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  1. #1
    Contributing Member CoatiMundi's Avatar
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    1st 1903 Acquisition

    All,
    Please check out my "impulse buy", comment and don't sugar coat them. I normally spend time in the Enfield Forum and this is my first foray into the 1903 world.

    It has a very faint Ordinance Ball and small cartouche surrounded by a rectangle that looks like "FJA" on the left side of the stock by the cut off knob. There are no import marks at all.

    The other interesting thing is the Flaming Ball on the barrel has a square stamp inside the ball, not sure if it means anything.
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    A Collector's View - The SMLE Short Magazine Lee Enfield 1903-1989. It is 300 8.5x11 inch pages with 1,000+ photo’s, most in color, and each book is serial-numbered.  Covering the SMLE from 1903 to the end of production in India in 1989 it looks at how each model differs and manufacturer differences from a collecting point of view along with the major accessories that could be attached to the rifle. For the record this is not a moneymaker, I hope just to break even, eventually, at $80/book plus shipping.  In the USA shipping is $5.00 for media mail.  I will accept PayPal, Zelle, MO and good old checks (and cash if you want to stop by for a tour!).  CLICK BANNER to send me a PM for International pricing and shipping. Manufacturer of various vintage rifle scopes for the 1903 such as our M73G4 (reproduction of the Weaver 330C) and Malcolm 8X Gen II (Unertl reproduction). Several of our scopes are used in the CMP Vintage Sniper competition on top of 1903 rifles. Brian Dick ... BDL Ltd. - Specializing in British and Commonwealth weapons Specializing in premium ammunition and reloading components. Your source for the finest in High Power Competition Gear. Here at T-bones Shipwrighting we specialise in vintage service rifle: re-barrelling, bedding, repairs, modifications and accurizing. We also provide importation services for firearms, parts and weapons, for both private or commercial businesses.
     

  4. #2
    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    Looks like a clean example to me.
    Regards, Jim

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    Legacy Member twh's Avatar
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    1918 produced receiver rebuilt post war with an Avis barrel and now sitting in an 03a3 stock.

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    I'll bet the bore is about perfect though and will make a nice shooter.
    Regards, Jim

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    Legacy Member Mt203's Avatar
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    Having come from the Enfield world to the US arms world awhile ago myself, most of the stamps don't mean nearly as much nor tell as much with Enfields. Just enjoy and know you have a fine rifle!

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    Legacy Member m1903rifle's Avatar
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    It is a so called "low number" ( serial number under 800,000 ) and caution is usually advised when shooting.

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    Thread Starter
    Thanks for all the comments so far.
    When I first saw it, I thought rebuild too.
    The bore is really nice, very shiny and no pitting.
    I am aware of the “low number”, but I’m going to enjoy it. I won’t run junk ammo through it and don’t plan on shooting it much anyway.

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    Legacy Member 1903Collector's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CoatiMundi View Post
    Thanks for all the comments so far.
    When I first saw it, I thought rebuild too.
    The bore is really nice, very shiny and no pitting.
    I am aware of the “low number”, but I’m going to enjoy it. I won’t run junk ammo through it and don’t plan on shooting it much anyway.
    I may be wrong headed, but Ive come to trust the "low number" '03 still extant. I think many saw action, or at least use, during WWII, but Im doubtful that the ones still around suffer from brittleness due to the wide variation in the actual heat treatment parameters from lot to lot that caused the problem. Remember, not all receivers were bad. In fact there may have been far fewer embrittled receivers than good ones.

    In any case, just make sure you dont use modern .30-06 ammo as the powder is different, faster burning, and creates a higher pressure profile. Im sure you are aware of that and the many manufacturers who make M2 Ball spec .30-06 ammo for the -03 and Garand, but it is important to repeat the fact.

    Regarding my next comments it is important to mention that I am fixated on restoring rifles to "as-issued" configuration. So if that is not important to you, and you plan to keep the rifle in a "re-arsenaled" configuration then my comments are only of FYI and reference value at best.

    Your rifle has an early A3 S-stock (type 10 (per Harrison): note the re-enforcing pins rather than the traditional earlier bolts). The pins were a cost reduction effort and used short term until it was learned that they did not provide the strength needed. Not only were the use of re-enforcement bolts reinstated, but many early stocks with pins were reworked with bolts replacing the pins (which in my mind makes them a bit more unique). I used to look down on pin re-enforced stocks until I realized that they were a valid part of the '03 history. So I have made sure that I have such a stock on a receiver with a serial number in the range when those stocks were originally issued. I suggest that if you find a decent type 4 S-Stock you should keep the type 10 stock and look for a 43-44 RA or SC A3 receiver to mount it on. It is hard to tell, but the lower band spring groove in the stock looks square ended meaning it is an RA stock rather than an SC stock. It also appears to have a WWII or post WWII replacement handguard. The butt plate is the correct type, but if there is an R stamped on the inside then it is an early RA 03 part.

    Love the AV 2-18 barrel even if it is a field replacement barrel. I cant help thinking that it may have been a barrel replaced in the field in the European theatre during WWI just as likely as post war! It has the original early sight base as well, which is a bonus!

    You also have a number of RA A3 parts there which are typical of a arsenal re-work during or post WWII. The observed RA A3 parts are the cocking piece (knurled knob) & safety and probably an RA bolt body and bolt sleeve, and firing pin, and almost certainly the windage knob and elevation knobs and rear sight leaf. You might also check the trigger and sear to determine if they are the correct type or not. The square looking mark in the Flaming Ball on the barrel is most likely a proofing mark made after the barrel was replaced, but has no other significance to my knowledge. As to re-importation stamps, keep in mind that stamp marking of military surplus rifles that came back from our erstwhile NATO allies was not put into effect until the The 1968 Gun Control Act, pushed thru Congress by the US gun manufacturing industry and signed by President Johnson on October 22, 1968 [18 U.S.iconC. 925(d)]. Surplus military firearms started to return to the states not long after WWII and none between then and the end of 1968 were stamped. Personally, I find an import stamp a bonus because it helps establish a partial provenance of the life of the weapon for both export country and year(s) since almost all importers specialized in importing from only one country.

  13. #9
    Contributing Member CoatiMundi's Avatar
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    Thread Starter
    Thank you, 1903 Collector, great info! You obviously spent some time putting your post together and I appreciate it.

    I had forgotten that Garandicon/1903 specific ammo is around, I will locate some.

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    Legacy Member SFC Higgins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CoatiMundi View Post
    I had forgotten that Garand/1903 specific ammo is around, I will locate some.
    I have picked up the habit to reload my own Service 30.06 ammo. That way I can make sure all my M1icon and 1903 rifle ammo is very accurately loaded with Accurate 4064 powder for Garand service rifle loads. I have the peace of mind keeping a more than adequate stock pile and match grade accuracy.

    Congrats on your rifle and may you enjoy paper punching for years to come.

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