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Discussion Starter #1
I've been looking at 1903's online and found some US Rock Island sporter's for much less than I was expecting to pay.
If I understand correctly a sporter is a surplus rifle that has been modified with more modern features.

In these cases it looks like it's just the stock. Does replacing the stock decrease the value or is Rock Island a less desirable brand?

I'm looking for a shooter but also like the look of the original stock. Are they easy to replace if I can find one?

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I have shot a few 1903s. Fun gun and a lot you can do with them.

From what I have seen, all stick ones are pricier m, but you can sometimes find and Sportier with a scope for $250 while a clean stock rifle can run 1000 or more.

Basically when this gun was used my the army, it was very advanced for it’s time. The guys loved it. Think AR 🙂 of the time.

They brought them home and the gun was so much better than any hunting rifle they owned and many modified.

Unfortunately while I really like a good sport 1903 I don’t know where to get parts.
 

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That is an older model, and some have safety issues due to inadequate heat treating -

M1903/M1903A3 - Civilian Marksmanship Program

Generally Sporterized rifles are much less valuable than an original.

This forum has a ton of info on M1903s - CMP Bolt Action Rifles - CMP Forums

Many also have mixed parts (bolts, trigger guards) and replaced barrels, both of which drop the value significantly.
 

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Basically, if its completely stock then its probably not safe to shoot with modern ammo per many sources. CMP says:


CMP DOES NOT RECOMMEND FIRING ANY SPRINGFIELD RIFLE WITH A ”LOW NUMBER” RECEIVER. Such rifles should be regarded as collector’s items, not “shooters”.

CMP ALSO DOES NOT RECOMMEND FIRING ANY SPRINGFIELD RIFLE, REGARDLESS OF SERIAL NUMBER, WITH A SINGLE HEAT-TREATED “LOW NUMBER” BOLT. SUCH BOLTS, WHILE HISTORICALLY CORRECT FOR DISPLAY WITH A RIFLE OF WWI OR EARLIER VINTAGE, MAY BE DANGEROUS TO USE FOR SHOOTING.

THE UNITED STATES ARMY GENERALLY DID NOT SERIALIZE BOLTS. DO NOT RELY ON ANY SERIAL NUMBER APPEARING ON A BOLT TO DETERMINE WHETHER SUCH BOLT IS “HIGH NUMBER” OR “LOW NUMBER”.

That all said, most sporters were "modernized" with newer components and are more likely to be shootable. My advice on anything that old - take it to a trusted gunsmith BEFORE you purchase it and have them look it over. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the info. I was aware of early models under xxx serial number were unsafe.


I'm looking for more of a shooter that as pretty accurate to the original version.

It looks like they swapped the stock and removed the rear sight and installed a peep sight.
Other than that it looks pretty good.

The price just caught me off guard being considerably less expensive than an original one.

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The '03A3 had some stamped parts and an aperture sight.
Moon
 

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The 1903s are great guns. Mine is a 1903a3 in its original configuration. The peep sight on the a3 just works better for my middle aged eyes.

I'd personally be wary of a very early one modified into a sporter.

If you can save a little and buy one without the potential strength issues, especially if you want to shoot ammo other than military ball.

They are great guns and arguably the best battle rifles of their day. I think I've heard them described as "a target rifle masquerading as a battle rifle". Most of them were built as well as anyone could build a military rifle back then.
 

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Less than 400.
That is on the low side, but maybe about what that rifle is worth.

I'd expect to pay twice that much for a fairly original M1903.

The first M1903s have a rear tang sight in front of the chamber that most find more difficult to use than the later M1903A3's more traditional aperture sight behind the chamber.

There are a lot of variables that contribute to the value of any vintage rifle. For some, correct cartouches on the stock are very important and can tell a lot about where, when, and by who it was produced and if it has had an arsenal rebuild.
 
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