Springfeld '03 A3

This is a discussion on Springfeld '03 A3 within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I'm asking for advice on how to find the value of a unfired pristine '03 A3. It has the bayonet and sling. It does not ...

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    Member Array Arejay's Avatar
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    Springfeld '03 A3

    I'm asking for advice on how to find the value of a unfired pristine '03 A3. It has the bayonet and sling. It does not have a cleaning kit. The serial number is 3549050. Stamped on the barrel is R A with a symbol underneath that looks like three S type swirls, underneath that is a circle and underneath that is 7-44. I know a picture would help but I will not be able to post any for 3 or 4 days. Thanks
    Last edited by Arejay; June 23rd, 2013 at 05:18 PM. Reason: shoddy typing skills
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    Member Array Arejay's Avatar
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    Thanks. I see from this site prices are from 500 to 1500. This rifle I'm interested in is a Remington.

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    Get back with photos. I have the Brophy '03 Springfield book as well as a few others on hand and we can look things up. I love '03 Springfields in any guise!

    "Stamped on the barrel is R A with a symbol underneath that looks like three S type swirls, underneath that is a circle ..."

    The famous U.S "Flaming Bomb" ordnance acceptance mark is what you're describing.

    http://www.gunpartscorp.com/pub/ProductImage/810910.jpg

    http://www.kirkemmerich.co.uk/wp-con...3-F167-006.jpg
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    My post did need the pictures. I'll unload my shrimp catch tomorrow afternoon, run the boat back south and be home Tuesday. I'll get the photos up by Wednesday. Besides the standard photos showing the '03 are there any photos in particular you would be interested in viewing?
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    photo update

    Quote Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
    Get back with photos. I have the Brophy '03 Springfield book as well as a few others on hand and we can look things up. I love '03 Springfields in any guise!

    "Stamped on the barrel is R A with a symbol underneath that looks like three S type swirls, underneath that is a circle ..."

    The famous U.S "Flaming Bomb" ordnance acceptance mark is what you're describing.
    IMG_0085.JPGIMG_0083.JPG
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    Member Array Arejay's Avatar
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    And more

    I'm struggling posting these pics

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    Forget the additional photos! Can you send shrimp! My favorite thing to eat!

    That rifle looks stinking new in the two photos. It'd be nice to see the markings on the receiver ring, the barrel markings and such. Of course a photo of the receiver ring will reveal the entire serial number unless you are able to obscure it in some fashion. Metal looks to have original finish. The hand guard ring is blued which is correct. Many are seen re-parkerized which isn't as they were shipped. The stock is reinforced with brass pins rather than cross bolts which could indicate a replacement stock. Don't bet the farm on that though. Your stock has a curious feature in that the relief cut for the magazine cut-off is very deep and wide. Looks a little non-standard it is so prominent but maybe the guy making that cut was served burnt toast for breakfast that morning due to fighting with his wife over her spending habits.

    That trigger guard bow being larger in front may indicate production by one of the Smith Corona sub-contractors. This article shows an example of the type of trigger guard. The Smith-Corona ?03A3s The appearance agrees with the Brophy book as one of several Smith Corona variations of stamped floor plate/trigger guard assemblies.

    No matter. It still could be an unissued rifle. Quantities of these rifles remained unissued after World War II and, despite being doled out as foreign aid, military schools, and to veterans' organizations, some got into the pipeline to be sold off through the NRA in the 1950s/1960s. An uncle managed to end up with 3 or 4 of them that way. I don't recall if these looked "new unissued" or used as I was a young kid. I have a theory that the Director of Civilian Marksmanship ended up with a quantity of '03A3 barreled actions, probably never issued, and assembled them with similar new spare or replacement stock/hardware kits and sent them out the door during that time. Never saw this in any reference book but it's not beyond the realm of possibility.

    I've pondered my own 'O3A3 over the years. I bought it in 1975 for less than $100. Back then they were just surplus rifles, sold at a slight premium because they were "American" but weren't considered as valuable collector's pieces. There would be no purpose to mix and match parts and most rifles that hadn't been modified into sporters, a popular enterprise before and during the 1970s, remained as they were originally "mustered out" with whatever stocks and hardware that were fitted upon final assembly. Only parts breakage might cause a hobbyist to exchange parts.

    The '03A3 kept here is a very early Smith Corona rifle, with a low serial number and a 12-42 barrel date. Start up of the Smith Corona contract was only sometime in October of that year. This rifle is one of those mentioned in the above article with the 6-groove barrels. I just lucked into it at the time of purchase. Supposedly very scare and hard to find, I've yet to see a premium placed on Smith Corona rifles with 6-groove barrels. I wouldn't part with it anyway. It shoots like a house afire. Took my first two deer with it within a year of acquiring it and began a career of high-power competition with it. One could do worse.



    This rifle came equipped with the ugly so-called "scant grip" stock. This was an expedient stock created by milling straight stock blanks in pistol grip stock profiling machines and was a Remington development. So my Smith Corona is in a Remington stock. This stock has the cross bolt reinforcements rather than the brass pins and has no inspector's initials or "ordnance wheel" acceptance marks so was likely manufactured as a replacement stock for rifle repairs.

    The trigger guard assembly is a correct Smith Corona variant as are the small parts of the rifle's hardware. Note that the trigger guard bow on this one isn't swelled in the front as yours is. Some have that feature and some don't. A cousin has one of my uncle's rifles, also a Smith Corona and it has the trigger guard like yours. His rifle also is fitted with a full-pistol grip stock such as is found on the Remington '03A4 sniper rifles. It's been that way since I was a kid. A nice stock for shooting if a mite short for me.

    The Remington production is easy to verify for basically correct Remington parts as Remington conveniently placed a little "R" on everything, even small parts. While it's never a good thing to find "R's" on one's prized pre-World War I Rock Island Arsenal produced Model 1903 the little "R's" are comforting to see on one's Remington '03A3. I'd be really interested in you removing the trigger guard assembly and looking at the underside of it. Probably on the back of the magazine box but perhaps located elsewhere will be an "R", probably within a circle if it is a correct Remington contract part. If you find an "R" on it I'd be tickled.

    I've examined a large pile of '03 adn '03A3 Springfields in my life at gun shops and gun shows. I once went '03 crazy and ended up with either 15 or 17 of the things from all the different manufacturers and throughout the years of production including some rare variations. This was in the years before correct 1903s and variants got so high. I sold off all but 3 (and a M1922 .22 version) to acquire a collectible car. The collectible car eventually went for college tuition for a son. A worthy cause but I do miss the 1903 Springfields.
    Last edited by bmcgilvray; June 26th, 2013 at 12:18 AM. Reason: Didn't see the additional photos when I posted
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    Your additional photos are nice. That relief notch for the magazine cut-off still looks funky but it's encouraging to see the inspector's cartouche, FJA (Frank J. Atwood Lt. Col.-small arms inspector during the war years) and the Ordnance stamp. The color of the stock looks good if the photo is reproduced true. Sort of reddish in hue is it? I can also see that the magazine cut-off, stacking swivel band, extractor collar, and rear sight assembly are also blued finish. The extractor itself is probably DuLite finish. That is all as it should be and indicates that no incorrect Parkerizing has occurred by ignorant nitwits attempting to "restore" the rifle.

    Did you examine the barrel's bore carefully? Remington made normal 4-groove barrels which featured a similar rifling style as used original Springfield Armory production. They also developed the interesting step-saver of just deleting the process of cutting 2 of the 4 grooves, coming up with a 2-grooved barrel. It was determined that this didn't negatively affect the rifles' accuracy or ability to group well so was adopted as an expedient to be able to crank out more barrels quickly. This equal accuracy proved true though many shooters distrusted the 2-groove barrels for many years. At one time cast bullet aficionados who liked to shoot cast bullet loads in the .30-06 well respected the qualities of the 2-groove barrel. It didn't lead and gave good groups. At least that was the reputation. I never tried a 2-groove barrel with cast .30 bullets. I did have a 2-groove Remington '03A3 with a sparkling clean bore. It shot a treat with conventionally prepared .30-06 loads!

    The 2-groove barrel will be very apparent if viewed with a strong light.

    An M1 Carbine web sling of apparent World War II vintage adorns the rifle. Not really correct but the sling is worth something on its own.
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    Also, that original appearing M1942 bayonet and scabbard is worth a chunk of change in this day and age. They were $5 each, all you wanted, at gun shows about the time I picked up my '03A3 rifle. I missed out on many U.S military surplus bargains back then, telling myself that I "can always pick up one of those later." Well, it's now later and that stuff's gotten downright expensive. I did get a proper M1942 bayonet. It's manufactured by the American Fork & Hoe company.

    Wartime contractors are a hoot of a study in themselves. I've got guns around here made by three different typewriter manufacturers, Underwood, Smith Corona, and Remington Rand. My dad's M1 Carbine is a Quality Hardware and Machine Company contract gun with a correct Rock-Ola Juke Box produced barrel. My shooting uncle had a .50 Browning machine gun in his garage floor when I was a kid (don't ask) manufactured by the A.C. Spark Plug Division of General Motors Corporation. And all these manufacturers further sub-contracted small parts and assemblies to a myriad of smaller companies and shops. It just goes to show what American ingenuity and industry could accomplish when the chips were down and the enemies were on the march world wide. Could we accomplish it again?
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    Thanks for your interest in my post. The rifle belongs to my crewman. He is interested in selling it to me but is unsure of the value. I have made an offer but he is concerned it might be to low. We'll take another look for the clues you mentioned. Now about the shrimp. Sending shrimp would be no problem. Oregon pink shrimp is what we catch here. It is sometimes called bay shrimp. You'll see it in shrimp salads and shrimp cocktails. It's not the big gulf shrimp or the size of the imported prawns. Still tasty. We were fishing out of Warrenton, Oregon until our plant burned down on June 4th. We've been sent north to deliver in Washington state. If your serious about eating shrimp and I'm serious about catching it we'll get serious about getting you some. Good evening
    Last edited by Arejay; June 26th, 2013 at 01:45 AM. Reason: spelling

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    bmcgilvray, you are one sick puppy. Nice to have "sick puppies" (firearms historians) around the neighborhood.

    Arejay, good luck with the acquisition. Hopefully you two can come to agreement on price. Sounds like a nice one.
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