The M1903 Springfield Rifle was conceived as an American response to the German Mauser M93, which was used to devastating effect in the Spanish-American War, particularly during the Battle of San Juan Hill, wherein 750 Spanish soldiers held off about 15,000 US troops equipped with Krag-Jørgenson bolt-action rifles.
The Krag-Jørgenson, while considered more-or-less efficient and easy-to-use during its time, was outclassed by the Mauser due to its slow-reload in combat, which came as a result of its side-gate system. The Mauser used a stripper clip, making it one of the first semi-automatic rifles, able to fire more than one round of ammunition without reloading. This effectively outmoded the Krag-Jørgenson.
After the Spanish-American War ended, the US War Department exhaustively studied the Mauser, applying some features of the Krag-Jørgenson rifle to the Mauser’s mechanism. Thus the Springfield M1903 was born. Over 80,000 M1903s had been produced by the Springfield Armory by 1905, and by 1916 the M1903 had become the standard issue service rifle for the US Armed Forces. By the time the US entered into World War I, about 850,000 M1903s had been developed. Toward the end of the war, the US developed the M1903 Mark I, which had a notch in the left side of the receiver meant to act as an ejection port for the Pederson Device, a mechanism that facilitated automatic fire, converting the M1903 to a form of automatic rifle or submachine gun.
World War II saw further production of the Springfield M1903, replacing old milled steel parts with stamped metal. Other features of the M1903, including their walnut stocks, were replaced with cheaper, but serviceable substitutes.
A new model of the M1903, the M1903A3 was put into production during World War II. The most noticeable visual difference between the two models being the replacement of its rear-sight with a smaller, simpler aperture rear sight mounted on the rear of the receiver. Other modifications included a new stamped cartridge follower, and a total stamped-metal redesign.
Another variation of the M1903, the M1903A4, was the Army’s sniper rifle of choice during World War II. The M1903A4 was a variation on the M1903A3 that included a Redfield scope mount on which was placed a Weaver Model 330 or 330C, a 2.75x telescopic sight. All the M1903 receivers at this point in time were tested by the Remington Arms Company, and the best receivers, those closest to design specifications, were selected to become the receivers for the A4s. The barrels selected for the A4s were also chosen for their adherence to design specifications.
Due to its balance, the M1903 is still popular today with military drill teams and color guards. The M1903 are commonly used in JROTC units to teach weapons handling and military drill procedures to the cadets.
At Sarco Inc., we sell the 1903 Rifle Parts you need to build or maintain your own M1903 Springfield. From screw sets to ejectors to floorplates to stocks, we sell every inch of the 1903. We also sell a kit that consists of every part of the Springfield rifle save the stock, receiver and barrel assembly with sight bases. These you must purchase separately. The kit comes with bolts, bands, swivels, a stamped trigger guard, a trigger, and even a new handguard. You can use this kit to build up a rifle on your receiver, or to rebuild an old M1903.
Sarco Inc. carries all the 1903 Rifle parts you can desire. Since our humble beginnings on the gun show circuit, we’ve expanded into perhaps the largest dealer in surplus war material in the country. Contact us today at (610) 250-3960 to get started with your Sarco Inc. experience.