Author Topic: Rock Island Arsenal Model 1903  (Read 397 times)

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Online Phosphorus32

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Rock Island Arsenal Model 1903
« on: July 20, 2020, 09:31:58 PM »
I recently picked up a Model of 1903 made at Rock Island Arsenal circa September 1918. It was likely manufactured too late to have made it into WWI. Perhaps used in WWII, as it was used hard enough to be refurbished late in the war at Raritan Arsenal. It came to me with Cosmoline left in a few places, including the bolt, chamber and magazine follower, so it's quite possible it was not used after refurbishment.

It's always fascinating to decipher the markings and learn as much of the story as possible with these old firearms. It was rebarrelled with a coveted High Standard barrel made in July 1944. My CMP gauge reads about 0.5 (certainly well less than 1) at the muzzle, which means it has a new to near new bore of less than .301 diameter. The bore is bright and shiny and an oiled patch came through with some dust and light brown Cosmoline residue. By the third patch it was clean. The barrel replacement was done during a complete rebuild at the Army Ordnance refurbishment facility, Raritan Arsenal (RA-P stock marking), where it was outfitted with a Remington (R) stock and mid-1941 Springfield Armory (BF 19 steel lot code) bolt. The serial number indicates this M1903 was made after introduction of the double heat treatment to ensure strong but not brittle receiver, and before the nickel steel receiver blanks were introduced. The upper barrel band is Remington (R) marked. To complete the picture, the lower barrel band is U marked, consistent with WWI production. The smooth buttplate is also WWI era production.

All of this means that it's a refurbished mixmaster that, with respect to shooting, should be in like new condition some 75 years after being refurbished. I love shooting my Springfield Armory 03-A3 and I'm looking forward to giving this Model 1903 a go at the range.

The ivy in the picture does not imply that it was used by the 4th Infantry Division, but you never know ;)




































« Last Edit: July 20, 2020, 09:47:44 PM by Phosphorus32 »

Offline Larry D.

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Re: Rock Island Arsenal Model 1903
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2020, 10:29:28 PM »
A real beauty.
Love the sights on those.
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Offline Greatguns

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Re: Rock Island Arsenal Model 1903
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2020, 10:37:27 PM »
Very nice Phos. I always thought of the 03 and 03A3 as the best of both worlds, Like the Eddystone, a cross between a Mauser and the Enield.
My Avatar is a pic of the real "Ghost" SKS in honor of xxxsks(joe). It is a pic of a fully decked out SKS in Capco hunter's kit. This was mine, the only other pic I had ever seen of one was Joe's.

Online Phosphorus32

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Re: Rock Island Arsenal Model 1903
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2020, 10:49:46 PM »
A real beauty.
Love the sights on those.

Yeah, I'm looking forward to giving them a try. They look expensive with the windage and elevation adjustment knob and the very detailed markings on the slider, etc. Really well made.

I do really like the simple rear peep site on my Remington 03-A3. The Model 1903, being of an older era, has the typical long range bias, but I'm thinking the little peep site with the ladder vertical will be good for hitting the longer range gongs.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2020, 07:55:11 AM by Phosphorus32 »

Online Phosphorus32

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Re: Rock Island Arsenal Model 1903
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2020, 10:59:27 PM »
Very nice Phos. I always thought of the 03 and 03A3 as the best of both worlds, Like the Eddystone, a cross between a Mauser and the Enield.

Thanks. The Model 1903 lineage is definitely a Mauser design, as Springfield's (US government) loss to Mauser in the patent infringement suit attests. Regardless, it's an improvement on the Gewehr 98 that would have been the best Mauser design at the time. The Model of 1917 is definitely an Enfield design (also Mauser-inspired, but not quite as directly as the M1903).

Offline Larry D.

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Re: Rock Island Arsenal Model 1903
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2020, 02:26:04 AM »
Here's one of the coolest training aid/accessories ever made for your rifle.

 https://www.libertytreecollectors.com/productcart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=834

Except for maybe this little gem.....

https://www.granpasgunparts.com/model-1903a1/1903-a1-hoffer-thompson-22-adapter


« Last Edit: July 21, 2020, 02:30:35 AM by Larry D. »
Η ΤΑΝ Η ΕΠΙ ΤΑΣ
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Online Phosphorus32

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Re: Rock Island Arsenal Model 1903
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2020, 07:54:08 AM »
Here's one of the coolest training aid/accessories ever made for your rifle.

 https://www.libertytreecollectors.com/productcart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=834

Except for maybe this little gem.....

https://www.granpasgunparts.com/model-1903a1/1903-a1-hoffer-thompson-22-adapter

Cool items. That .22 cartridge adapter is interesting as itíll chamber like a .30-06 cartridge. In my gun itíd just send a .223 bullet bouncing down the bore  :))