Need some help deciding.

Discussion in 'Rifles' started by tex45acp, Nov 22, 2009.

  1. tex45acp

    tex45acp Active Member

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    Mar 13, 2008
    South Central Texas
    First let me say my expertise is in handguns, though I do have a few rifles I use for hunting. My Father in law passed Nov'08 and I really miss him. Today my Mother in law told me to go to the gun cabinet and there were two guns that were in a case left by my FIL, for me after his death. One is for me and one is for his other Son in Law, but I get first choice. Here is where the fun begins. I know absolutely nothing about these rifles except they are older and one is in great condition...the other not so good. I should take the one in great condition...right? Please help me decide by educating me on what they are. This is all I have to go on, found on the top of both breeches. Both are bolt action and both have fore stocks that go to within about 3" of the front sights. They are both bone stock!!!

    What have I to choose from here?
    What caliber are they?
    Are they both US Military rifles?
    Anything else I should know about them??
    Why would you choose one over the other???

    Newer looking rifle:
    US
    REMINGTON
    MODEL 03-A3

    Rough Looking Rifle:
    US
    MODEL OF 1917
    EDDYSTONE

    Thanks in advance
    tex
     


  2. dee

    dee Well-Known

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    Nov 22, 2008
    Red River Way
    The 03-A3 should be .30-06 and they are known for being pretty accurate the other should also be a .30-06 I think but don't know much about them.
     
  3. M. Sage

    M. Sage TGT Addict

    Jan 21, 2009
    San Antonio
    Yes, they're both military rifles from before WWII, with the M1917 being quite short-lived as our involvement in WWI made the military decide to stick with the 03 which everybody was already trained on and we had in good numbers. The 03A3 came into service during WWII, it features the upgraded "peep" rear sight similar to the M1917 which was based on the British P1914 Enfield rifle. The M1917 was the first American military rifle to use a peep sight - a feature that has put our rifles ahead of much of the world's weapons ever since.

    They're both .30-06 rifles. Either should be quite accurate, especially the 03. I've heard it said that in WWI, the Germans fielded the best hunting rifle, the Americans the best target rifle and the British the best fighting rifle.

    The 03 Springfield's action was almost a license-built copy of the Mauser. It wound up being a rip-off of the Mauser action with a few modifications done to it. The Enfield uses a very different action. Where the Springfield (and a Mauser) requires the bolt be turned 90 degrees to open, the Enfield should open after 60 degrees of rotation I think, it may be different than the Lee-Enfield rifles I'm used to but I know it cocks the striker when you push the bolt closed, before rotating it locked. The Springfield and all other Mauser actions (and the Mosin-Nagant from Russia) cock the striker as you rotate the bolt to unlock it. This allows a much faster action, as you're not fighting the striker spring and the now-expanded case to unlock the bolt. The Enfield is probably the fastest bolt action design ever fielded IMO. Faster than the straight-pull designs.

    I'd have a hard time choosing one over the other, and would seriously consider offering to buy the other from whoever is getting it. The M1917 is a great collectible (and should be a good shooter) since they only made them for two years and they saw service in WWI, but the 03A3 is also a decent collectible since they served during the WWII years (limited, also very limited use after WWII) and would make a very fine shooter. The 03A3 was also the last bolt-action battle rifle the US used, now bolts are only sniper guns.

    Either one will make an excellent heirloom. Even if you shoot it, as long as you take care of them, being military designed they're going to outlast you by a long way.
     
  4. tex45acp

    tex45acp Active Member

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    Mar 13, 2008
    South Central Texas
    M.Sage,

    Thank you for the information!! It will help me make the choice.

    tex
     
  5. Hawghauler

    Hawghauler Active Member

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    Oct 5, 2009
    Idaho
    I own both and love both. Both are 30.06 and both are great rifles. Usually the 03 is more valuable however if one is original and the other is an arsenal rebuild I might consider the original. The 03 was originally designed for 30 caliber and later the .06 came along. Same cartridge. the 30 cal was a flat bottom bullet and the 06 was a boat tail. The 1917 was the first rifle designed original for the 30.06 round. Sgt York preferred the 1917. I have one built by Eddystone with an arsenal replaced Johnson Automatics barrel (coded JA). I would have trouble choosing. Buy the other guy out if you can. All that said, the 03 I would lean towards the most.
     
  6. Bullseye Shooter

    Bullseye Shooter Active Member

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    Apr 28, 2008
    Texas Panhandle
    Actually, according to a recent American Rifleman article, Sgt. York preferred the 1903 Springfield because of it's open rear sight. The 1917 Enfield had a peep sight which he did not like at all. When his unit was issued 1917s rather than the the '03, he somehow managed to keep his rather than switching to the 1917.

    The 1903 Springfield was orignally chambered for the .30-03 cartridge which was loaded with a heavy round nose bullet. The Army (based on what Germany was manufacturing) decided to change to a lighter spitzer bullet; hence the .30-06 Springfield cartridge. Existing 1903s were rechambered for the new cartridge which required the barrel to be shortened slightly because of the machining.
     
  7. M. Sage

    M. Sage TGT Addict

    Jan 21, 2009
    San Antonio
    You beat me to it, Bullseye, though I thought the difference was in either the throat or the rifling twist...
     

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