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Curio & Relic/Black Powder Curio & Relics and Black Powder Firearms, Old School shooting fun!

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  #1  
Old 06-17-2013, 8:54 PM
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Default Picked up a 1943 Springfield 1903A3

Picked up this Remington 03A3 late last week and I need to verify it's condition/value, before I go turning this into my CMP match shooter. Supposedly, it's unissued and came from the widow of a WWII vet that had it sitting in packing grease or whatever preservative was on it. It looks the part as the stock appears to be pristine along with the parkerizing. Don't know much about these and it'd be nice to get a few opinions on it before I go out and shoot it, so let me know what I'm dealing with here.









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Old 06-17-2013, 8:55 PM
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Very nice!

I have one too. Sweet shooter.
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Old 06-17-2013, 10:16 PM
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It's an arsenal rebuild. And a mighty nice one at that. A lot of 1903's and 03-A3's were run through the ordnance shops for reconditioning after the war, and packed away. You can tell by the parkerized bolt, trigger guard and bands. Original finish on an 'A3 was parkerized receiver and barrel, and almost everything else blued. Almost nobody left the service with their issued weapon. These were sold to NRA members through the DCM for next to nothing when the Govt was through with them.
There are others here that can give you chapter and verse about barrel dates, stock stamps, etc.
The FJA on the stock is a Ordnance sub-inspectors acceptance stamp. Frank Atwood. Seems like he was assigned to the whole east coast during WW2. His initials appear on a lot of different small arms.

Clean the bore and shoot it. Leave everything else alone. It is somewhat valuable just like it is. It will be worth less if you "clean it up" or "fix it".
Take it to some Vintage bolt gun matches and enjoy it.
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Old 06-17-2013, 10:23 PM
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I'm almost more glad to hear that than if it was a one-of-a-kind, rare rifle because I bought it with the intention to take it to the vintage rifle matches. I won't feel guilty about shooting this now.
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Old 06-17-2013, 10:31 PM
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I see you are in Sac. Just head over to Sac Valley/Folsom range and shoot some military silhouette or some vintage mid and long range matches. Be very careful though. Once you start, there aint no way out!
Check their calendar or watch here for the match bulletins. Rob (pathfinder) will probably chime in here and give some info on the upcoming shoots.
Nice rifle. Shoot it and enjoy it, and clean it. Shooting doesn't hurt these old guns, neglect does.
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Old 06-17-2013, 10:32 PM
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I agree with Ken that it is definitely not an "unissued" rifle. As Ken mentioned, the tube and the receiver are the only one that should be parked with greenish hue and the rest of the small parts should be blued.

Notice the ordnance wheel next to FJA is faint and the relief cut on the cutoff switch is rounded smooth? Both evidence of a sanded stock. A pristine stock is not pretty to look at as they are rough and you can see the factory across the grain sanding.

My true unfired/unissued early 6 groove SC is not as pretty to look at as my early RA. One of these days I'll take some good pic and post it here. Many people believe others that tell them it is an "unissued" rifle. Unissued 03-A3s are out there but you have to find it and will cost $$$$.
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Old 06-17-2013, 10:44 PM
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Good thing I got this for a song and paid shooter price. That ordnance marking did look faint and questionable when I examined it.
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Old 06-17-2013, 10:52 PM
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It's still very collectible and that thing is in great shape a keeper for sure. I won't collect anything I can't shoot. If you got it for under a grand you did good, assuming low TE and ME.

Is adding BLO considered cleaning it up? I was thinking to wipe mine down with BLO to preserve and maintain it. It has the same reddish tinge as the OP's so I am assuming BLO?

Last edited by Justintoxicated; 06-17-2013 at 10:54 PM..
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Old 06-17-2013, 11:11 PM
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Shoot away. Take it to our next vintage military silhouette match on the 20th of July. Hope to see your there.
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Old 06-17-2013, 11:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pro-nra View Post
Shoot away. Take it to our next vintage military silhouette match on the 20th of July. Hope to see your there.
Definitely. What's been holding me back is having to roll my own 7.5x55 Swiss ammo since I only had GP-11. Now I can be lazy and just buy a few boxes for this beauty. This officially retires the SKS.
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Old 06-18-2013, 4:55 AM
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Nice rifle. The truly unissued 'A3's are pretty rare and are getting to be too valuable to shoot. As was mentioned, the 1903-A3 as manufactured will have a mixture of parkerized and blued parts. When they went through the rebuild program all the parts were usually parkerized.

You are lucky in that the fellow from whose widow you bought it treasured it for what it was and resisted the urge to turn it into a hunting rifle. The stamps on the stock look as though that stock may have originally been on a Smith-Corona as the Remingtons' generally will have a "RA" in front of the Ordnance stamp and the inspectors cartouche.

Remington stock cartouche:


Smith-Corona:
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Old 06-18-2013, 5:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gutter View Post
Good thing I got this for a song and paid shooter price. That ordnance marking did look faint and questionable when I examined it.
It looks fantastic. Did you find it locally?
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Old 06-18-2013, 6:14 AM
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That is a fine looking 03A3 for sure.

Are there any other cartouches on the stock?
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Old 06-18-2013, 6:35 AM
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Picked this up locally from a guy who does a few shows in the area. Really great guy. Ended up beating a few others to the rifle by minutes.

The Ogden stamp just confirms what everyone's been saying now that I look at it.



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Old 06-18-2013, 6:44 AM
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Very nice.

Looks like a Smith Corona trigger guard on it. Possible it has an S-C stock on it also. That could explain the absence of an "RA" stamp near the "crossed cannons" and "FJA" stamps.

Do you have any pictures of the stock, near the band spring?
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Old 06-18-2013, 6:56 AM
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I think you're right. The only thing I see with an R on it that's stock related are the swivels.

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Old 06-18-2013, 7:24 AM
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That is a Sweet A3
A3's are great for Cast bullet shooting
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  #18  
Old 06-18-2013, 7:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gutter View Post
I think you're right. The only thing I see with an R on it that's stock related are the swivels.
Definitely a Remington stock
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Old 06-18-2013, 8:26 AM
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Nice! I want one, but can't afford it right now! Hopefully someday soon I'll be able to find a nice one.

Thanks for posting.
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Old 06-18-2013, 8:36 AM
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How can you tell the difference?
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Old 06-18-2013, 9:34 AM
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The cutout for the band spring on a Remington is squared at the front, like yours, rather than rounded, like this, on a Smith Corona

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Last edited by Mustang; 06-18-2013 at 10:57 AM..
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  #22  
Old 06-18-2013, 2:39 PM
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Like Mustang said it is definitely an RA stock. The sub inspection stamp in front of the TG and the lower band spring cutout tells me that it is RA stock.
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Old 06-18-2013, 6:21 PM
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Wow! Gutter! That is one sweet rifle! Congrats!
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Old 06-18-2013, 8:23 PM
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Very nice find Gutter, congrats!
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Old 06-19-2013, 4:37 AM
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He bought it from a guy in Lodi ..... barely !

Congrats on the quick draw.
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Old 06-19-2013, 11:34 PM
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Any advice on what I should be running through this thing as far as bullet weight? I know it's fine with commercial loads, but I heard that performance is better with something smaller than 180gr.
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Old 06-20-2013, 12:34 AM
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Ya know ... I do ken a fella who puts 150gr in his loads fa his ... If I can gies in touch with him, I'll ask him. He's no on the boards, I need to call his mobile ...

Cheers!
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Old 06-20-2013, 6:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gutter View Post
Any advice on what I should be running through this thing as far as bullet weight? I know it's fine with commercial loads, but I heard that performance is better with something smaller than 180gr.
Experimentation is the best way to determine what ammunition to use. I've got several 1903's and A3's and each one seems to like something a little bit different.

If you reload, try different loads using 150, 165-168, and 180 grain bullets with both boat tail and flat base. That should tell the tale.

If you don't reload, do the same with commercial and surplus ammo.
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Old 06-29-2013, 7:57 AM
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Picked up some PS 75 today o I should be good to go.

On another note, this thing is full of cosmoline from the bolt the underside of the receiver to the stock. I'm melting it out of the stock (heat wave came at the right time) and I used mineral spirits on the bolt. Should I be worried at all about the effect the spirits will have on the parking? I notice some of the metal started to dry out a bit so I hit it with some rem oil and hoppes which seemed to take care of it.
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Old 06-29-2013, 1:56 PM
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Never heard of mineral spirits hurting Parkerinzing, but someone else may know more.
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Old 06-29-2013, 2:14 PM
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The park on that rifle is tough and no mineral spirit will hurt it. You might get some residue after the mineral spirit dry but the park will still be there.
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Old 06-29-2013, 3:00 PM
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The mineral spirits shouldn't hurt Parkerizing. The metal looks dry because the solvent is removing the oil. Which is what you are going for in the first place.

Wipe down and oil. That is an incredibly clean A3.
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Old 06-29-2013, 4:31 PM
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Thanks for the reassurance. I'm just a nut when it comes to doing anything that may hurt the appearance. It killed me to remove the extractor as I thought I was going to gouge the bolt when pushing forward.
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Old 06-29-2013, 6:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mustang View Post
Experimentation is the best way to determine what ammunition to use. I've got several 1903's and A3's and each one seems to like something a little bit different.

If you reload, try different loads using 150, 165-168, and 180 grain bullets with both boat tail and flat base. That should tell the tale.

If you don't reload, do the same with commercial and surplus ammo.
I picked up a sporterized SC many many years ago. (No I didn't do it!!) Has 6 groove barrel. Anyways I found that matching garand spec loads worked best.

I actually found that 47-48 gr imr 4895 with a 150 SMK was the spot. I'm going to start using some cast bullets and some reduced loads as well. But when I was shooting better in my youth that load would do 1/2 MOA scoped.

The receiver is super strong. You could load it hot with a 4350 type powder. But why. For cast bullets I've read that the longer 180-190 work great. Gonna have to give them a shot.
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Old 06-29-2013, 6:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gutter View Post
Picked up some PS 75 today o I should be good to go.

On another note, this thing is full of cosmoline from the bolt the underside of the receiver to the stock. I'm melting it out of the stock (heat wave came at the right time) and I used mineral spirits on the bolt. Should I be worried at all about the effect the spirits will have on the parking? I notice some of the metal started to dry out a bit so I hit it with some rem oil and hoppes which seemed to take care of it.
Examine the PS headstamp cases for hairline cracks near the base, through the rim and extending into the primer pocket. Some of the lots of PS .30 M2 ball had this issue. When the case fails with this crack it may split your stock. The crack is visible in bright daylight. Do yourself a favor and look at each unfired case before shooting them
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Old 06-29-2013, 8:23 PM
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Nice weapon !!
I agree with all that said it is an arsenal rebuild --
I don't believe you said whether it is a 2 groove or 4 groove --
Matters not with jacketed boolits, but 2 grooves seems to like a long bore riding cast boolit better --Such as 311299 --
With 311291 about 170gr about 30g of ball C makes a decent shoot.
You will enjoy shooting it!!

Ken -- your comment "got for pittance" in the 60's is not quite correct .
Mine cost $17.50 plus $2.50 shipped to the door -- 1960 --
Journeyman wages were about $3 per hour so it was not really that cheap.
Of course, a new Rem 722 cost about $80.
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Old 06-29-2013, 8:25 PM
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Congrats to u. That's a beauty.
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  #38  
Old 06-29-2013, 8:29 PM
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4 groove. Looked through all the PS and everything seems alright. Just a few dirty cases and no visible cracks.
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Old 06-29-2013, 8:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gunboat View Post
Nice weapon !!
I agree with all that said it is an arsenal rebuild --
I don't believe you said whether it is a 2 groove or 4 groove --
Matters not with jacketed boolits, but 2 grooves seems to like a long bore riding cast boolit better --Such as 311299 --
With 311291 about 170gr about 30g of ball C makes a decent shoot.
You will enjoy shooting it!!

Ken -- your comment "got for pittance" in the 60's is not quite correct .
Mine cost $17.50 plus $2.50 shipped to the door -- 1960 --
Journeyman wages were about $3 per hour so it was not really that cheap.
Of course, a new Rem 722 cost about $80.
$19.50 was the equivalent of $150.76 today so it was still a pretty good deal.
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Old 06-29-2013, 10:10 PM
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Had another thought. The barrel is basically new and I think only 5 rounds were shot out of it (still trying to figure out how the guy I bought it from did that while the bolt looked like a cosmo popsicle). Should I break this in as if it were a new bolt action or did that happen in '43?
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