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Thread: 1903 and cast bullets. Want advice before I buy

  1. #41
    Boolit Master
    Bent Ramrod's Avatar
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    GARD, you might indeed be working at cross-purposes with yourself.

    Before spending that budget, you might invest in a paperback copy of Bruce Canfield's A Collector's Guide To The '03 Springfield.

    My reading of this tome leaves the impression that the collector willing to pay the Big Bucks isn't all that much interested in the shooting qualities of the rifle. If it has a pristine bore, great; but that's just another aspect of the general "condition" that partially controls the price.

    What Serious Collectors pay for are things like all matching numbers, ramrod bayonets, arsenal mounted and serialed sniper scopes, finger-grooved forends, Pederson Devices, National Match Models, Springfield Sporters and Star-Gauged barrels.

    If you want to spend a lot of money, and get a good shooter, a pristine example of one of the last three might be what to aim for. If you just want a good example of the military version that shoots well, you shouldn't have to spend anywhere near that much.

    My own specimen is a double-heat-treat action that just missed being in WWI. It was refurbished with a Springfield 4-groove barrel and other miscellaneous parts at Benicia Arsenal in 1942, and (as far as I can tell) put away unfired after that. Somebody sawed the buttstock and installed a recoil pad, and I had to go to Sarco for a replacement ejector, a buttplate and a sling, but after a friend sold me a Type C stock, I was in business. No trouble hitting rams and gongs at ~600 yards off the bench with the cool ladder sight.

    I bought Canfield's book at the same Gun Show I'd bought the rifle at, and on coming home and reading it, I found my rifle was utterly worthless to a Serious Collector. Try to imagine how little I care.

  2. #42
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    Springfield Books

    Before spending that budget, you might invest in a paperback copy of Bruce Canfield's A Collector's Guide To The '03 Springfield.
    Good advice.

    Another book is Brophy's Book of the Springfield. Long out of print, but they pop up from time to time.

    Canfield's book is a bit easier on the brain while Brophy's is for a serious collector.

    As Model 54s and Stith Mounts came up, here are a few more photos from my Pre-War Winchester collection.

    Stith Mount on a Model 70 and the Model 54 with the 311141 Lyman design at 100 yards.
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    Keep your powder dry,

    Scharf

  3. #43
    Boolit Master
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    Something to consider, how good are you eyes? Have an 03 and an A3 and while I can do well with the A3 shooting the 03 is very difficult due to the sights. I can only assume the Doughboys were all young and had good eyes; I on the other hand am in my late 60's and at 100 yards find the 03 sights almost impossible to use. The A3 likes the NOE version of the 311291 backed by either 13 grains of Red Dot or 16 grains of Blue Dot.

  4. #44
    Boolit Master GARD72977's Avatar
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    Hey guys, How about the Smith Corona. I like the rear sight. Im not a diehard collector. These guns bring less money so a really nice gun would be more affordable.

  5. #45
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Smith-Corona is the best of the 03A3s.
    The ENEMY is listening.
    HE wants to know what YOU know.
    Keep it to yourself.

  6. #46
    Boolit Master
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    I gotta figure out where to park my photos now that Photobucket got so uppity. I could join in here with pics of my M54 .30-30 wearing both Lyman 48 and 12x Fecker. If I were allowed but one gun, this would be it. As much as I love Springfields it would be a hard choice though.

  7. #47
    Boolit Master GARD72977's Avatar
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    Alright guys this thread has been a huge help. I am the first to admit I knew nothing about the m1903/A303. Looks like the Smith Corona is the one I want. The sights make the difference for me. I want this gun for causal light cast boolit shooting. The rear apature sight should be fine for what im doing. If I were buying as a collector the m1903 would win hands down! I simply looks classic.

    I know the sights would be the same on other a303 but i own a custom match Smith-Corona so buying an original just seems right.

    Here is a pic of my 7-08
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  8. #48
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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Outpost75 View Post
    Smith-Corona is the best of the 03A3s.
    So they say...having had several dozen of each...i'd say it was a toss up..but SC'S unbuggered are hard to come by..and certainly worth the search..things to look for..parked receiver and barrel, bolt had an x stamped at the handle root, bolt and other hardware blued..rear sight as well..no stampings on the bands?...trigger guard has a Cresent relief around the front screw..different checkering on butt plate..stock catouches won't have the RA stamp...this is from memory ..Check it out on the web..the other cool thing about th is they came with one of two barrel types ..4 groove and a 5 or 6 groove High Standard barrel... (supplies were low in the begining)..I will say b they ate prittier than a Remington...

  9. #49
    Boolit Master
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    M1903A3's were made by Remington and Smith-Corona. S-C's were made in smaller quantities and are a bit more collectible, thus cost a bit more. Try the CMP Forums also if looking for a good rifle at an appropriate price.

  10. #50
    Boolit Master
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    I could just never quite warm up to 03A3's. I guess it's mainly the thick heavy stocks that always felt unfinished, and the stamped sheet metal bottom metal and furniture, plus the general poor quality wartime finish. The sights are a plus though, and if you get a good barrel it'll shoot.

    My dad got a mint S-C through the DCM/NRA when I was a kid, $15-20 as I recall. Luck of the draw, as his buddy ordered one at the same time and what he got was a minty 1903A4. Both rifles got "sporterized", and Kenny gloated that his was already drilled and tapped for a scope mount and he didn't have to alter the bolt handle. I gave Pop's 03A3 to my nephew- sentimentality notwithstanding, I couldn't warm up to it.

  11. #51
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    and this (June 1942 Remington 03) is sitting in a local Gunsmith's the past several months with a 550$ asking price.
    (must be the chip in the heel)

    the Lyman 17 front sight is a one piece mounting directly on the barrel, the ones in the pics above were dovetailed into the stock base?

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    Last edited by aephilli822; 07-26-2017 at 11:39 PM.

  12. #52
    Boolit Master




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    There were a couple of Model 17 front sights for the 03. Mine has a dovetail that fits the corresponding dovetail in the 03 front sight base. The 03A3 sight base is a one piece unit so it won't take the dovetail model.
    Keep your powder dry,

    Scharf

  13. #53
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scharfschuetze View Post
    There were a couple of Model 17 front sights for the 03. Mine has a dovetail that fits the corresponding dovetail in the 03 front sight base. The 03A3 sight base is a one piece unit so it won't take the dovetail model.
    Does the 03 base take "standard" dovetailed sights? Like a Williams FireSight?

  14. #54
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by aephilli822 View Post
    Does the 03 base take "standard" dovetailed sights? Like a Williams FireSight?
    No. It's a dovetail specific to the '03.

  15. #55
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    [QUOTE=aephilli822;4110415]Click image for larger version. 

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    and this (June 1942 Remington 03) is sitting in a local Gunsmith's the past several months with a 550$ asking price.
    (must be the chip in the heel)

    Where's the LG?.....I might send you the money to buy it ..the parts alone are worth more than the asking ptice..$300.00+ in sights $250.00 in hardware...$200.00 in stock even with chip..not to mention the barreled action...If that in fact is on 03a3..that's all 03 milled hardware on that gun..
    people have been known to put 03 hardware on 03a3 target lik that ..I have an 03a4 Sniper clone I did that to...also they removed the rear sight collar on 03's and installed a 03a3 hand guard when making target guns out of 03'3s ..they end up looking like the one pictured..

  16. #56
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scharfschuetze View Post
    There were a couple of Model 17 front sights for the 03. Mine has a dovetail that fits the corresponding dovetail in the 03 front sight base. The 03A3 sight base is a one piece unit so it won't take the dovetail model.
    True...but you an do the reverse..put the one meant for an 03a3 on an 03..

  17. #57
    Boolit Master
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    that is a 1903, not an A3
    I believe someone in the 50s or 60s made themselves a "match rifle"

    4 groove, according to the 'smith "real nice" bore
    can't remember but want to say 42, 43, or 44 Remington barrel
    Last edited by aephilli822; 07-27-2017 at 02:08 PM.

  18. #58
    Boolit Master Bad Ass Wallace's Avatar
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    I have a late production 03A4 Remington with a 4 groove replacement barrel that has never seen jacketed boolits. The load I use is a Lyman 311284 sized to 0.310" with 31gns 3031 and no filler. My rifle is scoped but it took some months of group shooting to achieve this 10 shot sub-MOA group!

    Hold Still Varmint; while I plugs Yer!

  19. #59
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    can't see (or feel) it when shooting....

  20. #60
    Boolit Master Char-Gar's Avatar
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    A little factoid: High Standard has been making replacement barrels for the 03 when the war got started. They were offered the 03A3 contract but some some reasons I don't remember they pulled Smith-Corona in on the contract. The early S-C rifles had barrels marked HS (High Standard), but the marking was changed to SC on the barrels. However all the S-C rifles had High Standard barrels whatever the stamp said.

    High Standard continued to make replacement barrels for the 03 during WWII. They were of very good quality.
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check