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Old 06-24-2020, 08:08 PM
Danny Danny is offline
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: NE Ohio
Posts: 1,003
Default 1903 Sights

Not long after I bought my 1903-A3, I picked up a 1903 at the North Store. I bought the A3 because the sights are supposed to be better. I wasn't so sure after picking it up. Any thoughts?
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Old 06-24-2020, 08:51 PM
Normanclature Normanclature is offline
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Illinois
Posts: 110

I have shot both the 03 and the 03-A3 with many hundreds of rounds.

The sights were designed in different eras and for different purposes. Here is my opinion:
The 1903 sight is very good for long range shooting up to 2800 yards, is adjustable in very fine increments, was suited for the combat conditions of the early 20th century up through WW1, and it helps if you have good eyes.
The 03-A3 sights are only graduated to 800 yards, are easier to use if you have older or weaker eyes, are easier to adjust quickly and were better suited to the combat conditions of WW2.
Others may have comments about the advantages and disadvantages of each.
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Old 06-24-2020, 08:58 PM
Bml Bml is offline
Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: Oregon
Posts: 168

I think 1903a3 sights are easier to predictably change the point of impact and see through the larger peep. The windage is 1 moa per detent and the detents on the elevation ramp are repeatable.

The 1903 sight is hard to get repeatable POI changes and the small peep further from the eye is difficult to see through. With practice, marking the windage knob and the right tool the sight POI changes could be repeatable.
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Old 06-24-2020, 09:00 PM
bruce bruce is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,158

Like a lot of things in life ... the answer is ... "It all depends." I have owned and used both the 03 and 03-A3 with extreme satisfaction for the last 40 years. With equal quality bores, bedding, triggers, etc., I've not had any problems getting sterling results on target with either type rifle. I've found the 03 to have more finely adjustable sights. With a properly sized aperture one can shoot very rewarding scores with the 03 rifle. Out in the woods/fields, it is another matter. Given the battle sight zero, one is forced to use the ladder sight which is a bit fiddly when shooting in the shadows, half-light conditions common to a lot of hunting.

I've found the 03-A3 to be a better rifle for shooting. With good ammunition I've fired numerous groups with 03-A3 rifles that would be less than 4 inches ... often hardly over 3 inches at 200 yds. A couple of Remington 03-A3 rifle with two groove barrels gave me groups of right at 2 inches at 200 yds. firing five round strings. Of course that was firing with the sights properly blackened w/ soot. Also the front sight was rendered nice and square w/ a small fine cut file. The rear aperture is large which makes things not so helpful for the range but absolutely ideal for the woods and fields.

In fact, one of the longest game shots I ever made was on a eight point buck which was quartering away from me at 181 yds. I killed him with a single round which struck him just in front of his left hip and exited through the right front shoulder. He dropped like he'd been poleaxed. The rifle used was a Smith-Corona 03-A3 that had been rebuilt with a Rem. 1944 barrel. The rifle was bought from the CMP for the princely sum of $400 plus shipping. I cannot imagine a better rifle for anything that needs shooting. Sincerely. bruce.
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Old 06-25-2020, 06:15 AM
RHScott RHScott is offline
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: NC
Posts: 232

The 1903 is just fine and the rear sight slide can easily be modified with a larger drill bit for the aperture or a V file for the notch sight. Get another slide and modify it for older eyes and keep one for originality.
You don't need to be perfect, just better than your competition.
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