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Thread: what to look for in a 03A3

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

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    what to look for in a 03A3

    Hello
    I'm thinking of buying a smith-corona m1903a3 rifle what do i need to look for asking price is $850
    SN starts at 48xxxxx
    kids that hunt and fish dont mug old ladies

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    If in all original condition, not refinished or modified in any way, with bright bore and sound wood with only ordinary wear and handling, VG condition, price is correct.
    The ENEMY is listening.
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    Keep it to yourself.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    will try and get some pictures and will post if I do
    kids that hunt and fish dont mug old ladies

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Condition is everything. As Outpost75 mentioned bore condition is important as a good shooter. I have seen more than a couple that had fired the old WWII and mid 50's corrosively primed ammunition and had not been properly cleaned afterwards. While new old stock A3 barrels are out there it's tempting to buy one and have it installed on a rifle with less than an excellent bore. However gunsmith charges can be equal to the cost of the new barrel so keep that in mind. Stocks should be in excellent condition without any sanding, refinishing or dents and scratches. metal should be in excellent condition with no rust,pitting, or signs of abuse or refinishing. Kinda sounds like I'm overs stating the obvious but at $850 I would be critical of condition. My A3 was a bubba rescue that cost me a grand total of $99. Barrel as in poor shape. Found a new one at a local gun show, the sporter stock could be saved. I did all the polishing myself, gunsmith did drill and tap for a Lyman steel 57 rear sight and installed a redfield banded front sight and reblued it. Cost me $200 for that as it was a bunch of years ago. Prices vary from state to state and locale. What would be an $850 springfield in your area could be 1K in one area and hard pressed to reach that price in another. Hope you do well. Frank

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    I have a near mint Smith Corona 03A3, sn 47xxxx, so just a little earlier. I paid around 800 about 3 years ago. Its a very sweet rifle.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    For a 100% correct, pristine rifle $850 is a steal. Rifles like that are going at the big auction houses for $1000-1200 plus buyers premium and very expensive shipping.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I remember the DCM rifles for less than 20 dollars and most were about new, and the mailman delivered them.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Make sure none of the smaller parts are stamped with an R. Any parts with the R are actually Remington parts. But for 850.00 even if its got Remington parts in it its still a good buy.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    ok lets see if this works Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by LUCKYDAWG13; 07-13-2018 at 10:24 PM.
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  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Its a Remington stock FJA = Frank J. Atwood was the army inspector at Remington during the war and all the small stamps in front of the magazine in the wood are Remington production marks.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1Hawkeye View Post
    Its a Remington stock FJA = Frank J. Atwood was the army inspector at Remington during the war and all the small stamps in front of the magazine in the wood are Remington production marks.
    so did Smith Corona use Remington stocks ? also it's a 4 groove barrel is this a good thing
    kids that hunt and fish dont mug old ladies

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    No Smith had their own supplier but I wouldn't worry about it for what you have in the rifle its still a deal. When a rifle went through a rebuild facility the armorers didn't worry about matching manufacturers parts there job was just to fix'em and get them back in service quickly. As for the four groove barrel its fine even the two groove barrels are good. Its a good clean looking A3 I think you'll enjoy it.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    4 groove barrels were on later production SC A3's, earlier ones had 6 groove. Either should shoot well. It should have an S-C stamp and date near the muzzle end of the barrel, on top behind front sight base. Hi Standard made barrels for the SC rifles.

    Remington marked almost all of their parts with an R, some you can see without disassembly like the sling swivels, root of bolt handle. Remington buttplates were stamped with about a 1/16" checkering pattern, S-C's were about 1/8", much coarser.

    As mentioned it can be a rebuild, when assembled they used in spec repaired or new parts and put them together. Many were restamped behind the rear action screw with P in a square where the original P in a circle was stamped in the stock. Most rebuilds had parkerized parts, as did SC's originally. Remington originally blued most of the metal except for the barrel and action.

  14. #14
    Boolit Bub Eddie1971's Avatar
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    Unfortunately today $850 is a good price. Surplus guns, especially US command big dollars. I have a SC A3 as well, bought it back in 1990. Was a former parade rifle with plastic stock and no sights, and very little finish left. I ended up restoring it with a repro C stock, GI sights, and ceracaoting it to match the original parkarized finish. Came out real nice and shoots fantastic. Luckily the barrel is the original SC and in great shape with a SC bolt as well. If you get it, you will love it.

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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