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Old 04-06-2013, 08:50 AM
mjolnir mjolnir is offline
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 220

Originally Posted by Mwieczorek View Post

JamesD - This has happened to all of us at one time or another. We weren't all born experts at milsurp collecting. We've all made mistakes, we've all been taken to the cleaners once or twice. It's just another learning experience on the road of milsurp collecting.

Amen Matt!!!
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Old 04-06-2013, 09:03 AM
abtex1 abtex1 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 1,227

Originally Posted by lapriester View Post

Someone else said here,"Aim has never made it a secret that these are Gibbs rifles and are reactivated drills." That is just not true. They essentially lie by omission of the real facts in their ads and descriptions, which, by the way, by any definition, is keeping a dirty little secret.
Easy there slugger...I said that and yes- if you actually call them and ask about the '03s they will tell you with very much honesty these are Gibbs Rifles and are restored drills. There is no secret agenda or lying on their part. Many of us have called them in the past and got the straight answer, and, in the link I provided Bryan at Aim gives a response from Val at Navy Arms (parent company to Gibbs.)

The point is no one who is intending to drop a large amount of money to buy a firearm online should do so without obtaining more information than what someone puts in a small two sentence sales description on a website, in a forum post, or based upon some blurry pics on gunbroker. If you don't do the research, you can expect to be disappointed nearly 100% of the time. Simple words mean things and when an ad for an old firearms says 'restoration' that clearly means it has been altered, everyone knows altered firearms have diminished to no collectible value, and that sometimes those alterations are of a very serious nature.

What we have here is a clear cut case of buyer's remorse because they didn't pay due diligence to doing some simple research beforehand. I'm sorry the OP is disappointed, but this isn't Aim's fault.
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Old 04-06-2013, 09:17 AM
archer1971 archer1971 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boone, Iowa
Posts: 763

I agree with what most have said in this thread, but those that think AIM is not at fault here are wrong.
AIM should clearly state that these rifles are reactivated drill rifles, BUT they do not and the reason is to clearly deceive the buyer!
They leave out important information about these rifles.
They know if they list the rifles truthfully they will not sell very well!
OP send the rifle back and take the hit, then buy a decent one on the forum here for less money.
I doubt you will be happy with this rifle because you were not wanting a reactivated drill rifle.
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Old 04-06-2013, 09:45 AM
Dump1567 Dump1567 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: CA
Posts: 324

Personally I've looked at these and have thought about buying one of the A4's (knowing it is what it is). But I found an original A3 locally for $600 I'm happy with.

Found this on the net just to add to the discussion.



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 1903A4’s 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
1930’s, 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 1950’s, my father has reactivated tens of thousands of deactivated firearms,
including Mausers, Enfields and, yes, 1903A3’s. 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

Last edited by Dump1567; 04-06-2013 at 09:57 AM.
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Old 04-06-2013, 10:39 AM
ceresco ceresco is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 7,403

Subject well covered, so I am not going to rehash it. I have seen the AIM, Creedmore, SARCO, etc. 03A3s. I have also built many from welded drill rifles. The thing I dislike about the commercial reactivated A3s is the finish, which stands out as too light a grey color. I think it is Parkerizing, however. The fact that the receiver was once welded does not bother me... at all. It does reduce $$ value some, but I see it as primarily cosmetic with zero safety concerns. The AIM rifle has new parts and is refinished--it looks new. I saw no major problems and would expect it to shoot with any put together A3. If the OP thought it was what he wanted at a price he was willing to pay; then he got what he wanted. Good Shooting......
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Old 04-06-2013, 11:15 AM
S99VG S99VG is offline
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Northern California
Posts: 2,074

The OP went to the trouble to look these rifles up online but didn't call the seller??? How does Homer Simpson put it, "Doat." If you're going to do the foot work, then do all the foot work.
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Old 04-06-2013, 12:31 PM
cast1903 cast1903 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 706

Cost to me of my drill build:
complete bolt, complete Receiver including all parts (magazine etc) = $165
C stock (was cracked brass pinned it) = $70
Handguard = $20
Stock Metal = $70
New RA barrel = $90
Front sight blade and rear sight = $60
Price to put it together = my time
Total = $475

This rifle is definitely my best 1903 shooter.
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Old 04-06-2013, 12:50 PM
lapriester lapriester is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Cobb, N California
Posts: 16,257

Originally Posted by JamesD View Post
First of all I did search the internet and I got both stories that they are old drill receivers and they weren't old drill receivers. Also I cannot tell you how many people stated these rifles were built by this company or that company so I did not have a straight answer. Second, you cannot search three letter words on this forum so searching for "AIM" does not work or searching for "m1903A3", "1903A3" or "surplus" brings up tons of hits so excuse me for missing it. Like I said, I have been reading conflicting stories on these rifles. I did not buy this as a collectible war relic, just something that was in decent shape and shoots well but I certainly did not expect a welded receiver for the money I paid. If the rifle was $300 you would not be reading this.

Really sir, that much controversy on anything as valuable as a rifle and as potentially dangerous as a firearm (not saying the rifle is dangerous because there are probably thousands in use) would have made a careful buyer steer another world away from that purchase. A "real" 1903A3, in very good condition with an excellent barrel that would shoot lights out and would increase in value as years go by could have been had for less money than you paid if you would have just taken the time to look around, be patient and shopped wisely. The rifle you have will probably not increase in value for many years and even then it will do so half as fast as a real vintage A3. It's a bad investment and a mistake. Never be so desperate to have something that you ignore all the obvious warning signs slapping you in the face all over the Net. Buying after seeing all the issues posted there just means you had your mind made up before you ever looked and chose to believe the minority because it reinforced your desire. Also, you should never believe the minority who are very satisfied with their purchase. Usually they are the misinformed who have no idea what they have and are trying to justify their purchase to the world.

Now, knowing what you have, if you're not happy, eat the high costs of returning it, live with your mistake and go out and look for a decent rifle for less money. They are out there.

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Old 04-06-2013, 01:04 PM
Ak49shooter Ak49shooter is offline
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Anchorage Ak
Posts: 393

For what it's worth.

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Old 04-06-2013, 02:01 PM
S99VG S99VG is offline
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Northern California
Posts: 2,074

Sorry man, this shouldn't have gone viral on you. Return the rifle and chalk it up to experience. Believe me, if this is the worst financial thing you do in life then that's not too bad. Best of luck!
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