Restoring the Springfield 1903 Rifle

It's a freedom thing. 

Earlier this year I finished turning a "sporterized" Springfield '03 rifle back into something like its original military configuration.  The hardware pieces were accumulated over the course of many years.  Numrich had in their inventory a "new, unissued" stock and handguard, I finally worked up the courage to begin. 

The "new, unissued" M1903A1 stock looked like it had spent the last 60 years or so in a damp basement.  It had what looked like marks of roots on it, but the wood was sound.  With many hours of fitting and sanding, the action fit and functioned.  Half a dozen coats of boiled linseed oil (per military specification!) actually produced a better looking product than I had feared.

One of the peculiarities of the '03 and '03A1, of course, is the rear sight, shown here with the folding elevator down in the "battle sight" mode.

Designed by someone's feuding in-laws, this item's staggering complexity is surpassed only by its truly inhuman range of adjustment.

It is not your imagination -- the sight really does parallelogram toward the left -- to allow for the drift due to bullet spin.  There may be a Coreolus Effect adjustment, or one for the precession of the equinoxes, for all I know.

Another item that strikes the modern user as quaint is the magazine cut-off, shown here to the left of the rear receiver ring in the center position which allows removal of the bolt.

With the magazine cut-off in the "magazine off" position (lever swivels down toward the stock), the bolt cannot be drawn back far enough to clear the back of the top round in the magazine.  In this mode, the rifle functions as a single-shot rifle.  The rounds in the magazine, according to period manuals, are thus "held in reserve".  All five of them!

With the magazine cut-off in the "magazine on" position (lever swivels all the way up), the bolt comes back far enough to allow the top round to be pushed forward and into battery.  When the last round is expended, the rear of the magazine follower prevents the bolt from moving forward.  The magazine may then be charged with single rounds or a five-round stripper clip. 

Here's the muzzle end.  The thin front sight blade makes a fine target sight.  The picture includes the front sling swivel and bayonet lug band.  You may be able to see the "flaming bomb" ordnance proofmark behind the front sight.

The Springfield in military configuration has a forward barrel band that retains the front handguard retaining band, holds the "stacking swivel", and mounts the bayonet lugs.

The latch in the slot at the rear of the bayonet handle slot fits between the two sections of bayonet lug.  When attached, the hilt loop slips over the muzzle and the handle slot slips onto the lugs.

Here's the end that sends forth the hurt to the enemies of freedom:

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