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Thread: 1903 Help, … John, Rick, Anybody?

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    Legacy Member Nick Adams's Avatar
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    1903 Help, … John, Rick, Anybody?

    Okay, so a friend who’s the head gunsmith at a local gunshop was selling off some of his “private stash” of rifles. Yesterday he invited me over to have a first look at what he had.

    Among the rifles in his safe to be sold were Mausers, a few Krags, a few M1icon Garands, and a lone Springfield 1903. Most of these old rifles he inherited from his dad who was the gunshop’s original owner and the head gunsmith for decades. The shop opened in the 1960s and his Dad passed in the early 2000s.

    The price he wanted for the 1903 was too good to pass up, so that’s what I brought home. It’s fully intact, not “sporterized.” According to my friend, his Dad “got it from the DCM in the late ‘70s or early ’80s,” and doesn’t believe his Dad shot it other than maybe once, just a few rounds to function-test it. My friend says he never shot it either.

    Receiver of this S.A. 1903 says: 1284558. If I read the serial # reference materials correctly, that puts the build date right at the EOP, like late December of 1927. Barrel is stamped: S.A. 1-28 with flaming bomb (FB). So the barrel is probably original to the rifle, maybe?

    The right side of the rear sight’s elevation ladder has an ‘R’ stamp, as does the sight base exactly in the middle. There’s also an ‘O’ stamped on the rear right of the barrel lightening cut, just barely above the wood line.

    Stock is an ‘S’ stock without finger grooves and has two bolts. The only stock marking is a FB stamped into the front “nose” piece just above the bayonet lug. There’s possibly a very faded circled ‘P’ (non-serif) on the underside of the pistol grip but it’s very worn there and hard to make out. I found no cartouche stamps or other inspector marks on the stock itself.

    There’s an ‘R’ stamped on the rear right side of the trigger guard. There’s also an ‘R’ stamped on the right side of the steel piece directly above the bayo lug.

    The bolt has two distinct ‘R’s stamped on it. The backside of the safety lever also has an ‘R’ stamp. There is a ‘U’ stamped on the side of the front band. The buttplate is the uncheckered, smooth type with latch.

    Maybe not really relevant, but the rifle came with a well-worn leather 1907-pattern sling. A faded stamp on the sling near the rear hooks looks to be: “MILSOC (?) 1944.” I know nothing about Mil-slings.

    So, can anyone tell me what I have with this particular S.A. 1903?

    I’ll try to add some pics shortly.

    Thanks!
    Nick
    Last edited by Nick Adams; 07-23-2022 at 10:43 AM.
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  3. # ADS
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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 Chuck in Denver ... Buy-Sell-Trade .. Guns, Cars Motorcycles 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
    Legacy Member Nick Adams's Avatar
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    Thread Starter
    Here’s some pics ….
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    Old School is still Cool ...

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  6. #3
    Legacy Member Nick Adams's Avatar
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    Thread Starter
    More pics ….
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  7. #4
    Legacy Member Calif-Steve's Avatar
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    Likely a DCM rebuild post WW2. Remington bolt and 03-A3 stock. Should make a nice shooter, not too much collector interest there, however. Nice, clean M1903 and a keeper.

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    Your rifle's barreled receiver was manufactured in very late 1927 as a replacement for a low number barreled receiver on a rifle turned in for overhaul. The receiver was manufactured from a nickel steel billet shipped from Rock Island Arsenal in 1926. The barrel and receiver are an original combination. Your rifle was, subsequently, overhauled in mid-to-late WWII and fitted with mixed Remington M1903 parts. Based on your photos and description, the bolt assembly, rear sight, upper band, and trigger guard were manufactured by Remington in 1942. The stock also appears to be a 1942 production Remington M1903 stock and the marking on the fore end tip is probably an ordnance bomb. If you open the butt trap, you may see an "R" stamped inside the buttplate cap indicating Remington manufacture.

    Thanks for sharing.

    J.B.

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    Legacy Member Nick Adams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Beardicon View Post
    * * *
    The barrel and receiver are an original combination. Your rifle was, subsequently, overhauled in mid-to-late WWII and fitted with mixed Remington M1903 parts. Based on your photos and description, the bolt assembly, rear sight, upper band, and trigger guard were manufactured by Remington in 1942. The stock also appears to be a 1942 production Remington M1903 stock and the marking on the fore end tip is probably an ordnance bomb. If you open the butt trap, you may see an "R" stamped inside the buttplate cap indicating Remington manufacture.[/b]
    John, thanks much for the info!

    Yes, it does appear to be an ordnance bomb stamped on the fore-end tip.

    And I did check the buttplate cap and on the inside there’s an “R” stamped there.

    Is it possible/probable that this 1903 saw action in WW2 after being rebuilt/overhauled by Remington, at least until Garand production got up to speed and the M1icon became more widely distributed? … Or is it more likely it was simply put in storage after being re-built?

    Can’t wait to get to my range and shoot it. Thank you!
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    Advisory Panel John Beard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Adams View Post
    John, thanks much for the info!

    Is it possible/probable that this 1903 saw action in WW2 after being rebuilt/overhauled by Remington, at least until Garand production got up to speed and the M1icon became more widely distributed? … Or is it more likely it was simply put in storage after being re-built?
    Your rifle was not overhauled by Remington. The most logical explanation for your rifle in its present configuration is that someone replaced the original Remington M1903 barreled receiver with the 1927 barreled receiver currently residing in it. One can only speculate who, why, and when the replacement was made, but obviously it was sometime after 1942. Under those circumstances, the rifle in its present configuration likely didn't seen much, if any action during WWII.

    J.B.

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  14. #8
    Legacy Member Nick Adams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Beardicon View Post
    Your rifle was not overhauled by Remington. The most logical explanation for your rifle in its present configuration is that someone replaced the original Remington M1903 barreled receiver with the 1927 barreled receiver currently residing in it. One can only speculate who, why, and when the replacement was made, but obviously it was sometime after 1942. Under those circumstances, the rifle in its present configuration likely didn't seen much, if any action during WWII.
    J.B.
    Thanks for the clarification, John.

    So if I’m understanding this correctly, … someone (not Remington) used Remington WW2 1903 parts & stock set - or at least post-1942 Remington parts & stock - to build a rifle on a 1927 Springfield barreled-receiver (with a 1-28 dated barrel)?

    Other than Remington doing it in the late ‘40s or maybe some time post-war, the only outfit I can think of that might’ve done that would be the DCM.
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    Legacy Member Calif-Steve's Avatar
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    DCM did not re-build anything. They handled paperwork. It is what it is. A nice keeper and in good condition. Lots of '03's ended up in training units, but this rifle doesn't look beat up. Hard to tell where and when it was re-built. The rifles can be mysteries.

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    Advisory Panel John Beard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Adams View Post
    Thanks for the clarification, John.

    So if I’m understanding this correctly, … someone (not Remington) used Remington WW2 1903 parts & stock set - or at least post-1942 Remington parts & stock - to build a rifle on a 1927 Springfield barreled-receiver (with a 1-28 dated barrel)?

    Other than Remington doing it in the late ‘40s or maybe some time post-war, the only outfit I can think of that might’ve done that would be the DCM.
    Permit me to clarify further. The most logical explanation is quite simple.

    Someone took a 1942 Remington M1903 and simply replaced the barreled receiver with the 1927 SA barreled receiver. It's that simple. Perhaps the Remington barreled receiver had a bad barrel. One can only speculate why the replacement was made. The replacement was most likely made by a company armorer during the latter part of WWII. If the replacement had been made at an arsenal or depot, the parts would be quite mixed and the rifle would exhibit an overhaul inspection stamp, which it does not exhibit. In addition, one must also not overlook the possibility that the replacement was made in recent years down in Bubba's basement workshop.

    J.B.

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