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Old January 30, 2001, 02:45 AM   #1
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I was browsing through my local gun shop when I came across a 1903 Springfield in very good to excellent condition. However, the gun manufacture took me by suprise. It was made by Smith Corona (typewriters?). Does anyone know if this make is rare and the history? They were asking $275 and claimed it had never been fired.

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Old January 30, 2001, 07:59 AM   #2
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My Dad has bagged many deer with a Smith Corona he bought from the govrnment for $25.00 in the early 60's. There were hundreds of thousands of them made. Ask Harley Nolden for the full scoop. If you consider buying it to shoot, check the serial number first. I have been told some of the early rifles may be unsafe to use with modern ammo. As for being unfired, highly unlikely.
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Old January 30, 2001, 08:56 AM   #3
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Smith Corona made 234,000 M1903A3's. They were all made in 1943 or 1944 so they all have the nickel steel (i.e. they don't have the early serial number/bad steel problem of low numbered Springfields.

Here's the production run:

1943: 36080000 - 3707999

1944: 47080000 - 4992000

I hope this helps.

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Old January 30, 2001, 09:17 PM   #4
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Thanks Albin,

Now I know my SC 03a3 was made in 1944. being that only a quarter million or so of these were made that is smaller numbers.

I doubt the one in the shop has never been fired though. Plus, Look at the butplate. Many 03a3 Smith Coronas have Remington buttplate on them. The remington checkering is much smaller than the Smith Corona. The Smith's checkering on the buttplate is about 3/16'' or 1/8'' inch squares.

The Remington buttplates are much smaller maybe 1/32'' squares.

I used to shoot DCM w/ my SC 03a3, shoot some of my better scores with it actually.(I'll refrain from posting for fear of embarassing myself ) but I retired it and am now a m1a and mouse gun shooter.

That price is very reasonable if it is in decent shape.

Get some stripper clips
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Old January 30, 2001, 10:01 PM   #5
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03A3s are great guns. I've got a Remington that shoot's better that I can. Love the action. Quite a few companies tooled up to make firearms during WW2. A couple more notables would be Singer (Sewing Machines) and I have an M1 Carbine made by none other than IBM. Neat stuff. That's the greatness of our country. It stinks to be the enemy of a capitalist country when war roles around!
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Old January 30, 2001, 10:35 PM   #6
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Based upon the very few I've seen in topnotch condition at a few recent gunshows, the price is not unreasonable. I've seen asking-prices of around $300.

Heck, make 'em an offer of $225 and see what happens!

, Art

You're from BATFE? Come right in! I use all your fine products!
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Old January 30, 2001, 11:19 PM   #7
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It's always facinating to learn a little more about how these contracts were made.
The is what Clark Campbell has to say on the matter in his "The '03 Era" (1994):
"In order to meet the demand for even more rifles (largely for the foriegn requisitions of Lend-Lease), a contract had been proposed, in January 1942, with the High Standard Manufacturing Corporation, of New Haven Conn., for 100,000 rifle, M11903A1.
High Standard, however, was already heavily overburdened with war orders and agreed to accept the contract only on the condition that they be allowed to subcontract to the L.C. Smith & Corona Typewriter Company the manufacture of all components except the barrels.
It was decided that, on this basis, the prime contractor really should be the L.C. Smith & Corona Co.
On 24 Feb. 1942, therefore, Smith Corona was given a letter order for 100,000 M1903 (Modified) rifles, as were being produced by the Remington Arms Company. Deliveries were scheduled to begin in late September.
With the approval of the M1903A3 rifle on 21 May 1942, tooling for the nonstamped metal parts (using machinery acquired by the purchase iof the nearby Fox Arms Company, a subsidiary of Savage Arms Corp.), was of course, compleated for that model.....
The pilot lot of 20 rifles of M1903A3 type was finished on 24 Oct. 1942, with volume production beginning with 5,540 rifles completed in Dec. 1942. [Ed. Note: 3 months behind initial optimistic estimate] These rifles, besides using sub-contracted barrels (including a few 6-groove ones supplied early in the game from commercial tooling by Savage Arms Corp.), were fitted with stocks made on subcontract."

So they really did put up a big arms plant on bits and pieces gathered catch as catch can. 480,000 or so rifles is nothing to sneeze at.
I suppose it was (mainly?) Remington who supplied the stamped parts, as orsogato notes, barrels came from High Standard (mostly?), while their own tooling came from Fox Arms (mostly?). It would be interesting to know who made the stocks.
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Old January 31, 2001, 02:36 AM   #8
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Thanks for the information everyone! I really like the history behind it and the price seems to be in the ballpark. I am going back to take a closer look and maybe make an offer.

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