1918 US Model of 1903, Mark I

Rifle cal. .30-06

"Manufactured by Springfield Armory"

See Target

The Spanish-American War taught the US, among other things, a lesson in modern firearms. The Spanish Mauser Model of 1893 out-performed the new US Krag .30-40 Model of 1896 and 1898, America's first bolt action, repeating magazine, brass-cartridged, smokeless powder smaller calibre rifle, and by far the old .40-70 carried by most non-regular units (meaning state guard troops). So, borrowing heavily and obviously (and later paying fees up to a quarter million dollars in 1910 money) from the Mauser bolt action and magazine systems, US Ordinance approved the US Model of 1903, accompanied by a new cartridge, the ".30-03". Immediate ballistic improvements resulted in a new cartridge within three years, the .30-06, and this was the US standard for almost 50 years.

This rifle is a US Model of 1903, built in November of 1918 as a Mark I. Mark I's were ordinary production rifles serialized within the normal production numbers at random intervals but selected for special machining to the receiver and stock wood, along with special internal trigger/sear/bolt release parts. You can see clearly the ejection port in the receiver wall, and the indentation carved in the stock to match the receiver port. This area and the stamped "MARK I" on the receiver top are the only obvious differences between a Mark I and a non-Mark I. This particular rifle is fairly rare as it has all the original Pederson parts, but, interestingly, a Remington (03A3) bolt, so it has been through at least one arsenal rebuild, but apparently hardly touched as all else seems compatible with the original build specification.

So what was a Mark I? The Mark I was a Springfield rifle designed to use the optional Pederson Device, or "US Semi-Automatic Pistol, cal. .30". The solder carried his normal equipment, plus a holster for the device, and an ammo carrior bag with four to eight 40-round magazines. To use the Pederson Device, the soldier removed the rifle's bolt, replaced it with the slide-in Pderson Device, stored the rifle bolt in the Pederson Device holster, and inserted a Pederson magazine into the top of the device. Pull back once on the device slide to load and cock, and the rifle will now fire a single round as fast as the shooter can pull the trigger for each shot. ...A semi-automatic Springfield '06!


An actual, intact, functioning Pederson Device is extremely rare. Although more than 60,000 were contracted for, built, and stored in 1919, they were ordered destroyed in the early 1920s due to the storage expense and that the firearm itself had been written out of army small arms tactics. Some devices escaped destruction through either pilferage before the fact, or accounted for and then pulled from the destruction fires before any damage. A possible value for a good condition Pederson Device ranges from US$20K to $35K.

Target from benchrest sandbag at 100 yards, using military surplus M2 ball ammo: