View Full Version : Help w/1903 ID and Questions

July 23, 2005, 07:10 PM
Im so new here, I still smell like Kiwi.

I recently inheirited a RA Model 1903 Springfield Rifle. Serial number is (312XXX), there are two holes in the reciever just above where the bolt handle rests, Barrel is stamped RA 8-44 with P mark, and the bolt handle is stamped J5. Any information on this rifle would be very appreciated.

On a side note, this stock on this rifle has me a little confused. It doesnt have a butplate like any other Model 03 that I have looked up, Its shorter than normal, with some areas that seem hastily carved around the rifle. I suspect it was designed for another rifle entirely, maybe a sportier one. Makes me reluctant to disassemble it.

A few other questions-

Can the front sight Assy. be removed from the barrel?
Can I use Army Issue CLP on this puppy?
Any useful sites out there that might help me with cleaning/takedown?
Where can I get some dag'gum Genuine USGI replacement parts?
Any chance she'll fire again?

-Joe Rag-Bag Snuffy

Jim Watson
July 23, 2005, 08:36 PM
There are some things here that don't match up.
"RA" is Remington Arms who made 1903 and 1903A3 rifles in WW II starting with serial number 3,000,000. A serial number of 312xxx falls in the very early Springfield or Rock Island range of single heat treat actions made before WW I. Have you maybe dropped a decimal point? What does it SAY on the receiver ring?

RA 8-44 is surely a Remington barrel made in August 1944 but which could have been put on any '03 or A3 ever made.

It would take a picture for me to tell you anything about the stock.

Two holes over the bolt handle are for installation of a commercial receiver (peep) sight. The front sight can be removed. Why?

CLP is fine.

I am sure there is something out there with maintenance information but I rely on old fashioned hard copy. Parts are available here and there. What do you need?

July 24, 2005, 03:32 AM
Ok Jim...
Sittin' here with the rifle on my lap, and the reciever ring is stamped:

MODEL 1903

Then the serial number, six digits long. It doesnt appear to have been altered.

Took her apart to try and find any more identifying marks, and I found that on the bottom part of the reciever, under the magazine plate, there appears to be a "7" and a "C" or "G". After a little bit of poking around, It appears I will have to order a new extractor pin, and maybe a new extractor. Hmm.

The barrel also bears a mark that appears to be heart-shaped, turned sideaways, though it might be some personal etching. "I heart Mom" , "Heart John" something like that. I will have to photo that one.

About that front sight, I was thinking that if I could get her in fighting shape, Id like to put on a different one, or remove it entirely. Scope maybe? Let me know how to take it off, before I break the damn thing.

Jim Watson
July 24, 2005, 08:59 AM
As marked, you have a 1903 rifle with receiver originally made by Rock Island Arsenal in 1918 or 1919 with the desirable "double heat treat." If in good shape it is strong enough for all standard .30-06 ammo.
It was rebarrelled with a Remington barrel in or after 1944. A close study of markings would tell if it were done by the Army or by a gunsmith after surplus sale. For example, the Army would have put a punch mark in the middle of the Ordnance bomb on the barrel above the date. And they usually put a punch mark on the little ledge on the right side of the receiver ring and one on the bottom of the root of the bolt handle to show proof testing after overhaul.
The markings you list don't tell me anything but I am not a real collector.

I don't know how to get the front sight off. My Springfield's front sight is just fine where it is. No doubt somebody here has done it and may come along and describe it.
However, once removed, the area under the sight will have notches, grooves, and maybe a rib which kept it in place and aligned. Most of the nicely sporterized Springfields of the past had the barrel cut off an inch and crowned for looks.

To put a scope on it you would have to have the action drilled and tapped for the bases and the bolt handle bent down to clear the eyepiece.

Niether operation will be cheap if done right.

Or you could use one of the Bubba mounts that clamps to this and that on the rifle and sets so high as to not require bolt alteration.

July 24, 2005, 05:49 PM
Thanks for the expertise Jim, pretty helpful.

Looks like I have some work ahead of me, If I want her to bring down that 10 point buck and not shrapnel-ize my face. And no, there arent a deer in Hawaii, ( we got boar ) but Im headin out to South Dakota soon..

That about does it for my questions, time for some elbow grease.

-Joe Rag Bag