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  #1  
Old 04-21-2021, 05:45 PM
the_1st_sgt@ca.rr.com the_1st_sgt@ca.rr.com is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 6
Default A question for the 03 experts

There is a gun auction coming up in my area in SoCal and one of the rifles is an 03 Mark 1. I got a chance to look at it today and it's in pretty decent shape. As far as I can tell it's a fairly early Mk 1 Ser#1041852 with a 11/18 barrel. The rifle looks to have original thinning park, the plus is that it has all the Mk 1 parts including stock. I would put it at 75% overall. Great bore measuring under 2 MW and 3 TE. However the bolt is a L5w/WL5. In looking at Vi Shooters page it appears that it should have a J5 or were there different codes for the Mk1? Head space is another problem, it closed without resistance on a Forster Field gage, but that could change with a different bolt. Your thoughts
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  #2  
Old 04-21-2021, 08:34 PM
pickax pickax is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Daytona Beach Fla.
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Sound like a nice MK1 and you have done your homework on it.
A proper head spacing bolt upgrade could be expensive these days.
If you add that to your rifle cost, and reasonable, then buy that puppy!
That loose bolt screams civilian replacement though, so look more closely for other signs of civilian monkeying with it.
Pictures will tell the tale
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  #3  
Old 04-21-2021, 09:19 PM
the_1st_sgt@ca.rr.com the_1st_sgt@ca.rr.com is offline
 
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I'm thinking of bidding on it because it is a mostly original/complete Mk1. If I can get it for about $800 it's worth that in parts these days. I'm guessing a curved J5 would be the proper bolt
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  #4  
Old 04-21-2021, 09:26 PM
stripper clip stripper clip is offline
 
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Location: Illinois
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FWIW, Forster gauges tend to be a little more on the minimum side. Clymer gauges are more exact to USGI specifications. The Forster gauge could be the reason the bolt closed effortlessly on the FIELD gauge.

It sounds like a decent rifle with some positive attributes, but don't be afraid to pass on it if your gut or the bidding indicates otherwise. You can always find a correct Mark I elsewhere. Best of luck!
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  #5  
Old 04-21-2021, 10:22 PM
the_1st_sgt@ca.rr.com the_1st_sgt@ca.rr.com is offline
 
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Thank you. I have a maximum I will bid. If someone else wants it more than I then it's theirs. I guess I'll take my field gage (redford reamer co) to the auction and check it again

Last edited by the_1st_sgt@ca.rr.com; 04-21-2021 at 10:29 PM.
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  #6  
Old 04-21-2021, 11:25 PM
John Beard John Beard is online now
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Sweet Home Alabama
Posts: 3,548
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I have little doubt that the bolt is the original bolt.

Excessive headspace is a very common issue with Mark I rifles. It seems that Springfield Armory reamed the chambers long to accommodate the Pedersen Device.

Good Luck!

J.B.
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  #7  
Old 04-22-2021, 12:11 AM
Col. Colt Col. Colt is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 461
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Sounds like a for real, correct, original Mark I (and I have never seen a complete one!) - unless you must have a shooter, I would say it is a VERY Desirable M1903 Collector's rifle, and I would go after it. And I bet a bolt swap would make it a shooter.

I have had success correcting headspace using a new WWII replacement bolt, going from almost closing completely on a field gauge to not closing on a no-go gauge (The Correct for that rifle NS bolt was the loose one, unfortunately). CC
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  #8  
Old 04-22-2021, 07:40 AM
ceresco ceresco is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 8,067
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Prices vary regionally and have been going up. The $800 range is probably reasonable today. Mark 1s did not command much of a premium in the past and the special parts were still available a few years ago. As far as headspace; setting the barrel back is often mentioned and seldom done. It requires considerable work and alters the original rifle, complicated further by the rear sight base/handguard. Any reasonably competent handloader can full length size custom ammo to a "long" chamber--possibly a better solution for a rifle that will see limited use. Good Shooting. ...
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  #9  
Old 04-22-2021, 08:45 AM
Bart1015 Bart1015 is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Sonoma County, California
Posts: 73
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What about trying another bolt so you can see if the headspace changes?

I have no idea if an A3 bolt would work in a Mark 1. But if it does interchange, I could mail you my spare A3 bolt. Just mail it back after your check.

Brett

Last edited by Bart1015; 04-22-2021 at 09:07 AM. Reason: typo
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  #10  
Old 04-22-2021, 12:13 PM
the_1st_sgt@ca.rr.com the_1st_sgt@ca.rr.com is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 6
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Yeah, you never can tell at an auction what will happen. I refuse to get into a bidding war, usually. I will bid to what I believe is the value of the piece and stop. About a year ago at the same auction I picked up an absolutely immaculate and 100% correct Remington 03 in the 3.2 million range. The downside was the bore was full of cosmoline. It took me forever to get that crap out. I finally found some kerosine at the local wally world and soaked it for several hours. That along with use of some steam finally got it out

Thanks Bart, I have several spare bolts to check with including a couple of straight handle J5's as well as some NOS A3 bolts
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