Bullets for a 03A3?


May 12, 2009
I've always wanted a collection of WWII arms beside my Grandfather's 1911. Well I pulled a trigger on a Springfield 1903A3 today. What bullets you think it'll like?


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O3A3's will like spitzer bullets, usually, and can like some boat tail spitzers as well.

You just have to experiment, and see. But most rifles will like the spitzer flat bases majority of the time.


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Already been said.
Hawk ( You just have to experiment, and see. But most rifles will like the spitzer flat bases majority of the time.)
Friend of mine bought a 03A3 couple of years ago and on a whim I loaded some Sierra 165gr Game King boat tails with H4895. Don't remember the amount of powder but I'm sure it was at least couple grains under max and he put 5 rounds in a 1.5 in group at 100yds from off the bench. Watched him do it. So he's shot that bullet weight and a boat tail very well we thought. Dan.
I figure any 150 155 to 168 match bullets.
All of my 1903A3s really shoot well with this load as well as my M1 Garand of which I use LC Match cases.

Remington case, CCI 200 primer, 48.0 grs IMR 4895, Nosler 155 gr Custom Comp BTHP, COAL 3.334 and I use a medium Lee Factory Crimp.
By medium I mean setting up the die with the crimping fingers so they close up halfway between full open and completely closed without having a round in the die being crimped.

By the way the first high power rifle I ever owned was a "unissued" Remington 1903A3.
At the age of 12 I wanted to start deer hunting. My Dad only small game hunted but my neighbor deer hunted. He told me that if I got a rifle he would take me. I worked my butt off the spring and summer of 1970 mowing yards, planting then harvesting tobacco, putting up hay and anything else I could find to make a dime to do. I saved up $45.

Dad took me over to a local store that usually had a barrel full of old military rifles, usually Mauser's in 7 or 8mm for $25 to $30. This day there was a shopping cart with boxed rifles that had a price of $40 posted. Dad, a WWII vet, opened one of the boxes and took the rifle out and said "This is what you want". For my $45 I got the rifle and a box of soft point 150 gr shells.

That thing kicked like a mule but with the assistance of my cousin that was in the National Guard I learned how to really shoot that rifle. Every month when he went to muster he brought me a 250 round can of ammo which was usually the black tip AP stuff. It was really accurate in that rifles 2 groove barrel. After a while the blue left my shoulder and it toughened up. I learned how to estimate yardage and set the sights on that rifle and take ground hogs and stuff at some pretty long ranges out of the pasture fields around my neighborhood.

My how times have changed. These days people would freak out and call the cops if they saw a 13 to 16 year old kid totting 1903A3 half the time they saw them.

I carried that long heavy rifle deer hunting in the mountains of TN for 4 years and never even saw a deer. Deer were few and far between back in those days. Decided I needed a shorter and lighter rifle and sold the 03A3 for $45 and bought a Marlin 336 in 30-30 Win from my uncle. That next deer season I killed my first deer and it was the only deer I had ever seen while hunting. It weighed 164 lbs. field dressed and was a 5 point 2 1/2 year old buck. Funny how I can remember the details of the first one. I have killed HUNDREDS of deer since then.

Have fun with your 1903A3.
I killed my first mule deer and first bull with one, 1967. Loved that rifle.

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What’s a cool rifle. Congrats Scott.

I’d bet a shoulder saver would go a long way with that one.
165 grain bullets would probably be good I notice the 06 rifles tend to like them better than the standard 150 grainers.
Nice rifle Scott, congratulations.
I'd look at the Nosler 155 gr and 168 gr Custom Competition Match bullets. They should get you where you want to be.

What a great rifle!

Along with the others, I'd try any of the 150 - 168 grain match bullets available.

Army M1 ball ammo was a 174gr boat tail projectile fired at 2650fps+/- and the M2 Ball was 152gr flat based Spitzer bullet fired at 2800fps+/-

The 03A3 that I had shot the 150gr Sierra Pro Hunter really well. I loaded it over IMR 4895 going off of the Service Rifle loading data.
I haven't had that rifle in years as I had someone offer me way more than I paid for it.
"I haven't had that rifle in years as I had someone offer me way more than I paid for it."

That is the reason that I have 2 instead of 3 of them. LOL
Thanks guys!
Went digging under my loading bench and found about 400 150gr Hornady Interlocks that I received when I bought my Hornady progressive. Think I'll start with those and work into others as I go along. Best to use what I have on hand I think.
Congratulations on an outstanding rifle. I have a sportorized 03 a3. Although every rifle is different, I use a 165 GMX with 55.0 grains of IMR 4350. I harvested a 180 pound doe and I am impressed with the performance of the projectile and the charge. The bottom line upfront is that the bullet did the job. I hope this helps.
Took the O3A3 out to the range the other day. I was mainly there to sight in the rat rifles and test a new load in my 17x223. The 1903 shoots really well. I put together a mid level load of 54gr of H414 under a 150gr Hornady Interlock. I shot a group from the bench and a couple off hand. Good to know these 57 year old eyes can handle the open sights!


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