1943 US Model 03A3
by Remington Arms, Ilion NY

Cal. .30-06

"World War 2 Modified Version of US Springfield Model 1903"

See Target

Although the US Army had designated the M1 semi-automatic (Garand) as the primary infantry rifle since 1937, the two builders of the M1 (Springfield Armory and Winchester Repeating Arms) were unable to produce enought rifles fast enough for the huge increase in US armed forces. So, in addition to recalling to active duty, from government storage, the many original M1903 rifles still available, the government contracted with Remington and Smith-Corona (yes, the typewriter people) to produce new-built M1903 rifles, but modified enough to warrant a new model designation, as the 03A3.

The US Model 03A3's major changes involved replacing the tangent leaf rear sight with an aperture sight and moving it to the rear of the receiver (and incidentally changing the silhouette to more closely resemble the US Model of 1917), replacing many previously milled/machined steel parts with stamped parts (barrel bands, trigger guard, and magazine follower), and reducing by half the number of rifling grooves in the barrel bore (from four down to two). Conclusive research showed these changes had no detrimental effect on either accuracy or performance, and in fact the new rear sight proved a boon to accuracy, as it was closer to the shooter's eye, and hence a longer sight radius (always a good thing), and the aperture was easier to aim than the old V-notch/aperture/battle sight combination. ...And the new sight proved easier (and faster) to train a new recruit on as well. Like its older brother, the US Model of 1903, the 03A also accepts the full range of bayonets from M1905 to M1(?).

This particular example rifle, originally built by Remington in June of 1943, we obtained from the CMP in 2004. It had been loaned to Greece following WW2, and was rearsenaled either just before that or actually during the Greek possesion. The rebuild included a new stock, and this stock is from the old reserve inventory of Keystone (WW2 contract supplier) stocks known as "Scant" stocks, referring to the semi-pistol grip shape. This rifle was apparently never reissued or used again after the rearsenal job, and now appears nearly brand-new. However, in our hands, it is consistently one of my worst shooting rifles; a bit wild, with wide groups. Granted, these were never intended to be target rifles, but we would feel fairly safe if someone were shooting at us with this rifle at a distance of 300 yards or more. Still, a man-sized target at less than 250 yards or so would stand a greater-than-75% chance of sustaining a hit. It's wearing an American Fork & Hoe bayonet, built under US Ordinance contract, also in 1943.

Below is what this rifle did to a target at 100 yards from a sandbag benchrest, using military surplus ammo. Several more holes are outside the black area. This was shot in October 2004, and it has not shot this well since then.