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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I purchased this rifle 10 years ago from Mr. James A Flechsig(deceased) a retired DA civilian who worked at the Rariton Army Depot back in the 50's, sight unseen for about $500. He assured me that he had hand picked the rifle and had the original DA form 450-22-A and DA form 653-2, the order and shipping documents. Last Fall, I read a thread on the Smith Corona which pointed out the differences between it and the Remington. So I drug out my SC and to my chagrin, noticed mine had numerous Remington parts and incorrect blued/parked pieces(installed no doubt at Rock Island). So I made a list and started scouring the CMP board and other contacts I had met while restoring my early 03 Remington. Now it is exactly as it left the factory in Oct 1943. Incorrect parts replaced were the R marked follower(milled) and spring, blued R marked bayo band, R marked rear sight base, butt plate, cocking rod, parked extractor, bolt body and striker. I sold all the R marked parts on Epay and actually made $40 profit on the parts! It wasn't really incorrect as it went through RIA, however, the Remington parts just seemed out of place. Now it looks like a Smith Corona and I put some money in my pocket to boot. I believe Rock Island changed things for job security. Take a look at the sight base they changed. Now there is no way the original could have become unserviceable as they are protected so well. The R marked one is brand new and on top in the pic. All the other original SC parts on the rifle are like new and so is the original bore. It shoots MOA by the way. Regards, Rick.
 

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Nice recovery! Great photos. I like mine being correct as well. 03A3s are one of the easiest vintage MILSURPS to restore to original because of the huge spare parts contracts for rifles that really never got used much. Some might argue the "ethics", but to me, putting the original manufacture, type and finish part back on a rifle that had a parkerized replacement put on at some point is not really "removing" the history. I stumbled on a blued Remington 1903A3 "small" trigger guard at a show for $10 last year and snapped it up. You just don't see them loose. I am sure it will get used at some point in the future.
 

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Nice looking rifle Rick! I also enjoy the hunt for "correct" parts. If I had a gun with sale papers from DCM or CMP or other, I'd make sure I kept track of what parts I replaced, for historys sake. Nice job!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Great point. I have a list and will put it in with the DA forms. I, unlike others, see no ethical dilemma here at all. IMHO, the people at Rock Island changed serviceable parts in many cases for no reason. The rear sight base on mine is a good example. Given the conditions of the other original SC parts on the rifle, there is no way this part protected as it is, could have been unserviceable.......but to replace that part took time and time was job security. The final approval on replacements came from the top....not the workers. It would be very interesting to know the number of sight bases on SC 03A3's that went through Rock Island, that have new Remington marked parts. I'm afraid we will never know. The rifle looks much better to me and I'm the final judge. Regards, Rick.
 

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Remember that this is at a time when the government still owned/ran (not for profit) both Rock Island and Springfield Arsenals (and to a smaller scale Ogden, Raritan, Anniston Augusta and Benecia)as small arms production and/or repair facilities. Since they were "open" (even though GREATLY reduced manning), they had to have something to do. EXCELLENT points most folks had likely not considered and well supported by the "forensics" of this rifle. A look at some arsenal overhaul will show mixed blue/park small parts; other arsenals reparked everything, still others exchanged blued parts for parked ones. While it was supposed to depend on what each rifle needed, I am sure some places "gave them the treatment" in some locally standardized implementation of ordnance standards. This would make a really interesting study project for somebody.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hello Brad. I agree....by the way, don't forget Red River! These Depots were commanded by full colonels. When you think about it, they were under pressure to stay open as this was a force structure issue in a smaller army. The lack of uniformity among the various depots and even within one depot is well worth the project. I know Red River overhauled Remington 513T's as I have one so marked.....did any other depots work on them? What about all the other rifles and pistols....who did what? Also what was done to the arms at storage facilities like Pueblo? Regards, Rick.
 
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