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My new Gibbs 03A4

This is a discussion on My new Gibbs 03A4 within the Steel and Wood forums, part of the Rifle Forum category; I just picked up a Gibbs 03A4 from Aimsurplus and I thought I would share some thoughts. First impressions: This is a very nicely put ...

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Old September 2nd, 2011, 08:45 PM   #1
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My new Gibbs 03A4

I just picked up a Gibbs 03A4 from Aimsurplus and I thought I would share some thoughts.

First impressions:
This is a very nicely put together package. As you are probably aware, the rifle comes with a hard case, a "GI" bag and a leather 1907 sling. Fit and finish is excellent. My receiver has a few minor pits near the mag cut off, but otherwise, the metal is in great shape with a very nice repark.

The receiver is stamped REM-03A4 and the serial # is 40117XX. The bolt is also stamped "R" which I assume is fer Remington?

Scope and mount:
Are rock solid! The mount is marked Gibbs Rifle, Martinsburg WV. the scope was the biggest surprise, I had set my expectations low, this being a remake afterall. The scope has bright clear glass and out of the box, I was on paper at 100 yards. The turretts have a nice feel and make nice positive clicks. Adjustment was easily made and this rifle was one of the easiest to zero that I have ever had. Eye relief is excellent and again I was surprised how useable this scope is. I was expecting this to be a bit of a show piece rather than a seriously accurate scope.

Overall, I am thrilled with this rifle.

My reasons for purchase:
1) I will never spend the $ for a real one
2) Even if I did buy a real one, It would never leave the safe
3) I wanted a shooter
4) I think the 03A4 is one of the best looking rifles of all time
5) I was satisfied enough with Gibbs claims about drill receivers

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Old September 2nd, 2011, 09:06 PM   #2
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Right on! I'm glad that worked out for you. The A4's are awesome, in my opinion. The only other WW2 sniper that I want is a #4t Enfield..

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Old September 2nd, 2011, 10:07 PM   #3
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Nice rifle. What does that acorn patch stand for in your signature photo?

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Old September 2nd, 2011, 10:13 PM   #4
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i've been debating trying to save up and pick up one of these. i just have so many toys on my list i haven't ever committed to it. how does it shoot?

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Old September 3rd, 2011, 02:35 AM   #5
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Nice rifle BB. You will have a ball with it. I visited James River Armory out at Perry in August and had them build me about the same rifle. Took 2 weeks and Fed ex showed up with a fine tool. They use the same Gibbs scope.

Semper Fi

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Old September 3rd, 2011, 05:36 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Boom Stick View Post
Nice rifle. What does that acorn patch stand for in your signature photo?
My Granfathers Division....87th infantry Golden Acorns. They were a part of 3rd Army at the Battle of the Buldge.

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Old September 3rd, 2011, 11:09 AM   #7
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I've had one for a while and am extremely pleased with it. The scope on mine was not very good as it was an early batch and I am hoping to replace it with an updated version. I usually just use a Lyman Alaskan or a Weaver K4 60C and have a 330-M.8 down at Iron Sight in Tulsa getting cleaned and restored. I'll keep you in mind when I get some good data on Lapua loads and have several working for Sierra also. It is definitely worth the $ IMB.

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Old September 4th, 2011, 05:09 AM   #8
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That's great news and a good looking rifle. It's nice to know there are some affordable options to putting a sniper in the collection.

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Old September 4th, 2011, 10:08 AM   #9
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Nice! What were gibbs' claims about drill receivers, BTW?

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Old September 4th, 2011, 11:43 AM   #10
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I also picked up a James River Armory 1903a4 when at camp Perry. took it to the range today, load used Winchester brass win primer 168g hpbt 46.9 h4895 to day was just barrel break in but did not have a problem hitting 8 inch steel plate at 200 yards next week i will put it on paper.

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Old September 4th, 2011, 09:01 PM   #11
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That's very nice sir!

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Old September 4th, 2011, 09:10 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by 1KPerDay View Post
Nice! What were gibbs' claims about drill receivers, BTW?

There has been a fair amount of conjecture regarding the Gibbs 1903A4 rifle in regards to the origins of the receivers and the safety of these guns. I would like to address both of these issues directly.

First, Gibbs 1903A4ís are built from 1903A3 drill guns, of which we were able to obtain a large quantity of, that all have had the cutoff latches welded and a small spot-weld where the barrel meets the action. That being said, there has been tons of posts in many forums (and at gun shows, clubs, etc), about the safety and reliability of drill guns. Perhaps not many people know the background of the Forgetts and drill guns.

My late father got his start in the firearms business reactivating deactivated rifles and machineguns and converted thousands, if not tens of thousands of them, all done with the guidance of my grandfather. My grandfather worked for Airco, a large welding firm in the 1930ís, then founded his welding company, Service Welding, Co., just prior to World War II.

During the war, he fabricated aircraft parts and tank bodies for the United States Government, as well as hundreds of flame throwers for the United States Marine Corps. He was also a welding instructor during World War II and trained hundreds of welders, among them, my father, who was also a certified professional welder. My father understood both firearms and metal hardness. He was a student of heat treat, hardness and the effects of heat on receivers.

Since the 1950ís, my father has reactivated tens of thousands of deactivated firearms, including Mausers, Enfields and, yes, 1903A3ís. I learned from him on this subject. The issue that is of paramount importance is the hardness of the receiver. There is a myth that by applying any sort of heat, of any kind, to a receiver, will anneal it (soften) to a point where it is unsafe. The assumption made by many (falsely), is that when a rifle is turned into a drill gun, the cutoff lever is spot-welded into place, and the underside of the receiver where it meets the barrel is also spot-welded, thus softening the steel to a degree that would make the action unsafe.

The reality, based upon the reactivation of tens of thousands of firearms over 50 years, is that there is virtually no effect to the hardness of a receiver when deactivated in the manner that the 1903A3 rifles we utilize have been. We know this both from Rockwelling recievers, as well as what it takes to drill and tap them. In sum:

The receivers we use are identical in their Rockwell hardness levels to that of 1903A3 rifles that were not deactivated.

In addition, we do not use reactivated bolts in our firearms, we use original, unissued 1903A3 bolts that were made by the United States Government during World War II.

We understand there has been much conjecture and myth regarding this subject and are hopeful that this information is helpful in putting these myths to rest.

Val J. Forgett III

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Old September 4th, 2011, 10:13 PM   #13
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Very nice looking rifle. I hope to get one someday.

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Old September 5th, 2011, 03:41 AM   #14
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One rifle is different (accuracy wise) from the next but the most accurate load I ever found for my 03A4 was with IMR4350 powder and Sierra 180 grain matchking bullets. Awesome shooting rifle. I had two. Got them at a pawn shop that used to be in Arlington, VA back in the late 70's. One had no scope. One had a 1" tube Weaver with a horizontal cross hair and a vertical post. It is a 2.5 power scope.

I didn't used to think it kicked too bad but after getting used to my Garands/M1A I can say that old bolt action rifle kicks me quite a bit more. Last time I took it to the range (fall of 2006) I spent all most as much time fending off potential buyers as I did shooting it.

The 3/4" tube Weavers are okay but I enjoyed shooting mine more when I had a 4X Weaver on it. Due to the handguard you'll need a higher set of rings to put a bigger scope on it due to interference with the front "bell" of the scope with the handguard (that is if you do temporarily put a "big" scope on it.

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Old September 5th, 2011, 07:02 AM   #15
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Curious what the markings look like. Can you post a pic?

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