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Old September 2, 2011, 03:20 PM   #1
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I inherited two rifles from my great grandfather through my parents recently( I am 22 and they just told me about it.) One being a Springfield 1903 and the other Springfield 1903 A-3( I believe, I'm not an expert.) The respective serial numbers being 3271814 and 4196265. I have pictures if you wish to see and I was wondering what the overall value was, though I do not intend to sell, and if either are unsafe to fire(I remember something about low serial numbers?)

Obviously I need to take them to a professional before I fire them to have them checked out the safe to fire question was regarding the serial number issue. These are truly beautiful examples of our war history and it would be a shame if they were no longer able to function. My grandfather was a soldier in Korea and fired them regularly as well as maintained them regularly, they even have the oil he placed on them before he passed away. I should probably re-apply such oil.
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Old September 2, 2011, 03:29 PM   #2
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Lucky you.
You really do not need a gunsmith. If you have a friend who is firearms knowledgable he can help you get them running.
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Old September 2, 2011, 05:02 PM   #3
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Its tough to screw up bolt actions, so they are probably ok. However, have a competent gunsmith check them out before shooting is a good idea, and only costs a bit of money, which you will get more of as time goes on. You won't get (family) history like those, ever again.

You might want to carefully remove the old oil residue, depending on its condition, over time many oils will thicken and turn to a glue like residue.

The 1903 has the rear sight on the barrel. The 1903A3 has the rear sight on the action. That's the quick and dirty way to ID them.

Once you get a clean bill of health from a gunsmith, they should be fired using only GI equivalent loads. There are factory loads in this class, as well as surplus ammo available.

Modern sporting ammo in .30-06 is loaded to significantly higher velocities than the original GI ammo, and while the guns would likely handle it, there is no point in straining them. Metalurgy back then wasn't what it is today, which is why some Springfields should be approached with caution.

There has been a lot of talk about some actions being brittle, not safe to shoot, etc. I know there are serial # ranges (for the different arsenals) below which the actions are considered suspect, although I do not have that information handy.

I hope you can care for and enjoy the rifles the way they had been. Doing so honors not just the history of the rifles, but also the memory of family members who passed them on to you.
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
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Old September 2, 2011, 05:49 PM   #4
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A bit of reading material on the 1903 receivers and the problems with some of them:

Hope this helps, enjoy the rifles, they are a great piece of history.
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Old September 2, 2011, 06:10 PM   #5
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There's no problem with those two receivers. Both are in the million range.
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Old September 2, 2011, 06:53 PM   #6
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Quickest way to ID is to look for the one marked 03-A3...

Should be very nice rifles, congratulations. I have one of my great-grandfather's rifles and it is a treasure. 3271814 is a Remington M1903 produced in 1942. 4196265 is a Remington 03-A3, also produced in 1942. M1903 and 03-A3 production ran together during 1942 as they transitioned to the 03-A3. You should be able to find barrel dates toward the muzzle end. You might also want to visit - some very knowledgeable M1903 people over there.
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Old September 2, 2011, 08:15 PM   #7
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If I remember the serial ranges right one is made in late 1941 the other sometime in 1942. There is good info to be found on line. Do a google search. Also check the barrel date behind the front sight it the barrel date matches the date by serial number the rifle is original, if the dates do not match it has probably been arsenal rebuilt. Also as stated earlier look at the pictures the 1903 has a c stock ant the ladder sight in front of the bolt the 1903 A3 has the sight at the rear of the bolt and a straight stock.
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Old September 2, 2011, 08:39 PM   #8
T. O'Heir
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My condolences for your loss.
"...take them to a professional..." Not really. Especially since grandad shot 'em and maintained 'em.
"...have pictures..." Post 'em. There are voyeurs here. Easier to guessimate a value too. Based on your description, I'd guess they're worth a fair chunk of money. Condition matters.
"...1903 A-3..." Its rear sight is a peep and is on the receiver. A 1903's rear sight is on the barrel. It's far above the S/N cut off. 800,000 for a Springfield Armory '03. 285,507 for a Rock Island rifle. Doesn't apply to '03A3's.
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Old September 5, 2011, 12:26 AM   #9
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Same condolences here. Not a good way to get a rifle but they mean more this way.

All you need to do is clean them up, check the bores to be sure they're clean, and run a very lightly oiled patch down the bore, then a dry patch, and they're ready to shoot. You can get surplus military ammo at any gun show, or online. These rifles will handle any commercial or military 30-06 ammo so have fun with them.

Do note that older military ammo may have corrosive primers. That's usually 1953 or earlier dated ammo. Just to be safe, with older ammo, right after shooting, squirt some Windex down the bore, then as soon as you get home, clean the bore thoroughly with oily patches, then oil it up, and clean again the following day. Ammo dates after 1955 will all be noncorrosive, so all you need to do is clean with patches and lightly oil.
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1903 , garand , springfield

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