Perhaps no rifle was as loved by the Marines as the Springfield Model of 1903, the famously accurate bolt action rifle that would serve them well in two world wars, as well as multiple “banana wars” before and in between. Notoriously accurate and reliable, the M1903 was seemingly tailor made for the amphibious force which would find itself constantly fighting on sandy beaches worldwide. Through archival research and the studying of the Marine Corps specific modifications the M1903 received during its 30+ years of frontline service, it is undoubtedly the easiest Marine-used weapon to identify. However, as with all stories that seemingly are fully told, there remains much more to learn. New archival discoveries are continuing to enrich our knowledge on this subject, which will be shared in the subsections covering this rifle.
A Rock Island USMC M1903 as it would have appeared in early WWII (Tim Plowman collection).
Marines of various stateside barracks and their M1903 rifles (photos: NARA).
Marines on parade in Sydney, Australia in 1925 (photo: FB).
Marine recruit during the early World War II era (photo: USMC)