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Thread: Unusual Springfield 1903 sporter help please

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  1. #1
    Member Scrape's Avatar
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    Unusual Springfield 1903 sporter help please

    First off, I would like to bid you all a Merry Christmas and hello from North Carolina. Sorry for no introduction as my first post but I am very excited about this rifle and could use some expertise here of any kind. This will be a present to my son-in-law who is a gun lover like me and I have no experience with this rifle except from what I have recently gathered to take the bolt down to clean it and a futile attempt to figure this gun out. I have had it all apart and know a professional build when I see it. I know nothing about it's history except for the guy I traded with said it was an estate liquidation that he purchased with other rifles. The action has been nicely bedded and the thing looks like new! I am impressed with the work of the previous owner but at the same time it does not look like a military surplus rifle because it has no signs of wear. The bore is bright and mirror shiny with sharp deep rifling. The front sight has slots cut for a hood and the rear sight has Williams marked on the side. I am tempted to remove the scope base because it is covering up the info on the receiver and the 22" barrel has no markings. I can make out a 7 digit serial number barely peeping out from under the scope base. Looks like the box magazine was made in Finlandicon and the stock buttplate is marked White Line/Pachmayr Gun Works. It came with a decent Leupold 3x9 hunting scope too. I would appreciate greatly any generous insight the membership can give me on this piece because I am baffled to no end and give up.

    Steve







    Last edited by Scrape; 12-19-2019 at 07:07 AM.

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    Contributing Member rcathey's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum!
    Not a whole lot to say about this one honestly.

    Itís a sporterized 1903A3 (note the dovetail on the rear bridge).
    Itís a reblued rifle.

    Judging by the design choices, Iíd estimate it was put together in the late Ď60s. White line spacers, flared pistol grip, exaggerated Monte Carlo hump...these are all pretty iconic 1960 sporter choices.

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    Member Scrape's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcathey View Post
    Welcome to the forum!
    Not a whole lot to say about this one honestly.

    It’s a sporterized 1903A3 (note the dovetail on the rear bridge).
    It’s a reblued rifle.

    Judging by the design choices, I’d estimate it was put together in the late ‘60s. White line spacers, flared pistol grip, exaggerated Monte Carlo hump...these are all pretty iconic 1960 sporter choices.
    You have said plenty rcathey! Thank you so much for your expertise and wisdom on this build

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    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    Looks like it'll be a prize to have. I'd love to have one that looked as nice as that...
    Regards, Jim

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    Thanks for the encouraging words browningautorifleicon. I hope he will like it as much as I do and I got all excited when I first saw it. It is just a sporter, but then again, it looks to be a potential great shooter to enjoy with a flair of nostalgia to enhance it. I traded a spare Rossi Overland 12 gauge sxs coach gun I had for it. It was just a parts gun for me so it won't really be missed hopefully.

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    Contributing Member fjruple's Avatar
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    Very representative of a post-WWII converted M1903A3 Springfield Rifle. Your example was well executed by an experienced gunsmith. Looks like a design that Paul Jaeger of Jenkintown, PA would use. Good luck on your acquisition.

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    Member Scrape's Avatar
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    Very comforting compliment fjruple! I can't wait to see the look on his face when he opens it and later we can spend some quality time testing it out and sighting it in.

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    I am one of the old guys who actually bought 03A3 rifles from the DCM for $10.00 + $4.50 inspection and packing. When the notice appeared in the American Rifleman magazine, (I think around 1960) the guys I hunted with all sent in for one. We got 5 of them. We bought them to use as hunting rifles, and so, converted them to sporters very much like yours. I now own 4 of the original 5. My friend left me his in his will and I bought my brother's from his estate. Over the years, I've purchased other 03A3 sporters as I've found them. I now own a total of 8.

    Your rifle looks very nicely done. Of course it did start out as military surplus but many of these rifles were never issued. There was a whole industry centered around converting these surplus rifles to hunting use in the 1960's. One of my rifles has a trigger guard/magazine box like yours (they were advertised as made by Sako). We commonly ditched the stamped guards and replaced them with milled 1903 guards. The stocks were replaced with a Fajen or Bishop, etc. Sights were replaced, scopes mounted, bolts forged, barrels replaced, shortened, re-bored, or re-chambered. I don't recognize the stock manufacturer on your rifle. The metal parts were polished and blued--some of the late 03A3's were pretty rough (they were made from Dec., 1942 through Feb., 1944).

    I would encourage you to remove the scope base to determine the maker (Remington or Smith Corona) and the serial number. With that information, forum members here will be able to pin down to the month and year your rifle was made. You have a fine hunting rifle with the added bonus that it is a piece of war-time history. Enjoy!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArtPahl View Post
    I am one of the old guys who actually bought 03A3 rifles from the DCM for $10.00 + $4.50 inspection and packing. When the notice appeared in the American Rifleman magazine, (I think around 1960) the guys I hunted with all sent in for one. We got 5 of them. We bought them to use as hunting rifles, and so, converted them to sporters very much like yours. I now own 4 of the original 5. My friend left me his in his will and I bought my brother's from his estate. Over the years, I've purchased other 03A3 sporters as I've found them. I now own a total of 8.

    Your rifle looks very nicely done. Of course it did start out as military surplus but many of these rifles were never issued. There was a whole industry centered around converting these surplus rifles to hunting use in the 1960's. One of my rifles has a trigger guard/magazine box like yours (they were advertised as made by Sako). We commonly ditched the stamped guards and replaced them with milled 1903 guards. The stocks were replaced with a Fajen or Bishop, etc. Sights were replaced, scopes mounted, bolts forged, barrels replaced, shortened, re-bored, or re-chambered. I don't recognize the stock manufacturer on your rifle. The metal parts were polished and blued--some of the late 03A3's were pretty rough (they were made from Dec., 1942 through Feb., 1944).

    I would encourage you to remove the scope base to determine the maker (Remington or Smith Corona) and the serial number. With that information, forum members here will be able to pin down to the month and year your rifle was made. You have a fine hunting rifle with the added bonus that it is a piece of war-time history. Enjoy!!
    Very informative look-back in time from someone who experienced it first hand. I'm 61 years old and missed out on what was happening in the 60's from an adult's viewpoint of the gun world. From your post and rcathey's, I can confidently concur that the build was most likely done in the 60's. This is very important information for me and thank you for it. One thing better than owning a firearm like these would be owning 8 of them! lol I have fallen in love with this rifle and because I am giving it away, I found myself digging in and looking for another one for sale. I feel a passion for them setting in and this feeling is not new to me. It has happened to me with other guns many times before and does not stop until I get one home, on the bench and working on it to my satisfaction.

    I'm thinking about taking the scope base off when we go out shooting after Christmas to get the iron sights adjusted before we focus on getting the scope right. I have to see if he has another scope in mind for it before we start the process. I've been looking at various ammo also that I have to get for it today so we can find out what it likes. All I know is that I can give him some background on it from the help here and am chomping at the bit to shoot it for the first time. I am so busy and it is always dark when I get home from work during the winter months.

    The safety does not appear to be original on this rifle and probably was changed due to the scope being added to make it functional. It does clear the scope but I have to pull back on the firing pin a tiny bit to get it to engage. It looks like to me that this is intentional because it needs a small bit of spring force to hold it into position? When the safety is off it has play in it because there is no spring and ball detent to hold the position securely and is loose and floating. Maybe someone here is familiar with this modification?

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    Really Senior Member rgg_7's Avatar
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    Congrats on a fine example of customization done back in the 50 and 60's. The Sringfield started life as a service rifle, mostly likely hand selected and sent to one of many companies to be customized. Barrell has been cut to a new length and Williams sights added. The scope bases and rings are Redfield - scope may be a later replacement as I don't think Leupold was on the market back then - might want to replace with a 3 -9x Redfield as that's what is on mine. Bolt handle forged to clear scope, safety added maybe Pachmayer and jeweled. Stock looks to be Fajen or Roberts Wood Products. Roberts offered a complete conversion similar to yours with these features. Trigger guard is most interesting....if you take apart pls post a couple pictures of it. Sure like to have a couple of these for my Springfields.

    Enjoy,

    Ron (Canadaicon)

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