SOLD FOR: $1000
Make: Rock Island Arsenal (RIA)
Serial Number: 199261
Year of Manufacture: 1911 (page 373 of Joe Poyer’s book, The M1903 Springfield Rifle and its Variations, 3rd Edition)
Barrel Date: January, 1919
Caliber: .30-06 Springfield
Action Type: Bolt Action, Internal Magazine
Markings: The top of the receiver is marked “U.S. / ROCK ISLAND / ARSENAL / MODEL 1903 / 199261”. The top of Rock Island Arsenal barrel is marked “RIA / flaming bomb / 1 – 19”. The safety is marked “SAFE READY” and the magazine cutoff is marked “ON OFF”. The underside of the bolt handle is marked “R” for Remington. The barrel band is marked “U”. The bayonet lug is marked “H”. The left side of the stock, above the trigger, is marked with an Arsenal Rebuild stamp from the Raritan Arsenal “RA-P”. The nose of the stock is marked “J”.
Barrel Length: Approximately 24 Inches
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a pinned blade atop a barrel mounted base. The rear sight is a “U” notched blade attached to a fully adjustable sight ladder marked from “3-27”. When flipped up separate notches and an aperture on the ladder can be used for sighting.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The two piece hardwood stock has a pistol grip, metal nosecap with bayonet lug, barrel band, stacking loop, 2 sling loops, 2 through bolts, and a metal buttplate with hinged door for storage. The buttplate and nosecap have been refinsihed in gun paint. Surface erosion shows through the new finish on the buttplate. The wood shows scattered scrapes, scratches and compression marks. There are more prominent marks on the left side ahead of the thought bolt. The LOP measures 13 inches from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The stock rates in about Very Good Plus overall condition.
Type of Finish: Parkerized
Finish Originality: Original. The front of the barrel has been refinished in Gun Paint.
Bore Condition: The muzzle and grooves are gray. The rifling is deep; less pronounced at the muzzle. There is erosion in the bore. It is more prominent at the muzzle and in the grooves. There is some light intermittent pitting in the grooves. The bore shows an M.E. of 2.
Overall Condition: The front of the barrel has been refinished in gun paint. This rifle retains about 95% of its current metal finish. The receiver has been treated with cold blue. It shows discoloration from both the cold blue and oxidation. The metal shows scrapes and small scratches. The bottom metal also shows oxidation. The receiver and bolt show operational wear. The screw heads show heavy use. The markings are deep. Overall, this rifle rates in about Very Good Plus condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. We did not fire this rifle. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance requirements.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: The rifle comes with a Certificate of Authenticity from the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP). The certificate is marked with the rifle’s serial number.
Our Assessment: When the US Army was looking for a rifle design to replace the 1898 Krag rifle, they looked directly at the Spanish Model 1893 Mauser. This was due to the fact that the performance of the Model 1893 Mauser was far superior than that of the 1898 Krag during the Spanish-American War. The Model 1903 is basically a redesigned Mauser clone. A U.S. Patent Court eventually found that the U.S. Army had violated Mauser’s patents and required the U.S. Army to pay the German Mauser manufacturers patent royalties. Payments were stopped once WWI started. The 1903 has a strong reliable action that served the Army for over thirty years in two world wars.
This Rock Island Arsenal Model 1903 was made back in 1910. We don’t know its service life but it was probably put to good use during WWI and WWII. At some point the rifle was Arsenal Rebuilt at the Raritan Arsenal and is marked accordingly on the stock. This rifle was eventually purchased through the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) and comes with a CMP Certificate of Authenticity. The barrel, receiver and stock hardware had their finishes “touched up” after the CMP purchase. This Rock Island Arsenal 1903 looks good and has nice RIA markings on the barrel and on the receiver. It will add to your Military collection. Good luck.