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Thread: Rock Island 1903, possible NM rifle?

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  1. #1
    Member damienslc's Avatar
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    Rock Island 1903, possible NM rifle?

    Greetings! I've used a few threads here for answers, but I seem to be in a unique situation so I thought I would ask around here first. I recently acquired what looks like an original Rock Island #386k 1903 with an AV barrel marked 1-19. The stock matches the period as well as the strap. However, this gun has also shown some signs that there is more to it that the internet can answer. For instance, there are two "P" stamps behind the trigger guard indicating it has been rebuilt. Seeing as how the barrel is a '19 it clearly wasn't a WWII reissue. Also, there are four screw holes inline on the receiver consistent with a Unertl scope mount. The bolt isn't blued, and has NS and another illegible stamp on the bottom. The front site does have a stamp on the bottom of it, but I can't tell what it is. It looks like 3 a 5 or the artist formerly known as prince? I've called a few gunsmiths in the area and they said they had no idea what I was talking about, so I'm wondering if anybody here could shine some light on this 1903?


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    Contributing Member Promo's Avatar
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    a RIA NM would not have an AV marked barrel. Four screw holes on the receiver only (as you had stated) do not speak for an Unertl mount, but rather a commercial mount.

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    Member damienslc's Avatar
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    Yeah, that's what i thought. The AV barrel is what kind of threw me off seeing as how there wasn't any info regarding these receivers. Thanks for the input!

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    Contributing Member Promo's Avatar
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    Easiest way to identify a RIA NM rifle is the shape of the bolt handle - it is unique.

    Attached picture shows top down:
    1. pre WWI SA M1903 NM rifle
    2. 1919 RIA M1903 NM rifle (note swept back and then straight down again)
    3. 1921 SA M1903 NM rifle
    Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version

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    Member damienslc's Avatar
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    The bolt is swept, but not like any of the bolts pictured. Also, not saying that this particular rifle is a NM, but there were NM rifles with Avis barrels.

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    Really Senior Member m1903rifle's Avatar
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    No NM with AV barrels.

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    Member damienslc's Avatar
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    Any more info on the 1919 Rock Island NM rifles? There is very little info on these.

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    Contributing Member Promo's Avatar
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    There is an excellent article on these rifles written by John Beardicon and C. S. Ferris in Man at Arms in April 2001 which I'd recommend to you. I have one of these RIA NM rifles from 1919, the above pictured bolts are all three rifles of mine.
    Last edited by Promo; 12-12-2019 at 01:19 PM.

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    Member damienslc's Avatar
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    Good info, I ordered the book today. I'm really just happy to have picked up a good example. I can't wait to take it out to the range.
    Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version

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    Last edited by damienslc; 12-18-2019 at 11:58 PM.

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    So, this rifle has been to two local gunsmiths here is what I was told. What information I have collected so far as that Rock Island didn't assemble this rifle (late receiver date 386k), it was likely assembled by Springfield in early 1919 with an NS polished bolt, Avis barrel marked 1-19, blued not parkerized. Stock is 1917 pre-pistol grip, strap is M1907. Whether or not it was a NM rifle couldn't be confirmed because neither gunsmith had ever seen one. But the gun is definitely original and safe to fire and the early NM rifles did have AV barrels despite what somebody posted earlier.

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