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  #1  
Old 11-11-2019, 09:26 PM
42Springfield 42Springfield is offline
 
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Default Opinions wanted on this possible USMC 1903

Hello all. I acquired this SA 1903 which has what appears to be a number of USMC features. I am a 1903 amateur, and I am looking for opinions on whether this was indeed a Marine rifle, and any other thoughts on its possible history. It is in a replacement stock with no markings other than a J in the cutoff area. The action screws are staked in place. The buttplate has been hand stippled with a round punch. A Hatcher hole has been drilled crudely, and it looks like the bolt was opened up in the same area. The bolt has been serialized, but does not match the receiver. It headspaces OK with a field gauge. There is some serious staining in or under the park where the receiver was exposed to the air. There are no direct hits for this serial in the SRS database but I do see some other USMC rifles pretty near it. I am curious if the experts who keep track of USMC 1903s have any more information from a serial number range perspective.

The barrel is a SA 2/42, but when I removed the handguard, there were no discernible wrench/vise marks on the barrel where they are often seen on Marine rebuilds. Does that preclude the possibility of this being a Marine rifle?

Thanks for any information anyone can give. If you'd like to see a picture of something else let me know.






Last edited by 42Springfield; 11-13-2019 at 09:24 AM.
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  #2  
Old 11-11-2019, 10:55 PM
jetblue319 jetblue319 is offline
 
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https://usmcweaponry.com/
This link should help you in your search for semper fi firearms
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  #3  
Old 11-11-2019, 11:23 PM
cplnorton cplnorton is offline
 
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It all sounded really good till you got to the Barrel.

A really early 1942 SA barrel isn't common. When you read the docs of when they ordered the barrels, it was the later 1942 barrels that would have been the ones most likely to ship, and that is also what you see on the existing examples. You see the later half of 1942 SA barrels and they exhibit the vise marks, with the hatcher holes.

With that being said, I don't know if I would rule it out because of that, it just would have made it easy to call. The barrel is really the only thing that throws a monkey wrench in on this one for me.

This is one I could really argue either way. If you could only know for sure how long the parts have been together on this one, that would help tremendously. Of course there is really no way to ever know for sure. If I had to make a call, I think I would feel the chances are more likely it was Marine than not.

But this is sort of a tough one to say for sure. Because I could make a case for it either way. Especially when you factor in the uncertainty of swapping parts.

Last edited by cplnorton; 11-11-2019 at 11:54 PM.
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  #4  
Old 11-11-2019, 11:25 PM
cplnorton cplnorton is offline
 
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What is that serial on the bolt by the way?

Is it a 1.44 or a 1.49?

A 1498815 is a great range for a Marine team rifle. But a 1448815 would be a very odd serial range to be Marine.
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  #5  
Old 11-12-2019, 12:39 AM
Wakko Wakko is offline
 
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Sure looks like 144 to me.
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  #6  
Old 11-12-2019, 08:56 AM
42Springfield 42Springfield is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cplnorton View Post
What is that serial on the bolt by the way?

Is it a 1.44 or a 1.49?

A 1498815 is a great range for a Marine team rifle. But a 1448815 would be a very odd serial range to be Marine.
Thanks for the insights so far. I looked at the bolt carefully this morning, and it's definitely 1448815.
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  #7  
Old 11-12-2019, 10:03 AM
chuckindenver chuckindenver is offline
 
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Steve I heard that 12-41 SA barrels are USMC only barrels, 1-42 2-42 were also USMC barrel?
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  #8  
Old 11-12-2019, 11:18 AM
cplnorton cplnorton is offline
 
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I really haven't seen anything that made me think the 12/41 were exclusive to the Marines, but you don't see many 12/41's at all. I don't remember a barrel order by the Marines at that time though. I've seen the 9/40 and I think everyone of those I've seen so far I've thought were a USMC rifle at one time.

Now I should add the caveat, I'm writing all the below off the top of my head, so please understand I didn't double check exact dates or quantities.

Usually you don't see the early 1942 barrels being USMC as they really didn't do a big rebuild program at that time.

See the Navy shipped the Marines a substantial amount of used M1903's in the early part of 1942. They came in spread out shipments to the boot camps. The Navy shipped at least 35,000. There is a potential of up to 50,000 would have shipped by the time it was all done in late 1942, but I cannot confirm the 50,000 number but it is mentioned as very possible.

But these rifles weren't in the best shape, so you see the Marines start to gear up for a mass rebuild program on the M1903's.

I think it was about late July 1942 when you see them say they are going to start on another mass rebuild program on the M1903's. I think they wanted to order about 13,000 barrel assemblies for this rebuild program so you see them split that number between Sedgley and then the Army for the remainder.

That is why for the 1942 Sedgley barrels, you only see them 4/42 and up, and why generally for the Army 1942 SA barrels, you mostly see the 5/42 and up being used on Marine rifles.

So it just sort of came down to when the orders were placed.

I was trying to think if I have ever seen a 1/42 or 2/42 on a USMC rifle and if I have, it doesn't register with me. Could it be possible? Yes, it could be a earlier dated barrel made it's way into one of those summer shipments, but M1903 parts were in very high demand in 1942 by pretty much all branches. Even the Navy was having Augusta Arsenal conduct a massive rebuild of M1903s in 1942. So parts were mostly being shipped as soon as they were completed to somewhere.

Now even though this rifle lacks the vise marks, it's still possible the Marines changed it. The Marines changed barrels in field depots and also at San Francisco. So barrels were changed at other locations other than Philly. I have seen barrels over the years changed during WWII that don't have the vise marks that I do think are Marine, it's just not as common as the ones who do have them.
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  #9  
Old 11-12-2019, 12:21 PM
chuckindenver chuckindenver is offline
 
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i cant remember who it was that said the early barrels were USMC s, maybe JB.. I have seen a couple 12-41 barrels, on USMC type rifles. had one in my hands for a short time, hatcher hole. jaw marks, scant grip stock.. have a USMC barreled action in my shop with a 1-42 barrel installed on it. with a hit in SRS.
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  #10  
Old 11-12-2019, 03:13 PM
John Beard John Beard is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuckindenver View Post
i cant remember who it was that said the early barrels were USMC s, maybe JB.. I have seen a couple 12-41 barrels, on USMC type rifles. had one in my hands for a short time, hatcher hole. jaw marks, scant grip stock.. have a USMC barreled action in my shop with a 1-42 barrel installed on it. with a hit in SRS.
I have no recollection of stating that late 1941/early 1942 SA barrels were issued to the USMC. However, I agree with cplnorton that very few late 1941/early 1942 SA barrels were issued to the USMC. The USMC at that time was buying barrels from Sedgley, and those barrels were marked "USMC".

Even though the barrel might possibly, but unlikely, have been replaced, 42Springfield's rifle exhibits numerous USMC characteristics.

J.B.
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