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

  1. #41
    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.

  2. #42
    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.

  3. #43
    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.

  4. #44
    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.

  5. #45
    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
    Click image for larger version. 

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  6. #46
    Boolit Master
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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...

  7. #47
    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.

  8. #48
    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.

  9. #49
    Boolit Master
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    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)

    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?

    Click image for larger version. 

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

  10. #50
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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

  11. #51
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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?

  12. #52
    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.

  13. #53
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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..

  14. #54
    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..

  15. #55
    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.

  16. #56
    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!

  17. #57
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    Click image for larger version. 

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

  18. #58
    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.

  19. #59
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    blatantly stolen from NRA website-

    While Remington was struggling with increasing its production rate, the Ordnance Dept. sought other manufacturing sources for new ’03 production. To this end, in January 1942 the Ordnance Dept. began negotiations with High Standard Mfg. Co. of New Haven, Conn., for the production of 100,000 ’03 rifles. High Standard was interested in the contract, but it was already operating at near peak capacity with existing contracts and would be unable to serve as prime contractor on the new project. The company offered to accept the contract if it would be permitted to manufacture only the barrels and subcontract the rest of the production, including assembly of the rifles, to the L.C. Smith & Corona Typewriter Co. of Syracuse, N.Y. The Ordnance Dept. was reluctant to agree to such a proposal and, logically, took the position that Smith-Corona should be named prime contractor with High Standard serving as the subcontractor for barrel production. Since the Smith-Corona factory was in relatively close proximity to the Remington plant, it was believed that the latter would be able to assist the new manufacturer with the technical aspects of rifle production. All parties concurred with the proposal and on Feb. 25, 1942, Smith-Corona was granted a contract for M1903 rifle production.

    While Smith-Corona was in the process of procuring the necessary manufacturing equipment, the M1903A3 rifle superseded the M1903. Accordingly, in May 1942 Smith-Corona’s contract was modified to substitute the M1903A3 for the M1903 rifle. Concurrently, the original contract for 100,000 rifles was increased to 380,000. The first “pilot” batch of 20 Smith-Corona M1903A3 rifles was completed in October 1942, and mass production began in November, a month ahead of Remington’s initial delivery of ’03A3 rifles. Production slowly increased, and by December 1942, Smith-Corona had manufactured 5,540 ’03A3s. As had been the case with Remington, some problems with procurement of rear sights from subcontractors resulted in the delay of initial deliveries. Eventually that problem was resolved and sufficient quantities of the sights were procured, and increasing numbers of ’03A3s began to flow from the Syracuse plant. Other than the manufacturer’s name on the receiver ring, the Smith-Corona ’03A3 rifles were quite similar to those made by Remington, but differed in some minor aspects. The salient features of the Smith-Corona M1903A3 rifle were: The receiver ring had the same marking format as the Remington rifles except for the name of the manufacturer, “U.S./Smith-Corona”; and Smith-Corona was assigned two distinct “blocks” of serial numbers: 3,608,000 — 3,707,999 and 4,708,000 — 4,992,000.

    Interestingly, Remington “over ran” some of Smith-Corona’s first block of serial numbers. Consequently, there were an estimated 3,600 Remington ’03A3 rifles produced with numbers initially assigned to, and used by, Smith-Corona. The receivers with these duplicate numbers were stamped with a “C” next to the serial number for identification and inventory control purposes.

    The barrels were marked “SC” and the month/year of barrel production. Reportedly, very early in production, High Standard (the maker of the barrels) acquired some unfinished barrel “blanks” from Savage Arms Co. These had six grooves and were initially produced for commercial rifles before being diverted to the ’03A3 production program. High Standard completed the machining of the barrels and marked them “SC” along with the month and year of manufacture. The Ordnance Dept. granted the company a waiver for use of these non-standard barrels as their utilization would permit High Standard to deliver barrels to Smith-Corona sooner than would otherwise have been possible. The number of six-groove barrels used in Smith-Corona ’03A3 production is estimated to be about 5,000. After using up the six-groove barrel blanks, High Standard began manufacture of four-groove barrels, which were used for the balance of production except for a few two-groove barrels that were used for about a one- or two-month period in late 1943. Regardless, the majority of Smith-Corona rifles had four-groove barrels.

    https://www.americanrifleman.org/art...-corona-03a3s/

  20. #60
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Char-Gar View Post
    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.

    Agreed the H-S barrels were of outstanding quality..I just recently sold my last two NOS ones for the 03's..

    What I was saying was that ,if memory serves (I'm 69.5), there were a limited number of H-S barrels used on the SC's that had an odd number of grooves...again if memory serves they didn't want to immediately change their milling practices from 5 groove to four when they started supplying the 03a3 barrels..could be wrong ..the "way back machine" is not always working correctly ...Dan

    And it wasn't.... quick research says they were 6 groove...

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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