The M1903 Springfield is a five-round, magazine-fed, bolt-action, repeating rifle. Bolt action means that the extraction and ejection of cartridges from the weapon’s chamber are affected by manually manipulating the bolt of the weapon via a handle. When the handle is operated, the bolt is unlocked from the receiver, pulling back to open the breach, allowing the spent cartridge to be extracted and ejected. Upon the bolt being pushed back into place, a new cartridge is loaded into the chamber, and the breach is closed by the bolt locking against the receiver. The most famous early example of a bolt-action rifle is the Dreyse needle gun, which was developed in 1841 by Johann Nikolaus von Dreyse.
A repeating rifle is a single-barrel rifle capable of firing repeatedly following a single ammunition reload. Typically, a repeating rifle stores multiple cartridges in a magazine, which are then fed into the rifle’s chamber by the bolt, and the act of chambering the rifle also recocks the action for the following shot. The term repeating rifle is usually only used to refer to manually-operated weapons, as opposed to self-loading rifles, which use recoil and blowback to cycle their actions. A significant advance over the single-shot rifle, repeating rifles first saw widespread use during the American Civil War.
During the Battle of San Juan Hill, in the Spanish-American War, US troops caught the business end of the Mauser M93, the grand-daddy of all repeating bolt-action rifles. 750 Spanish soldiers using the M93 significantly delayed the advance of 8,500 US troops carrying an old, outmoded single-shot rifle called the Krag. The Spanish soldiers inflicted over 1,400 casualties. As a result of this battle, a US Army board was convened to deal with the Krag problem. The Krag had three major drawbacks: it was slow to load; it could only fire a single shot, and it couldn’t handle high-velocity rounds.
The War department exhaustively studied the Mauser. They applied some features of the Krag rifle to the mechanism of the Mauser M93 to create the Springfield M1903. By January 1905, over 80,000 of these rifles had been produced at the Springfield Armory. By the time of the Pancho Villa Expedition in 1916, the M1903 was the standard-issue service rifle of the US Armed Forces. Some of these rifles were fitted out with telescopic sights and maxim silencers, which were the first commercially successful firearm sound suppressor.
843,239 of the M1903 had been developed by the time the US entered into World War I. Toward the end of the war, Springfield developed the M1903 Mark I, which had a cut on the left side of the receiver meant to act as an ejection port for the Pederson Device, an attachment developed by the US army that allowed the rifle to fire in semi-automatic mode, converting the rifle to a form of submachine gun or automatic rifle in under fifteen seconds.
World War II saw further production of the M1903, which sacrificed high-grade materials for cheaper alternatives more fit for mass production.
At Sarco Inc., we sell the 1903 Parts you need to build or maintain your own M1903 Springfield. We also sell a kit that consists of every part of the Springfield rifle save the stock, receiver and barrel assembly with sight bases. These you must purchase separately. The kit comes with bolts, bands, swivels, a stamped trigger guard, a trigger, and even a new handguard. You can use this kit to build up a rifle on your receiver or to rebuild an old M1903.
Sarco Inc. carries all the 1903 parts you can desire. Since our humble beginnings on the gun show circuit, we’ve expanded into perhaps the largest dealer in surplus war material in the country. Contact us today at (610) 250-3961 to get started with your Sarco Inc. experience.