U.S. Rifle, Cal. 30 1903 Springfield
Adopted in 1903 to replace the 30-40 Krag and utilize the newly adopted Government .30-06 cartridge, the Springfield bolt-action service rifle has proven to be one of the classic military rifle designs of the 20th century. Though borrowed heavily from the 1898 Mauser design, the Springfield incorporated a number of unique improvements and modifications which allowed it to serve in U.S. Military service for most of the 20th century, seeing heavy service in World War 1, the inter-war period of the '20's and '30's, World War 2, and limited use in subsequent actions such as Korea and Vietnam. It proved to be a very hearty and accurate rifle, which played a large part in its long use. After other weapons such as the M-1, the M-14, and the M-16 had long since replaced the Springfield in front-line infantry units, the M1903 continued to soldier on in a variety of specialty roles such as being used as a sniper rifle, an anti-mine rifle, and as late as the 1980's, as a sub-caliber tank training aid.
It is a fine rifle, and continues to soldier on today at countless rifle ranges, hunting expeditions, and arms collections.
1903A1, Manufactured by Springfield Armory, 1933
This specimen came from the CMP as part of a three rifle order my father placed back in about 2005. He ordered two Springfields, and a Garand. I was on hand to help him remove the cosmoline from these rifles when he received them, and this was the first of the three we processed. As we wiped, and wiped, and the rifle came clear of all that foul ooze, we were both a little depressed by its condition, having heard such wonderful stories of the treasures others had gleaned through the CMP.
Regardless, even in, and actually because of its rough condition, it started telling us stories. Each scratch in the receiver, and each ding on the stock told of long ago, and far off struggles. Where had this rifle been? What sort of action had it seen?
I was clueless about Springfields then, and am by no means an expert now, but the research I have done, has enabled me to hold this beat up old rifle in a much higher regard than that first hour out of the cosmoline. According to the serial number, this rifle was made in 1933, and it also still bears a barrel made in 1933. It has no visible cartouches on the stock that I have been able to find.
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