Educational Zone #144 – Product Evaluation – The James River Armory 1903-A3

My buddy Ted has been looking at a lot of gun shows for a good example of the 1903-A3 rifle. He wanted a “clean” one, but also wanted a shooter, not a wall hanger. But we were not finding what we were looking for at any reasonable price. In fact, a good example would usually run between $800 and $1,000 and even then, might have a pitted bore.

We decided to look at some of the modern “restored” firearms at the SHOT Show.

We did so, and found a popular manufacturer that advertises such rifles, but we were very disappointed at the poor quality of the guns that they had at the show. On the 1903, their wood was, believe it or not, between 1/8 and ¼ inch proud of the metal in many areas. They were totally unacceptable to us at their prices.

But then we found James River Armory and were surprised at the high quality of their products on display. They had 1903-A3s, M-1 Garands, M-1 Carbines, and even a 1903-A4 (sniper rifle). All were very nice.

Ted ordered a 1903-A3 and had it shipped to his FFL.

When it came in, he was thrilled with the quality.

He brought it down this week and we took it to the range.

Here it is.

Here it is.

As you can see, it comes in a nice plastic shipping case lined with foam lining.

Here it is on the bench.

Here it is on the bench.

As you can see, the rifle has been totally re-manufactured and refinished.

It has a new wood stock, and a new barrel.

It has a very nice gray parkerized finish and looks, well, brand new.

Let’s look closely at the rifle.

The stamp on the receiver showed that this is a Remington rifle.

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It has the standard military rear peep sight.

I love to shoot these kinds of sights.

The sight has adjustments for elevation.

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And it also has a very well-marked adjustment for windage.

The sights adjusted easily allowing us to place the groups where we wanted them on the target.

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The front sight is an excellent blade sight that is very precise.

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The butt of the stock has a very nice recoil plate with an oiler compartment.

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It is finely inlaid into the wood and fits great.

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The bore is excellent and is brand new.

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We disassembled the bolt and found that it had a brand new firing pin and spring.

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The safety is located in front of the cocking handle and is clearly marked.

For those that are not familiar, the rifle has a system to allow single loading or magazine loading.

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To load single rounds, with the magazine cut off, the lever is turned to “OFF”.

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If you flip it all the way up, it is “ON”, and the rounds will feed from the magazine as the bolt is worked.

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To remove the bolt, you move the lever half way up and the bolt will slide right out of the action, for easy cleaning from the chamber.

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The magazine plate and trigger guard are well done and clean looking.

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There is a nice FJA cartouche on the stock for James River Armory.

Well, it looks great, but how does it shoot?

Only one way to find out.

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Here I am on the rifle.

Here I am on the rifle.

We shot it at 50 yards with both military ball ammo from the DCM and some of my handloads.

50 yards is further than many seem to think, especially with iron sights.

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I even let Ted shoot his own rifle.

Pretty nice of me wouldn’t you say?

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Here is the first 5 shot group out of the rifle with military ball.

Here is the first 5 shot group out of the rifle with military ball.

A nice group.

I then shot a group with some of my handloads and it also shot very nicely.

We will need to do some work-up on handloads for this particular rifle, but it shows some great potential.

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Conclusions:

If you are looking for a great shooter, with a new, great bore, this is a fine rifle. It lists on their web site for $695.00 and that is a very good price for such a clean rifle.

We are looking forward to shooting this fine old rifle and working up some loads for it. It is a pleasure to shoot.

James River Armory’s site is here: www.jamesriverarmory.com

If you are interested in a “new, old” rifle, give them a look.