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Old April 13, 2017, 06:26 PM   #1
Rabid1
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1903 Springfield Sporter, Researched, Unusual? Please Weigh In!

Hello, my name is Rick Douthit. I’m a retired cop and business owner. I acquired this 1903 from my step-father who is no longer with us.

I don’t believe in asking questions until I’ve researched the Web for the answers first. I’ve pretty much done that for this rifle, and now I’d welcome the opinions of the experts on this forum.



What I know:

The barrel date, receiver serial (1498077) and stock serial (same) all match. (See Below)



[IMG]http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa258/Rabid1_photos/Springfield%201903/Barrel-Marings-A_zpslcwv1mf2.jpg[/IMG

The Lyman “Alaskan” Scope is period-correct. This model scope (with no turret caps serial# 1712) was only produced from 1937-41 and there were fewer than 4000 made.



More

I’m not sure what these barrel markings mean:

The “P” Stamp on barrel

Here:

The “C 2147” Stamp

Here.


Regarding the bolt: At first I was concerned because there was no serial number visible. Based on a tip from a forum member I checked it under bright light, and, sure enough found the faint remnants of the serial.



Firing Pin Rod:

Has "NS 3" Stamp

And C 64109 2

Stock Markings:



Here’s where it gets interesting:
We know the Lyman scope and Griffin & Howe mount are period-correct. The mount looks to be at the very least, professionally installed. The edges of the stock cutout around the mount are stained like the rest of the stock. Could this be a factory job? Could the “P” stamp on the barrel mean it’s a prototype?



Does anyone have an opinion about this rifle? Value? (The barrel’s in good condition and everything functions as intended)
I welcome all answers!
Thanks for taking the time, it’s very much appreciated.
Rick

Last edited by Rabid1; April 13, 2017 at 11:20 PM.
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Old April 13, 2017, 07:00 PM   #2
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Looks to me like you have a real deal Springfield Sporter, one of 5000-6000 made in the 1920s and 1930s. Discontinued by the Armory so as to not have the government competing with new model commercial rifles from Winchester and Remington.
The star on the muzzle means the barrel was star gauged, measured in groove and land every inch of the barrel and meeting specifications.
The "P" is for Proof test, not prototype.
The SA/S.P.G. is a known Springfield Armory inspector's stamp, but not who.
A lot of those other stamps were made by men long dead for records long lost. Maybe somebody on the CMP forum can decode them.

I doubt the G&H double lever side mount and Lyman Alaskan were installed at Springfield. You can be sure that G&H would make the cut in the stock look right.

Does it retain the Lyman 48 receiver sight or at least its base?

Dollar value is substantial, although replacement of the receiver sight by scope might hurt. It might not, that is a perfectly legitimate rig of its era.

I once had a copy, built up on a 1903 Remington action in a 1922 stock. It looked right at six feet but would not stand close examination. It was a fine shooter, in spite of its lack of authenticity.
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Old April 13, 2017, 07:14 PM   #3
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Thank you very much Jim!!!

I highly value your opinion.

Rick
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Old April 13, 2017, 07:39 PM   #4
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I agree with Jim, it looks like an NRA Sporter. Hard to tell without having it in hand, but it has a lot of the marks of being authentic. Last one I saw sold went for somewhere around $4K.
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Old April 13, 2017, 07:47 PM   #5
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The "P" on the barrel just means that it was proofed. The “C 2147” is the star gauge number. To my knowledge NO '03 Springfield sporters were sent out with a scope mounted on the rifle. Brophy's excellent book "The Springfield 1903 Rifles" does not mention any original arsenal built rifles and in thirty years of collecting I have never seen any documentation to suggest that any came that way. The standard rear sight was a Lyman No48.

"C 64109 2" is a drawing number and the "NS" on the firing pin means that it is made from nickel steel. Some sporters came with chrome vanadium strikers and triggers and they will be marked with a "CV".

Unfortunately, while it is a family heirloom, the actual value has taken a hit due to the scope being mounted. Nevertheless, they are great rifles. I had one several years ago and I wish I still had it.
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Old April 13, 2017, 07:56 PM   #6
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This has both NS & CV markings.

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Old April 13, 2017, 08:38 PM   #7
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I just checked Brophy and didn't look at Campbell's (The'03 Era) yet. It does indeed look like a Springfield Armory NRA sporter. Let's see the other side of the stock where the Lyman 48 rear aperture sight would have gone.

OK, I checked with Campbell. It is legitimate. However, for final confirmation let's see the other side of the receiver. It should have been adapted for a Lyman 48.
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Old April 13, 2017, 08:43 PM   #8
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Here ya go brother.



Do you want a closer image?
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Old April 13, 2017, 08:49 PM   #9
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Oh, good, it still has the Lyman base. You could probably get a staff from Gary Fellers if you wanted a complete outfit. But I would not try to delete the scope.
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Old April 13, 2017, 08:55 PM   #10
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You scored!

Do you have papers for yours?
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Old April 13, 2017, 08:56 PM   #11
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Yes sir, it's just that! (Lyman Alaskan)

I have no papers.
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Old April 13, 2017, 09:04 PM   #12
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BTW, that Griffin & Howe mount and base was not on the original sporters. Either it was done at Griffin & Howe but it might also have been done at Springfield Armory on an unofficial basis. Lyman Alaskans were optional equipment when insufficient M81/M82 telescopes were available so the non-standard (ahem, non-GI) version of them, the Lyman Alaskan, was used instead for the M-1C sniper Garand.

I know of at least one rifle that was converted into sporter configuration post-war with G&H scope base and mount and Lyman Alaskan. It was done for an officer stationed at Springfield (had this confirmed by Springfield Armory National Historic Site) and then sold to him cheap (they left the front sight loose so it was sold as a "defective" product).
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Old April 13, 2017, 09:08 PM   #13
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Thanks again Gary. Does the date of the Alaskan (37-41) have any bearing?
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Old April 13, 2017, 09:23 PM   #14
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I'm not an expert on the Alaskan. It could be the year of production? I take it's a regular crosshair?

BTW, I've seen no documentation attesting that Springfield Armory converted any of their '03 sporters to take the G&H scope mount. However, it is highly unlikely that any G&H scope mounts with Lyman scopes were released for public sale until after the M1C was declared surplus. I seriously doubt they were ever released from the '50s or '80s and it wasn't until Bubba became president that they had lottos for them.

The other possibility is that G&H installed it. You may want to ask them if they have records of their work. If they did, when would they have acquired an Alaskan?
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Old April 13, 2017, 09:26 PM   #15
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Gary, the Alaskan has a post w/ fine cross wire.
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Old April 13, 2017, 09:42 PM   #16
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Rick - I'm tapped out for now but here's a link to the American Rifleman article on the scope: https://www.americanrifleman.org/art...alaskan-scope/
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Old April 13, 2017, 09:44 PM   #17
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Gary, I'm extremely grateful for your expert opinion! You're a good man!!!
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Old April 13, 2017, 09:48 PM   #18
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Serial number is not on the G&H Lookup but all that means is that they did not SELL it. Of course they didn't, Springfield did, through the NRA.
Unfortunately they don't www their gunsmithing records, not required to be kept in those days, anyhow.
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Old April 13, 2017, 09:50 PM   #19
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Thanks again Jim! Good info!
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Old April 13, 2017, 10:06 PM   #20
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G&H may not have sold it, but is it possible that G&H modified it after it was sold by the CMP?
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Old April 13, 2017, 10:11 PM   #21
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As a former detective, I'm loving this little mystery. Gather the facts, draw a logical conclusion!
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Old April 13, 2017, 11:04 PM   #22
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I appreciate the knowledge of those who are contributing.
I built a copy of a 1903A4 (AIM Surplus Drill Rifle receiver.) and put a Lyman Alaskan on it,post and crosshair.
I really like the scope! FWIW,I set mine up with both rings behind the trurrets,just like this rifle. Eye reliefe is perfect,and the forward position of the ocular permits the GI safety to be fully functional without modification.

And that classic old Springfield Sporter ............

Should be a centerfold!!

Nice! That is the roots of the modern bolt sporting rifle.(IMO)

Thank you!

Last edited by HiBC; April 17, 2017 at 12:55 PM.
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Old April 13, 2017, 11:22 PM   #23
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I'm still curious about the "P" stamp on the barrel. It doesn't have a circle around it. Is that normal?

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Old April 14, 2017, 08:46 AM   #24
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You are getting into collector minutae now. All I can say is that the "P" on my Colt is not circled.
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Old April 14, 2017, 09:39 AM   #25
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Have to run to the range this morning. I'll see what Brophy and Campbell says.

Rabid1 - I'm with you on investigating mysteries. Since your rifle falls within the category of Arsenal sporterized Springfields, it is a mystery as to the G&H's installation. Since G&H sold its mount (and someone can correct me if I'm wrong as to G&H sales practice), it could have been done by any number of gunsmiths who had access to a lathe (to make a mandrel for the receiver) and a milling machine (to do the actual drilling and tapping of the receiver).
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