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Discussion Starter #1
I was wondering if you fine folks could help me. I am looking at purchasing a M1903A3 and have found one is reasonable condition. It has the usual dings and scratchs on the stock but the metal is in really good condition. First off, I know nothing about these rifles but I know about firearms in general. The bore is a mirror and has strong rifling. Judging by the condition of the receiver it looks like it is in relative good shape. The date on the barrel is 3-43 and has the usual flaming cannon ball. The price is $540. Does the price seem fair? What should I look out for and what are some of the more desireable things about the M1903A3 as far as collectabiluity of the rifle.
 

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To start out, the price is very fair for a "shooter" grade M1903A3. If the rifle is in correct or near correct condition, it is a very good deal. I'm assuming it is still in military condition, right?

1) If the serial number is in the 3,500,000 range, the barrel is most likely original.

2) A correct/original M1903A3 should have a "straight" stock without grasping grooves. If it has a Type C (full pistol grip) or scant (sort of a "semi" pistol grip) stock, they are replacements (althought a Type C wouldn't be bad if you want the rifle as a shooter). A correct stock would also have stock pins, not stock bolts in the sides (two of them). It should be marked with an FJA on the left side of the stock. If it also has an "RA" (not an RA-P, which is a rebuild mark), the stock was for a later M1903A3. If there are any other markings, the rifle may have been through an inspection or rebuild.

3) Original finish on a M1903A3 was a Parkerized barrel and receiver with nearly all other parts (bolt, rear sight, trigger guard, etc.) a blue/black. It is very common to find replacement parts, or to find the whole rifle was refinished when rebuilt, at some point.

Keep in mind that it is hard to find an early M1903A3 in original condition. As I said, a M1903A3 in shootable condition is worth $540; if it does have a substantial amount of original/correct parts, it is a VERY good deal.

One caution: There have been a fair number of "recovered" drill rifles offered for sale. Look in the area of the cutoff (the ON-OFF lever on the left side) for evidence of a reweld or polishing of an older weld. Also, take the handguard off and look for similar evidence where the receiver and barrel are joined.

Good luck, and let us know how you make out.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
It was in military condition, the receiver was the greenish parkerizing. The barrel, trigger guard, and floorplate were all black/blue with some finish left but worn. The stock looked to have the original finish and I am almost positive it didn't have the grasping grooves. There was no evidence of a weld or weld repair around the safety so I don't think it was a drill rifle.

I will definitely let you know how I make out and post pictures!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Here she is:

May 1943 Manufactured Remington 1903A3 Serial Number in the 3.85M range







Here is an interesting mark I found on the stock just rear of the trigger:



All of the sling swivels, front site, and other small parts are marked with a "R".

So what do you think? I didn't find an FJA or anything on it.
 

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Again, I think for $540 you did well. The receiver indicates a July, 1943 manufacture date, but I still think the barrel is correct (a 5-43, rather than the 3-43, right?). The trigger guard probably is a later one and the bolt appears to be a Smith-Corona (apparent "X" on top of bolt handle and shape of bolt sleeve). The stock may be a replacement, or perhaps a previous owner sanded off the markings.

At the risk of repeating myself yet again, I think you did very well for $540.
 

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Good deal!!

hello Indy Matt. Here in New England 1903A3's are $600-800 for a really good one. By the looks of yours I'd say that you did well. There's a really good article on them in the new Guns&Ammo Surplus Firearms magazine. You should give it a look.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I didn't realize that Guns and Ammo had a dedicated magazine to surplus arms! Thanks for the heads up.
 

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Again, I think for $540 you did well. The receiver indicates a July, 1943 manufacture date, but I still think the barrel is correct (a 5-43, rather than the 3-43, right?). The trigger guard probably is a later one and the bolt appears to be a Smith-Corona (apparent "X" on top of bolt handle and shape of bolt sleeve). The stock may be a replacement, or perhaps a previous owner sanded off the markings.

At the risk of repeating myself yet again, I think you did very well for $540.
Yeah it is a May 1943 barrel, I was wrong when I was trying to remember what month it was manufactured. Thanks for the kind words. I might be able to see a faint RA marking on the stock.
 
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