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Well, here is another addition to my small but growing U.S. martial arms collection. This is a rifle I picked up in trade and it is a non-import marked, non-rearsenaled (?) Remington Model 1903A3 rifle.

The serial number places the year of manufacture at April of 1943, the same month and date as the barrel. As you can see, the rifle is in excellent condition for its age and sports all correct “R” marked parts. The combination of parkerized and blued parts is correct as I understand as are all the cartouches on the original stock. I find no known stamps to suggest this rifle ever went through a rearsenaling program post-war, is this possible??!!! If so, I am one happy camper and the “icing on the cake” is that the rifle shoots like a dream with the CMP Greek M2 Ball ammo I just picked up!

Accompanying the rifle in a nice BOYT -43- Model 1917 rifle sling and a 1943-dated 10 pocket ammunition belt.

















































Any comments regarding my rig or any information you can provide concerning the continued use of these rifles during WWII (e.g., where used and by whom) would be much appreciated.

Tim
 

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It is rare to find early M1903A3s in anywhere approaching original condition. The only things I can see that MIGHT not (and I emphasize "might") are 1) the firing pin (cocking piece) and 2) upper band. The stock is a correct early one with pins, not bolts. The only question on the markings is the "RA". An early M1903A3 stock did not have an "RA" - just a FJA.

A very nice rifle for an early M1903A3!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Rick,

So are you saying this rifle MIGHT approach a completely correct early M1903A3, with the possible exception of the cocking piece and upper band? If so, is it the finish or the markings or lack thereof that makes you suspicious that they may not be correct for an early rifle.

Regarding the stock markings on the left side of the receiver, they look identical in style and placement to those pictured on page 68 of Canfield's "A Collector's Guide to the '03 Springfield". My question is whether the RA is the Remington Arms stamp or does it refer to Raritan Arsenal, thus indicating the rifle underwent refurbishment.

I tended to think it was reference to the former rather than the latter, but now you have raised this issue about early Remington rifles not having the Remington Arms stamp on the stock. If I might ask, where did to find reference to this information. I certainly would be interested to further research this point.

Tim
 

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That handguard is in much better condition than the stock. Its even a lighter shade than the stock, but its much less scared than the stock. My money says its a non original replacement.

These were $50-60 rifles circa 1969-72. I bought three that were like new back then. They've been bouncing around the U.S. since then. Its certainly not cherry. I'd vote RA as Raritan Arsenal. Just because it has RA doesn't mean it was rebuilt. Could've just been inspected. The original blue on the triggerguard and other parts wasn't unusual for rifles sold via DCM. And very few will have import marks as they weren't imported.

Nice sling. Its a Model 1907.

Brophy's book "The 1903 Springfield" is outstanding, big book.

Could well be all the wear and tear on this rifle is civilian from being a truck rifle. I'll bet money that handguard was put on way afterwards like 40 years ago when they cost $2 to replace the one Joebob broke on the '55 Chevy truck tailgate. The real miracle is that it wasn't made better by JoeBob with a hacksaw and a file. The screwheads on the bands are quite burred. Everything about this rifle says "truck rifle" to my eye.

I'm very partial to 1903 Springfields, a little less so to 03A3 as they're so dang ugly compared to a Springfield-made rifle. Mine is a double heattreat Greek mfg in 1918 with a C stock. I have to break open Brophy's book to glean all the collector lingo and details but I've slept with a 1903 Springfield in the Rockies and the High Sierra and the Mojave desert and shot a few far as the eye could see and handloaded everything from 85gr Luger bullets to 220gr round nose. I rather liked the 190 & 200 gr Sierra Match Kings with a compressed load of surplus 4831. I shot that same load with my 1st 1903, s/n 394506 mfg in Dec 1909. (yeah, the dreaded low number). Hatcher's Notebook was one of the first gun books in my little library. Your rifle made me nostalgic:)

Dutchman
 

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I missed the handguard - it does look like a newer one or a replacement. With the condition of the rest of the rifle, hard to say if it was a military or "civilian" replacement. It is also hard to say where the rifle was used. It may have seen service as a (non-welded) drill rifle, use by a foreign government, or, as Dutchman says, it got hard use by a former civilian owner.

Original production M1903A3s had Parkerized barrels and receivers while nearly everything else had a blue/black finish. The upper band and cocking piece appear to be Parkerized, which would indicate replacement. As I said, early 1903A3s are very difficult to find in anything approaching original condition and/or finish. The stock marking appears to be RA but eht lettering appears somewhat different. A Raritan Arsenal rebuild stamp is usually RA-P, not just RA.

Although I have several M1903s, I just haven't gotten around to a M1903A3. Whenever I see an 03A3 for sale, I seem to always want something else!!

I have been "specializing" in low numbered M1903s. The finish and workmanship on an original is just awesome!!

 

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M 1903a3

I am also partial to the M1903 rifle, but the M 1903A3 is also to be appreciated and respected for the role it played and the job it did. True they are rougher the a pre-war M 1903, but it must be admitted Remington did a tremendous job getting them in the hands of the troops, and still supplying a reliable, accurate rifle within government guidelines. Many are now mutilated, and they are rapidly coming to the point where they are getting the appreciation they have earned. I have several and they all shoot well. Enjoy them and get any good one you can. They are still sleeping, collector wise. Look at the M-1 carbine.... the same thing is sure to happen with these RETREAD
 

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1903A3 Questions

Hello Tsellati, nice finds you have there. I've been looking for an 03A3 myself. I read somewhere that 03's were used by support troops. I do know that MP's used them. Frontline troops used them until adequate supplies of M1's arrived. If you look at photos of GI's in Italy you'll see alot of them in use. I hope this helps
 

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I can not agree with Dutchman that the A3s are ugly compared to the 03s. I love the mix of blue and park. The walnut stock on mine SC and RA are just beautiful. Both are OG marked and neither show any refurb. Here is the RA. The pics do not do it justice.
 
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