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Old December 22, 2018, 12:40 AM   #1
Grant.
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1903 Springfield Identification

Hey guys, I have a 1903 Springfield, sn 6001xxx, all matching but sporterized (unfortunately) in great condition, manufactured Sept of '43. Above the date marking at the top of the barrel, just below where the front sight post would be, is the mark RA, my guess is that it's Raritan Arsenal. I don't know the original stock, if it was a scant or not.

But on the back of the safety selector, there's an engraving that says Mark 2. I've never heard of Mark 2 Springfields so I just wanna know what this rifle is. It's been in the family since just after the war where it was purchased as surplus in Nebraska. Will post pictures if you want, but I'm too dang lazy right now. Thank you, God Bless and Merry Christmas.
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Old December 22, 2018, 03:31 AM   #2
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I believe the Mark 2 stamped on the safety simply indicates that the safety is a shorter one designed to clear the bottom of the ocular bell of a scope.

Quote:
just below where the front sight post would be
Wait a minute... is the front sight not there? Would it be safe to say it's not been there since the 40's? With arsenal rebuilds and such, I don't know how one would tell the correctness of the stock. However, if the front sight is gone, and a low safety- I really am curious if maybe you don't have an old sniper rifle?
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Old December 22, 2018, 04:10 AM   #3
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Thank you for the clarification on the mark 2. Yeah I'm pretty sure it wasnt my dad or his dad who took it off. The notch on the front is empty, with a little bit of rust.
I have no other details on the purchase, if it came as a sniper or not, but everything but the stock is original.. Apparently all the rebuilds would be marked with the arsenal code on the actual stock itself, so it's unfortunate that I don't have that. I'll send a few pics of the details ASAP. Thanks for your help!
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Old December 22, 2018, 11:51 AM   #4
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We need pictures. Serial numbers for 1903 and 1903A3 stopped just short of 5,000,000, there is no Springfield (or Remington or Smith Corona) number 6001000.

RA is Remington Arms. Remington made 1903s before developing the 1903A3 and their barrels were also used as replacements.

Mark 2 is likely a Dayton Traister scope safety made to clear a scope. Not GI.
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Old December 22, 2018, 12:06 PM   #5
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I have to pick through this a bit.

Arsenals did not make barrels.

SN must be a mis type. Production did not go to 6 million - I am guessing its a 600,000 and its WWI or post WWI.

Barrel ID has a choice of SA , RA, RIA, HS , JA, SC (remote possible AV) - there should be a bomb and a date below the letters. M-YY

Receiver can Say Springfield, Rock Island, Remington, Smith Corona.

I am guessing Springfield and the production stopped before WWII.
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Old December 22, 2018, 05:47 PM   #6
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I know.. I'm really confused.
It does have the bomb with the RA, and a date code. Just the numbers 9 and 43 separated by space.

And yep, the SN is 60015xx, sorry for potato picture. Couldn't get the thing to focus.

Still, really really confused, here's the pictures.

20181222_152723.jpg

20181222_152733.jpg

20181222_152740.jpg
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Old December 22, 2018, 07:02 PM   #7
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Ok, barrel is easy enough, RA is Remington Arms, so it is a RA barrel made in September of 1943. The Receiver is a different matter.

The rest is interesting and we need more information. There are no 6 million SN of any mfg. be it Springfield , Rock Island, or the WWII Remington - Smith Corona made 1903A3. take the following as not alarmist but to look into.

If you want to PM me we can do email and can reduce SN exposure to me.

If its Springfield its gotten a replaced barrel, not an issue unto itself.

I am beginning to think you have an "adjusted" serial number Springfield. Under 800,000 they had possible heat treat issues. Its been known to finagle the SN to get it out of that range. Those would be WWI era.

SNs only went to 4,209,XXX , no 5 million no 6 million. The SNs for Remington were added onto the end of Springfield production and Smith Corona was given block inside the assigned Remington ones when SC got into the mfg end.

Does it say Springfield? Not Remington or Rock Island or Smith Corona ?

What is called the low SN Springfield were iffy on heat treatment due to the way they went about it.

Its a dicey subject as many went on to serve with no issues (Rock Island was under 450,000 with the same issue)

Its an owners choice to shoot or not. So in this case the numbers have to match right or one has been modified. The 6 would be hard to modify (I have picture of one that was). Add a number on the end and if you don't know the range, then it looks fine (though if you knew about low SN then high woudl liekly be known but...???)
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Old December 22, 2018, 07:37 PM   #8
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A bit more background.

Springfileand Rock Island made 1903 pre WWI. Post WWI Sprinfiled did alimitd proudion. Maringkf ofr a Sprinfiled would be

US
Springfield
Armory
Mod 1903
1,XXX,XXX (Commas added)

Springfield labeled receivers ran a bit over 1,300,000 - some were assembled from spare parts WWII and then all were contract to Remington and Smith Corona as Springfield was full up with M1 production.

The latter two mfg ended in the low 4 million block of SNs.
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Old December 22, 2018, 10:40 PM   #9
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Might be a National Ordnance.
Cast receiver with surplus other parts.
Have to take off front scope mount to see markings.
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Old December 23, 2018, 01:04 AM   #10
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Yeah I'll take off the scope ASAP, but I'm sitting on my behind right now. Seems a bit iffy to shoot, my dad ran hot hunting loads for years, killed quite a few elk here in Arizona, and the bolt is sticky to close on standard .30-06 so I've noticed. I'll get some headspace gauges and fiddle with it, but I'm not gonna shoot it. I'll get that mount off and send more pics later.

Thanks for all the help guys! Keep it coming, this thing confuses the heck out of me!
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Old December 23, 2018, 03:08 PM   #11
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Behind the scope mount is "NAT..." so yeah, it probably is a Nat'l Ordnance.

And don't worry, it doesn't actually look THAT rusty. But I'll definitely be cleaning it up ASAP. There's no pitting or obvious rust anywhere, thankfully. Bore is 9/10, tiny bit of patinated copper on the very end. I'll work my magic on it for 10 straight hours sitting hunched over a cleaning table at my nearest opportunity.
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Old December 23, 2018, 03:58 PM   #12
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Jim nailed it and you can see it as you noted in the first two SN. Need to get that mount off to see if anything else.

The following is not attributed but if its correct, still not 6 million.

Not sure what to make of it. If its not an A3 then you have to be suspicious of its pedigree. The shell issues sounds like a poor reaming job.

Quote:
They were made in the 1960's as I stated earlier.

SPRINGFIELD RIFLE CALIBRE .30 MODEL 1903A3
NATIONAL ORDNANCE INC., SOUTH EL MONTE, CALIFORNIA

YEAR SERIAL NUMBERS QUANTITY
1965-1966 6,000,001 to 6,030,000 2500
Introduction of a New Type of Receiver Material
1967 5,000,001 to 5,003,000 3000
1968 5,003,001 to 5,008,000 5000
1969 5,008,001 to 5,014,000 6000
1970 5,014,001 to 5,020,000 6000

Total 22,500

SPRINGFIELD RIFLE CALIBRE .30 MODEL 1903A3
SANTA FE ARMS, PASADENA, CALIFORNIA

YEAR SERIAL NUMBERS QUANTITY
1965-1966 5,000,001 to 5,003,000 2,500

Grand Total 25,000
The National Cast receivers (were tested in England and found ok, not quality per an OEM but did pass tests.

In this case with a fake SN and the stamping, you have to wonder who, what where etc this came to be.
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Old December 23, 2018, 05:46 PM   #13
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The following is from Chuck in Denver, runs a company calle Warhawks.

He is a gun smith who does a lot of Mil Surplus rifles. As he has hands on experience with the issues (and in this case failures) I would go with his advice over written.

Also note, due to the SN bust, there looks to be other aspects to that gun that are unknown. Conjecture would be a under 800k SN Springfield that was cleaned off and National Ordinance put on and a modified SN.

It really does have nothing but ????????? associated with it.

Quote:
no National Ord, or Santa Fe arms made 1903A3 should ever, ever, be fired.
they are NOT safe, and will fail, just a matter of time.
they made less then 2500 of them, and i know of 5 that have failed, 4 in the Denver area alone, thats not good odds.
one that failed is pictured above, shot with factory ammo.
shooter fired less then 80 rounds, and didnt know the guns past history.
trust your eyes, it will fail..maybe today, next week, next year, but it will fail.
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Old December 23, 2018, 06:51 PM   #14
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Interesting, very interesting. I won't be shooting it, even my dad said he didn't think it was safe. I'll get that mount off. But thanks a lot for the info, you could be saving me a few fingers or an eye. I'm not too worried about that though.

I suppose the gun could have been bought in the 60s, that'd be easily plausible. And as far as I know it was Nebraska, that's what my dad said, but possibly Oregon. I don't know, I wasn't there. Heck, I just wanna confirm what this thing even IS!
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Old December 23, 2018, 07:17 PM   #15
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That is going to be most interesting, thank you love that stuff .

My brother had a Golden State but I think it was off a OEM receiver. Decent gun as I recall.

Other key here will be a close look, at the SN number and does one not match up right?
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Old December 23, 2018, 07:31 PM   #16
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Quote:
Other key here will be a close look, at the SN number and does one not match up right?
Hm? What do you mean, does one not match up? Am confuzzled.

Yeah after I figure this out I'm probably going to take the scope off and retire this little girl. Last action she had was back in '07, when she took a cow elk. After that my dad just used his Pre-64 Model 70 .30-06. He put a Swarovski on it... Yeah. I know. He's lucky..
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Old December 23, 2018, 08:36 PM   #17
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The problem with those is that you never know if you are 1 shot from disaster or a 1000. Good to retire it.

The SN is an oddity as it does not match up with the National Ord listed, not does it match up with any other known 1903 Receiver.

Fudging the SN for a Springfield or RIA in the heat treated issue era at least an explanation (criminal as it would be as its deceit and putting someone at risk without their knowing)

To Fudge a National Ord SN? I am flailing for an explanation.

Wild thought is that someone Fudged the Receiver to a National Ord and the SN.

Truly a strange artifact. Kind of like having a 1450 Dabloon show up in a 1000 era lost to history Inca Ruin. Hmmm.

In this case you just look for a SN number stamp that is off line, wrong appearance with the others and or if the receiver may have had the old mfg ID milled off.
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Old December 23, 2018, 10:05 PM   #18
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Yeah there's definitely evidence of some crude-ish modification. Right at the base of the bolt handle is a little area that has been filed off to clear the sporter stock. Not sure if that was my dad or his dad.

Either way, I'm so confused about this rifle. It really is a strange artifact..

I feel inspired enough to go take off the scope mounts. I'll do that ASAP. Might even pull the action out for the heck of it.
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Old December 23, 2018, 11:51 PM   #19
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All of the above would be good.

At this point full pictures, particularly the SN and Name area. Sometimes you can at least eliminate things that are just wrong for the ID. A lot of fakes items have give aways. This is not a current fake but at some point someone did something odd involving it (certainly NOT your dad)

I have one that while genuine has a story. Its a 1922 1903 (not that many) and it had plugs on the barrel with spacing for mounts that matched one of the target shooting types (there were a couple of variations).

My step dads father picked it up in Idaho area back in the 30s, took a lot of game down there and then up here moose and bear I know of (I don't think Caribou but they had a woods type in the area he was hunting in so possible)

Its the only gun I know that is really shot a lot, not quite out, measures a 5 on a 1 to 8 scale. Armory would probably can the barrel. It still shoots under 1.5 inch groups at 100.

My guess is it was someones target rifle, average folks did not have scopes in those days and the shoot out aspect suports it. Step G Dad (as it were nevr met him) only did sight in confirm shots and hunitn, so you guess well under 1000 rounds.

You have to suspect a military shooter as its got all the aspects of milgary in a sporter stock (SGD did that stock) - probably started to loose accuracy and the original owner sold it off.

20s was a hot time for target shooting. Mount is for one of those long skinny scopes they had back then.
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Old December 24, 2018, 12:35 AM   #20
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I just took the rifle apart and out of the stock. Cleaning out all the rust right now actually. Bore loaded with copper AND rust, which is weird because our rifles are ALL extensively cleaned after every use. By me. I actually sit at a table for about 14 hours and clean each gun. Every screw, nook, cranny, everything. And that's what I'm doing right now!

Sounds like a nice gun. Good to see guns staying in the family for decades. Especially such a venerable rifle as the 1903.

My dad did the sporter stock on mine and he did a stellar job. Looks like a factory Model 70 walnut stock. It's beautiful.

1.5 inches is great! These rifles are such tack drivers, honestly. Shame this one isn't so safe to fire
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Old December 24, 2018, 01:00 AM   #21
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There's a potentially bigger problem than the strength issue: if the serial number has been altered, it's a federal (and possibly also state) felony to possess the firearm. And the way the law is written, even if the alteration was done before you were born, by person or persons unknown, if you are in possession the law presumes that you are the miscreant who performed the alteration.

Be careful.
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Old December 24, 2018, 03:53 AM   #22
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Quote:
...law presumes that you are the miscreant who performed the alteration.
Thankfully there is no evidence whatsoever of serial number modification.. And it seems, as was mentioned earlier, that Nat'l Ordnance guns are original cast receivers with surplus parts, which explains everything else. So maybe the SN wasn't actually modified at all.

Thank you for the warning though! Felonies are bad! Always helpful when people give good legal advice. I appreciate the courtesy greatly.
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Old December 24, 2018, 11:40 AM   #23
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I can't prove it but I suspect that it would take intent to deceive on the owners part before the weight of the law would fall upon someones head.

Clearly the gun has a history that indicates none of that by two owners.

This is also not a type of gun that would be an issue with due to the history of mfg and the fact is a pre 1968 gun.

That said the SN is clearly out of known line, it does not mean its not an oddball extension or even a mis stamp.
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Old December 24, 2018, 01:32 PM   #24
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As you say: "The following is not attributed but if its correct, still not 6 million." (Emphasis added.)
I would not hang my hat on the recordkeeping of a bunch of feather merchants like Nat Ord and would assume the serial number legit.
Usability of the rifle is doubtful, it should be a wallhanger heirloom not to be advertised anyhow.
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Old December 24, 2018, 05:22 PM   #25
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Jim: Mostly I agree, but in this case its a huge bust outside the known SN range.

I am intrigued maybe as much as Grant is (but I like stuff like that)

I know of a 1917 that is like 50k higher (with stamps) but Nat Ord did not make 750,000 as the figures show.

GOOD TO REREAD THINGS AND THANKS TO JIM AGAIN:


Quote:
YEAR SERIAL NUMBERS QUANTITY
1965-1966 6,000,001 to 6,030,000 2500
I read that as 6,00,000 range and 2500 made. From what I am not sure unless it was recovered receivers of some kind. That part looks to be resolved!

I would also tag it (I have some items I have done that with so if something happens to me family going through my oddity and entities would know they are special value (in this case)

My wife was out with a friend at a garage sale and found an Accordion a while back. I think she paid $250 for it. She was nervous I would be upset (no anyway) - yes I would like to see it, accordions are cool, you don't do things like that often.

Phewee, Honey, I think you found something worth a lot more than a run of the mill one. From the accordions I have seen quality wise I am guessing its $1 -1500.

Turns out to be around 2k value.

Not to harp on good deals and things, but tags are good idea for special items be it an odd gun you won't want someo0ne to shoot or an accordion that has been left behind that was worth a lot (or requires special handling)

You can put the tag behind the gun if on display, put it in the magazine so that its obvious if someone cycles the bolt.

Might seriously consider neutering it with a trigger removal or part there off.
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