Gunboards Forums banner
1 - 20 of 28 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
508 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok guys. My 03 obsession started a few weeks ago after I picked up a 1917. I got it to hang on my doughboy mannequin, but then decided that it looks better on the wall. I decided I would pick up a cheap 03 for the mannequin, and really didn't care about the configuration or bore since it was just going to be slung over his shoulder. Then the disease took over. I started to read about 03's and soon I was becoming a little more particular about what I got. I wanted a stock that at least resembled a wartime stock. Then, I decided that I wanted the best I could afford. I went to a local show today, and after endless tables of ar15's, knife sharpening demonstrations, and tazors, the very last table had an 03 on it. I wasn't expecting much, but at first glance it looked completely legit! Could it be?! I didn't pay much at all, and walked out with it. Please tell me what you think. I've ordered a few reference books on the 03, but they haven't arrived yet. I got the best pictures I could with my cell phone, so if you need any others just let me know. What are the "R" stamps on the parts of the bolt? Is that Remington? And also, what is the "B" cartouche next to the eagle head cartouche on the stock? I appreciate your opinions guys.











































 

·
Silver Bullet Member
Joined
·
3,228 Posts
Nice looking rifle! I would be hesitant to shoot it since it has a "low number" receiver with the inferior heat treatment that left them prone to failure due to brittlness (see CMP advisory http://www.thecmp.org/Sales/m1903.htm). The bolt appears to be the "high number" type (swept back bolt handle), which had the improved heat treatment.

Apologies for my redundant and out-dated posts (I didn't realize there was a time delay)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
508 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Extremely nice for a display model, especially if it was for reasonable money.

Just under the double-heat treated receiver serial range.
Thank you sir! I know the popularly believed number is 285500, but according to Canfields book there were 15,000 unfinished receivers when the problem was discovered. Those receivers were then double heat treated and the estimated serial numbers for those are 270000 to 285500. Of course it's an estimate, but I feel confident in taking it to the range to put a few rounds through it. I'm taking the chance, and I know some disagree with it. It will be one range trip just to say I did it. I will take every precaution possible.
 

·
Gold Bullet Member/Moderator/Administrator/
Joined
·
29,027 Posts
Yours is a Rock Island. I don't remember but was thinking they didn't have the heat treat problem the early Springfields. Really nice RI 03.

It's a rebarrel, btw.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
817 Posts
I agree with limpetmine, a really nice RIA 1903! I, however, am of the opinion that the barrel is most likely original to the receiver. I hope it's in good condition too! The bolt, based on your description and photos, is certainly not original to the rifle. If my estimation is correct, a straight handled Rock Island bolt marked R5 would be correct. Is there a large S on the nose end of the stock? It looks to be pretty legit. Congrats!
 

·
Gold Bullet Member/Moderator/Administrator/
Joined
·
29,027 Posts
Could be. A little google fu says that RI stopped making receivers in1919. I thought they stopped much sooner than that.
If so, makes the OP's rifle that much better.
 

·
Gold Bullet Member/Moderator/Administrator/
Joined
·
29,027 Posts
I thought they had shut down during the war....

Rock Island Arsenal made Model 1903 rifles from 1906 to 1913, and 1917 to1919. Later, all unfinished parts were shipped to Springfield. Among these parts were about 2,000 receivers that were nearly finished, and had already been marked " ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL" but not serial numbered or heat treated. About 1928 Springfield finished these parts, and made them into complete rifles, but left the Rock Island markings in place. Clearly marked ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, but Rock Island only made rifles up into the low 400,000 range.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
508 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm no expert, but I don't think it's a rebarrel.. The serial on the receiver puts it at about April/May 1918 which would be about right for a July dated barrel. I think the bolt is def post war, but shouldn't be hard to replace.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
743 Posts
I'm no expert, but I don't think it's a rebarrel.. The serial on the receiver puts it at about April/May 1918 which would be about right for a July dated barrel. I think the bolt is def post war, but shouldn't be hard to replace.
Let me add my congratulations to your good fortune. BTW, that is a gorgeous stock on the rifle from what I can see. Your present bolt assembly is 03A3 Remington; It should be be replaced with a WWI era double heat treat bolt. Your reference material will outline what to look for.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,093 Posts
Rock Island M1903s were made as "parts" during WWI in 1917-1918 and were often matched up with barrels that didn't totally reflect the date the receiver was made. I would be reasonably confident the barrel is original. The bolt (or at least the cocking piece) is a M1903A3.

The stock appears to be a 1918 from Springfield; is there an RI stamp on the foretip?

I would highly suggest you purchase a copy of CS Ferris' "Rock Island Rifle Model 1903" - it has a whole section on these "in-between" RIA rifles and how they sort of fell in between the low number/high number rifles.

I have RIA #272,505 - which is in the same group. I also have a 7-18 RIA barrel, that I feel is original.



 

·
Registered
Joined
·
508 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Very interesting info. I appreciate the help! Now to get a correct bolt. I can't find any detailed diagrams of the breakdown of bolt or any other parts variations. Is there a reference book that specifically addresses the differences?
 

·
Silver Bullet Member
Joined
·
20,974 Posts
Very interesting info. I appreciate the help! Now to get a correct bolt. I can't find any detailed diagrams of the breakdown of bolt or any other parts variations. Is there a reference book that specifically addresses the differences?
Check the following diagram:

http://www.vishooter.net/slc16_2008.html

Any of the first three or four steel lot codes would be OK for your gun, with the 'R 5' stamped on the bottom of the bolt handle as the best choice.

But if in your search that you happen to come across a straight handled bolt with the NS, or S NS, on the bottom of the safety lug, and it isn't priced at half the value of a whole gun, then keep me in mind!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,255 Posts
I thought they had shut down during the war....

Rock Island Arsenal made Model 1903 rifles from 1906 to 1913, and 1917 to1919. Later, all unfinished parts were shipped to Springfield. Among these parts were about 2,000 receivers that were nearly finished, and had already been marked " ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL" but not serial numbered or heat treated. About 1928 Springfield finished these parts, and made them into complete rifles, but left the Rock Island markings in place. Clearly marked ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, but Rock Island only made rifles up into the low 400,000 range.
From my observations, the unfinished serialed receivers were made into completed rifles from 1926-1931. The unserialed receivers were made into rifles in the 1.2 million mark in 1938 - there were probably other dates, but I have seen three from 1938.

Mine is a very late Springfield build of 8/31. Second highest SA build RIA SN I have seen. WWII AAR (Augusta) rebuild with 1940 Springfield Semi-C stock and 1940 B2 bolt body. Mint barrel and an excellent shooter - a 464 at one CMP shoot.

T
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,093 Posts
My observations indicated that both were made in in the 1926-1930 range. 1938 would be a replacement barrel. 1.2 million runs anywhere from 1920 to 1930. 1938 would be the 1.5M range.

According to Ferris' book, receivers in the 1.289M range to about 1.302M range were nearly all RIA receivers.

And, of course, the rarest and most interesting:

:thumbsup:
 
1 - 20 of 28 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top