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M1903A4 Sniper Rifle

The Springfield U.S. Rifle, Cal. .30, M1903A4 (Sniper's) was developed in 1942, based on the accurate bolt-action Springfield M1903 rifle with an effective range of 600 yards (550m).

M73B1 Weaver Telescopic Sight, U.S. Rifle, caliber .30, M1903A4. Figure 7 from FM 23-10, dated 30 September 1943
M73B1 Weaver Telescopic Sight, U.S. Rifle, caliber .30, M1903A4. Figure 7 from FM 23-10, dated 30 September 1943.

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U.S. Rifle, Cal. .30, M1903A4 (Sniper's)

Rifle, Calibre .30-06, Sniper, M1903A4

The Springfield Model M1904A4 sniper rifle was a modified M1903A3 Springfield rifle specifically designed for use as by snipers. The M1903A4 was used during World War II, playing a part in the Normandy invasion in June 1944, until it was replaced by the M1C and M1D model Garands. The M1904A4 was also used in Korea and to a very limited extent during the early years of the Vietnam war. It was replaced by the Remington 700/M21 Sniper Rifle.

The sniper rifle was made standard on 14 January 1943. According to Springfield Armory records, on 18 January 1943 Remington Arms was directed to divert from production 20,000 M1903A3 rifles for conversion to the U.S. Rifle M1903A4. Rifles #3407088-3427087 from the first "block" of numbers were diverted, and the first "03-A3" converted was delivered in February 1943.

On 20 June 1943 an additional 8,365 M1909A4 rifles were ordered. The number block for these rifles and possible future orders was 4922001-5784000. After this block had been used to 4997045, the receiver marking was changed to "03-A4" and a new series of numbers begun with Z4000000. In March 1944, with receiver Z4002290, production of the M1903A4 was ended with a total of 29,964 M-1903A4 rifles produced.

Depending on the date of manufacture, some of the M1903A4 rifles had stocks with straight grips while some were equipped with A1 type stocks with semi-pistol grips (called C-stocks). Markings on the A4 receiver confusingly said "MODEL 03-A3" but were moved so they are not covered by the scope mount.

The scope was mounted directly over the receiver magazine loading area, so the stripper clips cannot be used to fill the magazine. Cartridges had to be fed in one at a time.

The Field Manual for all the M1903 Springfield rifles is FM 23-10 and the Technical Manual is TM 9-270, 28 September 1943, or the later TM 9-1270 dated 20 January 1944 that covered all the M1903s. Interestingly, manuals continued to be produced as late as the "TM 9-1005-205-12 Operator’s and Organizational Maintenance including Repair parts and Special Tools list. Rifle, Caliber .30, M1903A4 (Sniper’s)" dated December 1970.

Characteristics of the M1903A4 Sniper Rifle

Overall length43.21 inches (1.098m)
Barrel data24 inches (610mm), 2 grooves or 4 grooves depending on production date
Weight9.38 lbs (4.34 kg)
Bore diameter.30 inch
Magazine capacity5 rounds
Effective Range600 yards (550m)
Maximum effective range750 yards (690m)

Ammunition Used with the M1903A4 Sniper Rifle

Standard .30-06 military ammunition was used with the M1903A4 Sniper rifle. Accuracy was improved by using M72 .30-06 Match ammunition produced by Frankfort and Lake City Arsenals.

Scopes and Optics Used with the M1903A4 Sniper Rifle

The M1903A4 had no iron sights, using a M73 (mil-spec Lyman Alaskan) or M73B1 (mil-spec Weaver 330C) 2.2X telescope. The M81, M82, and M84 were also used when the became available in 1945 for WW II and in Korea, intended for the M1C and M1D Garand rifles but also used with the M1903A4.

The Ordnance Maintenance Technical Manual for the "Telescope M84" is TM 9-6131 (June 1954).

Recommended Books about Sniper Rifles

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