Do not see any other numbers on it, is this correct for a early 03?, safety and sights are stamped R, front barrel band is stamped U. See no stamps on the bottom metal, Is this correct for a early 03?

It's bayonet is marked SA, the flaming bomb , 1918

Does the rifle sound original?. Thanks for any help.

remi

Last edited by remi; September 16, 2009 at 11:25 PM.
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