This is a fine condition Springfield Armory Model 1903 Rifle in .30-06 that was originally manufactured as a Rod Bayonet Rifle in 1904, the first full year of Model 1903 production. This rifle then went through the alterations that took place after adoption of the Model 1905 Bayonet and the Model 1906 alteration from the original .30-03 round to the new .30-06 round, and the rifle remains in the subsequent Model 1906 alteration condition, which probably took place around 1907.
The serial number of this 1903 Rifle is 77618, which was manufactured at Springfield Armory in the summer of 1904. This rifle is sufficiently early enough that it was originally a complete Rod Bayonet Rifle. When the Model 1905 alteration was approved, remaining Model 1903 production stopped and production was further delayed by the adoption of the .30-06 cartridge in late 1906. It is likely, therefore, that this receiver was not completed as an altered Model 1903 until 1907 when it received the modified rod bayonet barrel, altered to .30-06, and dated “05.”
The serial number on the receiver is stamped in the correct and early script style. The Receiver retains the majority of its original case-hardened finish on both the lower, protected areas and the top, exposed areas, which now exhibits a dark plum patina. There is no Hatcher Hole on the left side of the receiver, so it was never altered for WWI or WWII service. The bottom of the receiver has numerous sub-inspection stamps.
The Trigger is the early first type with thin taper and smooth face. The Trigger retains the vast majority of its finish and this particular type of Trigger was used by Springfield up until 1910. The Sear is the early type with weep hole in the bottom. The Sear Pin retains considerable original blue finish on its face and on the body of the pin. The Sear Spring remains in the white. The original Bolt Stop is present, and it retains the majority of its original blued finish.
The Magazine Cutoff is the correct and early first type with serif "OFF" and "ON" stamps and the rounded area where the cutoff switch is milled into the portion with the spindle hole. The “ON” side is correctly in the white, and the “OFF” side still retains considerable original blued finish. The cutoff operates correctly.
As noted, when this rifle was finally completed as altered, it received a then newly modified rod-bayonet barrel with “05” date and, with it, the new Type III solid bottom Fixed Rear Sight Base, which was introduced in 1907. The Rear Sight Base is correctly pinned at the bottom, front. The base largely exhibits a plum and pewter patina throughout. There are serif “L,” and “G” stamps on the bottom of the base.
The Rear Sight is an original Springfield manufactured Model 1905 Adjustable Rear Sight with the correct .30-06 leaf graduations to 2,850 yards, which replaced the earlier .30-03 leaf graduations to 2450 yards in late 1906. These rear sights were being slowly produced and rifle production at Springfield Armory had to wait for rear sight production to catch up, which did not occur until well into 1907. The face of the leaf retains a plum patina with clear delineations and numbers. The top of the Leaf has the volley fire notch. The back of the Leaf, at the top, has the correct half-round slide stop. The Drift Slide is the Second Type with the horizontal line that bisects the peep hole and without the vertical platinum line. The Slide is the third type, and the Elevation Slide Binding Knob is the correct and early first type that is dished and knurled with the central groove running around the knurled portion. The binding knob retains the majority of its original blued finish. The Windage Knob is the correct and early small type that is also dished with knurls and it has the central groove. The windage knob retains most of the original blued finish. The slide correctly adjusts for windage and elevation. The Leaf Spring retains the majority of its original finish. The Rear Sight Base exhibits a plum patina.
The Barrel is its original Model 1906 alteration Springfield marked barrel with sans serif “SA” over the Ordnance Bomb stamp over the date “05”. This barrel began life as a rod bayonet rifle barrel chambered in .30-03 caliber but was never installed on a rifle. The barrel was left blank when Springfield went through the hectic process of first altering the existing rod bayonet rifles to the Model 1905 knife bayonet configuration and then, less than a year later, altering the rifles to .30-06 caliber. Existing .30-03 barrels, such as this one, were then pulled out of inventory, re-chambered for .30-06, and then stamped with the year only “05.” The Barrel retains the vast majority of the original blued finish along the length. The bore is in excellent condition with a mirror finish and strong rifling with frosting in the grooves toward the muzzle.
The original Front Sight Base is present and is still secured tightly to the barrel. The base retains traces of its original blued finish which now exhibits a plum patina. The base is correctly pinned to the rear. The Front Sight Moveable Base retains most of its original blued finish that also exhibits a dark plum patina. The Front Sight Screw is slightly marred. The original Front Sight Blade retains the majority of its original blued finish and it correctly staked to the moveable base.
The Trigger Guard is the early and correct modified First Type, which was milled. This guard has the sans serif “S” stamp on the bottom of the guard in the area covered by the floor plate. The interior portion of the guard adjacent to the latch has an “8” stamp. The modified First Type, sometimes referred to as the Second Type Guard, incorporates a small pin at the top, front of the trigger slot, which was designed to prevent the trigger from moving so far forward that it could trip the sear and fire. The Trigger Guard retains considerable original blue finish in the protected areas with normal operational wear exhibiting a muted plum patina on the bottom, exposed portions. Both original Trigger Guard Screws are present, and both retain the majority of their original blued finish that is starting to thin on the heads.
The Floor Plate is correctly milled and has the distinctive straight milling cut on the bottom and the more gradual slope at the front edge that was the standard at Springfield. See “United States Rifles and Machine Guns: Manufacturing the Springfield, 1903 Model Service Rifle,” by Ethan Viall Colvin, reprint of McGraw-Hill edition from 1917, page 173. The Floor Plate retains the vast majority of its original blued finish on the interior, protected surface with a very small serif “F” inspection stamp. The external side retains the majority of the original blued finish that exhibits a plum patina.
The Follower Spring is the correct type with rounded crimp/bend points, and it retains considerable fire tempered finish. The Follower is the correct milled type that retains considerable blued finish on the top surface with wear on the top divider and on the right ledge as well as on the front and rear ends. The bottom of the Follower retains the majority of its original blued finish with wear noted towards the back where the follower spring bend rests.
The Bolt is the correct and early Springfield Armory type with straight handle and small gas hole. The Bolt has the serif “S” steel lot number on the bottom of the safety lug. This “S” heat lot number is correct for early Springfield Model 1903 Rifles manufactured or altered from 1903 to 1911. There is a “1” inspection stamp on the bottom of the bolt handle root. The Bolt retains 80% of its original blue finish that is showing wear along the friction points and sharp edges/high points with the balance a mixture of wear to the white and a pewter patina. The Extractor Collar is correctly milled and retains considerable original blued finish. The Bolt Handle and knob retain the majority of their original blued finish. The Left Locking Lug has the correct bolt stop detents on the bottom of the lug. The Extractor is the correct early type with the gas escape hole. The exterior surface retains considerable original blued finish with a small area of wear down to the white along the center. The interior surface retains the vast majority of its original blue finish.
The Bolt Sleeve is the correct and early 3-position type, and it retains considerable original blue finish that is beginning to exhibit a pewter patina and with wear on the sharp edges. The Safety is the correct early Second Type with serif “READY” and “SAFE,” that exhibits a muted oil finish. There is correctly no hole in the top of the safety. The Safety Plunger and spring work correctly. The detent button on the left side of the bolt sleeve remains correctly in the white.
The Cocking Piece is the correct early type with three distinct rows of fine checkering and one partial row of checkering. The Cocking Piece is in fine condition and retains considerable original oil quenched finish on the barrel with the head and lug retaining considerable original color case-hardened finish. There are two milled rings on the neck of the Cocking Piece that contour smoothly towards the front. The Firing Pin Collar exhibits the majority of its original blue finish in the ridges with wear on the top and bottom edges. The Firing Pin (or Striker) shows considerable original blue finish throughout. The Firing Pin Spring remains in the white with 36 coils.
The Stock is an excellent condition, rare and beautiful, original Springfield Finger Groove Stock with no reinforcing bolts (which were added in 1908) and it retains its high wood profile. This particular stock was a newly built stock for the Model 1906 alterations and was probably newly installed on this rifle when it was manufactured in 1907. The left side of the stock has the original, rounded corner, sans serif “J.F.C.” cartouche, which is the final inspection cartouche of Springfield Inspector James F. Coyle. In the magazine cutoff recess is a serif “H” stamp. The bottom of the stock wrist has faintly visible and correct circle, script “P” firing proof stamp. There are numerous inspection stamps in the milled out interior of the stock.
This stock retains its original oiler cutout in the butt and never received the later modification of an additional milled out spare parts recess cut, which was incorporated into all stocks starting in 1911. The original smooth butt plate, which was used until 1910, is present. The exterior surface of the butt plate exhibits a plum patina with evidence of old surface corrosion. Both the convex, single slot tang screw and flat, single-slot plate screw, are present. The trap door is present, and the original spring keeps the door closed securely.
The rifle includes its original Type II nickel-plated Oiler. The oiler retains the vast majority of its nickel plating over the brass case. The oil applicator is present, and the original leather washer remains in place. The original weighted brass pull-through, and bore brush is present.
The Stock has the milled Rear Sling Swivel Assembly, which retains considerable original blued finish. Both lower sling swivel screws are present, and both have slightly marred slots. The Lower Band Spring retains the majority of its original blued finish. There are numerous minor dings and scratches noted but no cracks or chips are noted. This is a very beautiful and very rare stock.
The Handguard is a beautiful concave ramp type with the flat top and fixture slot on the bottom. This flat top handguard ended in 1910 when the short sighting groove was added. It correctly does not have the two handguard clips. It has the correct, large, rounded Windage Knob clearance cut. There are minor dings and small scratches on the handguard, but no cracks or chips are noted. The finish on the both the stock and handguard match perfectly and neither has ever been sanded.
The Lower Barrel Band is the correct milled type with the "U" stamp on the right side and it has the correct, early split shank on the Upper Sling Swivel. The Band and Sling Swivel now exhibits a mixed blue and plum patina. The Upper Band is the correct milled type introduced when the knife bayonet was approved in 1905 and it correctly does not have the sans serif "H" hardness stamp on the bottom of the bayonet lug, which began to appear until after 1907. The Band retains the majority of its original blued finish throughout that is now exhibiting a plum patina. The Stacking Swivel has rounded ends or tips and is milled.
This is a scarce and beautiful Springfield Armory Model 1903 Service Rifle that is unique in that it began life as a very early Rod Bayonet Rifle and was then altered at Springfield in 1907 to incorporate both the Model 1905 and Model 1906 alterations. This rifle functions perfectly.