View Full Version : 1903 new lease on life

October 26, 2012, 01:06 AM
hello all.
not long ago I related to you guys and gals that a friend of mine had a springfield in his possession that he was told was a sniper model and actually turned out to be a Bubba Special. well today he turned it over to me to try and give a little life back and I am up for the challenge. using a borrowed camera I was able to get some grainy and out of focus "before" shots for you.

it is hard to tell from the picture but this reciever has been drilled and tapped multiple times and the mount on it appears to be intended for a different rifle as it is much larger than the mount on my springfield.

note the cracked stock, near the rough and unfinished chop job. barrel was stripped and re blued at some point but now shows a lot of wear and light rust in spots.

front sight
upon removal of the front sight I was able to determine that the barrel is a 4-42 springfield barrel. as the serial dates to 1919 I am guessing that this is a civilian rebarrel as I can not imagine a post WWI rifle requiring a rebarrel so early in WWII. the front sight was JB welded on and hopefully will reblue quite nicely after it is cleaned up a bit.

I hope to have it cleaned up and ready to go back to it's owner within 48 hours so hopefully it will not cause me too much grief.

thanks for reading and please feel free to offer some constructive criticism.

EDIT, a little side note. this is very possibly a parts pile rifle as it has numerous remington parts on it such as ejector, bolt housing and mag disconnect switch.

October 26, 2012, 08:22 AM
That's sad. Bubba strikes.


upon removal of the front sight I was able to determine that the barrel is a 4-42 springfield barrel. as the serial dates to 1919 I am guessing that this is a civilian rebarrel as I can not imagine a post WWI rifle requiring a rebarrel so early in WWII. the front sight was JB welded on and hopefully will reblue quite nicely after it is cleaned up a bit.

That's the norm for the early '03's. Most all saw a C&R with new barrels for or during war2. It's getting harder to find a pre war2 with the original barrel.

October 26, 2012, 09:58 AM
thanks for the info regarding barrels madcrate. I know, it saddened me the first time I saw it too. it's still going to be pretty bubba'd by the time I get through with it but hopefully not as noticeably.

October 26, 2012, 03:12 PM
alright a brief description of the fitting process:
the butt plate was seriously rusted from being covered by a wrap around limbsaver pad
150 grit sandpaper to remove a large portion of the surface rust, moved up to 400 grit for finish and 0000 steel wool prior to cold bluing returned the butt pad to a semi cared for yet still used appearance.
I didn't have the proper allen wrench to remove the scope mount so a quick trip to ACE hardware was necessary. upon removal of the scope base there was a bit of rust and what appeared to be more JB weld. as well as numerous drill+ locations both open and filled with solder.
0000 steel wool and cold bluing solution solved much of the rust and made much of the writing legible.
readable markings are springfield armory, (model 1903 has numerous holes drilled through it so unless you know what you're looking for it's illegible) MARK I and serial number.

October 26, 2012, 03:13 PM
removal of the scope base also allowed an A3 style handguard ring to fit to the receiver and allowed for mounting of an A3 stock that I had laying around.

finally the barrel face that was covered by the front sight base after 400 grit sandpaper and 0000 buffing + cold bluing.

so far this rifle has come together quite nicely with the exception of the bolt inletting. it came out quite sloppily(by my standards) to try and accommodate the home gunsmith bent bolt. far from my finest work but other than that I am just waiting on the new scope mount and it'll be done(the owner intends to get a new scope down the road).
it won't be a perfect A4-gery but it's still a valiant effort if I do say so myself.

also, I don't know if it happened while in my possession or not but the ejector is not being held in by anything. are these retained by a screw or a roll pin? roll pin is an easy fix, screw mean another week turn around at Numrich.

Baba Louie
October 27, 2012, 01:40 PM
Pin, not a screw for ejector IIRC. Will have to wait till I get home to be sure and certain it's not a roll pin (don't think rolled pin tho).

Both of my MkIs have original early barrels but it wouldn't surprise me to see a WWII barrel as a post/during war arsenal refurb, then off to the public via DCM post war.

Lookin good tahunua. You're on an '03 roll I tell ya. Keep up the good work sir.

October 27, 2012, 05:24 PM
thanks Louie, I'm still quite amateur when it comes to springfields and just milsurps in general but I try. numrich has scematics and parts numbers and was able to find the correct part.

October 31, 2012, 07:12 AM
Just a heads up on the camera - your lens is going to look at something that is easily focused, like the steps and some child's legs as he/she goes up the steps. If you place your rifle on something nondescript, like a medium color towel, set your camera on Macro (often the flower symbol) and get decent indirect lighting you can get good shots. The shots of your tapped receiver are obviously out of focus since the camera is not in Macro mode.

Btw, are you going to try to fill those holes in or just leave them?

October 31, 2012, 11:24 AM
I dang near ruined a mosin nagant doing metal work by myself, I refuse to do it to other peoples guns now. as soon as the scope base gets here I will take it to my LGS to have them fill the holes, cut new ones if necessary and mount it.

November 18, 2012, 07:18 PM
I ran into a few snags. my original plan was to mount a rail intended for a 1903A3 which would allow to mount the scope with the handguard ring intact, however I failed to take into account the difference in reciever dimensions between the 03 and A3. so plan B was to buy a 2 piece mount and have the reciever Re-RE-RE drilled and tapped for a 2 piece weaver set however there is not a single gunsmith in the area that is willing to touch it due to the level of bubbafication. so my only option left was to inlet the handguard and handguard ring to allow the original scope rail to be remounted. not my finest piece of work but not horrible either. here it is next to my 1903A4.