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Springfield M1903 file photo [6359]

Springfield M1903 Rifle

Country of OriginUnited States
Caliber7.620 mm
Capacity5 rounds
Length1.140 m
Barrel Length610.000 mm
Weight3.900 kg
Rate of Fire20 rounds/min
Muzzle Velocity853 m/s


ww2dbaseThe Springfield M1903 magazine-fed bolt-action rifles became the standard rifles of the United States Army in 1903. The design contained features from Mauser Model 93 rifles (captured during the Spanish-American War and reverse-engineered) and the Krag rifles of the 1890s; in fact, the design adopted so many of Mauser Model 93 design's features that the United States government ultimately paid royalties to Mauserwerke. By Jan 1905, over 80,000 Springfield M1903 rifles were produced at the Springfield Armory. In mid-1905, at the insistence of President Theodore Roosevelt, M1905 sub-model of the M1903 began production, which had new mounts for knife-type bayonets as opposed to the original rod-type bayonets; Roosevelt thought that the knife-type bayonets were stronger. The barrels were also made shorter with the M1905 variant design.

By the American entry into WW1, 843,239 of these rifles had been produced at Springfield Armory and Rock Island Arsenal. Service experience during WW1 found that some receivers were improperly subjected to excessive temperatures during the forging process, which burned away too much carbon, thus creating brittle receivers. The problem was corrected during the war, and the receivers were further strengthened after the war by adding nickel. Together with the modification with the Pedersen device, the new variant was re-designated as M1903 Mark I.

By the WW2 era, although Springfield M1903 rifles were no longer the standard issue rifles having replaced by the semi-automatic M1 Garand rifles in 1936, they remained in production due to war demands. They were produced by private manufacturers Remington Arms (since Sep 1941) and Smith-Corona Typewriter in Rochester, New York, United States (since early 1942). On the front lines, they were used by Army Rangers, snipers, military police, and Marines through the entire length of the war. Some Springfield M1903 were also used by other Allied forces, such as the Free French forces beginning in Aug 1943 and the Brazilian 1st Infantry Division fighting in Italy. A number of examples were captured by Germans during the war, and were used under the designation Gewehr 249(a).

Springfield M1903 rifles remained in use in subsequent wars. The US Marines, for instance, used Springfield M1903 sniper rifles equipped with the Unertl 7.8x sights in both Korean and Vietnam Wars, though the numbers used during the latter were very small. Today, there are still many examples in use, though mainly used only as non-firing drill rifles.

Source: Wikipedia. ww2dbase

Last Major Revision: Aug 2008


Color guard leading armored cruiser USS Pittsburgh landing party in the Bund, Shanghai, China, 1927; note Springfield M1903 rifles and M1911 pistolsUS Marine practicing marksmanship with a Springfield M1903 rifle, circa 1941
See all 12 photographs of Springfield M1903 Rifle

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Anonymous says:
2 Mar 2010 10:03:17 AM

I am doing a report on the m1903. Does anyone have any good written sources???????????????????????????????
2. Blake says:
14 Jan 2014 07:55:04 PM

No but I can tell you that the 1903 served as a sniper rifle from ww2 to early days of Vietnam where it was replaced by the 7.62mm M40
3. johannes says:
14 Feb 2015 06:21:05 PM

The BEST, most comprehensive write up on the us 1903 rifles is "hatcher's notebook" by maj gen julian hatcher. The section on 03s is absolutely exhaustive, complete with production numbers, photos, failure in service records, experimental data, metallurgical analyses, and pretty much ALL minutiae on the arms family. I heartily recommend the general's lifework to all with an interest in american military small arms. General hatcher was commanding officer of the first US army machine gun school. His expertise, engineering knowledge, and scientific approach make this at the very least a "must read"

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Springfield M1903 Rifle Photo Gallery
Color guard leading armored cruiser USS Pittsburgh landing party in the Bund, Shanghai, China, 1927; note Springfield M1903 rifles and M1911 pistolsUS Marine practicing marksmanship with a Springfield M1903 rifle, circa 1941
See all 12 photographs of Springfield M1903 Rifle

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