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The M1903 Springfield Rifle

TidalWave

Custom
This is a very interesting article. There’s really two topics : Ernest Jansen, and the 1903 Spgfld !

As an aside, I’ve read in past articles, maybe even here, that the majority of US troops actually carried the Lee Enfield into battle in WWI. (I dunno the truth of it though).
But it’s our 1903 that has become the iconic American Great War rifle :) !
 

Talyn

Ronin
Founding Member
Not the Lee Enfield but the Model 1917 Enfield (American) were produced and fielded in WW1 in greater numbers, and used by the Americans, than the 1903 Springfield.





 
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TidalWave

Custom
Not the Lee Enfield but the Model 1917 Enfield (American) were produced and fielded in WW1 in greater numbers, and used by the Americans, than the 1903 Springfield.





YES ! That’s the one I was remembering… shoulda taken a min and looked it up. Thanks!
 

KillerFord1977

Hellcat
Founding Member
My father, A Marine, shot expert at boot camp basic training on day 1 of rifle marksmanship. Was only a handful of Marines up to 1957 that shot expert out of the shoot. He scored better in boot camp than almost all Marines with an M1 Garand to that point in 1957. DI’s were floored at his marksmanship. Camp commander even had the DI’s boast him to the Corps. He later was offered White House Guard Duty.

Fast forward to last year. My father at 83 yrs of age out shot my entire family and friends with an AR15. (Saint Victor)

(he never shot an M14 in the Marines . He was the last groups in the late ‘50s to be on M1 Garands still in boot camp)

He wanted to finally shoot an AR15. Other than a bolt deer rifle, he had not touched military rifles since leaving the service in ‘62.
I showed him how to operate the rifle.
He insisted on open sights. No optic.
He took the Marine Kneel and at 100 yards put his first round at 1” low .

next 15 rounds were dead bullseye in a dime.
He stepped back, grunted “ooh rah”
Handed me the Saint.
Told me wasnt all bad for a rifle a child could fire…. And walked off beaming with Marine pride.
he kicked our butts that day with our own rifle. I needed my scope to accomplish his task.
… he also has 20/10 vision at distance still at his age 😳
Sgt Major Janson was a true American warrior and hero. Very few things in history of war were more deadly than a U.S. Marine with a 1903 rifle. Or any rifle, for that matter. Good article
 

Recusant

Custom
This is a Remington P14 MKI* from my collection that was brought back after WWII. It was shipped to England in 1917 and may have been used during the first war. I can only speculate how it ended up in a street in Germany in 1945. It many have been captured and taken home by a German WWI soldier, or it could have been issued to some other military group between the wars and ended up being captured by the Nazis and issued as a last ditch rifle. During its time in Europe it was not altered. The stock has a heavy coat of varnish, but there's no telling when that was done. There's not much finish on the exposed metal parts, but the blued finish under the wood looks great. If it could only talk I bet it would have a story to tell!


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HansGruber

Hellcat
This is a very interesting article. There’s really two topics : Ernest Jansen, and the 1903 Spgfld !

As an aside, I’ve read in past articles, maybe even here, that the majority of US troops actually carried the Lee Enfield into battle in WWI. (I dunno the truth of it though).
But it’s our 1903 that has become the iconic American Great War rifle :) !
Not a Lee-Enfirld; they carried the M1917, which was based on the Enfield action. Made by Winchester, Eddystone armory, and Remington.

Personally, I think the M1917 is superior to the Springfield. Better sights, higher capacity, and it just looks better.
 

Sld1959

Custom
Not a Lee-Enfirld; they carried the M1917, which was based on the Enfield action. Made by Winchester, Eddystone armory, and Remington.

Personally, I think the M1917 is superior to the Springfield. Better sights, higher capacity, and it just looks better.
My grandfather carried the Enfield for the British, he always told my dad that after trying both he preferred the Enfield.

He had one converted for deer hunting which he used until his death.
 
The elderly gentleman who taught me to shoot trap nearly 60 years ago was a WWI veteran. He was an exceptional marksman and even in his late 60's was a champion shooter. He told me that in the trenches in WWI both sides were stalled in their trenches to the point that the enemy lines became neighbors. A tactic that they used was to bring in teams of snipers during the night and the following morning when the "neighbors" showed themselves they would shoot them, and then move on. He trained a team of those riflemen. He had 1903 rifles in his collection, and I always assumed that's what they used in the trenches, but now I am not so sure. He also told me that a number of troops brought privately owned rifles to the war in the early days as there were not enough rifles to go around. I regret that in my youth I did not recognize the value of sitting and talking to the old timers to get more of their oral history.
 

Susquash

Master Class
Founding Member
Really great article on classic '03! I always wanted one but price was too expensive when I finally got around to it. I have owned several 1917 Enfields and I love those rifles. My go to rifle for hunting for a number of years was a 1914 Enfield converted to 7 MM Magnum by Century Arms. Just could not miss with that gun, was heavy enough to absorb recoil and held six rounds as compared to other 7 MM Mags that only held 4 or 5. Even had one converted from '06 to 9.3 MM x 62 Mauser for a bear gun for my son in Alaska.
 
This is a very interesting article. There’s really two topics : Ernest Jansen, and the 1903 Spgfld !

As an aside, I’ve read in past articles, maybe even here, that the majority of US troops actually carried the Lee Enfield into battle in WWI. (I dunno the truth of it though).
But it’s our 1903 that has become the iconic American Great War rifle :) !
The rifle with which many WWI US Troops carried into battle in later 1917 and throughout 1918 was the P-17 Enfield produced by Remington Arms and Winchester. Before the Great War the British were looking for a replacement for the SMLE in a smaller calibre.

The Enfield Lock Arsensal developed the turnbolt P-13 in a .280 round much as later in the 1920s the original primer actuated Garand rifle was in .276 calibre and held 10 rounds. There is archival photos of 1929 era West Point cadets test firing the Garand invented Springfield Arsensal .276 calibre rifle. Today we have the 6.5 Creedmore as "the latest reiteration" of the painfully obvious..less recoil and higher velocity with optimum ballistic performance for either a 20th Centurey or now a 21st Century battle rifle.

The .276 round in the both the Pedersen and Garand rifle development was KIA by General MacArthur and others who knew millions of rounds of 30'06 were in storage so John Cantius Garand, a Canadian from Quebec, reworked his design so that by 1936 the "gas trap" Garand rifle emerged with "teething problems" finally solved by Dec 7th, 1941.

Later on folk lore opines that US troops in the Pacific threw away their WWI era Springfields and picked up " the greatest battle implement" ( General Patton, 1944) ever invented up until that time.. a M-1 Garand with its en bloc clip.

The onset of the Great War in August 1914 some 97 years ago "nixed" the British Enfield Lock Arsenal P-13 and .280 calibre development; however rechambering it in .303 and having it produced in the USA by Remington supplemented British forces' armaments at the Front.

In 1917 when America finally entered the Great War Col Thompson got the P-14 rechambered in 30'06 for US forces. There were just not enough Springfields produced "at Springfield".

When Gary Cooper made in 1939 his award winning performance in the "Sergeant York" film, Sgt Alvin York himself was asked in his role as script advisor on the movie set which rifle he had used in achieving his Medal of Honor. He feistily replied it was a "Springfield" NOT a P-17 or Winchester or Remington made P-17 Enfield.

A " Lee Enfield" gives credit in the "Lee" to Paris Lee another Canadian then US firearms inventor. Enfield is the British arsenal at Enfield Lock on an English canal if my memory serves. I really like BOTH the Springfield and the P-17 and most of all the M-1 Garand simply because of the great cartridge ALL are chambered for. A "battle round" that will HIT out to a 1000 yards with iron sights. All you need is a "frame hold" on a NRA or DCRA target at that range.

Col Townsend Whelen in his 1918 book " American Rifleman" wrote a chapter and photo demonstration as to why he preferred the P-( 19)17 to the Springfield. Its perennial fault is that it is "overlength" but more robust especially the SIGHTS with a receiver battle sight. Many were issued as sniper rifles in the P-14 .303 Chambering.
 
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Dabbs article about the '03 Springfield is wrong. He completely neglected the .30-03 cartridge, aka. the ".30 Army." The .30-06 is called that because it is .30 caliber and was adopted in 1906. The 1903 Springfield is called that because it was adopted in 1903. So, what does Dabbs think the 1903 Springfield was chambered for in 1903? It couldn't have been chambered for the .30-06 because it wasn't 1906 yet. Perhaps we should have better editorial work an more thorough research. Even Wikipedia knows about the .30-03.
30-03G.jpg


 

William Floyd

Alpha
Founding Member
My first adult rifle. That sight set up, absolutely brilliant. Such a brilliant piece. Thank you for the article, I hope one day to find a replacement.
 
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