View Full Version : Savage 110 or "hunterized" 1903?

July 27, 2009, 01:02 PM
I'm looking to get my first bolt gun. I am also looking to buy used and spend about 400 without glass.

My local shop has a plain jane 110 in .308 (my preferred round) for 375. They also have an extremely nice looking 1903 in 30-06 for 310. The 1903 has a deep flawless blueing and is set into a custom hunting stock with burl accents. Of course, the stock on the 1903 is cracked, but I'd be willing to bet that I can fix it. The savage is basically everything I want (except for a nice poilished blueing), but I can't get the 1903 out of my head.

The real question here is this: Which action/barrel is better for 100-300 yard precision shooting? I'll mostly be hunting with it, but longish range target shooting is certainly not out of the question.


July 27, 2009, 01:42 PM
The savage will probably be more accurate. The M1903 was a military rifle and while they are very accurate and more than adequate to hunt with it is not designed to be a tack driver.

With that said, if you really like the Springfield i would say get that. They are becoming more and more scarce these days and you can always buy a savage in the future. I would get the springfield

July 27, 2009, 01:43 PM
I'm going to do you absolutely no good, at all. ;)

The Savage would most likely best fit your needs, but I wouldn't pass up the Springfield, provided the action wasn't one of the low-numbered ones.


July 27, 2009, 01:46 PM
As the Gentleman just said "you can always get a Savage in the future...". Keep repeating this mantra as you remove your CC from your wallet (to ensure you also get bonus points on your Cabela's Visa card, along with that nice new rifle!) and BUY that 1903 !

I can always.... I can always..... I can always.... :D

July 27, 2009, 02:34 PM
If it really is a 1903 and not a 1903/A3, be sure and check the serial number. There is a magic serial number for 1903's and you DO NOT want to get one made before that number (metal is too weak to hold modern rounds).

July 27, 2009, 02:41 PM
For a pure hunting and target rifle, it's hard to pass up that Savage.

July 27, 2009, 03:12 PM
I don't know what the market is like today, but over 300 for a sporterized 1903 seems like too much, unless it's in very nice condition.

July 27, 2009, 03:36 PM
get a stainless savage. why the heck wouldn't you. Accustock and accutrigger? Get all three of those. Do it!!!

Wait until you can get a stock 03A3 to treat nice and show off. Don't beat one up.

July 27, 2009, 03:44 PM
That '03 sounds real nice except for the crack in the stock. If it is just a crack and there's no wood missing you should be able to fix it and not tell it ever happened. I would get the '03 even if you have to buy a new stock.

July 27, 2009, 07:22 PM
Thanks for the help guys. I'm actually surprised nobody came right out and said, "Both!".

I went into the store looking for a plain used savage to bubba out with some camo paint. But once I saw that springfield I was totally into the "grandpa's rifle" look of the laquered wood and bright bluing.

I like the advice on the savage, you're right, it's not going anywhere.

July 27, 2009, 07:28 PM
Savage is the better choice.

July 27, 2009, 07:31 PM
But what if I had a 1903 still in .30-03
Yeah... then I woke up
Does anyone have the magic s/n?

July 27, 2009, 08:38 PM
Is the Savage a 110 or a 10. If it is an older 110 (long action) rifle chambered in 308 I would pass on both guns. $375 is too high for that gun. For around $300, maybe less you can get a true short action Stevens 200 or Marlin XS-7 brand new. A new Weatherby Vanguard will be under $400.

July 27, 2009, 08:38 PM
Searching this forum found that serial numbers above 800,000 are double heat treated (and thus considered safe for modern ammo).

July 27, 2009, 09:08 PM
I'm for the '03.

Be careful on what you use to repair the stock. I'm a big fan of epoxies, they can also ruin some finishes. Polyurethane glues like Gorilla Glue can ruin just about anything if you don't know what you're doing.

July 27, 2009, 09:36 PM
Assuming a good serial number I would pick the springfield.I personally would suggest it to be the much more accurate rifle for one main reason. The barrel.
Every 110 hunting type rifle I have been around has a pencil thin barrel as compared to the Springfield. I'm not sure how anyone could suggest that lighter and thinner would be better. All of the 110's I have shot in larger calibers(only 3) heated up quickly and would string shots. Some may have some better experiences w/ this
As most of this crowd seems to be more interested in long range target shooting, I would think a thin barrel would detract from that http://i288.photobucket.com/albums/ll179/elkman06/rifleend.jpgpractice. elkman06

July 27, 2009, 10:29 PM
Savage lever-guns are kinda fascinating......but their bolt-guns don't charm me. As for Springfields......I just want one.

July 28, 2009, 01:06 AM
+1 for the savage

Willie D
July 28, 2009, 09:04 AM
Savage would probably be a better shooter, the Springfield would definitely be more special.

The controlled feed on the 1903 is a thing of beauty in and of itself.

July 28, 2009, 07:03 PM
I'd go for the Springfield. The sporterized '03-A3 out shot my Savage 10 in .243 easily. Some of them had remarkable accuracy. $300 is a steal if it's a nice one.

July 31, 2009, 08:51 AM
The thick plottens...

I've continued looking at local pawn shops and I've found two more savages. Both pre-accutrigger, in 30-06, and both selling for 275.

I'll be going back to the shop to look at the 03 on sunday. I need to give it a more thorough once over and check the serial number.

Should an '03 barrel be free floated?

July 31, 2009, 09:43 AM
My bestest friend JUST sold his Savage 110 custom stock with a tasco 3-9x33 for $250... They're a dime a dozen and always will be!

BUY THE SPRINGFIELD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:eek:

July 31, 2009, 09:53 AM
1903 all the way, i've had 2 beutiful sporter's, the one i currently own has been hot blued, new barrel, william's iron sight's,scope mount's and a beutiful custom sporter stock, and i payed 250$ for it.

July 31, 2009, 10:15 AM
I've continued looking at local pawn shops and I've found two more savages. Both pre-accutrigger, in 30-06, and both selling for 275.

Does this give a indication of true value....chuckle. Not bad rifles, just not as good as...
Should an '03 barrel be free floated?
It would be nice if it is..but who knows?
In the grand scheme of collecting weaponry..the Savages are a dime a dozen. Time is running out on the Springfields..

July 31, 2009, 06:53 PM
You didn't mention if the 1903 is drilled and tapped for scope mounting. If it is not, I assume you would need to have that done. I assume again that you plan on using a scope on this rifle. Drilling and tapping would add cost to the 1903.

Does the 1903 stock have a recoil pad on it? if not I can tell you from experience that a sporterized 1903 stock will have some kick to it. Not like a Mosin Nagant, but more than a military stocked 1903.

Is the Savage a synthetic stock or wooden? Wooden stocks on the Savage 110 are notoriously unattractive. However, Savage synthetic stocks on the entry level models are notoriously flimsy.

You mention target shooting as well as hunting. Neither rifle is very well suited for target shooting. Both have thin profile barrels that will heat up after just a few rounds.

I think the odds are high that the Savage would be more accurate. I had a 110 in .223 and it was more accurate than my Winchester 70.

All in all, if precision accuracy is the issue, get the Savage. If looks and personality play a big role in your decision, get the 1903.


44 AMP
July 31, 2009, 07:55 PM
I would not have it done to the Springfield. There are fewer and fewer of these actions available in "original" condition, and a pristine action alone might be worth the money to someone interested in "restoring" a 1903 to GI configuration.

Older Savage 110s are ok rifles, but not high grade guns, and they have been improved in recent years. The extractor of the 110 is small, and has been known to fail (I had one do this, a brand new 110CL in .30-06), and getting a replacement part can take a lot longer than one would expect.

I would get the Springfield, because of what it is, and as others have said, you will be able to find the Savages around often. I have a Springfield completely redone into a .25-06, and it is quite a marvel.

July 31, 2009, 10:47 PM
I also would go for the Springfield, but only because I'm biased. I've got a Mk I sporter that is extremely accurate with my handloads. If it's not already drilled, don't drill it. Someday you might want to de-sporter it and there's no putting metal back in those holes. Mine was drilled 50 years ago, for a scope and a Lyman peep, so I guess I can't really complain.

No-drill scope mounts are easily found out there. But be a man...shoot with iron sights!

P5 Guy
August 1, 2009, 11:54 AM
There were two groups making M1903s . Springfield the armory in Mass and Rock Island. The improperly heat treated receivers are in the serial number range up to 880,000 for Springfield and 250,000 for Rock Island.
Many people will caution against shooting these rifles.
The M1903A3 was made by two companies in the '40s. Remington and Smith Corona. These are all heat treated properly and should not be unsafe to shoot if in good mechanical condition.

August 2, 2009, 06:14 PM
well, sadly, I have to pass in the springfield. The stock is cracked nearly all the way around the grip. It doesn't wiggle or anything, but it is visibly cracked.. I really don't feel like buying the gun and then buying and bedding a new stock for it. The reciever is drilled and it has a scope on it. I think it may have been re-barreled as well.

It's a shame too, that stock fit my hand like a glove. I guess I'll keep looking.