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E-120
03-11-2010, 6:27 PM
Hello,
I am interested in getting a 1903a3 or 4. I looked at the Gibbs clones and like how they look, but am afraid of the high price for collectibilty return on investment. Other than not getting an early model what recommendations and price should I look for? Keep in mind I am interested in having a scope on it.
Thanks
E-120

Milsurp Collector
03-11-2010, 7:29 PM
There is no problem with "early model" M1903A3s. That only applies to "low numbered" M1903s made by Springfield Armory and Rock Island Arsenal, some of which have questionable heat treatment. M1903A3s and M1903A4s don't have that problem.

I agree with you about poor return on investment potential for the reproduction M1903A4s (and most/all other reproduction milsurps) relative to other guns you could spend the same amount of money on. If you want to get one for "fun", that's fine, but the M1903A4 wasn't that good a sniper rifle compared to all of the other major powers' sniper rifles.

What you might want to do, rather than drilling and tapping an unmolested M1903A3, is find one that has already been sporterized/drilled-tapped and make that into a M1903A4 clone, or alternatively something like this if you just want a scoped M1903A3 and not necessarily a M1903A4 clone

http://i40.tinypic.com/14ddd2h.jpg

Now here is the story of a lucky guy. He wanted a sporterized M1903A3 to make into a M1903A4 clone as I described above, so he bought one online, for not much money, listed as a M1903A3, because that's what it said on the receiver.

http://i152.photobucket.com/albums/s194/Calfed/03A4.jpg

After he received it he looked at the markings, and guess what

http://i152.photobucket.com/albums/s194/Calfed/03A43.jpg

http://forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?112821-1903a4-%28New-Pics%29

E-120
03-11-2010, 8:30 PM
Thanks for the quick answer. So the visual differences from the rifle above would be the long relief scope and the fact it still has iron sights? Also, is war time condition steal any less reliable? Thanks.

Cato
03-11-2010, 8:34 PM
A few months ago I saw a couple a Reddings, Culver City for about $700-800. They seemed to be in good condition.

I had the fortune (misfortune?) of getting a very early 1903 from CMP that had a shot out barrel. I finally got a new barrel and will work on it more when I have the time. It's a beautiful gun.

Milsurp Collector
03-12-2010, 5:47 AM
Thanks for the quick answer. So the visual differences from the rifle above would be the long relief scope and the fact it still has iron sights? Also, is war time condition steel any less reliable? Thanks.

Yes, long relief scope, forward mount, retained iron sights.

There is no problem with the strength of M1903A3s or post-World War I M1903s.

jms
03-12-2010, 6:16 AM
Got this one from a guy from Vegas when he tried to unload his collections. The rifle itself is Remington but just '03-A3 (the stock is a give-away), but the scope seems to be authentic. Still a good piece for 1/3 of cost to a real deal.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v601/jms999/US/M1903-A4RemingtonSniperRepro.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v601/jms999/US/M1903-A4RemingtonSniperReproproofs.jpg

E-120
03-12-2010, 8:19 AM
Beautiful.

Bhobbs
03-12-2010, 8:26 AM
In what way was the M1903a4 less effective than the other sniper rifles being used?

Milsurp Collector
03-12-2010, 11:14 AM
In what way was the M1903a4 less effective than the other sniper rifles being used?

Most of the other countries tested and selected potential sniper rifles for accuracy. The M1903A4s had selected barrels but as far as I know the assembled rifles weren't selected for accuracy.

The biggest problem was the scope. The Nazis and Japanese used 4x scopes, the Soviets used 3.5x, and the British used 3x scopes. The M1903A4 had a 2.5x commercial-grade scope that didn't hold up to the rigors of combat.

Bruce Canfield's An Illustrated Guide to the '03 Springfield Service Rifle quotes some passages from other books. In Roy Dunlap's Ordnance Went up Front:

"I never considered the Remington-made 1903A4 sniper rifles very accurate, although I must confess I did not get a chance to shoot them with good ammunition. Most of these rifles were equipped with Weaver 330 scopes, in Redfield Jr. mounts, a poor choice for the Pacific, as the Weaver just was not designed for that type of beating. When they came in to our instrument repair men, water could actually be poured out of many of them. They just were not weatherproof enough..."

In Crossman's The Book of the Springfield:

"The less said about the 1903A4 'sniper' rifle, the better. For a country which has developed the telescopic-sighted sporting rifle to highest accuracy and general effectiveness, we turned up the sorriest excuse for a combat man-killer in the war. So help me, the Japs had a better outfit!

In the first place, the rifles weren't particularly good, not comparable with National Match Springfields, little or no attention was paid to bedding in the stock, and the scope selected - the Weaver 330 - was completely unsuited to its job. The scope is a nice little number for a .22 sporter, and a lot of them have been used on .30-06's, but it couldn't stand the rigors of war. I have myself personally poured at least a quart of water from these (collectively) in the Philippines, and I never saw any which were in usable condition outside the supply tents.

...as for the 1903A4, the best report I have is from a rifleman who used one in Germany. He threw away the Weaver and had the Ordnance boys braze on a Russian sniper scope! After this, he got some fair results".

The M1903A4 wasn't in the same class as this

http://i41.tinypic.com/dmryb9.jpg

Bhobbs
03-12-2010, 12:47 PM
Wow I never heard that before but then again I never heard much about that rifle to begin with. It surprises me our country would send out second class rifles like that. But the M1903a4 and M1C were pretty much after thoughts.

Grendl
03-12-2010, 3:35 PM
It surprises me our country would send out second class rifles like that.

We sent out second class tanks because they were cheaper to ship. Thousands of US service men died in under-armored, high-profile Shermans when we could have sent Pershings.

Second class rifles is no surprise when the purse strings are controlled by politicians who's sons had desk jobs.

jtv3062
03-12-2010, 3:47 PM
There is no problem with "early model" M1903A3s. That only applies to "low numbered" M1903s made by Springfield Armory and Rock Island Arsenal, some of which have questionable heat treatment. M1903A3s and M1903A4s don't have that problem.

I agree with you about poor return on investment potential for the reproduction M1903A4s (and most/all other reproduction milsurps) relative to other guns you could spend the same amount of money on. If you want to get one for "fun", that's fine, but the M1903A4 wasn't that good a sniper rifle compared to all of the other major powers' sniper rifles.

What you might want to do, rather than drilling and tapping an unmolested M1903A3, is find one that has already been sporterized/drilled-tapped and make that into a M1903A4 clone, or alternatively something like this if you just want a scoped M1903A3 and not necessarily a M1903A4 clone



Now here is the story of a lucky guy. He wanted a sporterized M1903A3 to make into a M1903A4 clone as I described above, so he bought one online, for not much money, listed as a M1903A3, because that's what it said on the receiver.



After he received it he looked at the markings, and guess what



http://forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?112821-1903a4-%28New-Pics%29

talk about being lucky

E-120
03-14-2010, 9:07 AM
I ended up getting the scoped 1903a3 on top of page 1. Look forward to taking it out and doing some medium range shooting. Thanks for all your guys help.

Suppressive-Fire
03-14-2010, 9:30 AM
I didn't realize their was a 1903A4 I think that is what my grandpa has because he showed me his old remington 1903 and I seen it and I said where is the origional stock? LOL! He also has some old 30 round mags he was able to put in it. It works with the 30 round Mags too. Next month when I visit him I will take pictures.

sds127
03-14-2010, 11:11 AM
is there a stock difference from a a3 to a4 . my buddy was showing me his new 30-06 i asked him if he new what it was he said some hunting rifle. because of the sporter stock he didnt realize it was a 1903a3. he wants to convert it back but dosnt like the shape of the a3 stock. gun shoots great though. i would just love to see it back together like it came . it is like a broken home . it is just sad to see it all torn apart and sporterized.

Milsurp Collector
03-14-2010, 12:40 PM
The M1903A4 used "C" pistol grip and "scant" semi-pistol grip stocks. Both had a cutout for the turned-down bolt handle. The M1903A3 originally had a "S" type stock without grasping grooves. C or scant stocks might have been fitted during arsenal rebuilds.

http://www.vishooter.net/m1903/1903_stockpic.jpg

B Strong
03-14-2010, 4:21 PM
Most of the other countries tested and selected potential sniper rifles for accuracy. The M1903A4s had selected barrels but as far as I know the assembled rifles weren't selected for accuracy.

The biggest problem was the scope. The Nazis and Japanese used 4x scopes, the Soviets used 3.5x, and the British used 3x scopes. The M1903A4 had a 2.5x commercial-grade scope that didn't hold up to the rigors of combat.

Bruce Canfield's An Illustrated Guide to the '03 Springfield Service Rifle quotes some passages from other books. In Roy Dunlap's Ordnance Went up Front:



In Crossman's The Book of the Springfield:



The M1903A4 wasn't in the same class as this

http://i41.tinypic.com/dmryb9.jpg

Milsurp is absolutely correct.

Except for the purposes of a U.S military rifle collection, there is no reason to build or buy an 03/A4.

They weren't that great a tool in their time that you'd choose one today for any serious purpose, and the other choices from that era are much better suited to the intended purpose.

The Gibbs repops aren't close enough to the original to be collectible, and they also aren't any better of a tool to justify the cost.

Bhobbs
03-16-2010, 8:43 AM
We sent out second class tanks because they were cheaper to ship. Thousands of US service men died in under-armored, high-profile Shermans when we could have sent Pershings.

Second class rifles is no surprise when the purse strings are controlled by politicians who's sons had desk jobs.


Unfortunately that is true.