EXCEPTIONALLY RARE & SOUGHT AFTER MODEL 1903 SPRINGFIELD ROD BAYONET BOLT ACTION MILITARY RIFLE IN ORIGINAL CONDITION

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EXCEPTIONALLY RARE & SOUGHT AFTER MODEL 1903 SPRINGFIELD ROD BAYONET BOLT ACTION MILITARY RIFLE IN ORIGINAL CONDITION.

22-4211

Cal. 30-03
Ser. #3987
Bbl. 24″

In 1892 the United States adopted the Norwegian designed Krag-Jorgenson rifle. This rifle was a 5 shot repeater using the newly developed smokeless powder which was to replace the earlier single shot “trap door” rifle which used black powder. When the United States went to war with Spain in 1898, some basic deficiencies became apparent in the Krag design compared to the Mauser rifles used by Spain. The Mauser, using a stronger action with 2 front locking lugs, had a flatter-shooting, more powerful cartridge and was loaded by 5 round stripper clips allowing a higher rate of fire due to faster loading. The Krag rifle did not lend itself to further development which would correct these problems. The years immediately following the Spanish-American War saw a great deal of research to develop a replacement for the Krag rifle. The design selected was patterned after the Mauser Model 98 rifle using the earlier small ring receiver. This became the basis for the United States Magazine Rifle, Cal. 30, Model of 1903.

This rifle featured the 2 locking lugs with a third safety lug, a 5-round magazine loaded with stripper clips, and firing a new rimless cartridge now referred to as the 30-03. This cartridge utilized the 220 grain bullet of the Krag cartridge but the velocity was increased from 2000 feet per second to 2300 feet per second resulting in a flatter trajectory. A prominent feature on this new rifle was the design of the bayonet. This was made as a rod .287″ in diameter and 23-1/2″ long carried in the forend underneath the barrel. This bayonet when fixed, extended 10″ beyond the muzzle of the rifle. The rod bayonet, similar to that which had been used in the earlier 1884 “trap door” rifle, was not well liked and a change was reputedly made at the request of President Theodore Roosevelt to a knife bayonet. Both the Springfield and Rock Island Armories tooled up to produce this new rifle, however Rock Island produced parts but few completed rifles. Any completed rifles were apparently retained at Rock Island and converted to the later types. These well-made and finished rifles were actually produced in 1904 through early 1906. Records indicate that 76,689 rod bayonet rifles were produced at Springfield with an additional 18,000 rifles (parts only) produced at Rock Island. 72,844 of these rifles were converted to the 1905 type leaving approximately 3,800 rifles which apparently were not converted to the new type. Some authorities have indicated that rod bayonet rifles may have remained in service as late as WWI.

This rifle has the later type tangent rear sight with 2 pins visible at the forward end. Sight is graduated to 2000 yards & equipped with the swing-up aperture similar to those used on the Krag Model 1902 rear sight. The blade front sight is mounted on a fixed base which has rear serrations and two distinctive lightning holes. The bayonet described earlier has three relief cuts at the tip which is not knurled. The rear of the bayonet is not threaded. The bolt which was given a bright finish has the numeral “1” underneath the handle. Bolt has gas port on underside. The extractor was finished with a “fire” blue. The safety is the improved type marked “SAFE” and “READY”. Cocking piece has two notches. Rifle was given the modification which does not allow rifle to fire if the trigger is pushed forward. The cutoff is polished bright on the underside. The front band has the correct flat on the stacking swivel. The lower band is the correct solid type. Smooth buttplate with trap; trap diameter is approximately .860. Matching walnut stock set with crisp markings. Boxed “JSA” inspector’s mark with “1904” date over trigger guard. Encircled script “P” proof and tiny numeral “2” under grip.

STATUS: CURIO.

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