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Thread: Found me a 1903 Springfield, but its a Remington!

  1. #1

    Default Found me a 1903 Springfield, but its a Remington!

    Help me figure out exactly what I've got! I've never had a Springfield 1903 so I finally bought one. I got a good deal on a sporterized one. I don't know anything about 1903, and wonder if I have a 1903A3. It only says 1903 on the receiver though. Made by Remington.

    I cant find any markings on the barrel, and can't figure out if this is the original military barrel modifed or if someone screwed a new barrel on it. It has a Redfield peep sight, the receiver has not been drilled for a scope.

    Also, seems I've heard some 1903's are dangerous to shoot full power modern loads in due to heat treat, can anyone tell me if mine is one of those?

    I am kind of excited about it, even though the old stock is not too pretty. I shot a fair group with the peep sight at 100 yards, so I know it has potential!

    Thanks for any 1903 knowledge you guys can pass on....
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  2. #2
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    Nothing wrong with a Remington.
    Eddystone was aReminton factory, and Winchester was the only other manufacture'r and just as good.
    There were problems with early single heat treated recievers, but that was cured and double heat treated reciever are just fine as are all later recievers.

    Julian Hatcher has an excellent book called "Hatchers Notebook" and he actually was part of the investigation team that fixxed those problems.
    Lucky guy got to blow up every kina rifle with every method possible, with the Army funding the fun!

    Looks like a replacement barrel, 'speccially if theres no Ord Bombs or Rem Eagles heads.

    Have fun!!
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

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  3. #3

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    So is mine a 1903, or is it a 1903A3? It doesn't say A3 on it anywhere, but somebody told me Remington only mad1903A3's???

  4. #4
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Eddystone made the weak ones

  5. #5
    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Your rifle is not an A3. All 1903A3 are marked as such. In case you were wondering there was Smith Corona also making 1903 then also Springfield made them also. That is enough for now, the chances of finding some of the others are remote so I will not get into them. When they say low number to you do not worry about yours, most of the low number Spring fields are nearly impossible to find as they for the most part went away long ago. This is a topic that could go on for a great many hours and I wish their was only one source, but it takes a good library to put a complete handle on the subject of these rifles.
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  6. #6
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    If your sieral number fall between these it is a 03.
    1942‑3000001‑3348085 (M1903)

    Stranger just want to relay you are thinking of the M1917 made by Winchester, Remington and Eddystone.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amigo Will View Post
    Eddystone made the weak ones
    You are thinking of Rock Island, but Springfield produced bad ones as well due to the heat treating. There are cutoff dates for the Rock Island which is anything with a sieral number below 285507 is consider unsafe to shoot and Springfield is anything below sieral number 800000 is considered unsafe to shoot.
    Eddystone produced the big M1917 along with Remington and Winchester, with the Winchester beign the most desiarable of that group. On the 1903 you had Springfield, Rock Island, Smith-Corona and Remington...

  8. #8
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    Remington started producing the 1903A3's in about 1938-39 or so and continued on until about 1942-43 or so.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlleninAlaska View Post
    Remington started producing the 1903A3's in about 1938-39 or so and continued on until about 1942-43 or so.
    That is what I have heard, but I can't find "A3" anywhere on the receiver. As the picture shows, it just says 1903, so that is what got me to wondering which model I really have...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozarks View Post
    That is what I have heard, but I can't find "A3" anywhere on the receiver. As the picture shows, it just says 1903, so that is what got me to wondering which model I really have...

    I'll see what mine says on it when I get back to Cantwell in about a week or so. Mine was made in 1942.

  11. #11

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    On the 1903A3 the receiver bridge has a Dovetail to mount the rear sight. The 1903 has a smooth hump on the reciever bridge as the rear sight is on the barrel. Can't tell from your photo, it,s hidden by the peepsight. Dogfish

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    It is all about the serial number. I can't make it out, what is the serial number

  13. #13
    Member Darreld Walton's Avatar
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    Default About them Remington M1903's.....

    Prior to our involvement in WWII, and shortly after the Brits took it in the shorts at Dunkirk, the British government approached Remington and the US Govt about replacement firearms.
    It was decided that Remington would receive all of the US Model of 1903 production equipment that had been in use at Rock Island (Gov't) Arsenal, who had stopped '03 production in 1918.
    The rifle proposed was to be loosely based on an M1903, but had a magazine and bolt face altered for use with the British .303 service round. Apparently, after receiving the manufacturing equipment, but prior to producing rifles, the British found sources for other weapons production, and cancelled the whole deal.
    It became apparent that WE were going to end up in that mess......now all of a sudden WE need rifles! And in a hurry! Remington was contracted to build M1903 rifles to the pattern in use at the end of WW1, and rifles started coming out as early as November/December of 1941. They were not manufactured from the same steels, nor the same processes in use at the armories in 1918, they were built using the same steel as the Springfield designed US Rifle, caliber .30, M1 (Garand). Good stuff.
    In short time, it became apparent that the equipment that Remington had received from the gov't was worn out, and in disrepair from storage. Public records indicate that the rifle production boards convened often, and the subject of improving the production of the M1903 rifles was suggested not long after the very first Remington 03's hit the racks.
    There was no immediate jump from 03's to A3's. The stamped and sheet metal parts were phased in over a period of approximately a year, and the A3 variant was authorized about mid-1942. About the same time, High Standard was approached to build A3's, but could not due to their other wartime commitments, and LC Smith and Corona Co. was given contracts to build the M1903A3 rifle, built to specs developed by Remington and the Rifle Production Board, and US Army Ordnance Corps. Interestingly, Smith Corona beat Remington into 1903A3 production by almost four months! I personally owned the 305th SC rifle to come out of the production line, with a barrel date of September 1942, while Remington was still waiting for A3 rear sight assemblies from their sub-contractors! Remington FINALLY got the A3's out the door, around November of 1942, and to that point were simultaneously building the Model 1903 rifles.
    The biggest differences between the two models is of course the milled bottom metal, barrel mounted rear sight, and grasping groove stocks of the pre-war M1903's vs. stamped/pressed bottom metal, rear receiver bridge mounted rear sight, and straight grip, non grooved stockwork.
    If you have an unmolested Remington M1903, I strongly urge you to consider that you would be destroying a piece of firearms history! The Remington 1903 model was only manufactured for a period of less than a year, first showing up with barrel dates of 12-41, and I've not seen any later than 12-42.
    Unless worn out, beat, bashed, abused, or has mismatched parts giving excess headspace, your rifle is made of VERY good steel, to 1941 tolerances, and is completely safe to use with any GOOD .30-06 ammunition......
    Hope this helps some, the whole thing can get very confusing sometimes. If you're interested in 1903 rifles, THE authoritative book was written by William "Bill" Brophy. You can also talk to other interested 1903 folks at Culver's Shooting Page on their 1903 forum... http://www.jouster.com/forums/forumd...A4-Springfield

  14. #14
    Member gunbugs's Avatar
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    Just to correct, Eddystone did not make 1903 Springfields. They did make Model 1917 Enfields.
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  15. #15
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    US Rifle Models of 1903, 1903A1, 1903A3 and 1903A4 were made by

    - RemingtonArms company , late 1941 until early 1944
    - Rock Island Arsenal from 1903 until 1919
    - Springfield Armory, from 1903 until 1938
    - Smith Corona typewriter company: Late 42 until Feb 1944.

    While Rock Island Arsenal and the Springfield Armory made 1903s prior to and during World War One.... Remington came into the game rather late..


    Remington was contracted to make 1903 rifles during 1941
    . The first batch starting with serial number 3000655 was barreled with a RA marked barrel with a Oct 1941 stamp. They continued to make 1903s late 1942. the last one to leave had a Jan 1943 date stamp on the barrel.

    Do not confuse this with the Remington contract 1903A3 rifles. The 1903A3 rifle came about because Uncle Sam wanted Remington to produce more rifles. The folks at Remington figured out how to speed up production by using some stamped parts and some crude machine work.


    The 1903A3 has a stamped steel rear peep sight, a stamped trigger guard, (which was also a blind magazine floor-plate) and stamped stock bands.


    Some record show Remington made 1903A3s starting with barrels marked at the end of 1941. They continued to make 1903A3s until January or February 1944.


    When Remington was on a roll making 1903A3s, Uncle Sam stepped in again and said they wanted Remington to step up production of their 1903A4 Sniper Rifle variant. (For the Army, as the Marines used 1903A1 rifles retrofitted into snipers.)


    This put Remington in a bind, so they managed to get Smith Corona Typewriter company to make 1903A3s.

    Smith Corona made 1903A3s from about December 1942 until Feb 1944.

    It is not unusual to find various 1903 and 1903A3 field replacement parts with the markings of various non-rifle makers.


    There are bolts marked B.F. for Bonney Forge and tool. And bolt shrouds marked B.P. for Bay Products. B&S parts were made by Brown and Sharp and CC marked parts were made by Commercial Controls.

    Smith Corona Bolts either had an X or nothing at all, while the Remington bolts had R marked on them.
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  16. #16

    Default thanks!

    Serial number is 32636XX. Thanks to everybody I am learning a lot. Always wanted a 1903. I remember drilling with them in ROTC back in the 80's. They were demilled 1903A3's. I remeber that much.
    Is it ok to shoot full power hand loads out this one? I have put ten rounds of mild loads through it to check function and all is fine.
    Seems I remember someone saying Griffin & Howe built custom magnums on 1903 actions. If that is true they must be strong as any modern action.

  17. #17

    Default Your gun

    is capable of shooting any load reasonable for any 30-06, military or commercial, but I would get a smith to check headspace, just to err on the side of caution.

  18. #18

    Default I noticed that

    your gun appears to have been greatly modified from original, chopped stock, recoil pad, reblued, new sights, and what all, so just enjoy shooting it as you would any standard rifle. it's value has been ruined as a collector, but it is a nice gun.

  19. #19
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    Default Remington 03s

    The first Remington 03s were exact copies except for the markings of the Rock Island 03s. Manufacturing shortcuts were made along the way up to the end of the run. Your gun is one of the last of the run and is closer to the 03-A3s than the early ones. The changes were cosmetic like external cuts on the receiver and the drill thru of the rear trigger guard screw hole.

    The later 03s including yours have nickel steel receivers that are very strong. The early nickel steel 03s have a softer surface while the later ones and A3s appear to be surface hardered - I'm not sure where the changes were made. When you drill and tap the receivers for scope mounts you can tell the difference in surface treatment.

    The Remington 03s are quite strong and suitable for any cartridge you want to put on them. The are controlled feed and all forged steel - no shortcuts on them. Many very fine sporting rifle have been built on 03 actions - it was the choice of many until the Mdl. 70 showed up in 1936.

    It is interesting to compare the 03 and Mdl. 70 actions side by side. There are some interesting simularities - for example the bolt sleeves on 03s and Mdl. 70s have the same threads and indexing and will interchange although the striking mechanisms are different. Likewise the breeching setup and front of the bolts are very similar except for the ejector cuts.

    Enjoy your fine rifle - it should continue to give fine service long after the cast metal and plastic and stamped parts guns have bit the dust.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ozarks View Post
    Serial number is 32636XX. Thanks to everybody I am learning a lot. Always wanted a 1903. I remember drilling with them in ROTC back in the 80's. They were demilled 1903A3's. I remeber that much.
    Is it ok to shoot full power hand loads out this one? I have put ten rounds of mild loads through it to check function and all is fine.
    Seems I remember someone saying Griffin & Howe built custom magnums on 1903 actions. If that is true they must be strong as any modern action.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

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