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Thread: Recent arrivals: RIA M1903 1908 & SC M1903A3 1943

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  1. #1
    Senior Member fernleaf's Avatar
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    Recent arrivals: RIA M1903 1908 & SC M1903A3 1943

    I bought these two rifles in late September from a dealer in the US who exported them to me in NZicon. I managed to get my sticky little hands on them just prior to Christmas...

    First up is an M1903 made by Rock Island in 1908 (or maybe early 1909). This has all the early features I'd expect from a rifle of this vintage. It was advertised as 'parts correct' which gave me the idea it was in original condition, but some of these correct parts have obviously not been on the rifle since its birth. Not the sellers fault - more like me being buck feverish...

    The rear sight, trigger guard and buttplate are all later parked, but most everything else 'looks' to be original...

    Bore has been used - heavily.

    Overall pretty happy with it - at some stage I'll look for parts to match the finish of the rifle.



    I shot it today using a nice light load of 16.0gn TrailBoss begind a 155gn Nosler CC. I had some other light loads using some 135gn FTX and a starting load of H4895 to put through it, but I've never felt so apprehensive behind a rifle before so decided to give them a miss...

    No doubt you guys will have more experience with these things that I - keen to hear your thoughts?
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  4. #2
    Senior Member fernleaf's Avatar
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    Secondly, my Smith Corona M1903A3.

    Overall, in beautiful condition. I was hoping for totally original, but its had some parts swapped around on a trip to Ogden (or after..)

    Bolt is Springfield, cocking piece, extractor and trigger guard should be blued, I believe.

    I could get very used to shooting this one....groups shown are of some HXP 77 Ball.
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  7. #3
    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    Both nice rifles, and so very different. The first is more like artwork because it was made when they had time and the second is the workhorse that was rammed out as fast as possible. I like the old 1903 far better...as for correct or how to glean the best accuracy, I'll leave that for others here...
    Regards, Jim

  8. #4
    Really Senior Member rayg's Avatar
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    Nice early RI. Made in the first year of regular assembly line production and not made from earlier made and/or misc dated parts. It shouldn't be to hard to find those other parts, Ray
    Last edited by rayg; 12-29-2019 at 11:08 AM.

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    Really Senior Member rayg's Avatar
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    After January 1, 1907 1903 rifles not made from already made misc.dated parts, the bbl date and serial numbers indicate the approx. date the rifle came off the assembly line.

    Serial Number Barrel Date
    63499 4-07
    65975 3-07
    71587 4-07
    87229 6-07
    94160 8-07
    10607 11-07 Added 12-29-19
    Last edited by rayg; 12-29-2019 at 12:17 PM.

  10. #6
    Really Senior Member rayg's Avatar
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    Oops, 106067....

  11. #7
    Senior Member fernleaf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rayg View Post
    Oops, 106067....
    So my receiver was made in November 1907?

    Its a shame the date on the Inspectors stamp is so worn as to be unreadable

  12. #8
    Member Durango56's Avatar
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    Nice looking rifles, I have a a Rock Island 100438 same barrel date as yours. Congratulations they look really nice

  13. #9
    Really Senior Member RCS's Avatar
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    two more early Rock Island 1903 rifles

    Photo shows two Rock island rifles, sn 3670 was rebuilt and has a SA 6-16 barrel and SA single bolt stock. Rock Island 64145 has a RIA 2-07 dated barrel and single bolt RIA stock

  14. #10
    Really Senior Member rayg's Avatar
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    Here's another recent thread with some other early RI, 1903's. Including RCS's and mine. Could you post some photos of yours Dunargo. Early year Rock Island rifles still in original form are fairly scarce. Ray
    https://www.milsurps.com/showthread.php?t=66080
    Last edited by rayg; 12-31-2019 at 11:24 AM.

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