View Full Version : Centerfire M1903-A3- any input?

March 22, 2016, 11:44
I've seen these rifles for $999.99 and was thinking of getting one. Anyone know who builds them, or have any other info about them?

March 22, 2016, 13:27
They are built by Gibbs Rifle Co. http://www.centerfiresystems.com/RIFLE-SPRING-FULLC.aspx

Remington receiver and commercial barrel with aftermarket C stock. Didn't Gibbs build rifles (M1903A4s) with drill rifles?
Edited to add this: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/gibbs-rifles/martinsburg-west-virginia-25405/gibbs-rifles-navy-arms-unsafe-firearms-martinsburg-west-virginia-591086 YMMV Buyer beware.

March 22, 2016, 14:01
OP, your question is elementary to the point of being ambiguous.

The 'Springfield' rifle was made by Springfield Armory, Remington Arms and Smith-Corona, for government contract.

Through the years original rifles have been rebuilt, and franken rifles have been turned out as well. Through the years small parts have generally been available, including barrels, clean receivers , far as long as I can remember have been in short supply. To remedy that situation, people have turned to re-activating drill rifles that had been de-activated. Obviously de-activated receivers must be closely inspected. Some of these receivers are beyond redemption. ( tuorial here: http://www.ktgunsmith.com/03A3.htm)
Some say re-activated should not be used at all.

Gibbs Rifles/Navy Arms and I think Creedmore Sports may have produced 03/A4 sniper versions on re-activated receivers, that are allowed to compete in the 'Vintage Sniper Match' at Camp Perry. They were offered several years ago.

Decide what you want, original in good or better condition for collecting purposes, or a shooter. Plenty of info on-line. Maybe find an old hand and walk around the gunshows w/ him.

Currently their are several 03/A3s' available on Gunbroker.

These are neat old warhorses, good luck in your quest.

Retired Bum
March 22, 2016, 15:07
Don't forget that Rock Island Arsenal produced M1903's starting I believe in 1906 to 1913. RIA ceased production because the US military now had enough M1903's being produced by Springfield Armory to meet the demand.

It should be remembered that the USA was strongly isolationist back then. If the Europeans wanted to slaughter each other like they had been doing for most of recorded history then it was none of our business. But in 1917 after declaring war against Germany Rock Island put the M1903 back in to production until the end of the war.

The Rock Island M1903 production machinery was transferred to Remington in 1941 and that company started production in November of that year and ceased production in May 1942 after cranking out a bit over 365,000 rifles. The Remington began production of the simplified M1903A3 and A4 sniper models.

Smith-Corona produced M1903A3 actions but no barrels. These were produced by High Standard but marked with the letters S-C and the date. Both Remington and Smith-Corona ceased production in Feb 1944. By then Springfield Armory was producing enough M1 rifles along with Winchester to meet the demand.

I know that prices on as issue genuine Springfields are all over the place. Just two weeks ago I sold my last M1903 made by Remington in April 1942 to a FFL dealer who collected them. It was in all original condition and I let it go for $500. I know that I could have got more on a consignment sale but it was cash right now and I have done a lot of business with this dealer since 2014. And I will continue to do so.

And so it goes.

The Retired One

March 22, 2016, 21:16
I personally rebuilt a drill rifle of this type that I picked up at auction in 2010 or so. the rifle I started with did not have the barrel welded to the receiver ring. it must have been from an earlier batch that did not yet require this. the barrel was chamber bunged, so I put a NIW 03A3 barrel on the 03 gun after a few minor mods to the barrel sight journal diameter, etc. the bolt face was welded shut and firing pin was missing, so I replaced the bolt with a like new refurb bolt. to change the bolt I had to grind free the bolt stop release. no worries in my case.

March 23, 2016, 07:01
Everyone who has purchased one of these seems happy with them. The weld issues don't seem to be too big of a deal. I'm going to contact Rock Ridge and nail down some specifics ,but it looks like they know what they're doing. It looks like they're the supplier to James River Armory also.

V guy
March 23, 2016, 17:21
I purchased one of those Gibbs "C" pistol grip stocks that was cracked at the wrist, and let go cheap on GB.

Those C stocks are available from the CMP for $125.00, but need to be checked if you already have a rifle.

When I checked the bedding in this cracked stock, there was no contact at all between the stock, the bottom of the receiver or the receiver's front recoil lug.

There was also no metal tube bedded in the stock for the rear action screw. There was also no contact between the stock or the receiver screw at the rear.
The stock was only fitted to the receiver's longitudinal rails.
The gun was "floating"; no wonder the stock cracked.

I fixed the cracked wrist area with epoxy bedded pins & I then repaired the front recoil area. The epoxy bedding filled up the gap under the receiver about 1/8+" under the receiver and 1/8+ to the front of the recoil lug!!

I then installed the rear screw's tube in epoxy, now in alignment with the bedded action.
Properly fitted, it is a nice piece of wood, and has not cracked. The Gibbs rifles look nice. I would hope their rifles are bedded correctly, by now.

You could buy an 03A3 with a poor stock, buy the C stock and do the work yourself.

March 24, 2016, 07:00
I currently have a Boyd's stock from CMP for one of my M1903s, and CMP has acknowledged that it needs a lot of work as you posted V Guy. The front band won't even slide down to the correct place either, there is so much excess wood.

I spoke with a gentleman from James River Armory yesterday, and he confirmed Rock River Machine plays a role (sourcing receivers- Smith Corona and Remington-) and that some may be reactivated drill rifles. James River said they install the new Criterion barrels, headspace, install NOS USGI bolts etc. He also said all parts were USGI and not commercial.

The stocks for the James River are from Italy, and are according to James River, are supposed to be much less work to fit than the Boyd's stocks. I'd like to get my hands on one for my other project rifle