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Posted: 9/1/2003 6:14:34 PM EDT
Hello,
Has anyone heard of a 25 round mag conversion for a Springfield M1903A3? Does anyone know where I might get one of these if they do exist?
Thanks,
Chris
Link Posted: 9/1/2003 9:17:40 PM EDT
Yes, but it was NOT intended for the 03A3. It dates from WW1. The G 98 had a similar high cap magazine.

Neither were intended to be "detachable" like a BAR mag, instead they were loaded before an assault, and fitted, or held in reserve in a special pouch in the event one needed a sustained barrage.(Remember, this was when massed rifle fire was capable of amazing devastation. The Brits at Mons is a classic example. Sustained, long range barrage fire with massed SMLES turned a huge assault.) Some odd shaped web pouches occasionally turn up for this mag, but the mag itself seems VERY scarce.

I have seen ONE at a SAR show, and a friend owned a similar device for the G 98.

Hope this helped.

Meplat-
Link Posted: 9/2/2003 3:38:22 AM EDT
Don't know about the M1903A3, but they "exist" for the M1903. In the Springfield Armory Museum anyway.

The US Air Service Rifle of WW1 was a M1903 with a 25 round detachable magazine. "Rifle, US caliber .30, M1903 stripped for aircraft use" is the official nomenclature. The rifle used a shortened, lighter stock and open sights.

According to Colonel Brophy (The Springfield 1903 Rifles, p. 76) these rifles were not intended for aerial use, but were lightweight weapons for downed aircrew. These are all in the 860,000 serial range with barrel dated in early 1918. Few are known to exist.

-- Chuck
Link Posted: 9/2/2003 5:33:14 AM EDT
Thanks for the info. I take it that due to the rarity it is also very pricy when they are available. Are there any online pics or diagrams available of this version of the 03?

Chris
Link Posted: 9/2/2003 5:10:06 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/2/2003 5:17:50 PM EDT by Meplat]
Not that I've seen. A friend (the guy with the G98, and similar mag) stated that "IMA" carried a replica, and that it was selling in the 300.00 range This was ten + years ago though.

An origional would be appropriately priced, IMHO..

Chuck- I'm sure it had a broader issue than that, I've handled the web pouch intended for that mag, and seen refrences to it being issued to infantry (in VERY limited numbers).

From what I know about aviation units in WWI, they'd probably be more inclined to pack a handgun, than a rifle, which may explain it's dissemination into infantry use.

Meplat-
Link Posted: 9/3/2003 5:12:18 AM EDT
Alright, thanks for the info, I guess I'll have to keep my dreams of having a HiCap 03 to myself. For now anyway.
thanks,
Chris
Link Posted: 9/3/2003 5:56:21 AM EDT
Well, don't give up too soon. I have seen a couple conversions done to accecept BAR magazines. One was obviously homemade, and definitely crude. The other appeared to be professionally done.

Just a consideration.


Meplat-
Link Posted: 9/3/2003 10:47:57 AM EDT
Where did you see these conversions at?
And who does them?
thanks,
Chris
Link Posted: 9/3/2003 6:06:10 PM EDT
*Laughs* If I knew, I'd have it done to one of my MkIV SMLES with a BREN mag. I wish I could tell ya, but it was a Ter Mark show here in Phoenix last year.

Pick up a BAR mag, and just do some measurements. You'll get some inspiration.

Meplat-
Link Posted: 9/7/2003 5:02:36 AM EDT
A bit more information from named sources:

Captain Campbell (The '03 Era, p. 43-45) discusses the magazine extension was originally used in the sitascope attachment (he quotes Brophy). Apparently someone in the infantry thought these were a good idea and they were "made up in 'fair number', according to General Hatcher's recollection."

No mention if these ever reached the front lines, nor if magazine pouches were ever created but it's possible if not probable knowing the vast variety of weapons and equipment tried out in any war.

There's an excellent drawing of the magazine on page 45, it appears to require no modifications to the rifle. It's not a detachable magazine, however, it's a magazine extension.

The rifle and magazine extension made the rifle unwieldy and provided not enough additional rapidity to justify it. Was adopted for a special stocked rifle for use by downed airmen.

Regardless, finding an authentic experimental magazine close to 80 years after they were made and deemed unsuitable is unlikely. They were a poor idea then and remain so today.

-- Chuck
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