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  1. #1
    Member Plum2020's Avatar
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    Info on 1903 - A4

    I just acquired from my son a 1903-a4. He got it from a friend (who needed cash) along with some other WWll items. It appears in excellent condition, the greenish parkerizing is nearly 100%, which tells me it is either not issued, or more likely redone post war. Barrel is marked 7-43 and bore is like new. Stock has cartouches, but looks to have been sanded a bit, so I think replaced. It did come with the front sight. I took photos when I was in the process of removing the rear sight, which is not easy. I found an old Lyman Alaskan 2 1/2 X post sight that I will be mounting on it. I am now just asking what you guys see as is "right" with the gun and what is "not right". I intend to use it in vintage sniper matches. Any comments on the best ammo? Hope the photos show up, my first time

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    Contributing Member rcathey's Avatar
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    Maybe it's just the pictures but that doesn't look like parkerizing from here. It looks more like a duracoat type paint. I think I can see a chip in the handguard retaining ring, even.

    Any way to confirm that?

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    Member ikesdad's Avatar
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    Yes, it does look like Duracote or some such.

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    Really Senior Member Cosine26's Avatar
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    It looks to me as if the front sight assembly is for a M1903 not an 03A3/03A4. Originally the rifle would have had no front sight.
    FWIR

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    Member P51Mustang's Avatar
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    I agree on the front sight and the duracoat spray on. Look how weak the barrel markings and serial number are.

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    Really Senior Member cplstevennorton's Avatar
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    Yeah I was thinking duracoat as well.

    I've never found a document stating to do so. But the Army often converted snipers back into service rifles when their time as snipers was past. But that doesn't rule out the fact that someone could have installed sights a long time ago.

    If this was mine, I would send this to someone to have that finish removed and the rifle parkerized.

    The only thing I would worry about. I'm not sure why it would be duracoated or spray painted in the first place. The only thing that comes to mind, if a receiver has been welded on, you use a finish like this as parkerization won't stick to welds. Like for instance if it was a drill receiver restored and then painted.

    But the mag cutoff area looks good, unless whoever restored it was really good at doing so.

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    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplstevennorton View Post
    I'm not sure why it would be duracoated or spray painted in the first place.
    Guys are doing this more now because they can do it themselves and exclude a gunsmith's cost. Simply spray on and bake...I even had a gunsmith do an M1icon carbine trigger housing and return it to me asking how I liked it...after I asked him to bead blast and blue.
    Regards, Jim

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    Really Senior Member mark1's Avatar
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    The rifle was changed over if you will from a sniper to a conventional rifle. The front sight is a M1903 as is the front band. The metal has been refinished. I think the barrel is correct to the receiver based on the date. To take it bac to an A4 configuration, remove the front and rear sights, clean the scope mount holed and threads. Find a Redfield base and rings. You will need a bolt and scope also. If you decide to take it back to an A4, wait until you have all of the parts. At least you can shoot it now.

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    Thread Starter
    Thanks Mark 1, and others.
    First, I was aware the sights were for a 1903 A3, but the receiver was A4 marked. As for the finish, I cannot verify one way or the other. As I know a bit of the history of the gun, and previous owners, I "think" the finish predates any of the modern Cerro coats, etc. but I cannot discount this entirely. I am not familiar enough with the new coatings to know how to tell. as for converting it back to an A4, I am well on my way. I removed the rear sight (with some difficulty, involving drilling out the screw and pin). Have not gotten the front sight ring off, as having problems removing the pin. The rear sight base mounting platform appears to have been "refinished", by whatever means, before the sight was put in place. The scope base mounting holes are clean and threads clear. I think a spray finish would have clogged these. My original post did not show the bolt so I have added photos, please comment. I think it is an A4 bolt. Lastly, I have on the way here a Redfield scope base, and I have the rings, and I have an original Alaskan post scope, so I hope to make a "close to original" A4. More comments or suggestions are certainly welcome.
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    Contributing Member Promo's Avatar
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    The bolt which is in your rifle is NOT an original 03A4 bolt. If you are lucky, someone just thought he would replace the missing scope by the 03A3 open sights (what is of course doable) and then decided to repaint the whole rifle himself. This leaves the chance the rifle still has its original finish under whatever currently is on it.

    Remove the front sight. If under it there is parkerized finish left, you should carefully remove its current finish and then you have an original 03A4 again. To fully restore it you'll need the Redfield scope base with scope rings and a scope, plus an original 03A4 bolt (the bolt you currently have will not clear a scope).

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