Thanks for visiting our new For Sale section! Finding the Marine weapons discussed on this site can be a challenge, there is a lot of misinformation to sort through and locating them is time consuming and requires considerable research to ensure you are buying exactly what you are looking for. We will take the legwork out of it for you, and provide an honest, pragmatic assessment of the weapons we will be offering.
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Springfield Armory M1903 #808888
While many USMC M1903s are able to be identified by the traits they have attained over their service life, this rifle is one of the rare few that is able to be documented to the Marine Corps. On December 23rd, 1938, this rifle was surveyed in San Diego, likely for a barrel that needed replacement, as detailed in a document at the National Archives.
M1903 #808888 had an interesting service life. Wearing a Springfield Armory 8-44 dated barrel, it is nearly certain this rifle was one of tens of thousands that were given to another branch of service in 1943-44, as the Marines had decided to replace the M1903 with the M1 Garand for their combat divisions. Most would go to the navy, but documentation following the Guadalcanal Campaign shows Marine infantry units being instructed to give their old M1903s to any friendly unit that had need for them.
Being that a late-war rebarrel was necessary, this rifle must have seen considerable use whether it be in training or theater operations. The story of M1903 #808888 probably became far less interesting at the cessation of WWII, as the bore is bright and crisp, with a muzzle reading of “1” on an erosion gauge. Overall, a fine example of the full life span of a service rifle beloved by the Corps.
Our first offering is one that you won’t see very often! From the National Archives we have documentation showing that on the 19th of September, 1930, PFC Edward W. Kelley exchanged rifle serial number 302437 for 321597. PFC Kelley served from the Philippines, to China, to Nicaragua, and finally stateside during his enlistment. He spent much of his time as a clerk with various units, as well as a rifleman with the 66th Company of the 5th Marine Regiment in Nicaragua. While there is no documentation as to why this rifle was exchanged, it is likely from wear accrued during his time overseas. While this rifle is in the dual Rock Island Arsenal and Springfield Armory serial number range, it is more likely than not the rifle he was issued. During the time of his rifle being exchanged, a priority was being placed on rifles in the “over” range (referred to colloquially as “high-number” rifles) being issued to allow for the use of rifle grenades. USMC rifles in the 300k range are far more dense with Rock Island rifles as opposed to those from Springfield Armory, with the Marines receiving many of these rifles in 1918 and later in the 1920s as well. On top of this, the rifle itself bears all the hallmarks of a WWII Marine Corps rebuild.
A fine example of a mid-WWII USMC M1903 rebuild, this rifle has a Springfield Armory barrel marked SA over flaming bomb and 10-42. The barrel has vise marks and the appropriate #6 sights. The receiver has a “Hatcher Hole” drilled into the left side, and the rifle has the standard inc parkerizing of its era. The bolt is a replacement marked B2 on the handle, which are very often seen on USMC rebuilds. The serial number 336603 present on the bolt from a previous Marine Corps rebuild. A 1940 made C stock hosts the rifle, coupled with a WWII replacement handguard. The C stock has a Rarity Arsenal “RA-P” cartouche, which could have been received in any number of ways. The buttstock has a finely checkered buttplate. The bore is bright and the muzzle reads two on a muzzle erosion gauge. Overall, a fine example of a mid-WWII Marine rebuild M1903 with a very strong possibility of being the rifle carried by PFC Edward Kelley in the early 1930s.