View Full Version : few m1903 questions

August 18, 2010, 10:26 PM
Hey everyone, i just got my springfield 1903 back from the gun smith (had to get rear sight base pressed on barrel) and fully assembled it for the first time. Feels great. I have a few questions now.

I believe i have a parts gun, and i wanted to check to see if the barrel and receiver were from the same year or not. The barrel has a 11 - 28 on it (meaning 1928 right?) and the receiver is 1300xxx. Do these numbers match up? Also, are there any other numbers on the gun that are of significance?

Also, the rear sight windage screw is very gritty and feels like the gears need a good greasing, is this possible, and if so how?

Thanks everyone.

James K
August 19, 2010, 02:55 PM
Brady give that serial number as 1928-1929, so the barrel would appear to be original. Unlike the M1 rifle, the M1903 didn't have drawing numbers on everything, so about the only thing that you might want to check is for any WWII parts (any "R" (Remington) or "SC" (Smith Corona) on parts).

Markings on some parts were changed over time; several books show the markings and the approximate dates of use.

The horrible truth is that Springfield, like other gun factories up to recent years, didn't really care about serial numbers, considering them a means of inventory control at the using unit. Receivers were numbered in the white, in order, but then became mixed up in finishing and even more mixed up in assembly. Receivers were made and numbered, shelved, and many days, months, or even years later would be made into rifles. Barrels were the same way; they were made and dated without anyone knowing if they would be used to assemble rifles or used as replacements. Barrel production normally ran ahead of receiver production and a factory could have bins full of barrels, with no effort made to keep things on a FIFO basis.


August 19, 2010, 11:42 PM
Thanks for the reply Jim.

That is good news about the barrel and receiver most likely being original. Unfortunately the piece on the bolt that has the cocking knob coming out of it (what ever its actual name is) has a "R" stamped in it, so either that piece or the entire bolt is not original. Why do you say it is a ww2 replacement and not a later piece? Very interesting info on the production of these rifles too, thanks.

James K
August 20, 2010, 05:36 PM
I meant parts made during WWII, whether they were replaced then or later.

Tons of spare parts for the M1903 and M1903A3 were made during WWII, and often turn up in earlier rifles, either as a result of rebuilds or as civilian replacements. Makes no practical difference, but collectors don't like "mismatched" guns.


August 20, 2010, 06:19 PM
If you ever hear the term, your receiver is a "high number". That means it is safe to use with standard pressure ammunition. I would have to look, but I think yours falls into the nickel steel range.

August 20, 2010, 08:31 PM
Alright, so the majority (all?) of replacement parts for this rifle were made during the war. While i have a few mismatched parts, the barrel and the receiver most likely match which is pretty good for a military surplus gun i think.

Slamfire - So I googled it and the nickeled steel started at ~1.2mill, good to know that my rifle is the top of the line model :cool:

Thanks guys

August 29, 2010, 05:43 PM
Low number 1903's are the ones made during and before 1918 and are unsafe because of the lack of heat treating yours is a high number. After all it has seven digits.