WWI Rock Island Arsenal 1903 RIA .30-06 Bolt Action Rifle, MFD 1912 C&R

SOLD FOR: $3225

LSB#: 230113HP049

Make: Rock Island Arsenal

Model: 1903

Serial Number: 224819

Year of Manufacture: 1912 (page 373 of Joe Poyer’s book, The M1903 Springfield Rifle and its Variations, 3rd Edition) Barrel Date: Dec, 1912

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 / 224819”. The top of the barrel is marked “RIA / flaming bomb / 12 – 12”. The underside of the barrel is marked “R 26” and “P”. 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 left side of the stock, above the trigger, is marked with the boxed “C.N. / 1913” inspection mark by C. Nelson at Rock Island Arsenal. The nose of the stock is marked “S”.

Barrel Length: Approximately 24 Inches

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a pinned blade atop a barrel-mounted base in a protective globe hood. 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 straight grip, metal nose cap with bayonet lug, barrel band, stacking loop, 2 sling loops, 2 through bolts, and a metal buttplate with a hinged door for storage. The buttstock storage compartment holds a tubular cleaning kit. The wood shows scattered scrapes, scratches and compression marks. There are some moderate impact marks including the one on the right side of the forend where a small crack has formed. There are no chips. The LOP measures 12 1/2” inches from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The stock are in Very Good overall condition.

Type of Finish: Blue

Finish Originality: Original

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 0.5. In this writer’s opinion, this bore is a 6 out of 10.

Many military and C&R-eligible weapons have bores that will show erosion. This is not only due to age but to the fact that corrosive primers were commonly used in ammunition worldwide. For example, the U.S. used corrosive ammunition throughout WWII. The U.S. military did not begin to phase out corrosive-primed ammunition until the 1950s.

Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 85% of its metal finish. There are patches of wear on the receiver and leading edges like the front sight where the finish is thinned or lost. There is a mottled pattern of light surface oxidation scattered throughout. The screw heads show use. The markings are clear. Overall, this rifle is in Very Good 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: None.

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 to 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 1912. We don’t know its service life but it was probably put to good use during WWI and WWII. This Rock Island Arsenal 1903 looks good and has nice RIA markings on the barrel and on the receiver. It will make a great addition to your collection. Good luck in your bidding!   J. Ren

WWI Rock Island Arsenal 1903 RIA .30-06 Bolt Action Rifle, MFD 1912 C&R
WWI Rock Island Arsenal 1903 RIA .30-06 Bolt Action Rifle, MFD 1912 C&R