View Full Version : Springfield Armory Model 1903, Mfg by Smith Corona in 1944

05-28-2011, 9:36 AM
I have a friend who has a Model 1903, made by Smith Corona in 1944...

It looks to be in REALLY good shape on the outside, hasn't had any moving parts oiled in a long time, though.

She's interested in firing it. She assumes it has not been fired since the late 40's when her father stopped hunting.

She took it to a gunsmith some years back, and he told her that:
A) The barrel interior is pitted(?) and not to fire it.
B) "modern ammunition" is much stronger than the ammunition from WWII, and it would likely cause problems.

I inspected it today, and the exterior of the barrel is in EXTREMELY good shape, better than my Marlin Model 60 that I shoot regularly. The interior of the barrel looked good to me, there's evidence of it having been fired and not cleaned, but the rifling did not have any skips in it, there was no pitting that I could see. There is not a SPECK of rust on this barrel at all. Not even on the sight, both the windage and elevation knobs turn, not easily, but they turn with a small amount of strength, which I'm attributing to the fact they lack lubricant.

That this thing lacks rust AND lubricant/protection is amazing to me, but she had it wrapped in a wool (or wool looking) blanket. Maybe that's why. And today is the first time it's seen light in a long time.

The bolt and firing pin are smooth in operation, although again, lacking lubrication, but move surprisingly easy even without it.

I know better than to fire this thing without a good cleaning, but I'm curious what the hive mind around here thinks...

And even with this limited write-up, I ask your opinion.

Is the gunsmith full of it? Did he tell her this just so she wouldn't fire it? She didn't mention if he offered to buy it from her. (i.e. talk it down and lowball her on a price just so he can possess it)

Is there a difference between today's ammunition vs. yesteryear's? I'm assuming that the range-allowed ammo we use today is a light lighter load than WWII 30-06 ammo. Correct?

What do YOU think?

05-28-2011, 11:36 AM
no knowing what the gunsmith may have been thinking or his intentions, but if it is in the condition you describe I would shoot it. Now you say 1903, not 1903A3 so this is where you can run into issues. Certain 1903's had single heat treated recievers and there were some failures of the recievers. if it is truly a 1903 and not an 03A3 this could be the case based on the serial number of the reicever (google low numbered 1903 springfield and enjoy the read) if it is actually a 1903A3 it can handle any highpower loads that any other 30-06 bolt action rifle can handle.

hope this helps

05-28-2011, 11:37 AM
and most hunting ammo is higher pressure/speed/power than milsurp 30-06

05-28-2011, 12:12 PM
Smith Corona made 1903A3's so it will handle moder 30.06 ammo. PMC, American Eagle, Privi, etc make FMJ 30.06 ammo.

05-28-2011, 4:19 PM
I have an '03 Springfield made in 1917 or so, and modern ammo goes through it just fine. Just throwing that out there.

05-28-2011, 5:48 PM
Smith Corona only made the 1903A3. It sounds like a an excellent rifle. Clean and lube, it will be fine. It will run any 3006 loads available.

05-28-2011, 9:57 PM
Yes, it is an A3, sorry for not specifying, but I pretty much thought mentioning the Smith Corona would put it out there, since, as mentioned, they only model they produced was the A3, during 1943 and 1944.

Thanks for your help, folks.

I'm going to pick up the rifle from her, grab a copy of the manual and strip it down and inspect it fully, clean it better than new, and put some rounds through it.

05-29-2011, 6:34 AM
I thought they only made 03A3's as well but better to ask for clarification so I wasnt giving you bad advice. I shoot WWB out of my remingtons 03A3 with no second thought, My 03A4 repro (it was a sporter when I got it and I reconverted it to mil config) will probably get used for hunting this year if possible.
http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/162892_1720013007573_1455744538_1767896_3304727_n. jpg
When I get a new rifle and there is any doubt on the safety of it I either remote fire it or at a minimum first few rounds are fired from the hip.

05-29-2011, 6:51 AM
That gunsmith might've been looking to make a buy on a "useless" old gun.

05-29-2011, 1:00 PM
Run a patch through the barrel, I'll bet it doesn't snag at all. And barrel pitting doesn't make a gun unsafe to shoot, it just makes it (perhaps) a bear to clean.

I like the '03A3, those two groove barrels shoot great and the sights are way better than the 03 sights. Clean it up and go shoot. Is it "stock" USGI or was it "sporterized"? If it is still USGI, keep it that way.