I have 4 '03-A3 Rifles

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by ltcboy, Apr 22, 2002.

  1. Gentleman-

    I am in the American Legion and to make a long story short our post has 4 1903-A3 rifles. They are in my indefinite posession because I am the only one in the post that knows how to dissassemble and clean them properly. They are used now fow shooting blanks during parades. After disassembling them to clean I realized that they are still quite capable for shooting. The first one was manufactured by Remington in 04-43. The wood is in very good condition, there are no dings or scratches. The serial number is 35589xx. The second one is also a Remington made in 05-43 serial number 38539xx. The wood is in good shape having only a few scratches. The third one also a Remington, serial number 39045xx is in very good shape having only a couple of scratches. The fourth is a Smith Corona, sn# 36812xx. The finish on the wood is different than the other three being almost like a glossy type. The wood has seen some milage having been bumped around and havingsome sratches, and knicks. The front sight is also hooded,as the others are not. All bores are very clean, I should know, I cleaned them. The actions on them are as smooth as butter. The handle very well. I am taking them out on Weds. to shoot them.

    Being new to this forum, I guess my question is are they worth anything? I know this sounds like a stupid question, but can any of you '03 nuts tell me anything about them. Is Remington better than Smith Corona?

  2. I'm glad you took the time to take care of them - I've heard some real horror stories about American Legion and VFW going for years (if ever) before being cleaned. Although Smith-Corona didn't make near the rifles that Remington did, they're worth pretty much the same, condition being equal.

    I'll let somebody else give you a price.

  3. Oxford

    Oxford G&G Evangelist

    Value of 03A3

    Itcboy: I'm definitely not an expert on 03A3's but I have a Remington 03A3 with the barrel dated 6/43 and most parts stamped "R". My gun should be valued between $350 to $650.

    Part of the key to the value of your guns is whether or not any of them have all original parts. You've described some of the other key features that are important, too.

    I believe the serial numbers on your guns indicate that they're shooters rather than wall hangers. Some of the earlier guns were not heat treated properly and are considered unsafe to shoot.

    Someone who is a dealer could help you determine value by asking all the right questions.

    Good Luck.

  4. How do I tell if all the parts match?? I know this is a dumb question, bear with me?

  5. The barrels are pretty close, so that's OK -- what about stock cartouches? If you have straight-stocked rifles, they should have an "FJA" on the left side of the rifle, just above the TG. Report any other stock markings nearby. The SC should have an FJA but not a near-by "RA" - the Rems should.

    The Remingtons should have "R" on such parts as the upper band (bayonet band), bolt and other parts.
  6. Rick Slater or anybody-

    On the one Remington sn# 38539xx to the left of the FJA stamp is RA then RA in a circle with to cannons, then the letter P. On the bottom of the stock under the trigger guard is a P in a circle. Above the trigger guard are four very small numbers 21 , 24, in a circle, 59 in a triangle,20 in a square. The other Remington sn 355892xx has the circle with the cannons, and the FJA just above the trigger guard on the left hand side. On th bottom above the trigger guard is a 15 and a 7 in small circles, a "+", a "V", and then 27 in a small triangle. The last Remington sn 39045xx has the RA circle with the two cannons and FJA stamp on the left, on the bottom above the trigger guard is a 1 and 8 in small circles, 97 in small box, 4 in a small triangle, under the guard is a P in a circle. On the Smith Corona there is a FJA stamp on the left, on the bottom above the guard is 18 in a small circle,1 in a diamond,and another # I cant read, under the guard is a P in a circle. I looked at all of the bolts and 3 have R or RR stamped on them under the bolt handle , the other has a 1 stamped on it. Dont know if this can give you any clues about these rifles.

    Last edited: Apr 23, 2002
  7. Oxford

    Oxford G&G Evangelist

    Itcboy: Very good description given. I'll still yield to an 03A3 gun expert on final evaluation of your rifles.

    I couldn't tell in your description if there was a "flaming bomb" symbol on the end of the barrel's near the mfg. dates. That's another standard thing to look for.

    I believe that the initials "FJA" were from the gunsmith inspector when they were reconditioned at an armory. Some of the 03A3 experts on G&G.Com will be able to provide the complete name to you.

    Another suggestion to help determine value is to go to "Auction Arms.Com", or any another gun action on the internet. There's usually several 03A3's up for sale and that will give you an idea of what the current market is like.

    Keep working on this project. I believe you've got some valuable rifles in your possession.

    Last edited: Apr 23, 2002
  8. All four rifles have the flaming bomb at the end of the barrel above the mfg. dates.
  9. Is there any one else that can help me in telling me more about the above described rifles??
  10. The "FJA" was Franf J Atwood, the dirstict supervisor that was over both SC and Rem. This is not a rebuild stamp, but an original cartouche that appears on correct SC and Rem. rifles. The ordinance bomb on the barrels is normal for all rifles.
  11. Oxford

    Oxford G&G Evangelist

    Thanks Rick Slater for correcting my statement about the meaning of FJA. That's why I've yielded to the gun experts on this subject.

  12. BADSBSNF81

    BADSBSNF81 Guest

    Head on over to jouster.com. They have a section for 03's. List the information you have here and some of the guys will answer.
  13. Took one of the 03'A3 rifles to the range today. I shot off 20 rounds and was impressed with the accuaracy in this rifle. Had a lot of kick! Starting to fall in love with these rifles. The bolt action is very smooth.
  14. jordan13

    jordan13 Guest

    Hey My name is jordan. I own a remington 1903-a3 dating 8-43. I have seen 1903's ranging up to 2k but in shitty condition. But these rifles were springfields. My rifle is in pretty **** good condition. Almost flawless.

  15. Jordan, welcome to G&G. The older 03s will be made by Springfield Armory and Rock Island Arsenal. Springfield Armory made them from 1903 until 1930 and Rock Island Arsenal made them just prior too, during, and immediately after World War I, so naturally, SA and RIA rifles are going to be older. In 1939, Remington Arms started making 03's, and later, 03-A3s in 1942 to 44. During the '42 to '44 period, L.C. Smith-Corolla also made 03-A3s.

    03s and 03-A3s were considered substitute standard rifles intended to augment the M1 Garand service rifles during World War II, but during the early dark days of the war, these rifles were often the only ones available in large numbers and served well in all theaters of the war.

    Look through and read the 03/03-A3 threads. There is a lot of information from a lot of us who own and shoot them. We don't always agree with each other about everything on the threads, but all we have a lot of good experience and worthy testimony about these great service rifles.
  16. mx308250

    mx308250 G&G Newbie

    As stated in earlier post, I have heard it several ways. Lookup the serial number, google remington 1903 serial numbers and lookup the date of manufacture then see if it matches the date on the barrel. Check all parts like bolt and barrel band for R marks, and the stock for an FJA stamp. I aquired a 1903 a little over a month ago and I am still dazed and confused about all the confusion and argument over the different markings. I'm going to try and find a few knowledgable collectos locally and test their knowledge about it.
  17. big boomer

    big boomer G&G Enthusiast

    I hate to throw cold water on the fire but the guns are worth nothing as they belong to the government they are on long term loan to the legion and are to be returned when they are done with them. Most people don't know this but check it out. most of the ones at our legion have no rifling's left for the first couple inches from all the blanks fired. We even have some old Krags they look good on the outside but the barrels are shot.
  18. ggbigfoot

    ggbigfoot Guest

    I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings but as a American Legion member I know that all weapons were "loaned" to American Legion and VFW posts by the U.S. Army and all weapons still belong to the Army.

    Contact your Post, Department or National American Legion for further clarifacation.

    RA all the way
  19. Rifles are available to certain veteran's organizations through this program . . .
    Ceremonial Rifle Program - Home Currently they provide M1 Garands. Most of the 03A3s and other bolt guns were returned and subsequently sold through CMP. M1903 and M1903A3 Rifles
    It's perfectly legal to own these rifles. Some do have bad bores. Others were excellent. It depended on how they were cared for.
  20. roverboy

    roverboy G&G Enthusiast

    I bought a Rem. 03a3 today. Looks good but missing the rear sight.
    Great deal too. Bore shines bright. $200.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2009