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Old 09-04-2017, 12:21 AM
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Default Sporterized 03 Springfield, good buy?

My brother Tom texted me last week about a sporterized 03 Springfield being sold at a local gun shop for $350 (consignment deal). He asked me if I wanted it and sent me some pics via text. It looks to be pretty nicely done but has no scope. He couldn't take any bore pics but said it was in decent shape. He said he was picking it up and that if I didn't buy it from him he would probably keep it. Anyways, here are the pics he texted me:











What do you think? Good deal, decent deal, bad deal or what? I'm thinking it is a decent deal, as the 03 Springfield action is a strong and smooth action (my Dad had sporterized one back around 1960 that my brother ended up inheriting when my father passed) and would make a nice gun to have.
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Old 09-04-2017, 12:37 AM
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...I like it...find a nice vintage 4x Weaver or Redfield for it...and you'll be all set...
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Old 09-04-2017, 12:49 AM
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Heh, I happen to have a nice, working 3x9 Redfield Widefield I can mount on it too, along with some Weaver mounts. I presently have it on a Ruger 77/22, but did order a new Redfield Revolution along with a set of RCBS 06 dies and some bullets and 06 brass from Midway this evening too. They had free shipping going on and the Revolution scope was on sale too.
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Old 09-04-2017, 12:49 AM
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Pretty sure what you have is a sporterized 1903A3 springfield. Check out the rear receiver ring where the scope base is mounted. Has a male dovetail for the rear military sight that was mounted on the rear receiver ring. Now having said that, you did good. There is no way to duplicate what work that was done to make a nice sporter such as yours for what you paid. Stock looks to be a nice piece of wood, looks like an aftermarket trigger, bolt handle altered for scope usage, drilled and tapped for scope bases. If it were mine I'd stick a good 3x9x40mm scope on it and call it quits. You did good. Frank

Last edited by Frank46; 09-13-2017 at 12:30 AM.
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Old 09-04-2017, 01:00 AM
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It looks like it's a Remington so it could be an 03 or an 03A3. Either way, it is probably worth the $350 or more. I noticed that the normal safety has been removed or modified and that the safety is located on the right rear near the stock. This indicates to me anyway, that it may have an after market trigger mechanism which can be a big plus. Frankly, don't collect 200 as you pass go - BUY it!
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Old 09-04-2017, 01:19 AM
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OldChief, I did notice the different safety on it as compared to what is on my Dad's old Springfield.

I think Tom went back to work in south Texas since the storm (Harvey) went away, but he has it at his house in Duson, LA. Now I just need to get some time off when he is off from the rig and pick it up.
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Old 09-04-2017, 08:30 AM
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The quality of the finish and stock suggest someone put time and effort into making a nice gun, and that is less than you would pay for a a modern synthetic stocked .30-'06, so if it appeals to you it looks like a solid buy to me.
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Old 09-04-2017, 08:45 AM
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I agree it being a WW2 Remington production 03A3.
You can just barely see the REM,,on the top of the recv'r ring in the last pic before the scope block covers it.
The stamped trigger guard, magazine, follower and floorplate unit was standard on the A3.
The rear of the recv'r cut-off boss is machined like an 03-A3.

No matter,,the Remington 03-A3 was made from Chrome-Moly alloy. Plenty strong and no worrys about the Low#/heat treat thing.

Aftermarket trigger w/ side safety for scope use. As others have stated that can be a plus for just being there to a valuable add-on. Some aftermarket triggers are very pricey. Some are not.
Check it's operation and any alterations done with it;s installation. Sloppy grinding and alteration of the sear surface in the bolt, ect are sure signs of trouble and a less than safe rifle.
Test for 'push off' and wether the rifle obviously fires with the safe on. But also if the rifle fires after pulling the trigger with the safety engaged and it appears 'safe',,then mearly flipping the safety to the off (fire) position,,the rifles fires w/o touching the trigger.

Orig bbl? may have the US proof up at the front yet or part of it left there after refinishing. Probably a 44 date.
Check headspace if you can,,not always possible I know. Surplus 03As's are pretty secure in that area. A custom bbl'd gun is where you can get some pretty wild specs and dimensions to chambers/throats, ect.

Pretty nice looking rifle. Nice crisp lines to the metal work,,no sloppy rounded over corners.

Pull the bbl's action if you can and check the bedding for cracks, ect. Glass bedding is OK, You want it secure in the wood and not moving around allowing cracks to happen. The recoil lug and the bottom of the rear tang are the primary contact points

Since these were orig Parkerized, I'd have to assume someone who built it took a lot of time to polish the action and parts correctly to remove the sandblaster Park finish keeping everything clean and sharp. Then reblued the metal, Labor intensive for sure. No buffer work showing.
Low scope bolt handle, again nice sharp metal work and lines..
No way you could build that particular rifle even at min wage and sell it for $350. You'd still be loosing money.
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Old 09-04-2017, 08:46 AM
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Looks great. My first bolt action 06 was an 03-A3
I sporterized it myself...
Very accurate rifle. I killed hundreds of ground hogs with it
50 years ago. Used 130 grn. Speer HP handload.
If I remember correctly I had a 10X Lyman All American on it..
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Old 09-04-2017, 09:25 AM
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Hello forum;

Muddoctor did just fine with that rifle for $350. It well could have been done in the early 1960's, late 1950's as was my .303 Enfield....take it from me....that 303 sporterized turned out to be my first choice for whitetail in the eastern brush country of NY and western PA. Scopes were a pain in those days and my other choice was a Win 30-30 lever but the .303 usually got carried whether driving or standing.

I just sold my all original Remington 03-A3 (1943) to another forum member as I am getting out of militaria, but I agree that the OP definitely has a Rem WWII 03-A3 that was sporterized.

Check out the old (1962) Sears Roebuck catalog page, note the sporterized deluxe 03-A3 for $68, Williams sling for $1.26 xtra, 60 (yea...60) rounds for $4.00 and change. Look at the similarities of the stock checkering and white line spacers.

Whoever did the conversion works for Sears and others in those days had a pretty decent handle on quality of workmanship in my opinion.

I think you did just fine!
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Sporterized 03 Springfield, good buy?-303-british-1-jpg   Sporterized 03 Springfield, good buy?-303-british-5-jpg   Sporterized 03 Springfield, good buy?-1903a3-3-jpg   Sporterized 03 Springfield, good buy?-1903a3-1-jpg   Sporterized 03 Springfield, good buy?-sears-1962-rifles-jpg  

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Old 09-04-2017, 10:02 AM
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My take on customized guns.....won't know what it's worth till it goes to the range. Because at this point the value is in its ability to perform. Okay, in some cases the sum of its parts, and other exceptions like Kings target packages....

I think for 350, it's a good looking rifle. But I've had better looking rifles that have shot poorly, and vice versa.
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Old 09-04-2017, 10:02 AM
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In my "Younger Days" I traded into a 1903 Springfield with a two groove bore. It had been "Sporterized" by simply removing the stock hardware installing adding a Bishop Stock and adding a 2.5" Redfield scope.
At 100 yards using GI ball ammo it gave a 3/4" group.
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Old 09-04-2017, 10:24 AM
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Thanks for the posts and info everyone. I really appreciate the information and all. I just did some texting with Tom this morning and he is at the rig, but should be coming home for a couple of days this next weekend. So I will be picking it up from him this weekend. BTW, he did say it has an aftermarket trigger too, but he didn't say what kind it was. I can't hardly wait to pick it up now.

Jim
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Old 09-04-2017, 10:25 AM
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Some additional thoughts on the OP's sporter.

If indeed it was done professionally by some firm for Sears or others, that may account for the "new" blued barrel (as in the add from 1962) and everyone is right.....have to see how she does at the range!.

Just for grins I ran the $68.88 through the inflation calculator and it comes up $ 547.25 in 2017 dollars so for $350 you got a pretty good discount off of the Sears price. Sure wish the ammo and slings were same price as those days long gone!
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Old 09-04-2017, 12:44 PM
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Even with the stamped trigger guard and floor plate, it could be either an 03 or 03A3. Some of the later Remington 03s produced during WWII came with stamped parts including the trigger guard and floor plate. If I could see the rear scope mount better from the side, we could tell for sure. Anyway, whoever put it together did one heck of a nice job. After a closer examination of your pictures, I can tell for sure that you have an 03-A3. Don't worry about shooting modern ammo, the 03-A3 is a strong action. Hope you can find a good milled trigger guard and floor plate, it will really dress your rifle.

Last edited by OldChief; 09-11-2017 at 10:14 PM.
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Old 09-04-2017, 12:45 PM
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If the metallurgy is good, it is a nice rifle for the price. I would make sure the receiver is ok for shooting.
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Old 09-09-2017, 10:13 PM
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I picked it up from my brother today and it is definitely an 03-A3 with a serial number of 4130xxx and manufactured by Remington. The bore looks good and the action is slick and the trigger is heavenly light! I have to hunt up my trigger gauge, but it feels to me like a 2 lb trigger, maybe a tad less. It breaks crisply too and I didn't find any sign of push off or other problems with my rather limited playing with it so far. I mounted up the Redfield Revolution scope on it for now, but I might swap it out for the old Redfield Widefield on my 77/22 because the tube is so short on the Revolution the scope mounts go from one end of the 1" part of the scope to the other side and the back mount is right against the magnification ring.
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Old 09-10-2017, 01:34 AM
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A further update: I decided to swap the scopes around and now the old 3x9 Redfield Widefield Is on the 03-A3 and looks good on it too. The main 1" body of the old scope is roughly 1" longer than the Revolution and mounts up easier on the Springfield scope mounts, plus it looks period correct anyways for a sporterized Springfield. Also, I took the gun and stock apart and this beauty has a Timney trigger on it and I located my trigger gauge and the trigger breaks right at 2 1/2 lbs. But it breaks so clean it feels lighter than that. Everything looks good inside the stock too; no rust or any surprises.

I can hardly wait to get it to the range and try it out now. And maybe tomorrow I'll try to take a few pics of it with the scope installed.
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Old 09-10-2017, 04:48 AM
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Will the stock inletting let you replace that stamped trigger guard with a milled one?

The rifle seems a sound buy at $350, but would be really nice with a better trigger guard and floorplate.

I think the Redfield scopes made in the USA were quite good. I have one of 2X-7X Five-Star ones with a specially ordered Euro No. 4 reticle on my Winchester Fwt. Classic .270.

I won't kid you that it's as bright and sharp as a Swarovski or Zeiss, but it's plenty good for most hunting.

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Old 09-10-2017, 08:21 AM
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I'd jump on it at that price.
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Old 09-10-2017, 09:16 AM
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A milled 1903 Sprf'ld trigger guard/bottom metal should interchange with the stamped assembly. Guard screw hole spacing is the same, shape is the same, You sometimes have a tiny bit of scraping/fitting inletting to do for a nice fit.

The target shooters used to prefer the milled assembly over the stamped as the sheet metal stamped guard would not hold the torque of the guard screws well. The sheet metal assembly would compress a little leaving the all important bedding pressure points uneven.
You sometimes find small metal washers under the stamped guard ends to better support it in the wood to try and avoid that.

They used a 2 groove bbl in most all Rem 1903A3 production. I think it was very late 1942 they went to the 2 groove bbl to cut production time, the Rem 03A3 itself was authorized for production a bit earlier in the year,,around June or July '42.

They made a '1903 Modified' also,,, a 1903 with a few stamped parts but still the basic 1903 style rifle w/ bbl rear sight.
Some of these had a stamped trigger guard assembly especially the late production ones, but they can vary as to the number of 'stamped' parts rifle to rifle assembled (rear swivel, rear band, band spring, mag follower).
Early '42 right on into and overlapping 03A3 production
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Old 09-10-2017, 01:49 PM
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I was looking into the milled guard/floorplate and that might be something I will do in the near future. Sarco has some milled guards, but I will probably end up having to send them off after fitting to get them polished and blued. It looks to me like a 4 groove barrel on this gun and the front of the barrel is drilled and tapped for a front sight assembly such as you would see on a Winchester or Remington bolt gun and not a milled dovetail in it. The 2 holes are filled with set screws. I think I will be going to the range and sight in the rifle, along with the 77/22 that I swapped out the old Redfield off of to install on the Springfield.
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Old 09-11-2017, 09:03 AM
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i think remington transitioned to 2 groove barrels in mid 1943
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Old 09-11-2017, 11:41 AM
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Definitely and without doubt a Remington 03-A3 with standard safety removed and what looks like an aftermarket barrel. If you do find a milled guard assembly, be advised that an '06-length Win. M70 mag. follower fits nicely and doesn't block the bolt when magazine is empty. A milled Springfield follower will have to have its rib beveled to not block.

Larry
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Old 09-12-2017, 05:36 PM
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Finally got around to taking a couple of pics of it with the Redfield mounted on it. I also went to the range and ran 40 rounds through it sighting in the scope and messing around. I do know that I need to invest in a good recoil pad, as that plastic thing on the stock was starting to hurt pretty much the last 10 rounds or so I shot. I was using 2 different loads (20 each load) with some 180 grain Hornady Interlock BTSP bullets. One was using 53 grains IMR 4831 and the other was using 52 grains of Hybrid 100V. Accuracy was acceptable but not stellar, but I am happy. I'm sure I can try some other bullets, powder, etc and tighten things up a bit. Plus, the wind was kicking around 10-20 mph and variable and a crosswind, which didn't help either.

Here are pics of the gun as it sits now:




Here is the last target after I had it hitting paper pretty decently. The first 8 shots I was aiming at center of target, then went 3 to the lower left, 3 to the lower right, 3 to the upper left and the final 3 to the upper right. On both the upper targets I was starting to get a bit flinchy due to my shoulder starting to throb. Just ignore the couple of 22 holes; I shot my Ruger 77/22 at it a couple of times just messing around.

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Old 09-12-2017, 07:27 PM
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That's a nice piece of wood..
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Old 09-12-2017, 07:48 PM
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By dang, it shoots like a Springfield ! And a +1 on the spiffy lumber !

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Old 09-12-2017, 09:41 PM
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I agree with all posters.
But what really blew me away was the superb checkering on it.
That is super tight "lines per inch"!! Professional work there.
Look at it!
30-06 caliber 150 grain projectile is a great caliber from deer thru elk!
I'd have bought it up in a New York second! Super great you did.
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Old 09-13-2017, 12:54 AM
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Try this load in your springfield.
federal '06 brass
CCI 250 magnum primer
Nosler 165 grain ballistic tip
54'4 to 55'4 grains IMR 4350.
I've shot this load everything the same except switching to a Sierra 168 grain match king bullet. Shot great in 3 pre '64 model 70 match rifles and one standard model 70 all in '06. Now using the above load in a Sako 75 ( tey don't make this one anymore) for better than 1" at 100 yds and the chronograph shows 2800 feet per second. You can back off to 52 grains IMR 4350 and work up. That same Sako loves the old Match M72 match ammo with the 172 grain match bullet. Don't even have to change the settings on the scope. Regarding the milled 1903 trigger guard assembly, when I had my A3 done many years ago I was told to swap the A3 stamped trigger guard out for the milled one. The rough stamped guard would cut the wood and accuracy would go to heck. Found one at a local gun show. Stripped it down and did all the sanding and polishing prior to doing the same with the barreled action. Came out looking great with a deep dark blued finish. I ditched the original military rear sight for a steel Lyman 57 and a Redfield barrel band front sight. Still have the old girl and still shoots great. Bolt is unaltered for scope so iron sights only. As my eyes age irons getting harder to use. Thinking of getting it drilled and tapped for Weaver Grand slam steel bases, Burris zee rings and of course getting the bolt altered for use with a scope. Got a nice Zeiss Conquest 3x9 scope for it as well. For $350 you did very well, no way to duplicate your rifle for close to twice that amount. Sorry for the rant, love the 03 and A3 rifles. Frank
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Old 09-13-2017, 11:18 AM
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Dang, looks like another "bad" decision from which you could not be saved despite the advice given by members of this forum!

Congrats on a great deal on a fine rifle!
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:34 PM
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muddocktor muddocktor is offline
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Sporterized 03 Springfield, good buy? Sporterized 03 Springfield, good buy? Sporterized 03 Springfield, good buy? Sporterized 03 Springfield, good buy? Sporterized 03 Springfield, good buy?  
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Thanks guys! I thought it was a good deal myself, especially after seeing it in person.

Frank46, thanks for the heads up on a load that has worked well for you. This is my first 30-06 and information like this is extremely helpful. BTW, I've found that the Nosler 140 grain ballistic tips shoot extremely accurately out of my 264 Mag also, so I will give the 165 grain a whirl in my 03-A3. And I would love to see your A3 some day. And get some pointers on refinishing a milled trigger guard when I get myself one. I would want to get it looking as good as the rest of the metalwork on my A3, which means a lot of polishing and a good blue job. BTW, do you know anyone local that does good hot blue work in the New Iberia/Lafayette area?

mrchuck, this was a consignment sale, so I am thinking that this gun was built for someone (or built it themselves) in the 60's or 70's when Springfields were cheap and plentiful and whoever it was built for must have passed away. And whoever inherited it decided to sell it because it was "old school" and wanted themselves a plastic rifle. It was sold without the scope, so I figure they saved that for their new purchase.
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