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03A4 Know what to look for

This is a discussion on 03A4 Know what to look for within the Steel and Wood forums, part of the Rifle Forum category; I see folks from time to time inquiring about 03A4 sniper rifles. They are an expensive endeavor. We have probably all bought something on a ...


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Old May 20th, 2020, 04:40 PM   #1
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03A4 Know what to look for

I see folks from time to time inquiring about 03A4 sniper rifles. They are an expensive endeavor. We have probably all bought something on a whim, and possibly regretted it. However, I've never seen an opportunity to waste $6200 faster than GB auction 863439957. It is offered as a legit and correct A4. At a distance glance it looks pretty good, but even some basic knowledge turns this into a huge mistake. An unsuspecting buyer with lots of $ and no information will lose their shorts. There are guys who know WAY more than I do or care to ever know, but the issues I can identify are:

1. Bolt body is a better than average reproduction.
2. Stock has a significant repair at the butt
3. The most common way to ID a true Remington 03A4 is the location of the make and model on the left side of the receiver upside down. I've never seen it forged until this one! The receiver is actually an aftermarket cast receiver, probably National Ord. The SN starts with a 5 which is outside the range made by Remington. I've never seen that level of forgery before.

This seller has good reviews so hopefully it is ignorance on their part. Luckily the price is about 1.5 times the top price for a pristine original example. Oddly the same seller has another A4 for sale that "appears" legit at the same price point.

Anyway, be careful out there. If you buy that rifle at the list $6999, you will have about $800 in parts counting the scope.

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Old May 20th, 2020, 04:44 PM   #2
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If you enjoy shooting, you can't beat a repro with a Criterion barrel.
There are folks with more money than brains that will fall for that.
As has been said " There is one born every day".

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Old May 20th, 2020, 04:58 PM   #3
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I don’t see the punch mark on the bottom of the barrel at the muzzle.

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Old May 20th, 2020, 05:50 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allen Humphrey View Post
I see folks from time to time inquiring about 03A4 sniper rifles. They are an expensive endeavor. We have probably all bought something on a whim, and possibly regretted it. However, I've never seen an opportunity to waste $6200 faster than GB auction 863439957. It is offered as a legit and correct A4. At a distance glance it looks pretty good, but even some basic knowledge turns this into a huge mistake. An unsuspecting buyer with lots of $ and no information will lose their shorts. There are guys who know WAY more than I do or care to ever know, but the issues I can identify are:

1. Bolt body is a better than average reproduction.
2. Stock has a significant repair at the butt
3. The most common way to ID a true Remington 03A4 is the location of the make and model on the left side of the receiver upside down. I've never seen it forged until this one! The receiver is actually an aftermarket cast receiver, probably National Ord. The SN starts with a 5 which is outside the range made by Remington. I've never seen that level of forgery before.

This seller has good reviews so hopefully it is ignorance on their part. Luckily the price is about 1.5 times the top price for a pristine original example. Oddly the same seller has another A4 for sale that "appears" legit at the same price point.

Anyway, be careful out there. If you buy that rifle at the list $6999, you will have about $800 in parts counting the scope.
Are you saying the US Remington 03a3 should not be upside down? I will say that the serial number looks like its bin altered but the US Remington 03 a3 looks ok. Here is a picture of mine.
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Old May 20th, 2020, 05:52 PM   #5
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Quite a number of years ago, before the advent of the internet, I sold a very nice original 03A4 with an M84 scope through Shotgun News. The purchaser was quite excited to purchase it but after he received it he contacted me and accused me of misrepresenting the rifle. I asked him to explain and he told me the rifle was fake because it was marked 03A3 instead of 03A4. I took a deep breath after hearing what he said, took a moment to formulate my thoughts, and then (somewhat uncharacteristically of me) I unloaded on the moron.

I am a firm believer that everyone is responsible for educating themselves about anything they choose to pursue. Accusing me of misrepresenting something which he clearly demonstrated he knew nothing about was unacceptable to me. To this day, I do not suffer fools. I am willing to answer questions and will help others learn, but the primary responsibility for educating oneself is oneself. A knowledgeable collector is a wise collector.

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Old May 20th, 2020, 05:54 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by jaker10 View Post
Are you saying the US Remington 03a3 sould not be upside down? I will say that the serial number looks like its bin altered but the US Remington 03 a3 looks ok. Here is a picture of mine.
It should be just as it is. All that was done was the markings were separated and moved lower on each side of the receiver ring so they would not be obscured by the scope base.

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Old May 20th, 2020, 07:02 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by jaker10 View Post
Are you saying the US Remington 03a3 should not be upside down? I will say that the serial number looks like its bin altered but the US Remington 03 a3 looks ok. Here is a picture of mine.
Nice rifle, mount, rings and scope!

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Old May 20th, 2020, 07:09 PM   #8
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Jaker,
As Gardenvalley stated, the 03-A3 markings will appear upside down on the left. The fake I referenced looks correct, but is forged because the entire receiver is an aftermarket knock-off. Yours looks legit!

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Old May 21st, 2020, 08:31 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GardenValley View Post
Quite a number of years ago, before the advent of the internet, I sold a very nice original 03A4 with an M84 scope through Shotgun News. The purchaser was quite excited to purchase it but after he received it he contacted me and accused me of misrepresenting the rifle. I asked him to explain and he told me the rifle was fake because it was marked 03A3 instead of 03A4. I took a deep breath after hearing what he said, took a moment to formulate my thoughts, and then (somewhat uncharacteristically of me) I unloaded on the moron.

I am a firm believer that everyone is responsible for educating themselves about anything they choose to pursue. Accusing me of misrepresenting something which he clearly demonstrated he knew nothing about was unacceptable to me. To this day, I do not suffer fools. I am willing to answer questions and will help others learn, but the primary responsibility for educating oneself is oneself. A knowledgeable collector is a wise collector.
GardenValley, do you ever recall a commercial maker of cast 1903A4 receivers ?
Do you know what business name they went under or anything about any commercial offerings of 1903A4?

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Old May 21st, 2020, 08:34 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allen Humphrey View Post
I see folks from time to time inquiring about 03A4 sniper rifles. They are an expensive endeavor. We have probably all bought something on a whim, and possibly regretted it. However, I've never seen an opportunity to waste $6200 faster than GB auction 863439957. It is offered as a legit and correct A4. At a distance glance it looks pretty good, but even some basic knowledge turns this into a huge mistake. An unsuspecting buyer with lots of $ and no information will lose their shorts. There are guys who know WAY more than I do or care to ever know, but the issues I can identify are:

1. Bolt body is a better than average reproduction.
2. Stock has a significant repair at the butt
3. The most common way to ID a true Remington 03A4 is the location of the make and model on the left side of the receiver upside down. I've never seen it forged until this one! The receiver is actually an aftermarket cast receiver, probably National Ord. The SN starts with a 5 which is outside the range made by Remington. I've never seen that level of forgery before.

This seller has good reviews so hopefully it is ignorance on their part. Luckily the price is about 1.5 times the top price for a pristine original example. Oddly the same seller has another A4 for sale that "appears" legit at the same price point.

Anyway, be careful out there. If you buy that rifle at the list $6999, you will have about $800 in parts counting the scope.
National Ord did or did not offer a cast 1903 receiver ?

Can you say for sure ? Do you know of anyone else who offered a cast aftermarket "reproduction" ?

I want one.

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Old May 21st, 2020, 09:57 AM   #11
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There are several for sale on GB right now. One boob is asking a huge price for one, others vary in semi reasonable range.
These are 03A3 of course, there really being no such thing as an A4 other than where the markings are.


Last edited by WaM14gunner; May 21st, 2020 at 11:02 AM.
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Old May 21st, 2020, 10:49 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geardocVME2 View Post
GardenValley, do you ever recall a commercial maker of cast 1903A4 receivers ?
Do you know what business name they went under or anything about any commercial offerings of 1903A4?
I do not know of any commercial offerings of cast M1903A4 receivers.

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Old May 21st, 2020, 01:34 PM   #13
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I will never vouch for the accuracy of J. C. Harrison’s reference guides, never...

With that said, Harrison notes on page 230 of his The Collectable ‘03 guide the following in regards to serial numbers,

“Remington M1903A4 . 1943-44 . 4,992,001 to 5,784,000?”


On page 149 of Clark S. Campbell’s book The ‘03 Springfield Rifle’s’ Era the following note on serial numbers is found,

“The second “block” of ‘03A3 numbers was used only to about No. 4208782 before cancellation of contracts ended ‘03A3 production 28 Feb. 1944, precluding use (for A3’s) of a third “block,” from No. 4992001 to No. 5784000, that had been assigned 19 Oct. 1943. ‘03A4 rifles used the first 7000 or so numbers from this “block”, however.

In June 1944, M1904A4 production ceased.”


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Old May 21st, 2020, 02:31 PM   #14
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U.S. MILITARY DATES OF MANUFACTURE


U.S. Military M1903A4 Rifle: Remington:


All Remington 1903A4 production was in 1943 and fell between serial numbers 3407088 and 4998320. Remington made all 29,964 Model 1903A4 rifles. 1903A4 receivers were all marked MODEL 03-A3, but the markings are offset to be readable when the Redfield Junior scope mount base is installed. Some but not all Remington 1903A4 serial numbers have a Z prefix. Model 1903A4 rifles fall in three serial number blocks: 3407088 to 34427087, 4992001 to 4999045, and Z4000000 to Z4002920. It is speculated but not verified that scrapped receivers which were recovered had a letter 'A' hand stamped before the serial number.


From Oldguns.net

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Old May 21st, 2020, 04:56 PM   #15
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Geardoc,

I've never seen a Nat'l Ord or Santa Fe M1903, only 03A3. They have a reputation for RUD, deserved or not. I've seen photos of 3 different ones that shattered and I think they only made about 2000 of them. Not great odds.

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