U.S. Rifle, Cal. 30 1903A3 Springfield (Remington)
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.
1903A3, Manufactured by Remington, 1943
One day I walked into a local gun store, just to check out the wares, as I had not been in there in months. While oogling the various firearms, a guy walks in with an arm load of rifles wrapped in towels and blankets. He tells the proprietor that his father had just past on, and that nobody in his family wanted any of Dad's old guns. He peeled the blanket off of the first one and exposed an old pump shotgun in very poor condition. Next he pulled out a British SMLE .303. This perked my interest a little bit, until I realized that it had been nickel plated at some point. Ew! Next came a Ruger M77 of some caliber. I had paused in my oogling to see what treasures this guy had brought in, but by now boredom was setting in, and I was about to go back to gazing at the pistols under glass, when...
...out came this!
Let me further explain that this incident occurred right at the height of my 1903 Springfield fascination.
When he peeled back the blanket and exposed that rich walnut, my jaw dropped. Iron and wood! Ohhhhh!
The gun store owner cast a discerning eye over the cache. He commented on the Enfield's nickel job, and the poor shape of the shotgun. He said he could probably make a little on the Ruger, as hunting season was coming. When he got to the 1903, he said some of these were a little collectable, if you could find the guys that collected them...but this was one wasn't particularly rare...Then he said said he'd give the guy $350 for the whole lot. The young man jumped at the offer, and was paid off and out the door in moments, trading his late fathers prized rifles for a pittance of what they were worth. I couldn't hold back my impatience, and vaulted over to the shop owner, and eagerly...too eagerly asked what he would sell the 1903 for. He looked at it, turned to me and said "$325, and not a penny less."
"Sold", I stammered and raced out the door for the cash machine. It was the longest ten minute trip in my life. I was sure he would have sold it out from under me in the interim, or at least second guessed his price. But nope, he was a man of his word, and now it's MINE!
This rifle is as pristine as they come these days, especially for $325 and with no form of import marks. The receiver and barrel dates match, as do all the manufacturers marks I can find, but it does have the large collection of arsenal refinishing stamps located just in front of the magazine plate indicating it has been overhauled at least once. No matter, it's in superb shape, and I am very fond of it.
I have no doubt I could sell it tomorrow for twice what I paid for it, if not three times. No, it's not for sale.