Gibbs 03A3(4) Sniper rifle

This is the forum to discuss your classic US military rifles from the beginning of the age of smokeless powder through WWII.
User avatar
Sustaining Member
Posts: 227
Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2008 12:26 pm
Location: South Mississippi

Gibbs 03A3(4) Sniper rifle

Postby oldironsights » Sat Apr 10, 2010 9:22 pm

When it rains, it pours! :D
I had just worked out a deal for a beautiful 03A3 Springfield in a scant stock that had suffered some past indignity, but was now a straight shooter in full military configuration when I called my local(If you call one state over, local) firearms dealer to tell him I was having two rifles shipped to his store(The other rifle is a faux No4 Mk1 sniper), when he asked me if I would like to come in & see three rifles he had ordered sometime last year.
When he told me these were Gibbs copies of the WW2 03A4 sniper rifles, I drove down to look over the rifles & carrying enough cash to buy one, I was allowed to pick mine out of the three(All three sold the very day they arrived).
To those of you who know nothing about these rifles, Gibbs was purchased by Old Western Scrounger, & OWS purchased the last of the U.S. Remington 03A3 drill rifles from government surplus.
These rifles had been deactivated by pressing a long rod down the barrel, welding the rod to the chamber, welding the magazine cutoff in a fixed position so the bolt could be cycled, but not removed, cutting the firing pin, & filling the firing pin hole on the breechface with weld so the rifle was unable to chamber or fire a round.
OWS decided to return many of these drill rifles to operation & sell them through their Gibbs Rifle Company.
These rifles had the plugged barrels removed, the receiver welds at the magazine cutoff were ground off so the bolts could be removed, & the receivers were then made available to accept new barrels. New barrels were installed(Someone told me Green Mountain Barrels), along with new surplus bolts, all salvaged & usable parts were given a phosphate bath & re-parkerized.
The barreled action was then installed in a new Boyds walnut(Some are beech) "C" stock & the rifle was brought back to military form.
Then the receiver was drilled & tapped to accept a Redfield base & rings to house a copy of the old Weaver 330 sniper scope(If you call 2x in a 3/4 inch tube a sniper scope), & the new bolt & stock were worked for the proper clearance of the scope, & all was assembled into a brand spanking new copy of an old war horse.
Rifle is shipped in a plastic hard case.

Rifle comes with a reproduction of the WW2 carry bag & 1907 sling.

While the carry bag appears to be of very good quality, the plastic shipping case is a low end case, & the sling is suspect. Look at the 1940 date & the font of the letters. Is this the same type of letter code & font used on German WW2 arms & munitions?

A copy of the sniper scope users manual is included.

The walnut stock is a great effort, but is very dry. I will rub several layers of BLO into the wood.

The modified bolt had some nasty grinding marks & the work was uneven, so I finished the job with a file & a Dremel tool. I darkened it with cold blue. I will glass bead it at a later date & boil it in a hot blue solution.

The reproduction scope maker must have assumed the windage adjustment knob was on the right like most other scopes, because that is where it is, but the knob is in the path of the bolt handle, so the scope must be rotated 90 degrees to the left to take the knob out of harms way. Now, the windage knob becomes the elevation knob, & the elevation knob has to be used for windage. Thats nice. :( Just another menace to an already cluttered mind. Sort of like trying to ride a British motorcycle with the footshifter on the right & the footbrake on the left after having learned to ride U.S. motorcycles that have the shifter on the left & the brake on the right.

Here is the barrel stamp of the newly made barrel.(Why is there a British Crown on my U.S. made rifle?)

Here you can see the small tack weld that was used to lock the magazine selector so the bolt could not be removed on the former drill rifle.

These stocks must also be for a CMP contract.

The worn buttplate has been reparkerized, while the magazine follower is of an earlier milled version, not the wartime stamped unit. The stamped steel version is much smoother.
The stacking swivel was broken when I bought it, but I can obtain another.
After cleaning the gritty. phosphate clogged trigger, she now feels just as smooth as my other Springfields.
The rifle shoots well & groups well, but the scope offers little magnification. I ran out of vertical windage adjustment, so the group is too high at 100 yards, being just above each plate.
I will either lower the rear of the mount or raise the front by shimming to lower the shots.

It is a fun & comfortable rifle to shoot, looks authentic from a distance, but closer inspection will reveal the fraud.
All in all, I am pleased with the purchase, as I can always sell it for what I paid, but it is far from perfect. Much of the assembly looks hurried, & Gibbs is stuck with the contractors mistakes on the scope & sling & so is the end user.
I will provide updated targets & pictures once I make some corrections.
If You Can Read This, Thank A Teacher!
If You Can Read This In English, Thank A Veteran!

Help save this retired fighting ship from the scrapyard;
User avatar
Contributing Member
Posts: 192
Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 2:24 pm

Re: Gibbs 03A3(4) Sniper rifle

Postby Candyman » Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:16 pm

It looks nice Clay. The next time I come over I would love to shoot it.
A square 10
Leading Member
Posts: 481
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 12:30 pm

Re: Gibbs 03A3(4) Sniper rifle

Postby A square 10 » Mon Apr 19, 2010 7:29 pm

it does indeed look nice , im pleased they clearly marked the reproduction bits as they did , in my mind it makes it honest and its nice enough to stand on its own ,

i have a remington 10/43 M1903A3 that someone was not quite so up front on what they did , used a redfield scope mount and rings and a weaver 330 , on inspection you note the markings are covered [assuming you know to look for that] and its in a scant stock , but ....

i fixed a bad haircut [they messed up the receiver in the process , so i installed a 22cal insert and M22 bolt and its now a single shot 22 - no more fooling going on with this one , its a fun gun in a famous format ,

congrats on your buy ,

Return to “US Military Rifles”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests