M1903 Springfield

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Springfield M1903 Mk 1 - .30-06
Closeup detail of the M1903 Springfield above - this model is receiver cut for a Pedersen Device.
Springfield M1903 Transitional (pre-WW2) issue - .30-06

The Springfield M1903 was the first service rifle to be adopted by all branches of the United States Armed Forces. It is a Mauser-style turnbolt action with a 24" barrel, 5-round staggered-column box magazine contained within the stock, and straight-grip single-piece stock. It fired the new high-velocity .30-'06 caliber cartridge which would become the standard US rifle and machine-gun round for the next 50 years.

Contents


Background

Development

During the Spanish-American War, US Army troops in Cuba found their Krag-Jørgensen rifles severely outmatched by the Spanish Army's M1893 Mauser rifle. The high-velocity and flat trajectory of the 7x57mm cartridge compared to the .30-40 Krag made the Spanish rifle more accurate, and the Mauser design allowed for immediate reloading of the entire magazine via stripper clips, whereas the Krag could only be loaded singly. This gave the Spanish a decisive advantage in rate-of-fire. Another notable advantage of the Mauser was the smokeless powder used in the cartridges, which made their wielders extremely hard to spot, in sharp contrast to the puffs of smoke produced by the Spencer 1860 Carbines used by some of the U.S. soldiers, which made them easy targets for Spanish marksmen.

A more powerful .30-40 cartridge was developed in 1899, but generated too much chamber pressure for the rifle to withstand repeated firings. It was decided that an entirely new rifle was needed. Thousands of M1893 rifles - surrendered by Spanish troops in Cuba - were returned to the US and extensively studied at Springfield Armory, where it was decided that the Mauser was the superior design. A prototype rifle was produced in 1900; interestingly, it was very similar to Rifle No.5, the final M1892 Mauser prototype in the US Army rifle trials of 1892. This design was rejected, and a new design combining features of the 1898 Krag rifle and the 1893 Spanish Mauser was developed.

Design

The new M1901 prototype combined the cock-on-opening bolt, 30" barrel, magazine cutoff, stock and sights of the Krag-Jørgensen with the dual locking lugs, external claw extractor, and staggered-column magazine of the 1893 Mauser. Taking a cue from the Gewehr 98, a large safety lug was added to the side of the bolt behind the extractor, which would engage the receiver bridge and prevent the bolt moving rearwards. The bolt handle was also bent downwards, to make operation of the bolt faster. It fired an entirely new .30 caliber cartridge, which propelled a 220gr round-nosed bullet at 2,300ft/s. The design was unsuccessful, however, and returned to the drawing board for further improvements.

Following then-current trends in service rifles, the barrel was shortened to 24" after it was discovered that a longer barrel offered no appreciable ballistic advantage, and the shorter barrel was lighter and easier to handle. This "short rifle" also eliminated the need of a shorter carbine for mounted troops or cavalry. A spike-type bayonet with storage in the forend of the stock was added to the design, and the new design was officially adopted as the United States Rifle, Caliber .30, Model 1903.

Almost immediately it underwent two important modifications. In 1905, with 80,000 rifles aready produced, then-US President Theodore Roosevelt ordered the spike bayonet redesigned; he believed it was too flimsy for combat. A conventional blade-type bayonet, the M1905, replaced it and all rifles already produced were retrofitted for the new bayonet. The .30-'03 cartridge was also troublesome; the bullet caused excessive wear on the rifling, and the round-nosed bullet was aerodynamically inefficient. A new cartridge, propelling a 150gr spitzer bullet at 2,700 ft/s (820 m/s) with improved propellant and redesigned case was approved in 1906, becoming the ubiquitous .30-'06. All existing rifles were re-chambered and re-sighted for the new cartridge.


Specifications

  • Weight: 8.65 lb (3.9 kg) depending on wood density
  • Length: 44.9 in (1,140 mm)
  • Barrel length: 24 in (610 mm)
  • Cartridge: .30-03 Springfield; .30-06 Springfield
  • Action: Bolt-action
  • Muzzle velocity: 2,800 ft/s (853 m/s)
  • Feed system: 5-round, 25-round (Air Service variant) stripper clip, internal box magazine
  • Sights: Leaf rear sight, barleycorn-type front sight, Aperture rear sight, barleycorn-type front sight (M1903A3)

The M1903 Springfield and variants can be seen in the following films, television series, video games, and anime used by the following actors:

Film

Title Actor Character Note Date
The Highwaymen Kevin Costner Frank Hamer car arsenal 2019
Cold Steel (Bian di lang yan) Peter Ho Mu Liangfeng 2011
Tony Leung Ka Fai Capt. Zhang Menzi
Mickey He Xiao Wu
Chinese military snipers
Shutter Island Leonardo DiCaprio US Marshal Teddy Daniels 2009
Prison Guards
Spoils of War US Marines Archive footage 2009
Public Enemies US Army soldiers 2009
Prison guards
Vigilante
Fido Tim Blake Nelson Mr. Theopolis 2006
Henry Czerny Johny Bottoms
US Army soldiers
Zomcon guards
The Lost City Cuban rebels 2005
King Kong US Army soldiers 2005
Pearl Harbor US military personnel 2001
Commander Hamilton Libyan troops 1998
The Quest Dobbs' men and Turk smugglers 1996
Last Man Standing One of the men who massacres the truck convoy 1996
Truman Gary Sinise Capt. Harry S. Truman 1995
Silent Hunter Seen in Eli's cabin 1995
Clear and Present Danger US military honor guard With metal parts chromed 1994
Forrest Gump Gary Sinise Lt. Dan Taylor's ancestor 1994
Chaplin U.S. soldiers on the set of Shoulder Arms 1992
Child's Play 3 Kent Military School students 1991
Born on the Fourth of July 4th of July celebration cadets 1989
Sahara Cliff Potts String 1983
Perry Lang Andy
Ragtime police officers 1981
The Big Red One Lee Marvin Private Possum 1980
1941 U.S. Army soldiers 1976
The Police War (La Guerre des polices) French police Scoped 1979
Go Tell the Spartans South Vietnamese militia 1978
The Muthers Pirates, Camp guards 1976
Midway United States Marines 1976
Dillinger Vigilantes 1973
The New Centurions L.A.P.D. Honor Guard 1972
Big Jake Texas Rangers 1971
Two Mules for Sister Sara French soldier 1970
100 Rifles Mexican soldiers, Indians 1969
The Sand Pebbles Steve McQueen Jake Holman 1966
Richard Attenborough Frenchy Burgoyne
Joe Turkel Seaman Bronson
The Professionals Mexican soldiers 1966
The Professionals Rebels 1966
Tarzan and the Valley of Gold Vinero's soldiers 1966
The Dictator's Guns (L'Arme à gauche) Leo Gordon Morrison 1965
55 Days at Peking US Navy sailor 1963
The FBI Story South American soldier 1959
China Gate French Legionnaires 1957
A Bullet For Joey US Navy sailor 1955
Battle Circus North Korean soldier 1953
Blowing Wild Ward Bond Dutch Peterson 1953
Local policemen
Viva Zapata! Mexican soldiers and rebels 1952
Tokyo Joe US Army soldiers 1949
It's a Wonderful Life Ward Bond Bert the cop 1946
Back to Bataan Philippine guerrilla fighters 1945
The Story of G.I. Joe US Army soldier 1945
They Were Expendable John Wayne Lt. JG 'Rusty' Ryan 1945
US Navy sailor
The Fighting Seabees CB recruit 1944
Bataan Robert Taylor Sgt. Bill Dane 1943
Thomas Mitchell Cpl. Jake Feingold
Barry Nelson F.X. Matowski
Sahara Louis Mercier Jean 'Frenchie' Leroux 1943
German soldiers
Gung Ho! Marine Raiders 1943
Japanese soldiers
Guadalcanal Diary Richard Jaeckel Private Johnny "Chicken" Anderson 1943
Air Force various U.S. military 1943
Sergeant York Gary Cooper Sgt. Alvin C. York 1941
George Tobias Pvt. Michael T. "Pusher" Ross
David Bruce Pvt. Bert Thomas
Jack Pennick Cpl. William Cutting
Lane Chandler Cpl. Murray Savage
American soldiers
The Fighting 69th James Cagney Pvt. Jerry Plunkett 1940
Jeffrey Lynn Sgt. Joyce Kilmer
The Roaring Twenties James Cagney Eddie Bartlett 1939
Humphrey Bogart George Hally
Jeffrey Lynn Lloyd
Each Dawn I Die Army National Guard soldiers 1939
The Lives of a Bengal Lancer rebels 1935
Heroes for Sale U.S. Army 1933
Four Sons James Hall Joseph "Dutch" Bernle 1928
Wings U.S. Army 1927

Television

Show Title Actor Character Note / Episode Air Date
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. various characters 1964-1968
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Robert Vaughn Napoleon Solo 1964-1968
The Sopranos Tony Sirico Paulie "House Arrest" (2.11) 1999-2007
Doctor Who Hugh Quarshie Solomon "Daleks iin Manhattan" 2005 - ????
Doctor Who Hooverville citizens "Daleks in Manhattan" 2005 - ????
Bonnie and Clyde (2013) police officer scoped 2013

Video Games

Game Title Appears as Mods Notation Release Date
Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven 2002
Forgotten Hope 2003
Hidden & Dangerous 2 2003
Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth 2005
7554 2011
Verdun "Springfield M1903" 2015
Hot Dogs, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades 2016
Battlefield 1 "M1903" 2016

Animation

Film/TV Show Actor Character Note Date
The Iron Giant US Army soldiers 1999

M1903A1 Springfield Rifle

M1903A1 Springfield - .30-06
M1903A1 Springfield sniper rifle with 7.8x Unertl scope - .30-06
M1903A1 Springfield sniper rifle fitted with a 7.8x Unertl scope - .30-06. This rifle was used in Letters from Iwo Jima.
A pair of M1903A1 Springfield sniper rifles with 7.8x Unertl scopes - .30-06. The guns pictured here were the actual rifles used in Letters from Iwo Jima (one is primary, the other is a back-up), and the rifle was fired by Master Sergeant Tom Minder, one of the technical advisors, in the film.

The M1903A1 Springfield was introduced in 1929, with the only alteration being the C-type pistol-grip stock. The US Marine Corps utilized the M1903A1 with a scope added as their standard sniper rifle during World War II.

The M1903A1 Springfield and variants can be seen in the following films, television series, video games, and anime used by the following actors:

Film

Title Actor Character Note Date
White Christmas U.S. Army soldiers 1954
I Am Cuba (Soy Cuba) Cuban government soldiers and guerrillas 1964
Best Seller Brian Dennehy Dennis Meechum with M82 scope 1987
Letters from Iwo Jima MSgt. Tom Minder US Marine sniper with 7.8x Unertl scope 2006
Let the Bullets Fly henchmen no scope 2010

Television

Title Actor Character Note / Episode Date
The Pacific US Marine Sniper with 7.8x Unertl scope 2010

Video Game

Game Title Appears as Note Release Date
Forgotten Hope 2 with Model 330 Weaver scope 2005
Call of Duty: World at War 2008
Heroes & Generals Springfield M1903 unscoped and with M84/Unertl scopes 2016
Mafia III 2016


M1903A3 Rifle

Remington M1903A3 rifle .30-06
An M1903A3 Rifle manufactured by Remington Arms for use during World War II. Note the C-type pistol-grip stock - .30-06

Anticipation of American involvement in World War II lead to the US War Department contracting with Remington Arms and Smith-Corona Typewriter Company to produce M1903 rifles to supplement production of the M1 Garand. Remington began production at serial #3,000,000 in September 1941 using old tooling from Rock Island Arsenal put in storage in 1919. As the older tooling wore out, Remington replaced unnecessary milled parts with stamped replacements, which helped to simplify and speed up production, and also improved the design by replacing the original rear sight with a peep sight on the receiver bridge. By serial #3,330,000 the design had been modified so much that it was decided to give the model a new designation, United States Rifle, Caliber .30, Model of 1903-A3. In October 1942 Smith-Corona began production of the M1903A3 in Syracuse, New York. Smith-Corona rifles were produced using a number of subcontractors, primarily barrels made by High-Standard Manufacturing and Savage Arms. Production of the M1903A3 ended February 12, 1944 when production of M1 Garand rifles was deemed sufficient for the war effort.

The M1903A3 was extensively used by Allied forces in World War II; it was the primary battle rifle of the 1st Brazilian Infantry Division in Italy, and was extensively used by Free French forces after August 1943. It would see action with postwar French forces in Indochina and Algeria. While the basic M1903 and the M1903A1 were distinguished by the use of either a straight-grip stock or a C-type pistol-grip stock, both stock types were used interchangeably in the M1903A3 without any change in designation.

The M1903A3 Springfield and variants can be seen in the following films, television series, video games, and anime used by the following actors:

Film

Title Actor Character Note Date
The Fighting Seabees US Marine and CB members 1944
The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms National Guard soldiers 1953
Never So Few Burmese and american soldiers 1959
Battle of the Bulge U.S. Army Soldiers 1965
The Wild Bunch Ben Johnson Tector 1969
The Wild Bunch Strother Martin Coffer 1969
The Wild Bunch U.S. Army soldiers 1969
The Wild Bunch Mexican Army soldiers 1969
Badlands Police officer 1973
Dillinger U.S. Army soldiers 1973
Ironweed Jared Swartout U.S. Army officer 1987
Return from the River Kwai Japanese soldiers, Miao tribesmen, former Allied POWs 1989
Courage Under Fire U.S. Army soldiers With metal parts chromed 1996
The Scoundrel's Wife U.S. Coast Guard sailors 2002
Gallipoli: End of the Road Gürkan Uygun Mushin 2013
Gallipoli: End of the Road Umut Kurt Hasan 2013
Gallipoli: End of the Road Mehmetcan Diper Eyüp 2013
Gallipoli: End of the Road Inanç Koçak Kostas 2013
Gallipoli: End of the Road Emir Çiçek Sgt. Enver Çavuş 2013
Gallipoli: End of the Road Fikret Yildirim Urag Capt. Ibrahim Adil 2013
Gallipoli: End of the Road Turkish soldiers 2013

Television

Show Title Actor Character Note / Episode Air Date
The Pacific Keith Nobbs PFC Wilbur 'Runner' Conley 2010
The Pacific Joshua Bitton Sgt. J.P. Morgan 2010
The Pacific Josh Helman Lew 'Chuckler' Juergens 2010
The Pacific Tom Budge PFC Ronnie Gibson 2010
The Pacific Sam Parsonson Pvt. William LaPointe 2010
The Pacific US Marines 2010

Video Game

Game Title Appears as Mods Notation Release Date
Medal of Honor: Allied Assault With scope 2002
Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault With & without scope 2004
Call of Duty 2 2005
Death to Spies: Moment of Truth 2009
World War II Online: Battleground Europe Released with 1.34 update 2011
Day of Infamy 2017

M1903A4 Springfield Sniper Rifle

M1903A4 Springfield sniper variant with M84 scope - .30-06
M1903A4 Springfield sniper variant (Remington markings) without scope and with "scant" variation of C-type pistol-grip stock - .30-06
M1903A4 Springfield with Model 330 Weaver scope - .30-06

The M1903A4 is an adaptation of the M1903A3 for sniper use, with the iron sights removed and a low-mounted scope in their place. The M1903A4 was used only by the US Army during World War II, as the Marines preferred their own modified M1903A1 design.

The M1903A4 Springfield Sniper Rifle and variants can be seen in the following films, television series, video games, and anime used by the following actors:

Film

Title Actor Character Note Date
Saving Private Ryan Barry Pepper Pvt. Daniel Jackson 1998
Tae Guk Gi South Korean soldier With scope removed 2004
Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed US paratrooper 2012

Video Games

Game Title Appears as Mods Notation Release Date
Commandos 2: Men of Courage "M1903 .30-06" 2001
Commandos 3: Destination Berlin "Allied Sniper Rifle" 2003
Call of Duty 2003
Forgotten Hope 2003
Call of Duty: United Offensive 2004
Day of Defeat With M82 scope 2004
Call of Duty 3 2006
Far Cry 2 Incorrectly shown loaded with a stripper clip inserted into the bottom of the weapon 2008
Forgotten Hope 2 2005
Medal of Honor 1999
Medal of Honor: Frontline 2002
Medal of Honor: Rising Sun 2003
Medal of Honor: Airborne 2007
Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 2005
Resident Evil 4 With upgradable scope Inaccurately chambered in .223 Remington 2005
Darkest Hour: Europe '44-'45 With M84 scope 2006
Death to Spies: Moment of Truth 2009
Day of Defeat: Source 2010
World War II Online: Battleground Europe released with 1.34 update 2011
Sniper Elite V2 2012
Sniper Elite III "Patriot Weapons Pack" DLC 2014
Sniper Elite 4 2017

Anime

Character Film Title Note Date
Mayoi Neko Overrun! 2010
Lemure sniper Baccano! 2007
Hanasaku Iroha 2011


Sporterized M1903 Springfield

Sporterized M1903 with Weaver telescope.
A Griffin & Howe M1903 Sporter with iron sights.
Springfield M1903 in a Mannlicher Schönauer Carbine stock - .30-'06 This is the screen used rifle (and sling) carried and used by Don Johnson in A Boy and His Dog. The same rifle was also used in The Book of Eli (2010).
Sporterized M1903 Springfield
Sporterized M1903 Springfield

The M1903 and its descendants have long been popular as the basis for custom hunting/target rifles. Famous gunsmith Reginald F. Sedgely and the sporting house of Griffin & Howe (in business since 1923) are two of the most well known makers not to mention the thousands of self-taught hobbyists working in their basements and garages over the past one hundred years.

The Sporterized Springfield Rifle and variants can be seen in the following films, television series, video games, and anime used by the following actors:

Film

Title Actor Character Note Date
The Book of Eli Town guard Same sporterized rifle as used in A Boy and His Dog (1975) 2010
Blue Desert Philip Baker Hall Joe Scoped 1991
The Howling Colony Resident Griffin & Howe 1981
Black Sunday Robert Shaw Maj. David Kabakov Scoped 1977
Breaker! Breaker! Dan Vandegrift Wilfred Griffin & Howe? 1977
A Boy and His Dog Don Johnson Vic Customized with Mannlicher Schönauer Carbine (Stutzen) stock 1975
The Dictator's Guns (L'Arme à gauche) Leo Gordon Morrison 1965
His Kind of Woman Vincent Price Mark Cardigan Griffin & Howe 1951
His Kind of Woman Alberto Morin Lt. Rodriguez Griffin & Howe 1951
His Kind of Woman Mexican policemen Griffin & Howe 1951
High Sierra Frank Cordell Slim scoped sporter 1941

Television

Show Title Actor Character Note / Episode Air Date
The Walking Dead - Season 3 Lauren Cohan Maggie "I Ain't a Judas" (S3E11) 2012-2013


Pedersen Device

M1903 Mk 1 Springfield fitted with the Pedersen Device - .30-18 Auto (also known as the 7.65×20mm Longue)

The Pedersen Device is an attachment for the M1903 Springfield developed during World War I, converting the rifle into semi-automatic pistol cartridge weapon, designated US Automatic Pistol, Caliber .30, Model of 1918 by the Ordnance Department. Functionally, the Pedersen Device is a very small and simple top loading, blowback-operated pistol. M1903 Springfields were modified with additional left-facing pistol-caliber ejection port and other receiver modifications to accommodate for the device, and were designated US Rifle, Cal. .30, Model of M1903, Mark I. It is attached by removing the turnbolt and inserting the device. It uses the rifle's trigger group and uses 40-round magazines, inserted 45-degrees diagonally from the right.

The device was designed by Remington Arms employee John Pedersen prior to US entry into WWI. After US entry into WWI, the Army ordered 133,450 devices and 800,000,000 cartridges for the 1919 Spring Offensive. Production began in 1918, but the war ended before they reached Europe. The production contract was terminated on March 1, 1919, after 65,000 devices, 1.6 million magazines, 65 million cartridges and 101,775 modified Springfield rifles were produced. They were subsequently placed in storage and declared surplus in 1931. Nearly all were destroyed in a giant bonfire because the Ordnance Department didn't want to pay for the cost of storage. An estimated 60-100 Pedersen devices survive today. Most Mark I rifles converted for the Pedersen device were converted back to the original standard in the 1930s, with the only remaining sign of their conversion being a receiver cutout and a Mark I rollmark.

Mk.II and Mk.III prototypes were designed for the M1917 Enfield and U.S. Rifle, 7.62 mm, Model of 1916 (a Remington-produced version of the Russian Mosin Nagant that were never delivered to Russia). Neither went into production.

Video Games

Game Title Appears as Mods Notation Release Date
Battlefield 1 "M1903 Experimental" 2016



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