Shooting Sports USA - July 2013 - (Page 26)

FEATURE // VINTAGE RIFLE SCOPES Until you look at the details, the Gibbs reproduction rifle could pass for an “as-issued” M1903A4. A ‘new’ rifle for A An M1903 for the VintAge MilitAry Sniper r PhoToS ANd SToRy By ART MeRRIll F or many of us, the shooting sports are as much about heritage and living history as about training ourselves in self-discipline and shooting a little more accurately than the next guy. The Civilian Marksmanship Program’s (CMP) Vintage Military Sniper Rifle matches throw more gasoline upon that particular fire, and when CMP announced the first match in 2010 to test shooter interest, I ordered a Gibbs Rifle Company M1903A4 reproduction sniper rifle with reproduction M73B1 scope to both be one of the first to play the game and to evaluate the rifle and scope for other shooters. The rifle arrived just weeks before that first test match at the Western National Championships 26 SSUSA JULY 2013 in Phoenix, AZ, in october, 2010. It came in a hard plastic case, and I was pleased to see it was accompanied by a replica M1907 leather sling, replica olive drab canvas carrying case and a reprint of the War department’s 1943 TM 9-270 “operator’s manual” for the rifle and scope combo. To anyone who knows a bit about Springfield rifles, there is no mistaking this reproduction for an original. Remington Arms made all of the 28,365 to 29,964 (depending on who you ask) M1903A4s during WWII, beginning in 1943. The serial number on my example indicates it was manufactured in 1943, but it falls outside the block of numbers reserved specifically for M1903A4s. Another indicator is the location of the serial number. When produced as M1903A4s, the serial number appears on the right side of the receiver ring, instead of on top (as on mine), so that the scope mount wouldn’t cover the number. Therefore, mine is clearly not an original. The front sight mount cut into the new Criterion barrel is left empty, as on the original, but the “flaming bomb” ordnance mark, month-year of barrel manufacture and maker’s Id are absent—another indicator of nonoriginality. originals had two- or fourgroove rifling; mine has four grooves. The crown has no recess. The barrel and bayonet lug band have a dark grey Parkerized finish. The grey on the stacking swivel band, lower band, trigger guard plate, floorplate and scope mount are a slightly lighter shade. Screws are blued. They make an interesting

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Shooting Sports USA - July 2013

Shooting Sports USA - July 2013
Competitor’s Corner
Shooter’s News
Bag Check
Product Focus
NRA Award Points
2013 MidwayUSA/ NRA Bianchi Cup Championships
An M1903A4 for the Vintage Military Sniper Rifle Match
A Page From History
Coming Events
Member Info

Shooting Sports USA - July 2013