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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    537

    Default 1903 springfield a5 marine sniper rifle

    I have a question about the springfield 1903 rifle That was used by the marines with the A5 winchester scope used in WW1.
    I know that they were using the 1903 as early 1911 with the A5 winchester scope. In their matches. Thier armorers had variations in how the mounted the bases.
    Also they used the Lyman 48 sight for the 1903 used in that matches.
    The question I have is did they use the 1903 marine sniper rifle with the A5 scope that had the Lyman 48 sight on them or not??
    Thanks
    Bob

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    8,784

    Default

    Robert, did you try CSP or the US weapons forum. I am not sure of the answer but it is definitely possible. I have an 03A1 with 8X unertl. When purchased years ago it had holes for the lyman sight. It had a star guaged barrel. It also had holes for the scope blocks like a USMC sniper. These have since been replaced. When looking for information on it, the theory presented was that it was a Navy teams rifle which was also one of the USMC rifles transferred to the Navy for shooting mines. It can probably not be verified but under the situation the rifle was purchased, i.e. as a regular 03A1 and priced accordingly and not as anything special it makes sense. It is not unusual for the rifles to have lead more than one life or role in service.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    990

    Default

    To add to Mike's comment, your specific question of could a Marine WWI era 1903 with a Winchester A5 scope mounted (sniper type rifle) also be drilled for a Lyman 48 Rear peep sight (or 48C or 48S)? I was heavy into collecting early Match Springfields before the ones I had left to find started in the low 5 figures! Fortunately, I have always made good money and had quite a few before I called a halt. So, pretty familier with early Springfields, match or otherwise. As to your question, I would say definately yes. The Lyman 48 (nothing to do with dates, just a model #) was introduced in 1911, and the earliest units were made specifically for both Winchester and the 1903 Springfield. So, availible and definately used before WWI, in fact the Ordnance board actually reviewed the 48 as a potential replacement for the rear barrel mounted ladder sight. Now, in your Pre-WWI senerio, the rifle would have been a Match/Target with a Lyman 48, which may or may not have been removed prior to installing a Winchester 5A for sniper use. (depending, just the slide would have to be removed in order to clear the bottom of the scope). Without some provanance, going to be hard to tell which came first, the scope or the 48. Interestingly, and makeing a bit more dificult, star gauging the bore was begun to select target barrels in about 1907 (IIRC), but the practice of marking the crown with the little star did not begin until after the war (1921 or so). So, you could have had a target rifle, with a star gauged record, that was pulled from the teams for conversion into a sniper. A pretty common practice, by field or depot grade armorers, they knew it was an accurate rifle. Pretty much what the Marines did in both WWII and again during early Viet Nam. Or, of course, could have pulled a standard rifle, installed a 5A for WWI and then later it was drilled for the Lyman 48. Or, it was all done last Tuesday in Bubbas Garage (hopefully not). A good true gunsmith should have the capabilities of reproducing all the steps needed to create the rifle you speak of. A comment on your "variations in how the mounted the bases." There were primarily 2 major variationations (I am sure others), that had to do with the distace between the bases, either 6" or 7 1/4" (IIRC). The longer distance giving you a finer adjustment on the target. Mike, sounds like a nice rifle you describe. I purchased a USMC marked Unertl years ago that came off a Submarine in the northwest that was being savaged, or at least that is where Scott Duff said it came from (New, in the original box). And, I was told the Boat Sailors used the "03/Unertl" combination to shoot at mines and this was a planned replacement scope. Whew, enough, Robert, hope I have helped, Skid'

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    537

    Default

    Hi MIke & Skid,
    I thank you both for your reply. I have seen a M1941 marine sniper wthat had the screws in the side of the reciever. Where A M48 Layman sight was. Before WW1 and before WW11 the marines had shooting teams. And I think both of you are right that armorers pulled the rifles of of stock and they were issed as sniper rifles. I found a rifle like this and I would like to buy it. He is asking around $2100.00 . The rifle has a A5 scope the Marine type bases a m48 sight and the rifle is all correct for a WW11rifle in the 650,000 serial number range with a 1918 barrel. It was cut out for the base real nice
    What do you think about it. A fair price?
    Best Regards
    Bob

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    537

    Default

    Hi
    Here is a up date about the rifle I was talking about. First off the barrel date is 3-17 not 1918. Serial number is 646747 500 numbers off from the marine 1930 Nicaragua list. Has a DAL on the side of the stock. Sling is dated 1918.
    Best Regards
    Bob

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    8,784

    Default

    Bob, These type rifles are so hard to authenticate, when I decide I gotta have one I apply the sum of the parts rule. I am not sure of the value of the parts on this rifle as I am not a big 03 guy. I would run it by the guys that know these well, some of which are on our US Weapons forum. I suspect the parts on that rifle are worth the asking price so paying in that range is pretty safe. If it turns out to be what it appears to be, it is worth way more. Good luck.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    537

    Default

    Hi MIke
    I just emailed the guy again and he will not come down on the price. I want to know the shape of the bore and the scope how clear are the lens. I will try the us forum

    Regards
    Bob

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    990

    Default

    Robert, when you say the rifle has the Marine type bases, are you refering to the Mann base? They are cut on a slight angle, with the mounts on the A5 to match. I have such a rig and it is the correct BDC A5 elevation adjustment. Yes, in WWI. I have been offered the price of a small car for it. Any chance you can get some pictures? Regardless, the $2,100 is, as Mike says, pretty darn close to the sum of the parts. Without pictures though I would be leery of commiting. At least the Action serial number puts it in the right range for an early 1917 rifle. Skid

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