The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > The Art of the Rifle: Bolt, Lever, and Pump Action

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old January 17, 2019, 08:18 PM   #1
M88
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 15, 2018
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 209
Springfield 1903 .308 Win puzzle

Found a sporterized Springfield 1903 barreled in .308 Win dirt cheap at a LGS with a nice Bushnell Trophy 1.75 5x32 scope, which is a short range scope designed for shotguns and muzzelloaders. The stock looks very similar to my Remington 700. I generally stay away from sporterized ANYTHING, but the price was to good and it looked like a sharp clean well sporterized hunting rifle. So for the price I took a chance. Once I took the scope off, on top it says:

U.S.
Springfield Armory
Model 1903
1375377

The serial number appears to be hand stamped as the numbers are not in a nice neat row. A 1903 s/n lookup says early 1931 if I'm finding that data correctly. The black gloss almost mirror finish 21" barrel is stamped 308 WIN rather faintly on the side at the breech end. The mystery is that at the end of the barrel right behind the muzzle it is clearly and neatly stamped 7-43. I'm thinking that can't be the date of the barrel, .308 Win didn't come out till 1952. Do you folks concur? Was it re-bored for .308? Also, the bolt looks pretty SIMILAR to my 03-A3, but as you can see in the pics, different. Can anybody tell me what kind of animal I have here?



Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_2935.jpg (91.5 KB, 429 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_2937.jpg (91.3 KB, 419 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_2939.jpg (96.0 KB, 417 views)
__________________
NRA life member. Making good people helpless doesn't make bad people harmless!

Last edited by M88; January 17, 2019 at 08:26 PM.
M88 is offline  
Old January 17, 2019, 08:33 PM   #2
Drm50
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 10, 2014
Posts: 707
Not up on variations of Springfield Sporters. I think Rem was last one to produce 03a3s in
40s. At one time they sold chamber insert to convert to 308. If it is a military barrel it has
insert or has been set back and rechambered. Looks like a nice rifle that isn't a bubba job by far.
Drm50 is offline  
Old January 17, 2019, 08:44 PM   #3
jcj54
Member
 
Join Date: February 28, 2011
Posts: 82
Barrel has been set back.

Barrel has been set back and rechambered for .308
On the rifle in the pic there is a much shorter straight section before the taper starts than on an unaltered .30-06 barrel.
jcj54 is offline  
Old January 17, 2019, 08:57 PM   #4
jaysouth
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 27, 2001
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 741
If that were my rifle, I would put an original cocking knob on the bolt. It's purpose was two fold, to cock the rifle should the need arise and deflect gas from a ruptured case, away from the eyes.
jaysouth is offline  
Old January 17, 2019, 09:10 PM   #5
M88
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 15, 2018
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 209
1.3 lb trigger

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaysouth
If that were my rifle, I would put an original cocking knob on the bolt. It's purpose was two fold, to cock the rifle should the need arise and deflect gas from a ruptured case, away from the eyes.
I didn't know that about the cocking knob... will look into that. I've never done that kind of job, but may be able to do that myself in the shop.

One more thing... the trigger has obviously been worked on, it's almost TO light for me. Five pulls with my Lyman averaged 1.3 lbs! I always do the deal where my finger is not resting on the trigger until target acquired and actually ready to shoot, but that's a bit light.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_2943.jpg (86.4 KB, 351 views)
__________________
NRA life member. Making good people helpless doesn't make bad people harmless!
M88 is offline  
Old January 17, 2019, 09:28 PM   #6
Jim Watson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 25, 2001
Location: Alabama
Posts: 15,289
Trigger likely replaced to get side safety. Might be adjustable.
Bolt sleeve has been machined to completely remove GI "wing" safety.
Striker knob deleted, looks like it has been turned down, not just cut off.
SA factory headless strikers got stiffer springs.

Wavy serial number looks spooky.
Can you show close clear pictures of receiver ring markings and number?
Jim Watson is offline  
Old January 17, 2019, 10:13 PM   #7
M88
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 15, 2018
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Watson
Wavy serial number looks spooky.
Can you show close clear pictures of receiver ring markings and number?
Difficult to photo since it's shiny mirror like finish and indoor lighting... if outside daylight would be better pic without reflections, but here's best I can do right now. As you can see, the s/n looks hand stamped, and not a great job at that. Looks like the last two 7's were double stamped. Certainly not machine stamped.


Attached Images
File Type: jpg ring1.jpg (22.6 KB, 336 views)
File Type: jpg ring2.jpg (30.3 KB, 338 views)
__________________
NRA life member. Making good people helpless doesn't make bad people harmless!
M88 is offline  
Old January 17, 2019, 10:17 PM   #8
Mobuck
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 2, 2010
Posts: 6,589
Others have already said what needs said.
I would suggest having a knowledgeable person take a look at a 1.3# trigger.
Mobuck is offline  
Old January 18, 2019, 01:15 AM   #9
jaysouth
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 27, 2001
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 741
When did Springfield ARMORY make 1903s?

Springfield ARSENAL made a whole slew of them.

That serial number was NOT stamped by a factory.
jaysouth is offline  
Old January 18, 2019, 02:35 AM   #10
M88
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 15, 2018
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 209
Quote:
When did Springfield ARMORY make 1903s?"
It's my understanding that the Springfield Armory, located in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts, was indeed ORIGINALLY the main manufacturer of United States military firearms until it closed in 1968. It's now a National Historic Site. The M1903 Springfield, formally the United States Rifle, Caliber .30-06, Model 1903 was manufactured there. Correct me if I'm wrong on that.

According to jcj54's post, MY sporterized 1903 rifle I posted about, apparently was a shortened barrel that was re-chambered for .308 WIN.
__________________
NRA life member. Making good people helpless doesn't make bad people harmless!
M88 is offline  
Old January 18, 2019, 07:09 AM   #11
eastbank
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 7, 2008
Location: pa.
Posts: 2,100
the numbers may have been fudged to a higher number to sale as a higher safe double heat 03 action.
eastbank is offline  
Old January 18, 2019, 08:45 AM   #12
P-990
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2, 2002
Location: Only1/2WayThere
Posts: 1,249
The numbers look restruck after a heavy polishing job for a refinish. I'm not a 1903 expert but I've handled a few sporterized examples. That picture of the receiver markings looks very much like the results of polishing work. Though I admit I've never seen one where the builder took the time to restrike the serial number.

And yes, the rifles were built at and stamped by Springfield ARMORY. Not arsenal. The modern company trading on the name is properly Springfield Armory Inc. Nothing nefarious about that part of the stamping.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
P-990 is offline  
Old January 18, 2019, 09:28 AM   #13
Art Eatman
Staff Lead
 
Join Date: November 13, 1998
Location: Terlingua, TX; Thomasville, GA
Posts: 24,711
When sporterizing, it was fairly common to replace the original firing pin and spring in order to have a faster lock time.
__________________
You're from BATFE? Come right in! I use all your fine products!
Art Eatman is offline  
Old January 18, 2019, 11:34 AM   #14
M88
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 15, 2018
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 209
Thanks everybody. Based on the feedback so far, it looks like this rifle started out as a Springfield 1903 originally made in 1931 at the Springfield Armory. At some point a 1903 barrel made in Jul 1943 had it's breech end of the barrel cut back to 21 inches and it was re-chambered for .308 WIN. That would have to be after 1952, as that is when .308 WIN came out. Based on how faint the stamping is, it was then polished AFTER that, and the serial number, perhaps lost or barely readable from the polishing, was hand stamped back on the receiver ring rather crudely. Therefore I can only assume that S/N is correct. That re-chambered polished barrel was then mounted in a Remington 700 style walnut stock. It looks like the bolt was worked on, the builder having removed the striker knob by turning it down, among other things. There was obviously some work done on the trigger as it is only 1.3 lbs. which is a bit scary light for me. As one post suggested, it may be adjustable once I take it apart and look at it. I prefer between 2 and 2 1/2 lbs for my rifle triggers if adjustable or can be changed out.

I'm going to mount the Bushnell scope that came with it on another rifle and put a longer range scope on this sporterized 1903 and see how it shoots when the weather starts warming up in March. I appreciate everybodies feedback so far trying to figure out the life of this rifle.
__________________
NRA life member. Making good people helpless doesn't make bad people harmless!
M88 is offline  
Old January 18, 2019, 12:23 PM   #15
RC20
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 10, 2008
Location: Alaska
Posts: 5,661
It seems to me that someone intended this as a target rifle.
__________________
Science and Facts are True whether you believe it or not
RC20 is offline  
Old January 18, 2019, 03:35 PM   #16
T. O'Heir
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 13, 2002
Location: Canada
Posts: 10,679
Milsurps have been sporterised since before. There was probably a Gladius that was modified by Gaius Bubba.
__________________
Spelling and grammar count!
T. O'Heir is offline  
Old January 18, 2019, 05:04 PM   #17
M88
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 15, 2018
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by RC20
It seems to me that someone intended this as a target rifle.
Curious why you think this... I'm thinking he/she would have put a better longer range scope on it is that was the case. That Bushnell Trophy 1.75 5x32 that was on it, is not a long range scope, nor a particularly high end one. Of course maybe that's all they had?
Quote:
Originally Posted by T. O'Heir
There was probably a Gladius that was modified by Gaius Bubba.
Absolutely... and won't know till I take it to the range for sure whether this one is a Bubba sporter or not. So far it LOOKS well done compared to some milsurps I've seen butchered. Again, I tend to stay away from sporters, but the price was so good I had to snatch it up and take a chance. Picked up a WWII Carcano that had been turned into a hunting carbine for $50 once, that the guy claimed shot pretty accurately. Turned out it did OK at 75 yards. The chamber and bolt looked clean and didn't look that beat up, so at the very least figured I had a spare good bolt for my other Carcano.. was worth the $50.
__________________
NRA life member. Making good people helpless doesn't make bad people harmless!
M88 is offline  
Old January 19, 2019, 11:47 AM   #18
tangolima
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 28, 2013
Posts: 2,086
I too don't care much about sporterized milsurp. But like you did, I made a few exception purchases that turned out to be wise decisions. I think you did well.

You may want to be extra cautious when it comes to serial numbers that might have been tempered with. I personally will pass on any hint of that. This topic has been discussed several times on this forum.

-TL

Sent from my SM-G930T using Tapatalk
tangolima is offline  
Old January 19, 2019, 01:13 PM   #19
briandg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 4, 2010
Posts: 5,211
I think that I see some bare wood in the bed, if so, finish it and glass bed the thing.

Looks like a fajen stock, they came either pre bedded or completely finished, as well as rough cut and cut and inletted. It was nice working with them.
__________________
None.
briandg is offline  
Old January 19, 2019, 02:24 PM   #20
44 AMP
Staff
 
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 19,096
Quote:
If that were my rifle, I would put an original cocking knob on the bolt. It's purpose was two fold, to cock the rifle should the need arise and deflect gas from a ruptured case, away from the eyes.
The cocking knob on the end of the firing pin won't do squat to deflect gasses from a ruptured case. That was a function of the original bolt shroud, where the original wing safety was located. Same as the 98 Mauser, which does not have a cocking knob on the firing pin.

The OP's gun has been heavily reworked, and by someone who knew what they were doing. It could have worn a dozen different scopes in between the time it was made and when the OP got it with the scope that was on it.

The very light trigger pull was clearly something a previous owner wanted. And its an aftermarket trigger, with its own safety. PROBABLY adjustable, most were in those days.

IF the headspace checks good, I'd go ahead and use it (and adjust the trigger a bit heavier, if I could). I would avoid max loads in .308, there's no point in stressing an old action for a few fps gain.

It's a very nice looking piece, and a good example of what today is a nearly lost art. Not worth squat on the market these days, all most people want is stainless and plastic it seems.
__________________
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is offline  
Old January 19, 2019, 04:46 PM   #21
briandg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 4, 2010
Posts: 5,211
I like it. A LOT. If I could get 2-3 moa out of it, and it was at a price that I deemed reasonable ($400 or up a bit?) I would have gotten it just for the pleasure of having a nice looking vintage shooter.

I don't understand how so many people of my age reject the old standards, but I can understand why the forty and under demographic have embraced function and tossed aesthetics to the dogs.
__________________
None.
briandg is offline  
Old January 19, 2019, 05:36 PM   #22
Paul B.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 28, 1999
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 3,228
Correct me if I'm wrong weren't the serial numbers on the 1903 and 1903A3 pretty much centered on the receiver ring? I no longer have either of the 1903s so working from a dimming memory. The reason I ask is the number doesn't seem to be properly centered if they did center them. Just curious as to that fact. Maybe it's just the lighting for the picture that make it look off but I don't think so.
Paul B.
__________________
COMPROMISE IS NOT AN OPTION!
Paul B. is offline  
Old January 19, 2019, 09:47 PM   #23
briandg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 4, 2010
Posts: 5,211
I think that they were all off centered. There may have been sights or other accessories used on some that would block the serial number otherwise.
__________________
None.
briandg is offline  
Old January 19, 2019, 09:51 PM   #24
briandg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 4, 2010
Posts: 5,211
I sportered a remington years ago, it was the thing that was being done by the guys who I admired in the gun world. I kind of wish that I hadn't done so.

In any case I have a very fine stock that is in near new condition, it still has some of the stamps and the metal furniture. I keep thinking that I should sell it, it's not likely that I will need it again. I also have a fiber stock that I bought before I did walnut. It's really nice, the wood is pretty good.
__________________
None.
briandg is offline  
Old January 19, 2019, 09:56 PM   #25
M88
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 15, 2018
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 209
Paul B, I think what happened was when they polished the original barrel, much of the stamping was polished away. If you look close at the pics I sent of just the receiver, you can see that for example where it says Model 1903, you can barely see the three. It was polished away. What I suspect is the serial number was also polished beyond recognition, and the builder then hand stamped it back on, but did a poor job of lining it up, and seems to have double stamped the last 77. Just my speculation, but it does seem to add up.

44 AMP thanks for the clarification of the cocking knob. I will not worry about it then.
__________________
NRA life member. Making good people helpless doesn't make bad people harmless!
M88 is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:11 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2018 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.08875 seconds with 9 queries