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Thread: Random rebarreling thoughts for 03A3

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    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Default Random rebarreling thoughts for 03A3

    I think I may have partially detached something in my right eye from constantly shooting hard kickers with hard lightweight stocks.

    SO..... I was thinking about doing something accurate , yet mild shooting... Mostly just for target work...

    I now have a 1903A3 action I picked up from a friend down the road.

    I already have 4 rifles in 30-06, so I do not need another....

    So I was thinking about a 280 Remington chambered semi heavy barrel around 24 to 26 inches long... I already have a 7x57...

    I was further thinking about a 1 in 9 inch twist so I could shoot the 7mm 180 grain boat tails with that super high BC.

    I have never owned anything chamber in 280.... Just wondering what any folks who do won that caliber think about it.. I guess another option would be 6.5x06...

    Any thoughts?
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    The .280 is a great round and should feed fine in the 03-A3. Not sure how much you will save on recoil other than the added weight of the heavier barrel though. You could drop all the way down to the .25-06 if recoil is a real issue.

    The 03-A3 isn't pretty but it has a good platform for mounting a scope and is all real forged steel and controlled feed - no pot metal or plastic. I've owned, seen, and looked at hundreds of these guns over the past 40+ years and haven't ever seen one broken yet.

    Is your .416 Taylor for sale yet? I've still got to put mine together.






    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    I think I may have partially detached something in my right eye from constantly shooting hard kickers with hard lightweight stocks.

    SO..... I was thinking about doing something accurate , yet mild shooting... Mostly just for target work...

    I now have a 1903A3 action I picked up from a friend down the road.

    I already have 4 rifles in 30-06, so I do not need another....

    So I was thinking about a 280 Remington chambered semi heavy barrel around 24 to 26 inches long... I already have a 7x57...

    I was further thinking about a 1 in 9 inch twist so I could shoot the 7mm 180 grain boat tails with that super high BC.

    I have never owned anything chamber in 280.... Just wondering what any folks who do won that caliber think about it.. I guess another option would be 6.5x06...

    Any thoughts?
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
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    You could do a lot worse than a 280, but I'd keep the barrel at 23-24 inches. I suggest you increase the contour rather than the length if you want more weight. The 25/06, 6.5/06 or 270 are also worthy considerations for light recoiling rounds.

    JMO, but I'd consider selling the 03A3 for your build and buy something more ready to go. My first "custom" rifle was a 338/06 on a 03 action. For those that are pursuing an "accurate" rifle the modifications begin to add significantly to the cost. At a minimum you'll need to modify/change the safety for the use of a scope, a new trigger, modify the bolt handle for scope use, & drill and tap for bases. This is not rocket science, but it's not free either; not to mention that the lock time can be measured with a stopwatch which is not exactly an attribute of a tack driving rifle. Do not misunderstand me, I love my 338/06. However it was built years ago and I did much of the work myself. The action is a good one, but IMO there are much better and much more economical choices for a build today.

    FWIW I'd sell the 03 and buy a 700 in a laminate stock. If the caliber or accuracy does not impress you then rebarrel and your still better off in every way--less money and time invested, more value should you determine to sell it later and almost certainly a more accurate rifle. YMMV.
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    I had a 03A3 in 25-06 years ago. (mid 70s) It had a Whitehead barrel and a very tight chamber. While it originally had a 26 inch barrel, I made the mistake of cutting it to 20 inches for my college sweetheart. Who of course ran off with another cowpoke. Good thing she was huge the last time I saw her.
    So I later sold it to one of my younger brothers. He still uses it to take goats. It was a real tack driver.
    Even had one in 300 Win Mag..That one was a two groove military barrel that was rechambered. That rifle really kicked...

    And of course I still have a couple in original collector condition.

    SO I guess I am looking at 25-06, 6.5-06 or 280...

    I just need to watch out for stocks with sharp combs that whack me in the bone under my right eye. I might go thumb-hole stock on this project.. They come straight back.

    I am at the point in life where I already have or have had, enough factory rifles...

    As for the 416 on the Vz24 action, I made the mistake of leaving it with a certain smith up in Kenai who has been telling me that "it will be blued in a couple weeks" for well over a year now... It is a very sore subject.
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    If your 03-A3 action isn't already drilled and tapped I'll work out a trade with you for one that I have that is. My action also has a forged bolt and low safety. I even have a .25-06 barrel but I haven't got around to fitting it to the action yet.

    My first quality CF rifle was a new Remington 03-A3 2 groove in a Herter's stock. I paid $35 silver dollars for it back in the early 60s. I added a 4X Weaver K4 scope to it; the scope cost $40 at the time. With 150 gr Sierra Spitzer bullet ahead of 58 gr of DuPont 4350 it would consistently put the first 3 shots in 1/2" c-c at 100 yds. 2 more shots consistently opened it up to 1". Outshot most of the sporter guns of the day at the range. If I'd had a better scope and ammo it would have probably done better.

    03-A3s are a bit crude and ugly but they can shoot - certainly well enough for a hunting rifle. They are nickel steel with a hardened surface so they are slick and strong. Controlled feed - they won't jam up like 700s and other push feeds. I've never seen one broken - ever. I've pounded overloaded cases out with a chunk of 2x4 and never messed up anthing - try that with most of your modern bolt actions. If you want to use them for very hot cartridges you can breech them like a 6.5 Jap - my .220 Rocket is done up that way - but I've never seen or heard of an 03-A3 being blown up.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
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    Default It depends on what YOU like.

    I've not killed lotsa game with my 280, but IMO, you can't go wrong choosing that cartridge.

    The idea of a sporterized Springfield 03A3, has a lot of appeal. You know right off, that it's a Custom Rifle.

    You don't see a lot of them these days, but to me, it's a fine looking action. I don't think it's ugly at all.

    The 03s can be quite accurate too.

    I like your plan, and I'd bet it'd be worth the cost, to you, considering what you'd have in the end. IMO, Something Special.

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    The first thing I'd tell you to do is see a couple of specialists who only do work with detached retina's, then go from there.
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    Have an appointment all lined up...
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    A 280AI in a sorta heavier barrelled 03 would be pretty tough to beat IMHO...

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    I guess for a tame yet zippy paper puncher I could even go 6mm-06 or 6mm-284... Or a 240 Weatherby..

    I wonder how a 220 Swift would feed in an 03 action..???
    A 1 in 6.5 or 1 in 7 twist would let me shoot the 90 grain Berger VLDs.. That should be a pretty flat shooter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    I guess for a tame yet zippy paper puncher I could even go 6mm-06 or 6mm-284... Or a 240 Weatherby..

    I wonder how a 220 Swift would feed in an 03 action..???
    A 1 in 6.5 or 1 in 7 twist would let me shoot the 90 grain Berger VLDs.. That should be a pretty flat shooter.
    OR, maybe, a 6.5-06.

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    Default .220 Swift in '03 Springfield

    I picked up an '03 that had been converted by someone to .220 Weatherby Rocket. Whoever did it had stamps for the caliber made up so they must have done quite a few barrels anyway. i haven't got the gun scoped yet so I don't know how well it shoots.

    On this rifle an insert was made for the magazine that positions each cartridge behind the one on top of it as is necessary for a box magazine to correctly feed rimmed cartridges. I had never seen anyone go to this much trouble for the semi-rimmed .220 Swift - they seem to feed reasonably well out of a standard magazine box. I guess the acid test is to simply try some rounds in an '03 and see how well they feed out.

    This rifle has also had the funnel breech converted to something similar to the one used on the 6.5 Jap rifles. Should handle any escaping gas better than the stock setup; the .220's I've had shot well at maximum loads so the breeching conversion may be a safe bet.


    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    I guess for a tame yet zippy paper puncher I could even go 6mm-06 or 6mm-284... Or a 240 Weatherby..

    I wonder how a 220 Swift would feed in an 03 action..???
    A 1 in 6.5 or 1 in 7 twist would let me shoot the 90 grain Berger VLDs.. That should be a pretty flat shooter.
    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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    I ran a search and several 03s that had been converted to 220 Swift came up... So it has been done...
    Of course the age of the great custom smiths has faded into memory.
    At least 220 Swift would be a factory brass round and chamber size. Although a 1 in 7 twist in a 220 Swift is not common...
    I wonder how fast you could get a 90 grain going???

    tvfinak:
    So far this is a stock Remington 03A3 barreled action that has been drilled and tapped. The barrel currently on there is a stock two groove with the front sight removed.... Too bad it was not left in stock condition because it has the nice green tint parkerizing and has a nice bore..


    Factory brass is now available fro the 6mm -06 and 6.5mm-06....
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    You Know...

    Even a 6mm Remington (244 Remington) would probably work very nice...

    It is a necked down 257 Roberts, so the case head would not need to be changed...
    Today I ran a 6.5-257 Roberts through the action and it fed very smoothly.
    With the right twist rate you could use the heavier 243 bullets with a good BC.

    I shot the action today as it is stuck into a horrible black plastic Ram Line stock. I only shot it at 50 yards because it was getting dark..
    It still shot a 3/4 inch group with two types of factory ammo. With the old two groove barrel. So at 100 yards it would be a 1.5 inch grouping gun until it had a better stock...
    Somebody cut the last inch off the barrel...

    getting a 1903 to headspace right is not as easy as a Mauser... I need to find a half-way decent Smith to help out....
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    Barreling an 03 is almost identical to a controlled feed Win. Mdl 70 except for the square theads. You do need the proper cutting tool for the threads but actually cutting the threads in itself is no big deal. Once you get the shank to the correct diameter you can cut the threads as long as you get then deep enough it then will fit up fine.

    A 6mm Remington / .244 should work fine on an 03. Somehow I've never had a smaller caliber on a Springfield that I can remember but I've picked up a .257 Roberts and .25-06 barrels I need to get fitted someday.

    Save the barrel and I'll talk you out of it - mine appears to be about gone after only 45+ years of shooting.


    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    You Know...

    Even a 6mm Remington (244 Remington) would probably work very nice...

    It is a necked down 257 Roberts, so the case head would not need to be changed...
    Today I ran a 6.5-257 Roberts through the action and it fed very smoothly.
    With the right twist rate you could use the heavier 243 bullets with a good BC.

    I shot the action today as it is stuck into a horrible black plastic Ram Line stock. I only shot it at 50 yards because it was getting dark..
    It still shot a 3/4 inch group with two types of factory ammo. With the old two groove barrel. So at 100 yards it would be a 1.5 inch grouping gun until it had a better stock...
    Somebody cut the last inch off the barrel...

    getting a 1903 to headspace right is not as easy as a Mauser... I need to find a half-way decent Smith to help out....
    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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    I was thinking that it is only 5mm shorter than the 6mm-06 and it seems to be more efficient. Plus that extra 5mm would let me load to a longer COL. And there is lots of factory brass available at a reasonable cost.
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    Now I need top do some barrel shopping...
    Things have gone up a little....
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