View Full Version : "New" Remington 1903A1

November 11, 2002, 06:22 PM
I picked up a semi-sporterized 1903A1 today that's going to be brought back to close-to-issue condition like my recently finished 1917 "Enfield."

It has the original barrel I suspect, and the receiver is unmarred. I'll be buying one of those kits with all of the parts except receiver, stock and barrel to repair or replace some parts. I also need to get a stock for the rifle.

Does anyone have a good source for inexpensive scant or C stocks for these rifles? I'd like a C stock as they seem to be easier to shoot, but a scant stock at a nice price would be OK to keep it closer to original. Can a 1903A3 stock be used?

Thanks for any tips, I hope to post some before and after pictures when done.

November 11, 2002, 08:13 PM
The 03-A3 stock can be used, but there is a cut in the A3 model for the rear handguard retaining ring. This will show.

The correct stock for the A1 is the pistol grip stock, with the milled, checkered buttplate, not the milled smooth plate, or the A3 stamped checkered stock.

A man named J. DeChristopher used to advertise in Shotgun News. He had new A1 parts, including the buttplate.

November 11, 2002, 09:21 PM
Jim Keenan, maybe you could clear up my confusion. I understood that the U.S. Springfield Armory and Rock Island Armory built 1903's and 1903A1's, then Remington picked up the 1903 production in October 1941 with the 1903 (Modified), then began the 1903A3 and 1903A4 series. What am I missing here?:confused:

November 11, 2002, 11:12 PM
Thanks for the tips, I'll have to look for J. DeChristopher's ads. I would prefer the pistol grip stock as the few 1903's I've shot have been far more comfortable with a pistol grip stock.

The receiver is marked "U.S. REMINGTON MODEL 1903 330XXXX" as compared to the 1903A3's which I've seen which read "MODEL 1903A3" on the receiver.

November 12, 2002, 01:36 AM
Remington manufactured approx. 345,000 M1903 and M1903 (modified) rifles before begining production of the M1903A3.

The M1903 rifles of new production during WWII were made by Remington. These were essentially identical to the post-1918 rifles made by the Springfield Armory.

The receiver ring was marked "Remington", the barrel was marked RA and stamped with the month and year of production. The early Remington 03s had the black tinted parkerizing as found on pre-WWII 03s.

Another way to tell if a true Remington is that virtually every part on the rifle was stamped with a small "R".

The early models were made from November '41 to April '42, when production was switched to the M1903 (modified).

November 12, 2002, 01:40 AM
WOH, I thought you said it was an A1. The WWII Remington's aren't A1's.
The A1 had the milled checkered steel buttplate, a checkered trigger, and the pistol grip stock, and a few other small changes..

I think the Remington's are standard '03 models, with the smooth buttplate.

The Rifleman just had an article on the WWII '03 rifles, I'll try to find it.

November 12, 2002, 01:54 AM
The Remington M1903 early production rifles had serial numbers from about 3,000,000 to 3,050,000. They then made M1903 (modified)'s until around 3,365,000 when they switched to the M1903A3 production.

November 12, 2002, 06:43 AM
Sorry, wrong thread!

November 12, 2002, 10:57 PM
OK, so that would explain why this rifle has a smooth trigger and buttplate. While I'm assuming this is just the original stock cut down, I'm not convinced as there are no cartouches anywhere to be found.

I'm a bit confused. Why does the Gun Trader's Guide list this as a "1903-A1?" According to it,Late in 1941, Remington Arms Co., Ilion, N.Y. began production under government contract of Springfield rifles of this type w/a few minor modifications. These rifles are numbered 3,000,001-3,348,085 and were manufactured before the adoption of Mode (sic) 1903-A3.
I'm confused. Are all 1903's manufactured before the 1903A3 was adopted but after 1930 considered 1903A1's? Am I calling a spade a spade, or is this rifle a 1903?

November 12, 2002, 11:33 PM
Springfield and Rock Island armories added the C (full pistol grip) stock to the original 1903 to come up with the 1903A1, approved on March 15, 1928. Lots of plain-vanilla 1903's were later "upgraded" with the C stock, you'll find it on the Remington-made 1903(Modified) and Remington/Smith Corona 1903A3 as they were sent back through arsenal repair or rebuild. The Remington 1903A4 sniper came with either the "scant grip" stock, or C stock. Many owners of straight-gripped 1903's and 1903A3's liked the look and feel of the 1903A1's C stock, and retrofitted them accordingly. That's where the fun is, trying to figure out what the original configuration was, and who changed it when in the history of the rifle. When you get close to tearing your hair out because you're not sure if you're supposed to have a grooved or smooth trigger in your 1903 restoration effort...


November 13, 2002, 12:30 AM
The M1903 was initially designed for the .30-03. In 1906, it was changed to the .30-06 cartridge. This rifle saw service through WWI-1920's.

In 1928 the M1903A1 was adopted. This had a "type C" pistol grip stock, checkered butt plate and serrated trigger.

In 1936, the military formally adopted the M1 Garand as their primary rifle. When WWII started approaching, there were not enough Garands available. The military pulled all of the 03's from the armory and there was not enough of these around either.

The Springfield Armory was busy making Garands. The Rock Island Armory no longer made 03's either. Remington received a government contract to build M1903 rifles. They moved the production tooling from Rock Island Armory to their plant and began producing 03's.

The first of these 03's were made exactly like the ones from Springfield or Rock Island. There were essentially clones of the M1903A1.

As demand continued to increase, Remington made a few changes to make the rifle easier to produce. Remington began to implement these changes in December 1941. This was not a complete, instantaneous changeover, but a gradual process.

In March 1942, all of the changes had been completed so they designated the rifles made from March '42 to May '42 as M1903 (modified).

In May 1942, a few more changes were incorporated and the rifle was again redesignated as the M1903A3. Smith & Corona Typewriter Company also contracted to make these.

The early production Remingtons could be considered A1's since they were exact duplicates but were not stamped that way. When Remington began to change features, they would no longer be the same as A1's. When Remington completed simplifying the process, they would be considered modifieds until the A3 came out.

Edited to correct lousy spelling.

November 13, 2002, 08:43 PM
Thanks for the background, that explains the ambiguity of the Gun Trader's Guide I believe. Plus, the features being "in between" on this rifle make it a nice candidate for a shooter as it would be hard to bring it back to no-kidding original condition.

I'll be looking to find a nice C stock for this rifle to bring it back to a nice shootable condition, I may even go with a new one from Dupage Trading. I know it will never be a museum piece, but I would just like it to look close to "as-issue" condition while being able to shoot it without feeling guilty.

November 13, 2002, 09:52 PM
Just so you know - my 1903A4 restoration stock came from Dupage to me quite oversized, lots of flat spots and rasp marks, and still wet from the combination stain/oil finish they had slathered on. No problem, I wanted a red mahogany/linseed oil finish, anyway. So it got sanded and recontoured.

I used my 1903A1 (shown below in the bottom image) as a template, using those big metal woodworker's calipers to get the dimensions around the pistol grip and receiver correct. If I hadn't, I'd never be able to get the bolt opened, there was that much extra wood when the action was snug in the inletting. Not a bad thing, I'd rather have too much wood than not enough. Here's what the Dupage stock looks like after sanding, recontouring, staining, and about 30 coats of hand-rubbed and steel-wooled linseed oil:


Here's my stepson Josh going for tight groups at 100 yards:


Here's the 1903A1 that was used as a template for the 1903A4's Dupage "inletted blank":


November 14, 2002, 10:08 PM
Thanks for the tip, my 1917 required a bit of fitting but it was minimal, and that's what I'll be looking for this time around with the 1903. I'll just have to track down a C stock in decent shape or a good replica.

Those are some nice looking weapons, by the way, thanks for posting them.