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Posted: 9/13/2002 3:16:29 PM EDT
After firing my first bolt action rifle last week (Mauser M.24/47), I have decided to buy another one. I was thinking about getting a model 1903 rifle. Problem is that there are a lot of different variations and companies that manufacture them and I was wondering which ones are the most reliable. I have found out that Springfield Armory makes the regular 1903 as well as Rock Island Arsenal, and that both Remington and Smith Corona make the 1903A3 model. Which model and company should I go for? I would love to get the 1903A4 Remington sniper rifle, but could definately not afford it. Is there any way to make either the 1903 or the 1903A3 look like the 1903A4 sniper? Kinda confusing I know, but any info you could provide me with regarding 1903's would be greatly appreciated!! One last thing, should I go with a brand new 1903[A3] or a WWII or earlier era rifle?
Link Posted: 9/13/2002 4:39:44 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/13/2002 4:45:00 PM EDT
For the sheer enjoyment of shooting, get the 1903a3. Its more accurate because the rear sight is the improved peep sight and has a longer distance from front to rear sight. Also, since these rifles were rarely used in combat (if at all) the barrels are usually very nice and shiny. I just bought a smith corona a couple months ago and i'm glad i did.
Link Posted: 9/13/2002 4:46:34 PM EDT
I have a Smith-Corona 03A3 and it is a wonderful shooter. Many of the Smith-Corona 03A3's have 4 groove barrels as opposed the the Remington 03A3's which usually, but not all ways have 2 groove barrels. The receiver mounted peep sight mounted on O3A3's is a much better sight than the peep sight mounted on the barrel of standard 1903's & 1903A1's.
Link Posted: 9/13/2002 4:55:09 PM EDT
Personally if your only getting one ,I'd go for the '03'with the older configuration ladder sight.

I say this because I'm trying to build a collection of US battle rifles and the springfield would represent the WW1 era(although the Enfield was widly used).So I prefer the orginal configuration.

Although like others have said the 03A3 is probably the better shooter,its conguration is different that original and it was not the main battle rifle of its time since the M1 was taking that spot.(WW2 era)
Link Posted: 9/13/2002 5:06:44 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/13/2002 5:12:13 PM EDT
get which ever one you can get your hands on.. they are dissapearing QUICK!!

(I'm strapped for cash and wish I could get one now, before they're all gobbled up)
Link Posted: 9/13/2002 5:31:56 PM EDT
The "03s" have weaker receivers. Look for an 03a3.
Link Posted: 9/13/2002 6:07:06 PM EDT
www.jouster.com has a 1903 Forum that is 1st class.

I got a CMP 1903 High Number Springfield with a "C" stock..technically a rebuilt 1903A1 with a 4-42 new WW-2 Barrel.

I tracked 2 serial numbers away from mine to the a cavalry regiment assigned to the Pacific Campaigns...can't beat the history!

While the 03a3's have an arguably better rear sight, the fit and finish of the older 03's is supposed to be much better. Also..some old-timers insist the more-rigid trigger mechanism results in a tighter lock-up and better accuracy.

Whatever you get, if you want a shooter...do not get a low-numbered '03 because the heat treatment may result in a brittle receiver reportedly prone to cracking during use.

The ladder sight's supposed to be good to 1000 yards and looks unique when deployed for real accuracy.

I am very happy with my '03, and it's proven itself very reliable and surprisingly accurate at the range.
Link Posted: 9/13/2002 6:59:11 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/13/2002 7:01:12 PM EDT by eswanson]
To echo drshame, stay away from low-# Springfields unless you want a wall-hanger. They are simply not safe to shoot.

The best source for affordable 03's and 03A3's is the CMP. www.odcmp.com. I got a very nice Remington 03A3, and if I had a digital camera I'd post some pics that would make you drool. On the other hand, there have been some nightmare stories about the 03's from CMP. Some have described their 03's as being barely good enough for parts guns.

IMHO, if you want a shooter, get an 03A3.
Link Posted: 9/13/2002 7:05:37 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/13/2002 7:07:17 PM EDT by Paul]
Double dittos on the low numbered '03's.

I just bought a nice Springfield Armory Mk. 1 high number (shooter) with a nice set of finger groove stocks. The sights are beautiful, the trigger smooth, and the bolt is slick as I've ever felt.

It took five shots to get the thing on an 18" iron plate at a bit over 300 yards. The next nine of ten shots hit the plate (not me shooting ).

Link Posted: 9/13/2002 9:23:13 PM EDT

Originally Posted By twogun:
The "03s" have weaker receivers. Look for an 03a3.



Those 1903 Springfield rifles with serial numbers under 800,000 are considered to have weak receivers.

BTW the "Ladder" sight, on the Older 1903 Springfield, is called the "Buffington" sight.

Bill
Link Posted: 9/13/2002 11:57:03 PM EDT
First off, thanks for all the advice. It will be very useful when the time comes at the next gun show. I already knew about the low serial number receiver problems. I read that any numbers about 800,000 for Springfield and above 285,506 for Rock Island are double heat-treated and much safer. But I think I will go with a 1903A3 anyway, just because I want a rifle for usability more than just looks (but looks are important of course). But if I find a nice high number 1903 I will surely pick it up if the price is right. What should I expect to pay for a 1903A3? I was also wondering if the brand new 1903's (and variations) are any good? I saw some at the last gun show and they look nice! Any more help will also be appreciated! Thanks again.
Link Posted: 9/14/2002 8:20:32 AM EDT
Stay away from non GI 03A3's " National Ordinance / SantaFe " total garbage !
For an 03A3 expect to pay $ 325 - 550 dep on cond in the PNW, don't exp any bargains at G-shows on 03's, the local pawn shops or putting a wanted add in the paper or at the local Gun range is usually the best way and cheapest way IMOP...
Link Posted: 9/14/2002 10:43:42 AM EDT
If you want a CMP '03, get one soon because I don't think they will have them for very long and then they will probably be sold out for good. Remember a few months ago before they found this last shipment they were almost completely sold out of '03 rifles.
Link Posted: 9/14/2002 1:55:06 PM EDT

BTW the "Ladder" sight, on the Older 1903 Springfield, is called the "Buffington" sight.


The Buffington sight was not used on '03's. They were used on Krags, starting, I believe, with the M1892.
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