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Thread: 1903 NM Rifle Redfield Sight

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    Member saint's Avatar
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    Question 1903 NM Rifle Redfield Sight

    I recently purchased a 1903 Springfield rifle with a Star Gauged barrel; full "C" stock; NS marked bolt; parts numbers on the stock and handguard. The serial number is 1471591. The one issue is that it is fitted with a Redfield receiver sight. Is the receiver sight possibly original or is it an 'add-on'?


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    added on.
    Lyman was the choice for NM rifles if rear target sight was installed, likely it was added or the Lyman was sold or lost, Redfield cost 30.00 to 50.00 , and a Lyman will fetch 75.00 to 150.00
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    Member saint's Avatar
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    I read that the hole pattern for the Redfield is slightly different than for the Lyman. If that is the case, one could not simply replace a Lyman with a Redfield. The hole pattern on my 1903 has not been modified.

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    Advisory Panel Rick the Librarian's Avatar
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    The vast majority of National Match rifles cam with no "added on" Lyman rear sight. It is very likely that the receiver was drilled and tapped by a previous civilian owner and the Redfield installed "new". The NM rifle was almost certainly sold with just the original military rear sight.
    People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

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    Member saint's Avatar
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    Rick, Your comment about the receiver sights being 'add-ons' brings up many concerns about articles in books such as Brophy's book on Springfield Rifles and in many magazines. All of these picture many NM 1903 rifles with receiver sights. Certainly, there are also many 1903's pictured without these sights. Is there a 'primary source' such as an armorer who worked on the development of NM 1903's who has written a definitive paper/article on these guns.
    I purchased my NM 1903 because I believed that some/many had been outfitted with receiver sights when they were owned by the US military. I would like to hear any comments that you and others may have on this issue.

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    Really Senior Member Cosine26's Avatar
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    The hole pattern on the Redfield 70 and 80 series sights is exactly the same as for the Lyman 48. I have traded the off at various times and can attest to this. The Model 70 and the Model 30 could be equipped with either the Redfield or the Lyman. They were not necessarily ordered D&T for one or the other. One could buy either a 70 or a 30S and later on add either sight. I do not believe tht the Redfield came into existance until the tail end of NM 1903 production.
    As an aside, in the mid 1930's the question arose as to whether the M1903 which had been D&Tqualified as a "service rifle" for the National Matches. An item published in the AMERICAN RIFLEMAN in the late 30's confirmed that it was. I believe that thd NM M1903 could be ordered D&T for an extra charge, at least Crossman in his "Book of the Springfield" so indicated.
    FWIW

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    Really Senior Member Mike D's Avatar
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    The regular NM '03(1921-1940) did not have a receiver sight. Style B, NM Special, NRA and NBA sporters all did, and were fitted with Lymans. Sounds like a previous owner kinda bubba'd a NM.

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    Really Senior Member Cosine26's Avatar
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    The question is moot and probably not worth discussion, but I should like to quote directly from “The Book of the Springfield” by E.C Crossman published in 1932. On page 9 under the heading STYLE N. M. 1929:
    ‘On all NM Rifles made for sales, the receiver is drilled and tapped for the Lyman receiver but the stock is not cut and the Lyman sight is not furnished, unless specifically ordered.”
    Further Clark Campbell in his book “The ’03 Springfields” on page 57 published in 1971 indicates:
    “National Match Rifles made for sales were drilled and tapped for the Lyman 48 receiver sight, though the stocks were not cut for the sights unless it was specified by the purchaser that the Lyman 48 was to be fitted and sold with the rifle.”
    I do not know whether Mr. Campbell was quoting/citing Crossman or had new and direct information on the matter.
    From various DCM notes in the “American Rifleman” Magazine, in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s the Springfield armory could and would, for extra price, perform certain gunsmithing operations on M1903’s ordered through the DCM. In the late 30’s and early 40’s this practice was discontinued. Probably about the time the armory started tooling up for M1icon production.
    Crossman was a rifleman and was familiar with the M1903, being a retired army ordnance officer and a noted firearms writer of the period.

    FWIW

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    Cosine26, Thank you for your inputs on this matter. I am very pleased that you read my question and took the time to respond. I cannot remember which reference indicated that the hole pattern for the Lyman and the Redfield were different, but being a collector of pre'64 Winchester M-70s', I know that (as you said) one can interchange the two different receiver sights because the hole pattern is the same for both (on that particular rifle). When I read about this hole pattern being different on the 1903, I wondered if that was a fact. You cleared that up for all who read this to better understand.
    Also, your excellent discussion on these guns with references, is very important. As a practicing scientist who has written many technical papers, I very much value references. Certainly, it is good to listen to all opinions, but one has to put more faith in the referenced opinions.

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    Really Senior Member Mike D's Avatar
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    My info above and the following is from Brophy.

    "National Match rifles (sales or otherwise) were 'not'(italicized) drilled and tapped for the Lyman receiver sight. Also, the work would not be done by the Armory-the Style "B" NM rifle was, however, drilled and tapped for the Lyman sight. But the stock was not cut for the sight. An exception to remember is that National Match and Sporting rifle receivers that were drilled and tapped for receiver sights could be purchased through the DCM."

    You can read more from Brophy via Kindle here - Amazon.com: The Springfield 1903 Rifles (9780811708722): William S. Brophy:

    Pages 193-215

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