Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3643: Springfield Armory U.S. 1903 Rifle 30 06

Auction Date: April 21, 2013

Documented Experimental Springfield Model 1903 Semi-Automatic Rifle

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $15,000 - $25,000

Documented Experimental Springfield Model 1903 Semi-Automatic Rifle

Manufacturer: Springfield Armory U.S.
Model: 1903
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 30 06
Barrel: 24 inch round
Finish: blue
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 1744
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 225
Class: Curio & Relic Long Gun

Experimental and possibly one of a kind semi-automatic rifle built on a Model 1903 Springfield Action. This rifle, serial no. 389864, is illustrated and briefly described on pages 6 and 7 of "THE GAS TRAP GARAND" by Billy Pyle. The caption describes this rifle as an "enigmatic M1903 conversion, inventor unknown. This rifle, which has a fixed barrel and no gas system, appears to be primer-actuated." The rifle has a standard Model 1903 barrel, rear sight, upper and lower barrel bands, buttplate and front sight. The barrel and receiver have standard Model 1903 Springfield markings; the barrel is dated "1-10". The bolt, receiver, trigger guard and stock have been extensively modified. The receiver has been extended by approximately six-inches to accommodate the modified bolt. A seven inch section of walnut has been added between the original Model 1903 buttstock and forearm to fit the extended receiver. The trigger guard finial has been extended several inches. The stock and most of the rifle components are early Springfield Model 1903 pieces c. 1910. However the rifle has a post-WWI course checkered buttplate and flat faced rear sight windage knob which, as the Billy Pile description suggests, may indicate that the actual modification took place in the 1920s using a pre-WWI Model 1903 rifle. The bolt is polished bright and the receiver, trigger guard and other furniture has a professional commercial blue finish. The early style "S" stock has been refinished and has traces of the original circled "P" proofmark on the wrist and a small "S" on the forearm tip. The stock modifications are professionally done and are barely visible on initial inspection. The added section matches the butt and forearm very closely in grain and finish. This is a rare and unique rifle that appears to have been modified in the early 1920s as one of the first attempts to design a semi-automatic rifle to replace the bolt action Model 1903 Rifle.

Rating Definition:

Very fine as prototype finished. The rifle retains nearly all of the commercial blue finish and shows very little wear. The bolt is bright and the rear sight leaf has the original bright finish. The markings on the receiver and barrel are sharp. The stock and handguard are excellent, the edges of the grasping grooves are sharp and show minimal wear. This unique rifle would be the centerpiece of an advance Model 1903 or U.S. martial arms collection.

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