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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I Posted this under someone else's thread, but wanted to add some pictures and not hijack his...

Today, I just finished a rebuild of a build I started back in 1992.


My buddy, "The Pirate" had a barreled action in his basement - no bolt, only a rusty front band, that was it. He let me have it for some beer & wine. Meantime, I was trying to figure out this Model 1903-A3 Remington receiver and RA 11-43 Barrel.

Following weekend, I am out at Ft. Schuyler and see the Cadets in formation - they all had the 'A3. After formation, I asked this young cadet about their rifles and told him what I had and needed. He took me to the armory right there besides the Marine Barracks, and pulled out a bolt, butt plate, bands, swivels, follower, spring and screws. All I needed then was a stock, and SARCO sold me a correct stock with a matching NOS hand guard for $65.00

Withing 2 weeks I had a 1903-A3 all put together, and the "Pirate" was impressed. Off to Camp Smith, I fired 50 rounds to qualify for my first Garand from the DCM (now CMP) with that 'A3. But when my rifle got hot, the bolt would lock up, and I began to have my concerns of safety (After all, I had no head space gages back then).

All those years went by and my first high power rifle went into disuse, although still dear to me.

I sent the metal off to Schuffs to have refinished, and on return was so impressed with it, I coated it in cosmoline to attempt a green patina, and left it in the attic for two years. (That was a waste of time - but I love how Shuff did the action in zinc park and contrasted other parts with either blue or dark gray, which is typical of Remington 1903-A3's).

Two weeks ago, got out a blow torch, heated up the action and cleaned off the cosmoline.

Rebuilt the rifle on the same stock, and this time I was better prepared with a go, no-go, field test gages, and, a field test bolt.

Just as I had expected - the rifle's head space was excessive, but the good news was the field test bolt passed with flying colors. My conclusion was that I needed a NOS bolt body, and the bolt I originally got from the Cadet at Fort Schulyer was already well used before I got it.

Someone on GB sold me a NOS Remington Bolt Body with a '42 stamp, and hoped Remington's machining was then consistent to spec to their c. 1942-43 receiver.

While waiting for my bolt to arrive, I plugged up the breech and soaked it in Kroil for a day, and polished the bore with JB, used Hoppes copper cutter, more Kroil, polish. The bore has never been cleaner and the ME is 1.5 !

The Remington "R '42" bolt arrived Saturday. The grease easily cleaned off, and it passed all the gage tests.

Not only that, this rifle now has a real 'cling sound to it when I cycle the practice rounds through it and dry fire the bolt. The let off has never been crisper, and thus this rifle is re-incarnated. I might stamp '711 in the heel of the wood under the butt-plate, because it is my work and it is not for sale.

The first picture is of my action, note the light grey zinc phosphate finish contrasted to the darker grey sight and blued cut off. There is a "FJA" original stamp in the wood for "Frank J. Attenwood" which is correct for the period this action was made. A small cross cannon stamp is to the left, and a Circle "P" on the wrist. Originally, I got the wood from SARCO which was an original base brown typical of some of the Remington wood made, but I decided to give it the reddish walnut look and did what I do best with wood: without taking off the original color, I gave it an overcoat of Chestnut Ridge stain and BLO.

The second photograph is of Marines from the Fifth Amphibious Corps - these are all Combat Correspondents, Photographers and Artists. The Marine 2nd to the left is Harry Andrew Jackson, a very famous Artist and recently passed away in April 2011. These Marines had just returned from the invasion of Roi-Namur Island, in the Marshall Islands. The battle raged from January 31 - Feb 3, 1944 and this photo was taken around March, 1944 at Oahu Island, Territory of Hawaii. Did you happen to notice Harry Jackson is holding a 1903A3 ! So much for the experts out there who insist that the '03 was shelved after Guadalcanal.

Hope this was fun.


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324 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Rebuilding and restoring to firing condition old "retired" USGI guns is a duty I believe very strongly in.

1918 Springfield 1903A1 CMP Greek Return, NOS Springfield Stock, 1942 Springfield Barrel. Tracked it within 2 numbers to a Marine Unit in the Pacific in WW-II. Wish it could talk. Trigger is smooth as glass and it still shoots very tight and Kicks like a Mule with Mil-Spec Surplus Ball Ammo.

Congrats on your project. If you care, an iron will steam out many of the scrapes and bruises on your stock if you feel you need to clean it up any.
Of course..it earned every one of them.
I thought of steaming them out, but I like the look. I never lucked out in finding a Springfield off the rack from the military (not even one of their rebuilds) - I built all of mine. Same path I am taking now with the M-14. It all starts with a major component, whether the action, a barrel, or a stock. Sometimes, even a bayonet, and the disease spreads. Yes --- it is called Gun disease. And although not life threatening, there is no cure. Bhwah hah hah hah.

Incidentally, that is a fine 1903 A1 you have there.

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