1903 Springfield

1903 Springfield

The Springfield 1903A3 rifles and the earlier Springfield 1903's were the main battle rifles of the United States through World War I and into the early days of World War II. The most visible difference is the rear sight. The 1903 will have an open rear sight located to the rear of the barrel, much like most Mausers. The 1903A3 will have a aperture ("peep") rear sight located at the rear of the receiver, not unlike the M1 Garand.
For some time 1903 and 1903A3 rifles have not been available on the open market. In early March of 2002 the Civilian Marksmanship Program announced that they had received the last large quanity of 1903 and 1903A3 rifles in the world. Those rifles were quickly sold to members of CMP-affiliated organizations. The CMP sales program continues at this time, however the 1903 and 1903A3 rifles now available are "drill rilfes" which would be VERY difficult to return to functional firearm status.
The CMP warns against shooting any of the "low number" Springfield or Rock Island 1903 rifles. Members of our club who purchased low number 1903 rifles from the CMP report the strikers (firing pins) had been cut. All 1903 rifles received from the CMP had a hole drilled through the floorplate retaining catch and a brass or steel pin inserted. This prevented the floorplate from being released and prevented the rifle from being unloaded through the magazine. (New strikers are available from commercial sources; the pins can be drifted out with a pin punch.)
Both the 1903 and the later 1903A3 fire the US .30-'06 Springfield (aka .30-'06 Govt.) cartridge. Any ammunition loaded for the later M1 Garand may be fired safely in any 1903 or 1903A3 in good condition. Components for reloading are available from all major manufacturers..

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