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  1. #1
    Member rapidfire10ring's Avatar
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    1903 Sporter front sight

    I have a 1903 'star gauged' Sporter that I would like to add a front sight. The barrel diameter seems thinner than most and there is a gloss bluing to the finish. What I need to know is if there is a source for the front target sight as many others have had.
    I have had this project set aside for a few years and would like to finish it. From what I recall is that I had tried the usual fit of the front sight and found it to be far too loose to have any hope of completing the rifle. Included are 3 photos.







    Please PM or email me as I dont check this forum as often as I used to and now spend most of my time on RFC Forum. Bruce

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    Advisory Panel chuckindenver's Avatar
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    its going to hard to mount the correct front sight, i do them, but it does cost a bit, plus the cost of the sight...someone has ground off the keyway.
    also notice someone has rounded the edge of the receiver ring..
    no hits on my list for this serial number.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckindenver View Post
    ...someone has ground off the keyway.
    also notice someone has rounded the edge of the receiver ring..
    A real hard polish job for a guy that was dedicated to sporterizing this one...
    Regards, Jim

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    Member rapidfire10ring's Avatar
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    Thread Starter
    I spent some time studying them and YOU have to go to the experts' manual on Springfield Sporters, vs . sporterized Springfields. That book is "The Collectable '03" by J.G. Harrison.
    If you are not familiar, Springfield Armory, during the Post WWI years did customize a number of Springfields to sell them to the civilian market. Apparently commercial manufactures complained to the U.S. Government that a War Dept firm was competing against the civilian sector and the rifles were discontinued. Also see Brophy's book.


    I was hoping to find someone who has one or a few to comment on this thread. Within the books, it is mentioned that a common feature is polished surfaces. Also he mentions that no two he has seen look exactly the same. The depicted one is not the only one I own.

    ---------- Post added at 10:52 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:51 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by chuckindenver View Post
    its going to hard to mount the correct front sight, i do them, but it does cost a bit, plus the cost of the sight...someone has ground off the keyway.
    also notice someone has rounded the edge of the receiver ring..
    no hits on my list for this serial number.
    "The Collectable '03" mentions that rounding off the front of the reciver is a feature of the Springfield Sporters.
    Last edited by rapidfire10ring; 03-31-2015 at 01:58 AM.

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    The one pictured was not in the condition it left Springfield Armory. Somebody "buffed it severely"! The best I can figure the serial number is the 1,474,000 range - considerably above the range of NRA Sporters, if that is what you're talking about.

    Harrison's book, especially the first ed. has a number of errors. If I was going to use a reference, I would use William Brophy's M1903 book or the one written by Clark Campbell.

    By the way, always a pleasure to meet a fellow-Spokanite; I lived there from 1951-73, and off and on afterwards for a few years.
    Last edited by Rick the Librarian; 03-31-2015 at 11:38 AM.
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    Really Senior Member Herschel's Avatar
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    The NRA Sporters were not customized 1903's but were made from new receivers to be configured as NRA Sporters. It looks as if there is a keyway machined into the barrel just forward of the receiver. This was a characteristic of issue type or NM 1903 rifle barrels.

  9. Thank You to Herschel For This Useful Post:


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    Member rapidfire10ring's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick the Librarianicon View Post
    The one pictured was not in the condition it left Springfield Armory. Somebody "buffed it severely"! The best I can figure the serial number is the 1,474,000 range - considerably above the range of NRA Sporters, if that is what you're talking about.

    Harrison's book, especially the first ed. has a number of errors. If I was going to use a reference, I would use William Brophy's M1903 book or the one written by Clark Campbell.

    By the way, always a pleasure to meet a fellow-Spokanite; I lived there from 1951-73, and off and on afterwards for a few years.
    Although I am dredging this one up again, please forgive this as I dusted off the rifle and looked at it again. I wanted to mention that I didn't buff the receiver myself, but did remove rust and damage from the floorplate and buttplate. And as I did read the Harrison book, I would like to know what edition has corrected information. I have the second edition, 1999. I also have the Brophy book. Since there is no front sight attached, and the original front sights no longer fit the altered diameter, I would assume that a "riser sight" of some sort is to be used. Those that are of the same or similar diameter of the barrel and are 'sweated' or silver soldered on.
    Also, the correct Lyman 48 sight is attached to the right side and the serial number is etched in the bolt.
    Last edited by rapidfire10ring; 09-12-2019 at 03:30 PM.

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    NRA Sporters

    For reference, 3 NRA sporters:



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