View Full Version : Inherited Springfield 1903 - General Questions

October 13, 2012, 11:09 AM
Hello all, new to the community.

I recently inherited a Springfield 1903 from my father, and I thought I'd upload some pictures and get some opinions. The serial number isn't scratched out, I just smudged it on photoshop. It is 343XXX.

There is a lot out there about receiver failures in this rifle, it seems as though this rifle is in the safe range, can anyone confirm?

Also, I was wondering if anyone could explain the various stamps to me.

Finally, I would never sell this rifle, but I am curious to know the value. From the little research I did it seems that this is a fairly common gun. I believe it is in pretty good shape (If I'm wrong, please tell me), any idea on an approx. value?

Any other information/comments would be greatly appreciated. Thanks everyone, and look forward to the responses.

http://imageshack.us/a/img832/7273/img0671gu.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/832/img0671gu.jpg/)

http://imageshack.us/a/img822/9965/img06782.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/822/img06782.jpg/)

http://imageshack.us/a/img39/9770/img0684h.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/39/img0684h.jpg/)

http://imageshack.us/a/img826/5994/img0687mj.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/826/img0687mj.jpg/)

http://imageshack.us/a/img844/883/img0673mx.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/844/img0673mx.jpg/)

October 13, 2012, 01:56 PM
the brittle recievers were caused by a primitive heat treatment process and for the most part many of the ones prone to failure have been weeded out over the past 100 years. rock island armory changed their heat treatment process around serial number 280,000 and springfield changed theirs around #800,000. your rock island armory is safe to fire. generally speaking it is in great condition and should be a good shooter assuming the bore is not rusty. it was made roughly around 1919 and it was rebarreled with a springfield armory barrel at some point. .

I am not an expert of proofs and cartouches but they are pretty much just marks that show that it passed inspection before it left the factory and again before it entered service. IIRC, the SAA stamp on the stock I believe stands for Springfield Armory and the Ps are idividual inspectors marks

October 13, 2012, 03:51 PM
SAA is San Antonio Arsenal

Probably reworked late in the war, the barrel is Springfield Armory made in Nov 1942.

Marines still used them at the start of the war, who knows, that rifle may have been carried ashore in Guadalcanal.

James K
October 13, 2012, 07:40 PM
FWIW, the stock is a WWII "scant" stock, so is not original. It probably was a replacement at the time the rifle was rebuilt at San Antonio.


October 13, 2012, 09:19 PM
FWIW, the stock is a WWII "scant" stock, so is not original. It probably was a replacement at the time the rifle was rebuilt at San Antonio.

say whuh?...

how did I miss that one? man I must be slipping in my old age:eek:

TX Hunter
October 13, 2012, 10:43 PM
I believe that one is below 800000, being a 343XXX, still a very nice example, I think it would go for around $600 on the open market. Its very nice looking.
Please someone correct me if I am wrong.

TX Hunter
October 13, 2012, 10:51 PM
Ok I was wrong I looked it up myself, it was 800000 for Springfield, and 285506 for Rock Island. So this Rifle should be in the Safe to Shoot number range. Sorry. Its a very nice looking Rifle.

October 13, 2012, 11:41 PM
another thing to look for is the under side of the bolt handle. there should be a single letter denoting the manufacturer. S for springfield, R for remington...I do not recall what the smith-coronas and RIAs had.

October 14, 2012, 07:25 AM
the brittle recievers were caused by a primitive heat treatment process and for the most part many of the ones prone to failure have been weeded out over the past 100 years

The problem was the method of checking temperature of the metal. They simply eyeballed it, a experienced eye can tell the temp very close by the color of the metal. These old armories relied on natural lighting to a large degree and on overcast days the shop was darker than on clear sunny days. On the sunny days it took a higher temp to "see" the same color. Sunny days produced brittle receivers.

Most 1903's went through "clean and repair" at least one time if not more. The OP's a very nice looking RIA, it may have come from NRA or CMP back in the day.

Hard to but a price on this one, It's nice RIA with a armory replacement stock set. I think it could be in the $700-800 area, the wood is very crisp looking.

October 14, 2012, 12:38 PM
Very informative posts guys, thanks very much.

If it is a scant stock, does that mean its more of a M1903A1?

I did find another single "S" stamp under what I believe is the safety, the flap that says "ready" on the lower left side of the bolt action. I believe it is the safety, and the magazine cut-off is on the rear?

Disassembling this rifle is going to be interesting, but I want to get it cleaned and oiled.

Can't wait to take it shooting, either. Will this thing digest most 30-.06 or does it need a special round?

Thanks for the compliments on the rifle!

October 14, 2012, 01:18 PM
Magazine cutoff is ion the upper left of this photo:


Safety is the flap on top of the bolt. To the left, marked "Ready" is fire. To the right, marked "safe" is safe (bolt locked, and trigger disconnected). Pointing straight up disconnects the trigger, but allows the bolt to work.

No Wonder Mauser sued....:)

October 14, 2012, 02:25 PM
+1 to emcon, the magazine disconnect, which also serves as the bolt release is on the upper left side of the receiver and the safety is on the top-rear of the bolt.

switching the magazine disconnect to on makes the bolt only open enough to single feed rounds while failing to engage the rounds in the magazine, this was deemed necessary because many felt that if you gave a soldier a gun full of ammo he would waste it so it was common practice to order men to single feed only and save the ammo in the magazine for charges. switching it off allows the bolt to slide all the way to the rear and engage the ammo in the magazine while flipping it to a center position allows you to remove the bolt... it took me several months before I found out what the heck that thing was for besides bolt release. :D
If it is a scant stock, does that mean its more of a M1903A1?
yes and no, but mostly no. rock island armory shut down before the introduction of the A1. the S under the mag disconnect should mean springfield but again I am not an expert on stock marks and have already been proven wrong on this thread once. if it is a springfield stock then it is fair to say that this gun saw a great deal of refits. the A1 was supposed to have the full pistol grip or C stock and the only guns I've seen with the scant stocks are guns that had to have new stocks made. it's a semi pistol grip stock so it is not an A1 and it predates the A1 change over so it is not an A1 however it should have the straight stock with grasping grooves to make it a true blue 1903 which it does not have so the simple answer is kindof but not really.

James K
October 14, 2012, 05:53 PM
The cutoff info above is reversed. "ON" allows ammo to feed from the magazine (think of turning "ON" the magazine); "OFF" is for single loading. The idea was not so much about saving ammunition in general, but in keeping the magazine in reserve for an emergency, like a cavalry charge (1903, remember, and the cutoff idea was carried over from the 1892 Krag).

The A1 stock business is more complex. In 1929, the army decided to replace the M1903 straight grip stock with a pistol grip stock, called the "C" stock. But those were times of really tight budgets, so the orders were that the new stocks would not be used until all the older "S" stocks were used up. Since the arsenals, Springfield and Rock Island, had thousands of the old stocks in store, that effectively meant never. But the M1903A1 (the designation for the rifle when it had the pistol grip stock) was the "official" rifle, so when orders were received from outside the army, the rifles shipped had the "C" stock. That included NM rifles sold through the DCM as well as sales to the Coast Guard and some other governmental organizations.

In 1940, after Roosevelt ordered 1.1 million Model 1917 rifles from the war reserve sent to England, and M1 rifle production was very slow, the army contracted with Remington to make the M1903A1 rifle. But the wood blanks available were not large enough for the full pistol grip, so the army allowed Remington to use what was on hand and make the pistol grip as large as they could. Hence the "scant" stock.


TX Hunter
October 14, 2012, 07:25 PM
Your Rifle will be able to fire any standard factory 30 06 load.
I bet it is probably very accurate. Good luck at the Range.

October 14, 2012, 11:33 PM
The cutoff info above is reversed.
sorry about that, I always get those backwards