- January 30, 2016 at 4:36 am #22367
My intent in these post is not create a “Basement Article” but rather a quick reference of the 1903 Service Rifle as to the commonly requested questions relating to the Arms. As such majority is actually already found in publication via other internet sources and published books.
Springfield Armory was on a Jul 1 – Jun 30 fiscal year and reported numbers of rifles completed for each year but not the dates of serial numbers struck. From 1907, the Armory reported the first serial number of the year. Since no effort was made to use the receivers in numerical order, considerable variance exists between the number of rifles built and the number of serial numbers struck. Therefore, rifle completion dates can not be precisely determined.
1903 Jul 1 – 1 M1903 production begins with Rod Bayonet rifle (RB assembly: December 1903 – January, 1905)
1904 Jan 1 – ?
1905 Jan 1 – 91792 Calculated SN (Beard & Ferris) Last Rod Bayonet rifle completed (74408 RB’s made)
Distinctive Rod Bayonet parts production ceased Jan 11,1905. Generic parts production continues.
M1903 rear sight production ends April 17, 1905
M1905 Bayonet approved May 5, 1905
M1905 rear sight approved and rear handguard swell added after beginning of fiscal year 1906
Rifle assembly resumes with 1905 modification rifle (knife bayonet) November, 1905
Split shank swivel appears in fiscal year 1906
1906 Jan 1 – 208192 Calculated SN (Beard & Ferris)
M1906 cartridge approved Oct 15, 1906 (Rifle assembly delayed – component production continues)
1907 Jan 1 – 269451 Armory starts reporting first serial number of the calendar year
Rifle assembly resumes Feb, 1907 Existing Rod Bayonet rifles altered for M1906 cartridge Rear fixed sight base cutout eliminated Oct, 1907
1908 Jan 1 – 337862 Rear stock bolt approved Feb 20, 1908
1909 Jan 1 – 358085 Handguard sight line clearance cut authorized August 10, 1909
1910 Jan 1 – 398276 Circa 1910 changes: Buttplate checkering added Spare parts container groove added to upper stock recess in butt Rear sight windage knob diameter changed from .45″ to .575″ Spring clips added to handguard Stock wood lowered and tapered on both sides of front receiver ring
Serifed lettering on the safety eliminated
1911 Jan 1 – 456376 Trigger thickened and serrated
1912 Jan 1 – 502046
1913 Jan 1 – 531521
1914 Jan 1 – 570561 Serifed lettering on cutoff eliminated
1915 Jan 1 – 595601
1916 Jan 1 – 620121
1917 Jan 1 – 632826 Front reinforcing bolt added April, 1917 Buttplate checkering temporarily eliminated Pyrometers used in forging from Dec 1917 at SN 750001 to prevent burned metal
1918 Jan 1 – 761758 DHT phased in by Feb 20, 1918 at SN 800000 (plus a little)Solid shank swivel replaces split shank swivel 2850 yard volley notch eliminated Bent bolt Handle starts ~1000000 Mark I production begins with SN 1034502 Parkerizing phased in starting late 1918. Never used by armory on all parts. Trigger serrations temporarily eliminated
1919 Jan 1 – 1055092
1920 Jan 1 – 1162501 Mark I production ends SN 1197834 (Brophy) Buttplate checkering & Trigger serrations return
1921 Jan 1 – 1211300
1922 Jan 1 – 1239641
1923 Jan 1 – 1252387
1924 Jan 1 – 1261487
1925 Jan 1 – 1267101 Buttplate fine to coarse checkering change
1926 Jan 1 – 1270301
1927 Jan 1 – 1274765
Supply of carbon billets exhausted – a short period of mixed CS and NS receiver production follows RIA NS billets used from April 1, 1927 with SN 1275767
RIA parts, bolts, stocks, barrels used at SA
1928 Jan 1 – 1285266 Type C stock standardized on March 15, 1928
SA produces NS receivers from SN 1301000 (Hatcher – actual number higher)
1929 Jan 1 – 1305901
1930 Jan 1 – 1338406
1931 Jan 1 – 1369761
1932 Jan 1 – 1404026
1933 Jan 1 – 1425934
1934 Jan 1 – 1441812
1935 Jan 1 – 1491532 4859 receivers manufactured between July 1, 1935 & July 1, 1936
1936 Jan 1 – ? Hatcher Hole Starts 1936 on rebuilds
1937 Jan 1 – ? Reported SN (1496023 – Philip Sharpe) too low for reported production numbers (Minimum 1496391)
1937 Jul 1 – 1497412
1938 Jan 1 – 1510387
1938 Jul 1 – 1516549
1939 Jul 1 – 1525594 SA halts barrel production
1940 Jun 30 – 1536285 Last known serial number struck – substantially higher numbers are mis-strikes (Beard)
High probability that 1536285 – 1536325 is the range of last serial number struck (Beard)
SA makes run of M1903 barrels dated 9-40 for USMC
1941 SA commences production of replacement barrels
1942 Mar – Lightening cuts eliminated on newly made fixed sight bases (Beard)
- January 30, 2016 at 4:54 am #22368
Month-end Serial Numbers
1943 M1903/A3 M1903A4
Feb 3458758 3407193
Mar 3520614 3408656
Apr 3573277 3409166
May 3710958 3409290
Jun 3780746 3411732
Jul 3824829 3414499
Aug 3888272 3417914
Sep 3955409 3420874
Oct 4023778 3422503
Nov 4088927 3423968
Dec 4147887 3424856
1944 M1903A3 M1903A4
Jan 4187457 3427087
Feb 4209xxx Z4002980
- January 30, 2016 at 4:56 am #22369
Smith-Corona Serialization Date Chart
Month-end Serial Numbers
- January 30, 2016 at 5:22 am #22370
Now lets Talk the Low Serial Number Springfields
Low numbered Springfield receivers and the terrible danger they pose to a shooter. (Low numbered receiver are those with serial numbers below 800,000 made at Springfield Armory, and below 286,506 made at Rock Island Arsenal.) Some have stated emphatically no rifle with a low numbered receiver should ever be fired under any circumstance because of the risk of serious injury or death, but that high numbered receivers are perfectly safe.
But what of the history: The U.S. Model 1903 rifle, commonly called the Springfield, was used by the U.S. Military between 1903 and 1945. When the United States declared war on Germany in April 1917 there was a marked increase in the use of this rifle for training. Between July and December 1917 eleven rifle receivers shattered, causing one severe and 10 minor injuries to the soldiers using the rifle. Despite the intense demand for rifles caused by our entry into the war, production at both Springfield Armory and Rock Island Arsenal was halted in early 1918, and an investigation launched to determine the cause of the problem.
It was determined that the workers responsible for heat treating the receivers had used an “eyeball” method that relied on the color of the heated metal to determine if the steel had been heated to the correct temperature. Unfortunately, according to General Hatcher, the officer in charge of the investigation, “… it was quickly found that the ‘right heat’ as judged by the skillful eye of the old timers was up to 300 degrees hotter on a bright sunny day than it was on a dark cloudy one” (See Hatcher, Julian Hatcher’s Notebook , Third Edition, Stackpole Books, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 1966, page 215). Heating to the higher temperatures led to crystallization of trace elements within the steel, making it too hard, and rather than deforming under high pressure, the receiver shattered, often permitting the bolt to exit the receiver, causing injury to the shooter. Between 1917 and 1929 three soldiers lost an eye to receiver failure, and six more had unspecified injuries consider serious. An additional 34 soldiers received minor injuries from receiver failures. There were no deaths reported from the failure of a Springfield receiver.
The heat treating method was immediately changed to a double heat treatment, and pyrometers were used to determine the temperature of the heated receivers. The change in heat treating was instituted between serial number 750,00 and 800,000 at Springfield and by serial number 285,506 at Rock Island Arsenal. Rifles manufactured after these serial numbers are referred to as “high numbered” receivers and are commonly stated to be safe to shoot.
Between 1917 and 1929 there were 68 burst receivers. Of the 68 no serial number were available for 11 receivers, four of those that failed in 1917. Two of the 68 were made at Springfield Armory and had serial numbers in the 950,000 range. Of the remaining 57 receivers 33 were manufactured by Springfield Armory and 24 by Rock Island. Hatcher provided the serial number and the date of failure for all 33 Springfield Armory receivers, and the same data for 22 of the 24 Rock Island receivers (see Hatcher, pp 442-447). This information was used in the analysis that follows. The overall failure rate by 1929 was 68/1,085, 506 or 6.3 per 100,000 receivers.
The purpose of this post is to put the risk of Springfield receiver failures into prospective using simple statistics, thus permitting the interested reader to make his own decision about the safety of the Springfield rifle receiver. A final tidbit is that while the Army suspended issuing low serial number Springfield the Marine Corps heeded General Hatcher advise by adding the “Hatcher” Hole to the left side of the receiver. There has been no reported failure by a USMC low serial number 1903.
Every Gunsmith will advise NEVER shoot a LOW Number Springfield. regardless of my opinion —- That is the safe answer
(just call me for proper disposal of that unsafe firearm LOL)
If your “Springfield” is marked 1903A3 or 1903A4 or in a serial number range higher than listed above it is NOT a Low Serial number and should be considered safe after a Competent Gunsmith checks headspace, throat and muzzle erosion
- January 30, 2016 at 5:35 am #22371
“Bannerman Special Model 1937” Springfield Rifle
Francis Bannerman Sons was a famous surplus dealer located in New York, operating from shortly after the Civil War until the 1960s. After decades of accumulating huge quantities of surplus parts and trying many clever improvisations, they managed to make complete rifles to be sold at very low prices to cash strapped buyers at the end of the depression. “Low number” Model 1903 receivers being scrapped as potentially unsafe were fitted with barrels of unknown origin. Model 1917 bolts, stocks, and trigger guards were modified slightly to fit. Krag rear sights were welded to early M1903 rear sight bases and shimmed on the barrels. Assorted bands and swivels were used. Very ingenious and profitable, these are probably the oddest of all the 1903 rifles.
Sporting rifles for NRA members…
“U.S. Rifle, Model 1903, Sporting type, star gauged. fitted with Lyman 48 Receiver sight”
High quality Model 1903 rifles with specially selected “star gauged” barrels and the “NRA style” stock were offered for sale to NRA members circa 1924-1938, ostensibly because of a lack of commercial sporting rifles on the market at the time. (The Winchester Model 54 and 70 and the Remington Model 30 were introduced during that period). 5,538 NRA Sporters were made. NRA Sporter rifles were sometimes left in their original configuration, sometimes crudely adapted to the owner’s preferences, and sometimes used as the basis for beautiful custom rifles. This is an example built into a classic 1930s style rifle with a Griffen & Howe mount and Lyman Alaskan scope. It was made for a left handed shooter, so it has the cheekpiece on the “wrong” side of the stock! Although not “original” it shows how the NRA Sporter rifles met the needs of their owners,
This information is via 1903. com (http://m1903.com/odd1903/)
- January 30, 2016 at 6:24 am #22372
Between 1921 and 1957 The Arsenal produced Several Match and Target variations for issue/sale. ( note that shooters participating in the National Matches or International matches could and often did buy from the Gov’t aka DCM- Director Of Civilian Marksmanship these rifles before, during, and after the matches)
Model 1921 International – 10
1921 International Rifle Team’s competition in Lyons, France, included a 24″ heavy barrel set into modified straight and pistol grip sporting stocks using a Lyman 48 receiver sight. That successful experience led to an improved long-range rifle designated Rifle, U.S. caliber .30, Model 1922.
Model 1922 caliber 30 Heavy Barrel – 133
This model included a 24″ heavy barrel set into modified straight and pistol grip sporting stocks using a Lyman 48 receiver sight.Modifications to the stock included a palm rest attachment. The first modified with these heavy barrels were used at the 1919 National Matches held in Caldwell, New Jersey that led to the development of the Model 1921/22/23 and all following International versions From 1921 to 1931 each year the arsenal produced 40 rifles each year for International use. Those numbers are not captured in in this listing these numbers for total production will total approx 390 produced from 1921 to 1931. All of the International version shared a common theme the introduction was supported by Congress and the Industry as well. The reason that rear sights are Lyman 48 is that Frank Lyman offered to install a special sight free of charge on every international version. The modified Lyman 48 was not divided in half MOA but rather thirds, and oversized target knobs was installed.
Model 1903 National Match – 22,938
Model 1903 National Match with P.G. Stock – 245
AKA Model 1903 National Match Style “NB” Identified with the acceptance stamp of P.G. on the left side of the stock.
Model 1903A1 National Match – 10,644
Model 1903 Star Gauged – 1,265
Model 1903 Special Target Rifle – 2,595
Model 1903 National Match Style “B” – 150
Model 1903 International – 40
Aka the Model 1923 International these 30″ heavy barrels had twist ranging from 10, 12, 14 Twist.Barrel selected for this rifle varied from Winchester, H. M. Pope, or Remington. Pope barrels was left hand twist with progressive aka gain twist at 1-14″. Winchester “Globe” front sight, and Rinkuna double-set trigger, as well as the Lyman 48 rear sight. Another feature was John Garand’s “Super Speed Firing Mechanism” that greatly reduced the “lock time.”
Model 1903 International (Martini Action) – 40
Twenty-five of 40 produced Model of 1927 .30″ caliber International Match Rifles produced by Springfield Armory were similar to the Model of 1924 except for a 28″ barrel, altered palm rest attachment, and Woody double-set trigger.
Model 1903 National Match Style “T” – 100
Model 1903A3 National Match – 140
In 1951 with the suspension of the National Matches since 1941 DCM had found that WWII had depleted the available the M1903A1. Thus another run of available match rifles was needed. Numbers was set to be higher (200 for evaluation) but was stopped at 140 because the view was that it was a useless design. What caused the main flaw while the rifle retained a vast majority of the issue 1903A3 parts triggers and sears was reverted to the 1903A1, was the removal of the issue rear sight and installation of a Redfield Olympic rear sight attached to the left side of the receiver. This arrangement caused interference with operation of clip feeding. and in the other alternate postion it interfered with the bolt handle operation. This was overlooked once noted production stopped at 140 and scrapped, never issued for match use and related to sit in various warehouse finally was disposed via DCM sales. This is the rarest of the National Matches I do not know or have the numbers.
Just this sort condensed list totals about 38,000 Target versions produced by the arsenal for public sale to promote Marksmanship a lesson learned in WWI. This rifle stayed on the lines until the 1960s competing against the M1Garand and the M14 oddly the M14 sealed the fate for the 1903 only to be ousted by the M16 at a later date.
If any further details are needed I would suggest LTC Brophy’s book “The Springfield 1903 Rifles” be sought out
- January 30, 2016 at 12:43 pm #22373GoodsteelKeymaster
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That’s some excellent information Sarge!
- January 30, 2016 at 1:59 pm #22379
Thank You Tim, Figured some folks that buy Old Milsurps would Like to know a bit about the history and development of them.
- January 30, 2016 at 4:33 pm #22385
Several times I am asked what should I look for in a 1903.
Hmmm that is real tough question that begs the counter question, What do you want out of it?
Do you desire a non collector grade “shooter” that is safe to fire?
That is probably the easier one to answer find the Stock that fits you well be that a C, modified C, S, or after market although I have no basis for advising against it other than I just don’t think they will stand the long jar I would stay away from the Navy issued drill stock that are a resin. Just a preference I treat them as a barrelled action only with parts, because the stock will be thrown away.
Research the parts that are undesirable such as Low Carbon bolts ( go here folks this site does a wonderful job breaking it down http://www.vishooter.net/m1903.html )
Check the sights for function make sure the stock fits the action fire it does it shoot to suit you?
Do you want a “correct” grade?
This is often the hardest……… two world wars, a conflict in Korea, Land Lease program Rifles, another conflict in Vietnam yes the 1903 was used there, and a aggressive rebuilt program of all those wars destroyed many a collector dream. This is discounting all the “Bubba” Bannerman’s and the WESOG (Wiley E. Coyote School of Gunsmithing with A.C.M.E gun parts as the supplier ) gunsmiths, R.F. Sedley’s looking for a quick buck. I would venture to say that a vast majority of the “correct” grade rifle have been retrofitted back to what was commonly on the bench during the original built based on serial number. As during a Arsenal or depot rebuild, rifles are stripped down all parts checked for serviceability thrown in a bin and randomly installed on a different rifle. This same statement is true of EVERY service rifle used since the 1800. This explains why correct grades fetch so much money as many actually seek out the correct stocks, sights, barrel bands, bolts. Because of this I am more leery of a “correct” grade than a arsenal re-built and will not own one personally. This is based on the willingness of people to “get over” many times the bolts are just swapped without headspacing onto a unserviceable barrels solely based on the fact that the barrel date is correct. These rifle usually sit in the owners safe taken out fondled showed off and put back Never firing a shot. As such a unsafe rifle is never found only when somebody chambers the round and fires it does it become evident, then the remark is “Hey a low or high serial number Springfield blew up, do you think the heat treat was bad”??? Really did you just ask that question in my presence????
Remember a true collector does not care if the low carbon bolt is unsafe with modern ammunition he ONLY cares that the correct bolt is in his rifle ( read $$$$$$) as such he will sell you his unsafe to shoot, improperly bedded, faked cartouche mint 1903 rifle knowing that you will fire it justifying it as its will probably be ok.
Now the next question is what is a 1903 worth that is easy
in 1903 – 1930’s it cost roughly $19.00 to build……..That is what it is worth $19.00 (in today’s dollas that is about $455.00)
Through the DCM a specially select built national match 1903’s was sold for $46.00 ( again in today’s dollars that is about $778.00)
Condition and variation will drive the value
Actually the truth is the rifle is only worth the value that YOU place on it versus what you could quickly sell it for in a pinch, not a penny more hence is my answer above.
$455.00 to $778.00, a pawn shop will only give me half so adjusted to $222.50 to $389.00 if I had to sell it quick to eat, live indoors or have the A/C heat turned back on.
Paying attention to the “Blue Book” you will see that actually as a rule of thumb I’m not too far off the mark. Bear in mind that the “Blue Book” is based on averages of what dealers and those in the trade got for the item, not regional demands or asking price rather the average of what they sold for.
The Cartouches stamps are available for sell, as well as the “restoration” service (http://www.trfindley.com/pgsnstmps03.html) if it looks to good to be true … it probably is.
Oh I did not address a version out there …..National Ordinance 1903 that is a private company based in California. Are they any good… well yes and no being that they are not required to adhere to a standard (Mil-Spec) versus their own pocket book some are excellent shooter others cannot be geometrically counted on to build a BB gun. I would place their value at about half of a true 1903/A1/A3/A4 Mk1
- January 30, 2016 at 4:46 pm #22386
Augusta Arsenal (AA) (Overhaul and rebuild only) Marking Font/Notes Inspector (if known) BLOCK AAL BLOCK BLOCK AAP BLOCK AAR BLOCK BLOCK Benecia Arsenal (BA) (Rebuild only) Marking Font/Notes Inspector (if known) BA BLOCK BA-WK BLOCK BA- J.L. BLOCK BA-W.L. BLOCK BAWL BLOCK B.A.- JS BLOCK Ogden Arsenal (OG) (Rebuild only) Marking Font/Notes Inspector (if known) BLOCK Elmer Keith O.G.E.K. BLOCK Ed Klouser
- January 30, 2016 at 4:49 pm #22388
Inspectors Stamps ( continued)
Raritan Arsenal (RA) (Rebuild only) Marking Font/Notes Inspector (if known) RA-P BLOCK RA-P BLOCK RAP BLOCK BLOCK
- January 30, 2016 at 4:51 pm #22389
Inspectors Stamps (Continued)
Raritan Arsenal (RA) (Rebuild only) Marking Font/Notes Inspector (if known) RA-P BLOCK RA-P BLOCK RAP BLOCK BLOCK Remington Arms Co. (RA) (New manufacture) Marking Font/Notes Inspector (if known) BLOCK Lt. Col. Frank J. Atwood FJA BLOCK Lt. Col. Frank J. Atwood BLOCK Col. Ray L. Brolin RLB BLOCK Col. Ray L. Brolin BLOCK
- January 30, 2016 at 4:52 pm #22390
Inspectors Stamps (Continued)
Rock Island Arsenal (RIA) (New manufacture) Marking Font/Notes Inspector (if known) Script Conrad Nelson BLOCK BLOCK
- January 30, 2016 at 4:53 pm #22392
Inspectors Stamps (Continued)
Rock Island Arsenal (RIA) (Rebuild only) Marking Font/Notes Inspector (if known) BLOCK BLOCK JCC
BLOCK BLOCK Frank Krack – 1920-1930 RIA
BLOCK Frank Krack – 1920-1930 RIA
BLOCK Frank Krack – 1920-1930 RIA
BLOCK Frank Krack – 1920-1930
- January 30, 2016 at 4:53 pm #22393
Inspectors Stamps (Continued)
San Antonio Arsenal (SAA) (Rebuild only) Marking Font/Notes Inspector (if known) BLOCK BLOCK H. S.A.A. BLOCK L. S.A.A. BLOCK
- January 30, 2016 at 4:57 pm #22394
Inspectors Stamps (Continued)
Springfield Armory (SA) (Rebuild only) Marking Font/Notes Inspector (if known) BLOCK BLOCK –
- January 30, 2016 at 4:58 pm #22396
Inspectors Stamps (Continued)
Springfield Armory (SA) (Rebuild only) Marking Font/Notes Inspector (if known) BLOCK –
- January 30, 2016 at 5:02 pm #22397
Inspectors Stamps (Continued)
Springfield Armory (SA) (New manufacture) Many of the following inspector’s stamps have not been identified. Some could possibly be RIA. However, for ease of tabulation until identified differently, they are listed as SA. additional side note is that many times a inspector could be transferred temporily to a differant location to assist in meeting production goals Marking Font/Notes Inspector (if known) SCRIPT SCRIPT SCRIPT J. Sumnar Adams
- January 30, 2016 at 5:05 pm #22399
Springfield Armory (SA) (New manufacture) Many of the following inspector’s stamps have not been identified. Some could possibly be RIA. However, for ease of tabulation until identified differently, they are listed as SA. Marking Font/Notes Inspector (if known) SCRIPT SCRIPT SCRIPT SCRIPT Kelley S. Morse
- January 30, 2016 at 5:06 pm #22400
Springfield Armory (SA) (New manufacture) Many of the following inspector’s stamps have not been identified. Some could possibly be RIA. However, for ease of tabulation until identified differently, they are listed as SA. Marking Font/Notes Inspector (if known) BLOCK Francis B. Austin BLOCK J. Sumnar Adams BLOCK BLOCK Col. Gilbert H. Steward
- January 30, 2016 at 5:08 pm #22401
Springfield Armory (SA) (New manufacture) Many of the following inspector’s stamps have not been identified. Some could possibly be RIA. However, for ease of tabulation until identified differently, they are listed as SA. Marking Font/Notes Inspector (if known) BLOCK BLOCK J.F. Coyle BLOCK BLOCK Elbert N. Dewey
- January 30, 2016 at 5:09 pm #22403
Springfield Armory (SA) (New manufacture) Marking Font/Notes Inspector (if known) BLOCK BLOCK BLOCK BLOCK
- January 30, 2016 at 5:11 pm #22405
Springfield Armory (SA) (New manufacture) Marking Font/Notes Inspector (if known) BLOCK BLOCK W. E. Strong BLOCK C. Valentine
- January 30, 2016 at 5:12 pm #22406
Springfield Armory (SA) (New manufacture) Marking Font/Notes Inspector (if known) BLOCK BLOCK BLOCK
- January 30, 2016 at 5:13 pm #22407
Unknown inspector’s marks which are initials only and not of the usual style Marking Font/Notes Inspector (if known) A.H.A. BLOCK K (with proof mark “P” in a square) B.CM-K BLOCK L.T.T. BLOCK
- January 30, 2016 at 5:14 pm #22408
Government Arsenal Stock Rebuilding Marks
Marking on Stock Arsenal Performing Overhaul AA Augusta Arsenal AN Anniston Arsenal BA Benicia Arsenal HOD Hawaiian Ordnance Depot. MR Mt. Ranier Arsenal OG Ogden Arsenal PaOD Panama Ordnance Depot. POD Philippine Ordnance Depot. RA Raritan Arsenal RIA Rock Island Arsenal RRA Red River Arsenal SA Springfield Armory SAA San Antonio Arsenal
- January 30, 2016 at 5:15 pm #22409
Proof Testing and Proof Marking
Before leaving the Arsenal/manufacturer, M1903’s and M1903A3’s were proof tested for safety. Proof testing was done by firing several cartridges loaded to produce a pressure substantially greater than that produced by the standard issue military cartridges that would be used in the rifle. If the rifle survived this test of its strength the letter P enclosed in a circle was stamped on the stock just behind the triggerguard, and the rifle was ready for acceptance by the military.
The earliest proof marks used on Model 1903’s were a script letter P which was later changed to a block letter P.
U.S. Model 1903’s and 1903A3’s will sometimes be found with two letter P’s stamped behind the triggerguard. The second letter P is believed to have been used when a rifle when through a complete rebuild. Because of the extent of the work it was likely proofed a second time. If a stock is stamped with two letter P’s there is a good possibility that it will also have other marks indicating an arsenal rebuild.
- January 30, 2016 at 6:40 pm #22419
The other interesting fact is that Springfield Arsenal was so confident that the Experimental model of 1901 used to prototype the 1903. that they actually “jumped the gun” so to speak and occasionally a 1903 is found with a 1901 receiver, Barrel ( two versions 24 and 30″) due to the fact that the original cartridge was based on .30 Caliber Government model 1903 used to replace the .30 U.S. Army (aka 30-40 Krag) both used the 220 grain round nosed thus requiring 1-10″ when the 30-03 cartridge was revamped shortly after introduction because of German and other nations advancement (side bar 7.5 x 55 Swiss) a Spitzer design was developed (1905) then adopted (1906) this round was found to be more accurate with a 1-12 twist based on the new bullet length. Because the arsenals had been producing the 1-10 twist for three years a study was done with the new cartridge while not as accurate as the 1-12 it was within “acceptable” limits this is why the norm is 1-10 no other reason than cost of re-tooling. This twist error was later correct with the introduction of the M-14 being a Right hand 1-14 4 groove twist.
- February 8, 2016 at 6:07 am #23270wingsparParticipant
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Interesting. For the first time, I now know when my Remington 1903 A3 that my father bought for me from the NRA when I was 15 in 1960 for the grand total of $19.95 was made. April 1943. On the barrel under where the fore stock would be is stamped as shown in the photo below.
- February 8, 2016 at 8:42 pm #23322HarterParticipant
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Oh my the criminal I am ……and the travasty committed by Bubba ……….
The 1,4??,??? Remington 1903A3 11/43 is a true treasure. It has all of its matching parts correct P ……… to bad about about the hack slash for end and cheap recoil pad on the chopped off butt……
No rebuild marks just that bubba’d stock……….
- February 8, 2016 at 8:52 pm #23324GoodsteelKeymaster
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Sgt.Mike. I have to ask if what you wrote here was a typo? Forgive my ignorance, but I was certain the M-14 was fitted with a 1-12 twist barrel?
- April 8, 2017 at 3:38 pm #34562Rick the LibrarianParticipant
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Some good information, Sgt. Mike, on the M1903. However, some of the information on stock markings is now obsolete or incorrect. Most of it appears to have been from William Brophy’s book on the M1903, written over 30 years ago.
1) RLB and FJA are identified correctly, but neither man was an inspector. They were (at various times) commanders of the Rochester Ordnance District, which contained Remington, Smith-Corona and other arms manufacturers. They did not personally inspect completed rifles or firearms.
2) The END stamp has been considered to be not used.
3) There were a few RIA M1903s stamped with WJS (identitiy is not known) who normally worked at Springfield. To my knowledge, no “JES” was used.
4) Frank Krack (RIA/FK) was the chief arms inspector at Rock Island from 1941-46, not during the 1920s (see C.S. Ferris’ book on the Rock Island Arsenal for details)
5) RIA/EB (also from Rock Island) was Elmer Bjerke, who held a similar position as Krack from 1946 to 1958.
- April 8, 2017 at 11:58 pm #34564
aggh yep typo 1-12 not 1-14
- April 9, 2017 at 12:01 am #34565
yes the information is Via LTC Brophy.
Thanks for the post Rick
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