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I just saw a high number (327,000 range) Rock Island 03 receiver with a 1931 dated SA barrel. I know that later production RIA receivers were factory fitted with SA barrels, but I thought the SA barrel date was 1928. Can any of the experts tell me if the 1931 dated barrel might be correct. Thanks.

Sam
 

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The folks who actually know will chime in soon, but I think the Rock Islands that got the Springfield 1928 barrels were un-numbered receivers that Springfield numbered. I also have a Rock Island, 320,000 range sounds right, but I not near it right now. It has a 1930 dated Springfield barrel, maybe even 12-30. It looks to be WWII rebuilt, but I wonder if it was mated to the barrel in the same program with yours?
 

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As a rule, most of the RIA receivers that were sent to Springfield and mated with SA "original" barrels were i the 375,000-430,000 range. Supposedly ther percentage is very small much below that lower serial number.

Observed RIA/SA barrel dates have ranged from 1927 to 1930.
 

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I have one of these as well. My RIA receiver number is 4290XX with a star gauged SA barrel dated 3-26. Bruce Canfield mentioned these on his web site and when I contacted him about it he said that as he gathered more info on these, he would update the article. Unfortunately, he never got around to it.
 

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And my memory was faulty. Mine is in the 395,000 range. On the un numbered receivers, from The Rock Island '03 by Ferris: "In 1927, Springfield used 25,600 partially completed Rock Island receivers, some of which bore the Rock Island name but to which Springfield applied its serial numbers, which would have been in roughly the 1275000 to 1258000 range."
 

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A 395,000 RIA would be almost a "cert" to be one of those sent along to Springfield and mated with a Springfield barrel. The Star Gauge barrel is interesting. Is there a Star Gauge registration number on the top of the barrel about 1/3 of the way from the receiver end? A letter and numbers?

I've read some updated information that the number of receivers sent to Springfield from Rock Island may be more like 50,000. Keep in mind that four kinds were sent: 1) rough forgings; 2) finished receivers with no markings; 3) finished receivers with "Rock Island" but no serial number; and finished and numbered receivers.

Regarding the "ultra-high numbered" RIA receivers, I was fortunate enough to buy one from another gentleman off this forum a couple of years ago. Been looking for one for years (foolishly turned one down at a gunshow several years ago). It had a few RIA parts, but mostly Springfield.





In addition, the "blank" and forged/unmarked receivers were used for Springfield M1903s in the 1,290,000 to 1,301,000 range, even though marked in the conventional manner. Here's #1,294,444, which I bought shortly after the rifle above:



A picture of both rifles together. They are both in excellent condition - I call them "the Gold Dust Twins". :)

 

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Rick,

How does one tell if a rifle in the "correct" serial number range was "forged but unmarked" at RIA and finnished at SA? Was all machining done at SA? If so, there would be no tell-tale tool marks or minor machining variations that could be conclusively "Rock Island" ... unless SA gave them a unique but inconspicuous marking, sort of like "if this one fails, blame RIA" (?).

Resp'y,
Bob S.
 

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Rick,

I'm including a few pictures of mine for comparison. Looks like mine was refurbed during WWII.....I'm assuming that is what the masking tape is for on the butt plate. I didn't take the rifle out of the stock but did find these stamps under the handguard. Are these what you were referring to? I'm affraid the star gauge stamp didn't show up real well but it is at the bottom of the muzzle crown.
 

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Rick,

The star gauge number was right in front of me the whole time. It is stamped at a right angle to the other number but I missed it the first time. (old eyes) Any idea how common these star gauged barrels are? Bolt on mine is N.S. stamped and I have been shooting it without any concerns. I sure love the look and feel of these 1903's but the sights leave a lot to be desired with older eyes.

Bruce
 

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