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Old June 18, 2013, 07:11 AM   #1
airman_miller
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1903 springfield a3

hey everyone I am new to this site, and hope to get to know many of you. I was talking with someone about guns one day recently and told them if i ever did get a gun it would be a gun with historic value. I love military weapons, but unfortunately don't know much about them. anyway I picked this up for $150, and wanted to know what you guys could possibly tell me about its history and what some of the markings mean. I will post pictures in following posts.
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Old June 18, 2013, 07:39 AM   #2
kraigwy
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In my personal opinion the Springfield is the best bolt action military rifle out there.

I have two, a 1903a3 and 1903a4. I like them in un-modified condition. They are accurate.

The CMP has what they call vintage military matches in which they give gold, silver, and bronze metals if you shoot a certain score. The rifles are divided into categories, the M1 Garand, the Springfield, Carbine, and all other Vintage military rifles.

The cut off scores for the metals I mentioned are higher for the Springfield then the others. To make it fair, the Springfield as mention has its own category so the other rifles don't have to compete with it.

They started a vintage sniper match a few years ago covering sniper rifles used before 1955. If you'll check the CMP web site you'll find the scores for the Springfield series sniper rifles (M1903a4 & M1941s) are higher on the average then any other rifle.

The problem with the Springfield is too many of them have been modified or bubba-ed. If I was to find a sporterized or modified Springfield I'd gather the parts and put it back to as original condition as possible.

There are some that say the Enfield's are smoother, maybe, I haven't shot them enough to voice an opinion, The Krag is also an extremely smooth action also. The 'a3s make up for this with better sights.

Don't get me wrong, the Springfield is a smooth fast action, one wouldn't really be at a disadvantage using one in rapid fire.

The Springfield action is one of the most accurate actions out there, not just vintage military actions but even encompassing modern actions.

To point this out, the Army uses the Springfield 'a3 action to make their Mann Devices. These devices were made to test the accuracy of military ammo. They were used to test the '06, 308, 45, and 30 cal carbine ammo.

Waiting to see the pictures of your find. Which by the way is a good buy, You'll find it pretty hard to find a cheaper 'a3 action for $150. A good start to put your rifle back to "as issued" if its been modified.

If you decide to go that route, keep me in mind and I'll help you find parts and with tech. info.
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Old June 18, 2013, 09:28 AM   #3
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$150 is about the value of the bare action.
W/o physically examining your rifle I wouldn't be able to say what you actually have but at that price unless it's been severely mistreated or is one of the "low number" rifles, you did well.
Edit
If it really is an A3 model the low number comment does not apply.
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Old June 18, 2013, 09:28 AM   #4
tahunua001
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congratulations on your first military surplus rifle. they are addicting to say the least. my first was 2 years ago when my brother in law sold me an enfield, now I have over a dozen of the buggers lieing around. Kraig gives a lot of good information. if you ever plan on competing with it then he is the guy t go to for advice.

now, for some original information:
when you post pictures, a full length shot, underside close-up of the floor plate and trigger guard, closeup of the left, right and top of the receiver will offer the most information for us to help you identify it with. if you are not comfortable posting serial numbers online go ahead and use paintshop to blur out the last 3 digits, we can still make a fairly accurate guess of manufacture date from that.

some markings to look for are on the top of the barrel right behind the front sight and underneath the bolt handle.

the A3 varies greatly from early springfield models. they use a lot of stamped parts to take the place of milled parts. this was necessary to ease the manufacture and speed up production. the sights are also different. the 1903,A1 and A2 all had leaf sights or 3 point sights, all mounted on the barrel. the A3 replaced the rear sight with a peep or aperture on the rear of the receiver. this gives a better sight picture and the added distance between the front and rear sight(sight radius) helps make more precise shots. the A3 was only made by 2 companies, Remington and Smith Corona(type writer manufacturer).
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Old June 18, 2013, 12:54 PM   #5
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sorry about the delay. I thought I had more time this morning than I did lol. here are some pictures:






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Old June 18, 2013, 12:57 PM   #6
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Old June 18, 2013, 01:07 PM   #7
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the only easily visible damage i know of is the guard for the rear peep sight is slightly bent on the left side. I was already thinking of getting an original replacement.
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Old June 18, 2013, 02:11 PM   #8
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.

Miller - NOW you've done it ! .

You fell into it, and came out smelling like a rose ! .

It looks like you scored a $700+ rifle for $150 - CONGRATS ! ! .




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Old June 18, 2013, 02:40 PM   #9
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Geez, that's the deal of the year.

Clean that puppy up load it with target ammo and have fun.

A quick google will give you lots of information on the 1903.

It's a variation on the Mauser, the USA had to pay royalties to Mauser till WWI.

I'm pretty sure it is the longest serving firearm in US military history.

It is the basis of the Winchester Model 54 and later Model 70.
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Old June 18, 2013, 02:49 PM   #10
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so what is the best way to clean this thing up?
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Old June 18, 2013, 03:02 PM   #11
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Clean the grease off with diesel oil.

You have a dern good rifle for $150.

Best place to shoot it is a CMP GSM "Springfield Match.

You can get some surplus '06 ammo from the CMP, might be a wait for on your order right now, they're backed up.

It's good non-corrosive ammo with reloadable brass. Plenty accurate enough for the CMP Matches.

Practice off hand, that's where these matches are won and lost.
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Old June 18, 2013, 03:05 PM   #12
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Extreme green envy.
To clean the cosmoline off the metal any grease cutting solvent will work just fine, but remember to wipe the metal down with a lightly oiled rag after to protect from rust. The wood I wrap in paper towels and a black trash bag and sit out in the sun while cleaning the metal. Heat will push the grease and oil from the wood without disturbing the acceptance cartouches. Go slow and easy on the stock some turpentine to clean off the wood and let the sun do the work for you.
A Greek Rack Grade M1 I bought from the CMP way back when took me a couple of weeks to gently "degrease" the wood. Well worth the time invested.
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Old June 18, 2013, 03:59 PM   #13
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I had actually just took the bolt apart and cleaned it. then put a light coat of oil on it. I guess I didn't do a very good job. i suppose since the gun wasn't absolutely drenched in cosmoline i don't know how to tell if it has cosmoline on it or not. when I cleaned the firing pin and spring there was some goop in there, but i didn't really see any anywhere else. i'm sorry for all the questions but like i said, i am new to all this.
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Old June 18, 2013, 04:02 PM   #14
Dave P
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So sad - all that grease and nowhere to go. I promise to clean it up real nice, just ship it on down!
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Old June 18, 2013, 05:36 PM   #15
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There are several good videos on how to remove Cosmoline if that’s what it is. The gun really looks nice and for 150$, I hope you feel guilty.
My one suggestion is to have the head space measured. That’s always a good thing to do with old military firearms.
The 03 is a gun that every collection must have. It’s as much of an icon as the Grand and the Mauser 98.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmElUyysyKU
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 03.jpg (233.7 KB, 12 views)
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Old June 18, 2013, 07:49 PM   #16
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alright. you did a fantastic job. easily a $700+ rifle and you did it for only $150, you must have one loyal friend to let it go for that price.

1. a 402xxxx serial number dates right to 9-43 and your remington barrel is from the same month, it is pretty uncommon(but not rare by any stretch of the imagination) to find receiver and barrel that match exactly month for month manufacture.

2. everything is intact all the way down to the front sight hood. I have never seen one with the hood still on it so that's a pretty good find.

3. it is in beautiful condition with barely a scratch on it.

very nice rifle to say the least. I am jealous.
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Old June 18, 2013, 08:07 PM   #17
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$150!!! I'll give you $300 right now!!!

Welcome! There are many good smart people to learn for here. We're a bit like a family. We bicker now and then but we all come together when someones in need. You'll like it here.

I have both a Springfield and Enfield. Yes the Enfield is a bit slicker but weighs allot more. The springfield shoots beautiful though! You've done very well my friend.


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Old June 18, 2013, 08:12 PM   #18
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An '03A3 in that condition was almost certainly a DCM gun. They sold for $14.50, but are probably worth a bit more now .

Having the headspace checked is a good idea, but it is extremely unlikely that there is any problem. Production of the M1903 and M1903A3 was cranked up in WWII when it looked like production of the M1 rifle would not be able to meet the need. By the time the later M1903A3's came off the line, there were more than enough M1's to go around and the bolt rifles went from the factory direct to depots and were never issued. After the war, many were given to U.S. allies, and many more, brand new, were sold to NRA members through the Director of Civilian Marksmanship.

You see, back then, the U.S. had just fought a war against tyranny and a free nation actually trusted its people with military weapons.

Jim
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Old June 18, 2013, 08:15 PM   #19
airman_miller
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thank you everyone for the helpful information! The guy who had it previously had taken it to a gunsmith and made sure everything was in order, but I will definitely take it again for a second opinion. I was doing a bit of research for oils for the gun, but where I am at I could only find remoil. I was wanting to buy MilCommTW25B to clean and corrosionx to lube/protect, is this a good idea? and out of curiosity, how much do enfields go for? Thanks again!
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Old June 18, 2013, 08:20 PM   #20
Boomer58cal
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James K... you act like we have the right to keep and bare arms or something. That's just crazy talk!


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Old June 18, 2013, 09:56 PM   #21
tahunua001
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Quote:
thank you everyone for the helpful information! The guy who had it previously had taken it to a gunsmith and made sure everything was in order, but I will definitely take it again for a second opinion. I was doing a bit of research for oils for the gun, but where I am at I could only find remoil. I was wanting to buy MilCommTW25B to clean and corrosionx to lube/protect, is this a good idea? and out of curiosity, how much do enfields go for? Thanks again!
just look for some safariland CLP(cleaner, lubricant and preservative). it's good stuff I use it on all my rifles, old and new.

enfields usually go for anywhere from $300 to $450 in good original condition. the number 5 jungle carbines and number 4 MKII(post war period) generally command higher prices.
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ignore my complete lack of capitalization. I still have no problem correcting your grammar.
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You can't believe everything you read on the internet-Benjamin Franklin
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Old June 18, 2013, 11:19 PM   #22
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Another positive,it has a 4 groove bbl.Very nice 03A3.You have done very well.
I suggest you look to see if the pull through/oiler/combination tool are in the butt trap.A "nice to have",though I would not rely on the pull through.Rather a problem if the string breaks.I suggest a one piece 30 cal cleaning rod,steel.Clean from the breech.

Either a 1907 leather sling or a web sling will be a very good idea.They are part of learning to shoot it.

While not essential,and not cheap,a bayonet might be on the list if you are so inclined.

Another accessory you might find scrounging around is stripper clips.I have heard the ones for Swedish mausers work well in a Springfield.Original Springfield ones are available,but the little folding tabs break off.

Last edited by HiBC; June 18, 2013 at 11:38 PM.
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Old June 19, 2013, 12:13 AM   #23
airman_miller
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I had actually read into stipper clips, and ended up getting some from champion's choice. I am not sure if i am loading it right or not, but it seems like every time i eject the rounds the third or fourth one gets stuck. I could hand load them all the way to the back, but some how they get stuck against the front by the third one. I think the spring for the internal magazine may be getting weak. I dont think the pull through is in it.
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Old June 19, 2013, 09:16 AM   #24
tahunua001
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did you clean the underside of the receiver and follower spring and magazine follower to make sure those are not also covered in cosmoline? cosmo can gum up and impede even minor functions in rifle design.

also there is no real wrong way to load a springfield stripper clip as it is a non rimmed cartridge. rimmed cartridges have a special way of having to be loaded into strippers but not 30-06.

what direction are you pointing the muzzle when loading front strippers? I haven't seen this with springfields though I have seen it with other mauser derived designs but if you point the muzzle down while loading from strippers as the rounds strip from the clip they want to follow gravity and slowly slide forward as they ride down the magazine. try holding the rifle fairly level with the muzzle slightly elevated.

if those don't fixe the problem perhaps it is an issue with the ejector not liking having to jack out unspent cartridges? normal function may act differently.
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ignore my complete lack of capitalization. I still have no problem correcting your grammar.
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You can't believe everything you read on the internet-Benjamin Franklin
Bean counters told me I couldn't fire a man for being in a wheelchair, did it anyway. Ramps are expensive.-Cave Johnson.
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Old June 19, 2013, 10:46 AM   #25
Mike40-11
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Sign me up on the envious list. That's a fantastic buy at $150. Would've been a great buy at $500. Beautiful.

Mineral spirits or kerosene and some scrubbing will take the cosmoline off.

On the stripper clip function, make sure you've got everything out of the mag and receiver. Any chunks left in there, and old cosmoline can get almost petrified, can screw up the feeding.

Definitely look for a CMP match in your area. The guys shooting there can give you some great information and tips on your rifle.
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