View Full Version : 1903 a3

January 28, 2012, 10:24 AM
I posted in the hide and they told me to post in here as well. Does any one know about these springfield 1903 a3 rifles. I have one being passed down from my father from his father (who is now passed away). the stock is broken still intact but broken and i have a guy that has given me a stock to replace it but its not the same. any information would help!!!!

January 28, 2012, 10:36 AM
well...what are you looking for? How do fix the stock?

If there is any way to fix the stock- do it instead of swapping them.

Post some pics and I can help more...

TX Hunter
January 28, 2012, 10:40 AM
I have a 1903 A3 Myself, its a Superb Rifle, The recievers were stronger because they were made out of Nickle Steel, Some parts of the Rifle were made cheaper, like the stamped floor plate, trigger guard, barrel bands, and other small parts. Given a choice between the 1903 A3, and the 1903, I would prefer the 03a3.
During early World War two, there were not eneough of the M1 Garand Rifles to go around, so our government started production of the 1903 Springfield back up,but took some shortcuts, in their manufacture, and fitted them with appeture sights, which was what the troops that had trained on the M1 Garand were accustomed too.

You mentioned on the Art of the Rifle, that a friend gave you a replacement stock for your rifle but it was not the same, from your discripton it was a stock for a 1903, It will work, but your floor plate will probably not match up, Anyhow, You have a good friend there to bring you that, the other fellows on this forum, are alot more knowledgeable than me, and will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the firearm you have in question. Good Luck.:)

Here is a not so good picture of my 1903 A3


TX Hunter
January 28, 2012, 10:58 AM
Here is the Wikipedia Link for the 1903 Springfield, it has alot of good information in it as well as pictures.

January 28, 2012, 11:24 AM
i will def. post some pics when i get off work today. after looking at the link that tx hunter sent im leaning towards that replacement stock being a 1903 not the a3. i have a 2 piece stock on this one or it looks 2 piece it could be 4 where the bands clamp it together.

January 28, 2012, 11:48 AM
I posted this over in the other forum, JD. Hope it helps:

JD- there are several stocks for 1903 and 1903A3 rifles

Very roughly, there are four main types:

"straight" stock (sounds like the type you have)
"Finger groove" stock (such as your friend showed you)
"C" stock (has a pistol grip, was used on sniper models [1903A4] as well)
"Scant" stock- attempt to make a 'C' type stock from 'straight' stock blanks, has a slight pistol grip

Changing the stock may- or may not- harm value. What you need to consider is whether or not the stock you wish to use is USGI issue, or a commercial replacement, and whether or not the stock is appropriate for a 1903A3 or not.

The symbol that is confusing you, that you see on the Underwood carbine and the 1903A3 is the "flaming bomb" Ordnance symbol. It is not a maker's mark, it is a US Ordnance stamp. It is an extremely common marking on US martial arms of the era you are involved with on these rifles. In broad general terms it means the object had been accepted or approved for use in the military by the Ordnance Department. Other marks are preset that mean roughly the same thing on various rifles, etc.

For your stock, I don't know how to determine what the first and original stock type was on the rifle. Most likely it was a straight type or scant type. Perhaps somebody knows s/n ranges that had one type or the other but I do not.

One thing that can help determine authenticity or originality are the 'cartouches' that are on the stock. These are stampings applied by the US military to indicate that the rifle had been inspected and accepted. Look closely at the stock you have, and see if you can spot any initials stamped (not carved!) into the stock, perhaps surrounded by a stamped rectangle, and also look out for a 'cossed cannons' cartouche, which will seem to be a symbol like a capital O with an X over it, with the legs of the X extending past the edges of the O.

Here is an example of those types of cartouches on an M1 rifle stock. 1903A3 ones are similar (not my rifle, but I wish it was)

Also, there were 'rebuild' cartouches, denoting where a rifle had been rebuilt by the military. Usually, the original cartouches were sanded off before the rebuild one were made. On my M1 carbine, an example is the 'AA' stamp shown here:

There are several places to get 1903A3 stocks. This ad claims that they have unissued C stocks. This will mean they bear no cartouches:

Likewise here are straight stocks from the same folks:

lastly scant stocks, same people:

These folks used to have great 1903 and 1903A3 stocks but they are all gone. However, they have misc. parts, and I feel they are good

The 1903A3 is the first rifle I ever fired - at age nine. My Dad still owns it, and it's a great rifle.

January 28, 2012, 12:02 PM
I tried to look up serial number identification to see if my serial matched the year on the barrel. i had no such luck. alls i could find was that the serial numbers that were recorded were up to 4,999,999. this one is 5,004,440. that is the serial number if that helps with any thing on what should be on it.

January 28, 2012, 12:08 PM
Are you sure that the serial number on the receiver for a 1903A3 is supposed to be duplicated on the barrel?

These are not hand-made hunting rifles, they are battle rifles churned out by mass production. before you feel disappointed on numbers that don't seem to match, get a good reference book on the rifle and see what the numbers mean. It's possible that the number on the barrel isn't even a serial number but a drawing number or other reference number, or that the number is an s/n but it means nothing when compared to the other s/ns. This book is considered very very good and can be had used for under 100 dollars.


January 28, 2012, 12:52 PM
the number on the barrel is 2-44 which means it was produced in feb of 1944 i was looking to see if the 5,000,000 range was right with that.

January 28, 2012, 02:14 PM
ok here are some pictures of this jewel.78090



January 28, 2012, 02:17 PM



January 28, 2012, 02:20 PM



January 28, 2012, 02:21 PM
sorry i didnt know how to get them to actually appear on the screen.

TX Hunter
January 28, 2012, 02:30 PM
HMM, It has the Sight Cover and Canvas Sling, I bet that rifle saw action in the Pacific. I would like to know how the stock got broke, Makes you wonder.
I bet some young Marine was holding onto that thing for dear life.
It could use a good cleaning and a new stock, but is a neat old rifle.

January 28, 2012, 02:35 PM
here is the stock i was given.




January 28, 2012, 02:38 PM



January 28, 2012, 02:39 PM

TX Hunter
January 28, 2012, 02:47 PM
From the looks of your work bench, and tools, your a pretty handy feller, If you sand that stock and re stain it, I bet it will fit your rifle.
It will give you a neat project to work on.
It does look like a 1903 Stock. but I bet it will fit.

January 28, 2012, 03:36 PM
You can go here - http://thecmp.org/Sales/relatedsales.htm - and buy a great stock. Fwiw, the 1903A3 is an absolute jewel to shoot. There might be some who can tell you if the stock is repairable but I know nothing about that. I do know that the CMP has some very nice products.

January 28, 2012, 04:35 PM
I am sorry to report this, but it is my belief that National Ordnance is a foreign-made, commercial cast receiver, not a USGI receiver. I believe that this 1903A3 rifle is made from a commercial receiver with USGI parts. As such unfortunately it never saw service in WWII. :(

I don't like to be the bearer of bad news but neither would I think it right to withhold the info. I feel bad for posting this but I believe its for the best. I don't have much info on National Ordnance except that from what I read, they are OK rifles in many cases. But since it's commercial, possibly cast receiver, and it has a stock broken at the back of the receiver, I suggest having a gunsmith look at it before you fire

January 28, 2012, 04:54 PM
National Ordnance was made in el Monte CA in the 60's. They were made from GI parts on cast or some say rewld recievers. The only value is the parts and probably not worth repairing
Google tells the whole story

January 28, 2012, 05:02 PM
Thanks Howard. I don't know where I got the 'foreign' part from. Maybe I was vaguely remembering the 'El Monte' part and figured it was Mexico. Jeez, if it was a re-weld, that's historic in its own right but not for the right reasons

JD- check this out:


TX Hunter
January 28, 2012, 06:58 PM
I did not notice that this was a National Ordanance Rifle, How did I miss that ?

January 28, 2012, 07:01 PM
yes it does say national oridnace on the reciever. as far as shooting it i have shot it 2 or 3 times. i dont know a whole lot about it except my grandpa was in the korean war. he also has an m1 carbine from the 1944 year so i just figured he carried both the m1 and this one with him.

January 28, 2012, 07:02 PM
sorry i may not of clarified what i meant the reciever isnt broke just the stock is broke right behind the reciever.

TX Hunter
January 28, 2012, 07:07 PM
JD 3020,
If its made by National Ordanance, Its not a collectors item, but If everything is OK but the stock, I would replace the stock and keep it.
It should be fine for a shooter. Sorry. It fooled me too. :)

January 28, 2012, 07:19 PM
Google Sante Fe 1903a3 while you're at it.They were commercial receivers paired up with G.I parts.The Fed receiver and broken scant stock pretty much puts it in a category of parts instead of a collectable.
A friend got one in trade assembled with almost mint Remington parts,so he looked around until he found a Rem marked receiver.Stripped the rifle and assembled a great condition Remington correct 1903a3.

January 28, 2012, 09:21 PM
I did not notice that this was a National Ordanance Rifle, How did I miss that ?

I had to go back and look a second time, I almost missed it too

January 29, 2012, 10:18 AM
Heck I had to look three time to catch the NO roll mark, old age is here!

I saw a NO at a local shop recently, it wasn't a bad looking rifle. Bolt cycled very nice. I believe these are an investment cast receiver like SAI uses on the M1A and repro Garands.

I would just hang a nice C stock on it and shoot the poop out of it. Evil bay has several new C stocks listed, some under $100.

It may not have the history of a usgi rifle but history doesn't make shoot better. Now that I think about it, every part but the receiver is gi, so it does have some history, just not as well documented.;)

TX Hunter
January 29, 2012, 10:35 AM
If he wanted to he could build a nice rifle out of the parts, there are 1903 recievers for sale from time to time, usually for about 200 dollars.
He could put his parts on that, get a Smith to set the headspace and have a complete 1903 A3. But if the investment cast reciever is strong eneough, and safe eneough to shoot, You could put a stock on it and shoot and enjoy it. Thats the problem with my Remington 1903 A3 I worry about shooting it and wearing it out.

January 29, 2012, 03:29 PM
The 1903A3 is an extremely strong action. It was made for war- It will outlast you, no doubt! :)

January 29, 2012, 05:56 PM
I guess I'm confused. What is the "no roll mark" you all are talking about?

January 29, 2012, 07:21 PM

he means the National Ordnance rollmark on the receiver, just forward of the bolt, where the serial number is

January 30, 2012, 10:34 AM
Sorry JD, I get carried away with the abbreviations some times.
NO= National Ordnance.

The major 1903/1903A3 roll marks.

SA=Springfield Armory
RIA=Rock Island Armory
SC=Smith Corona

Don't be concerned about the National Ordnance cast receiver. It's a post war part and well be just fine for shooting. In fact there are current 1903A3 reproduction snipers being produced and sold for about 1K that use a cast receiver I believe.