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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Sat 14 Jul, 2012 4:36 pm    Post subject: My refurbished M1903 Springfield (update and new photos)         Reply with quote

Here's something some of you might fine interesting.

A few months ago I picked up a Springfield produced M1903. I like a project and the piece certainly turned into one. Both the barrel and receiver were dated to Oct. 1918 and the original stock (originally from a MkI) did as well. Unfortunately the barrel proved to be quite a way past its maximum freshness date and the stock was too compressed and warped to boot, definitely done as a shooter. A gentleman in Arkansas supplied me with an as-new GI Springfield Armory barrel with an 11-42 production date and off it went to a gunsmith in Denver for the install. I replaced the original stock with one from the CMP (Civilian Marksmanship Program). This was my major labor contribution to the project. These stocks are supplied with most of the inletting completed, however some sanding and finishing is required. This is particularly true in the stocks grasping grooves. They come looking as if they've been done with a chisel and a wood rasp and require quite a bit of clean up. With about ten to twelve coats of Boiled Linseed Oil here it is, Opinions welcome.




Being somewhat anal about these things I continued to tinker with the stock on my '03. There was still a bit of the original finish on the wood around the butt and it gave that area a cloudy or dirty look that bugged me. Why Dupage doesn't sell these unfinished is beyond me. No one in their right mind would put these stocks on a rifle in its original condition as they are hardly the advertised drop-in and the supplied finish is quite ugly. While I improved the fit of the forend I went ahead and did some additional sanding on the butt as well. After applying more BLO I still wasn't totally satisfied with the color, so I decided to take a chance and add some stain. I had a bottle of stain from Laurel Mountain Forge (Lancaster Maple) back on the shelf and decided to give it a try. This is the result of a single undiluted coat over ten to twelve coats of BLO. I normally don't use natural light for photography and there's some glare off the stock, but you get the idea. It now has that nice reddish brown armory look to it. In fact, it's dead on when compard to the sixty-seventy year old stock on my Garand and pretty well matches the color of the original stock, minus nearly a centuries worth of oil and dings. I like it a lot.




I just returned from another shooting session and was very happy with the results. Using a Hornady 168 grain BTHP Match Bullet over 47 grain os IMR4895 the rifle dropped them all in the ten ring when fired prone, with sling from 100 yards. I think this project is pretty well finished and it's time to quit tinkering.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus


Last edited by Patrick Kelly on Sat 28 Jul, 2012 8:55 am; edited 4 times in total
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Michael Ahrens




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PostPosted: Sat 14 Jul, 2012 5:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick

She is beautiful, a fine rifle to say the least. I am more of a m1917 guy myself. but I can always appreciate a fine
example of what a battle rifle truely is.

Mike Ahrens

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Member of the 1st Universal Church of St. John Cantius Garand, Reformed (Gas Port)
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Chuck Russell




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PostPosted: Sat 14 Jul, 2012 6:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

nice job! i have a project 03 in the safe as well. but might will for blanks and looks only Sad it's got a cursive serial number made in 1903 (your not supposed to shoot them under 1 million serial # due to the improper heat treating. sigh. you really have done a nice job with your rifle
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Corey Skriletz




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PostPosted: Sat 14 Jul, 2012 9:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ah she's a beaut! As always, nice work Mr. Kelly.
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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
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PostPosted: Sat 14 Jul, 2012 10:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks guys. There were some frustrations at various points in the process but it finally came together well.

Chuck, reference the heat treatment on the receiver: 800,000 is the cut off point with Springfield produced rifles and 280,000 for Rock Island rifles.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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David Wilson




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PostPosted: Sat 14 Jul, 2012 11:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Beautiful job!!!! Looks as good as new, like it was just issued to a doughboy headed for France.

I'd like to add a Springfield to my collection one day.....

David K. Wilson, Jr.
Laird of Glencoe

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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Sun 15 Jul, 2012 7:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick...

A very nice job on a classic military firearm. These things could be had very cheaply at one point but the prices have risen dramatically over the years. They have always been great shooters and wonderful collectibles. Congratulations.

David, while these rifles were issued in WWI, most of the doughboys went to France armed with P-17 Enfields. In the movie about Alvin York they had him using a 1903 and a Luger against the Germans when in fact he used a P-17 and a 1911 Colt .45.

How does it shoot?

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Konstantin Tsvetkov




PostPosted: Sun 15 Jul, 2012 9:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Beautiful! Thank you for showing us those pictures, Patrick.

Can a bayonet be fixed to this rifle and if so, do you have one?

By the way, wasn't same type of rifle described by Kurt Wonnegut in "Deadeye Dick"?
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Chuck Russell




Location: WV
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PostPosted: Sun 15 Jul, 2012 11:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

right, i knew it was around the mil mark. they date you stated i figured yours was ok Happy man what a beaut. Happy
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Sun 15 Jul, 2012 2:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lin Robinson wrote:
Patrick...

A very nice job on a classic military firearm. These things could be had very cheaply at one point but the prices have risen dramatically over the years. They have always been great shooters and wonderful collectibles. Congratulations.


Sad but true on the rifles value. I picked up another one about ten years ago for a song compared to the price tag on this one and that first one was in shootable condition right off the shelf. I acquired this one in a trade and recouped most of my expense by selling the original barrel and stock to other collectors. Unfortunately the 1903 has turned the corner from an affordable surplus rifle to a collectable.

Quote:
David, while these rifles were issued in WWI, most of the doughboys went to France armed with P-17 Enfields. In the movie about Alvin York they had him using a 1903 and a Luger against the Germans when in fact he used a P-17 and a 1911 Colt .45.


I've had a fascination with the M1903 ever since I first saw Sergeant York as a child. Those in the know love to point out that Alvin York didn't use an '03. My standard response, "Yeah, but Gary Cooper did!" Big Grin

Alvin York was a technical advisor on the film and took issue with the Luger being used, but the 1911 wouldn't function with the available blank ammunition.

Quote:
How does it shoot?


Unknown, yet. I work the midnight shift so morning is bed time and with 100+ temps during the day lately, shooting in the afternoon isn't terribly enjoyable. After the weekend I'll have a few days off and we'll head to the range and try it out.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Sun 15 Jul, 2012 2:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Konstantin Tsvetkov wrote:
Beautiful! Thank you for showing us those pictures, Patrick.

Can a bayonet be fixed to this rifle and if so, do you have one?

By the way, wasn't same type of rifle described by Kurt Wonnegut in "Deadeye Dick"?


Yes, it uses the M1905 bayonet. I don't have one and will probably have to settle for a replica as originals are getting rather expensive, even ones in pretty shoddy condition. The very same as mentioned in the novel.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Sun 15 Jul, 2012 2:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chuck Russell wrote:
right, i knew it was around the mil mark. they date you stated i figured yours was ok Happy man what a beaut. Happy


Mine's actually well into the 900,000, almost 1,000,000 area. With a production date of Oct.1918 it just missed the Great War.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sun 15 Jul, 2012 7:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very nice work making an old war horse look like a fresh new frisky colt, the stock looks really well finished and it takes a lot of patience to get those 19 to 12 applications of linseed oil to be absorbed and dried and lovingly hand polished.
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Sun 15 Jul, 2012 9:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
Very nice work making an old war horse look like a fresh new frisky colt, the stock looks really well finished and it takes a lot of patience to get those 19 to 12 applications of linseed oil to be absorbed and dried and lovingly hand polished.


Thanks Jean.

I've refinished several original military stocks, but other than wooden furniture on a FAL this is the first brand new stock I've done. I was a bit surprised at how quickly it absorbed the oil, like a sponge with the first half dozen coats.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Peter Busch




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PostPosted: Sun 15 Jul, 2012 9:26 pm    Post subject: Re: My refurbished M1903 Springfield         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:
Here's something some of you might fine interesting.

A few months ago I picked up a Springfield produced M1903. I like a project and the piece certainly turned into one. Both the barrel and receiver were dated to Oct. 1918 and the original stock (originally from a MkI) did as well. ...... I replaced the original stock with one from the CMP (Civilian Marksmanship Program). .... ]


Great job Patrick, although I really only like the 1903s with a C stock - not the S stock. With the C stock they look great! - especially with the A3 aperture sights (although I don't like the remaining A3 pressed metal fittings!).

Good work!

http://www.swordforum.com/fall99/1865.html
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Mon 16 Jul, 2012 12:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you Peter.

Different strokes as they say.............................

If I intended this rifle to be a dedicated shooter for competition it would be mounted with a C Stock, as the C type is far superior in comfort and controllability. Fire about fifty rounds through this baby and you'll be done for the day. The 1903A3 rear aperature sight is superior in the overall scheme as well. The sights on the '03 are very fine and tight, as well as being capable of very minute adjustment. However, spend time with them and it's obvious they were designed by target shooters for use on bright sunny days across the course. When the bad guys are coming fast and danger close.............................not so much. Having a pair of young eyes helps too. Wink

Just the same, when I think of the 1903 this classic form is what comes to mind. The 1903A3 with it's stamped metal parts and admittedly efficient, but crude sights, seems rough by comparison and it is. Certainly not as finely made as the oroginal "aught 3". While the C Stock was adopted as standard in the '30s it was always heavily outnumbered by the S Type. So in putting this rifle together my intent was to build a classic example of a begone era in which craftsmanship was the standard, not the exception.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Jul, 2012 8:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm happy to say the rifle appears to have potential as a shooter. With handloads utilizing a 150 grain fmjbt over 47 grains of IMR4895 the rifle averaged two inch, five shot groups at 100 yards, fired prone with sling. Once I had the rifle dialed in I was able to call most fliers before my son, who was manning the scope. With the range facing west we had the sun at our backs and the glare off the sight ladder didn't help at certain points. Between us we fired fifty rounds and while I checked the action and stock screws every five rounds, everything remained tight from the start. I also monitored the gap between the stock and receiver tang and didn't observe any set back. I can't help but think that replacing the supplied brass bushing with an original steel one helped. I didn't place much faith in the thin brass tube doing much of anything.

I'm relatively new to the 1903 and chose the S Stock for historical purposes. I have no regrets about that, however, if I ever put one of these together for use as a dedicated competition rifle I'll go with a C Stock. Having spent some time with the M1 and M14 I definitely find the pistol grip style to be superior for comfort and control, as I believe most do. I had to adjust my prone position as that S Stock really gave me a smack in the mouth more than once. It's got the cool factor though, at least for me.

I did make one change after taking the photos. The handguard was proud behind the lower band by quite a bit and it bugged me. Last night I spent a little time and worked it down flush behind the band, so the rifle has that nice sweeping profile that makes it so sexy, IMHO.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus


Last edited by Patrick Kelly on Thu 19 Jul, 2012 7:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Greyson Brown




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Jul, 2012 5:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very nice! If you had told me that this was going to be in Denver, I would have gladly gone down and test fired it for you. Maybe even done some unauthorized re-allocation of ownership, but that might have been pushing it Razz

Now you have a 1911, an M1 Garand, and a '03; so I guess the M1 Carbine or Thompson is next on the list?

-- Greyson

"So long as I can keep the path of honor I am well content."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Jul, 2012 7:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greyson Brown wrote:
Very nice! If you had told me that this was going to be in Denver, I would have gladly gone down and test fired it for you. Maybe even done some unauthorized re-allocation of ownership, but that might have been pushing it Razz

Now you have a 1911, an M1 Garand, and a '03; so I guess the M1 Carbine or Thompson is next on the list?

-- Greyson


The whole rifle wasn't in Denever but you could have seen the barrel and action. I asked the smith if he needed the whole rifle for test firing. He replied, "No, I use a pair of gloves." I didn't ask for clarification. Eek!

I don't really have a "list" perse, in that I'm not attempting to build some kind of collection. I passed out of the accumulating phase of my life several years ago. I'm actually starting to view large collections as more of a burden and inconvenience than an asset. I acquire things that interest me, either from a perspective of design or history, so you won't see me accumulating a dozen different Garands because they have different sight knobs and receiver markings, etc. On the other hand, I would like to acquire an M1 Carbine but prices continue to climb into the stratosphere on these things. Believe it or not, my agency still had a few Thompsons in inventory when I came on the job so I was able to spend some time with the type and scratch that itch a long time ago. We hadn't used them for decades but I did get to spend a few sessions on the range with them before we turned them over to the ATF.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Fri 20 Jul, 2012 12:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's beautiful! I've often looked at the Atlanta Cutlery Enfield/Martini-Henry/Etc. wrecks and wanted to adopt one as a project since I'm not into modern cartridge arms. My father-in-law was a dealer, though, so his garand, carbine, Mauser, Enfield, etc. will probably end up with me at some point.
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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