I will be looking at a friends 1903A4 sniper rifle that he claims to be original. Any tips on making sure he's not sticking it to me?
Thanks in advance.
Well, take your camera along, if your serious about buying it.
"Original" can be a vague term. Original from Remington, or original from rebuild. Nothing wrong with either, but it effects value.
First, look at the receiver markings. Make sure they are properly offset. Make note of the serial # and barrel date. They should correspond if original.
Make sure the finish is original. Receiver, barrel, scope base and rings should be parked. Ring screws should be color case-hardened. Other metal should be blued, including scope. If it's been through a rebuild, much of the metal will be parked.
Take a close look at the end of the barrel. It should be completely parked around the sight cuts. A3 barrels were parked with the sight base already installed. So if the sight base was removed it will show no park. Look for a punch mark under the end of the barrel.
What kind of scope is it? Should be Weaver M73B1, and so stamped on plate.
Take notes, and post back here. Lots of people think they have original.
Last edited by Mike D; 10-15-2010 at 08:14.
The large windage screws in the back of the base should be color casehardened if original finish. Normally all parts of the bolt will be blue except the safety which will be phosphate.
I can send you pics of an original rifle, when I get home tonight
A4 Photo Guide
The enclosed image is intended to illustrate the important views for capturing A4 details.
Some further observations on scopes:
There are something on the order of eight or nine major and minor variants of Weaver 330/M73B1 scopes that were used in orignal production. The variations chiefly involved markings, moisture proofing and the adjustment knobs.
In additon to the above there are several scopes which can be considered type correct for a WW2 vintage A4 and a few more on top of that if you consider the postwar (up to vietnam) period.
Due to the way these rifles were managed a scope that is type correct is going to be about as good as it gets.
With your information and pics please include the full s/n and the number of grooves in the barrel.
Thanks for the info but the rifle sold already. I wasn't the only one looking at the rifle.
I passed on it because the info came too late and I just wasn't sure. I read some in a Canfield book I had but I thought it said it should say A4 on the left side of the reciever and it said A3 there. It had the M84 scope which didnt bother me too much and the front sight was still there too. It sold for 1500 bucks which one fellow said was cheap as it was probably worth 2K as it layed. it was a Remington like Canfield said and the barrel was in the right range for the time Remington made them. Really I guess I was hoping I could get a deal.
Thanks again for the replys.
If it was a real A4, even a rebuild, he gave it away at that price.
The M84 is type correct just for a later perion in the rifles history. A good M84 with rings all by itself is worth the better part of $1000.
All A4's bear the identification "MODEL 03-A3". Occasionally a rebuild will be encountered where the trailing "3" has been struck out and a "4" stamped next to it. The original rifles were marked "03-A3" so that any that were insufficiently accurate for sniping purposes could be converted back to standard A3's. None were made marked "A4". There are a few clumsy fakes in circulation so-marked however.
Doesnt the presence of the front sight suggest other than an A4?
Originally Posted by GrinerBros
Did you happen to notice if the receiver stamping was offset to the rifle's left so as not to be covered by the scope mount? In my unlearned condition I would view that as a strong indicator of whether the rifle is legit or a replica.
Oh yes, it was definately to the left of the scope, that is NOT on the bolt handle side. But I was expecting it to say A4 on it and it said A3 and the front sight still on it made me pass on it. Man I am sick now but if I was really serious about it I should have asked in here earlier and been studying up before.
Originally Posted by pmclaine
Regardless, I still don't know what a fair price on a decent A4 would/should be in todays market.
Dont sweat it. Its gone for a reason, something better will come along. I havent studied it but I think an A4 would be priced (median) $2500 and will cost less or more depending on how correct/condition. Others actually owning or in the market for one could provide better price info.