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RA 1903A3, should I rebarrel?

Discussion in 'Rifle Discussion' started by civilian75, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. civilian75

    civilian75 Hillsboro, OR Well-Known Member

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    I recently acquired a 1944 RA 1903A3 with a '43 barrel, my first .30-06 Springer firearm. Externally it looked in great condition (parkerizing, wood, etc), and barrel rifling had no rust. Since my aging eyes could not properly inspect barrel condition before the purchase, first thing I did at home was, with proper illumination and eye wear, confirm my fears: there is noticeable wear on the first 1-2" of the barrel, in muzzle area.

    Next, I slugged the muzzle first, then, the rest of the barrel. This is what I got, using an "analog" caliper:
    ________lands____grooves
    muzzle*_.3014"____.309"
    barrel___.3010"____.309"

    * this was measured at the first 1/4" of the muzzle.

    I have not fired it yet, so I have no idea how it shoots. Based on my experience with my other milsurp, only my shot-up counter-bored M38 Mosin shoots like crap. The rest shoot quite decently, but all have barrels in excellent condition.

    Although this will be a shooter, I think the rifle still has value as a collectors item. But I will mostly use it for military rifle cast bullet silhouette shooting. Will be loading .310" 170gr RNFP.

    Since I am thinking about re-barreling, it will have to be a genuine RA barrel of the same era. I have my eyes on a new (allegedly never installed) RA '44 barrel at GB. I have no prior experience with this platform, so I have no idea how accurately these number can predict accuracy with M2 ball or 170gr cast bullets.In your opinion, is it worth the trouble? I don't want to wait too long lest the '44 RA barrel gets sold.

    Also, keep in mind I intend to replace the already excellent sights with NMA's, maybe not the rear since it involves drilling the receiver...

    Also, if I decide to get the barrel, would anyone here volunteer help me swap it? Although I've done it several times before, I hate buying tools for a one-time use. :)
     
  2. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Ardenwald, OR Well-Known Member

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    Go shoot it, sometimes nasty barrels shoot OK.

    M2 ball in a 03A3 is expected to shoot 2-3 moa.
     
  3. Mecanik

    Mecanik La Center Active Member

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    I owned a bolt action spanish Fr8 .308 that had a barrel only an ugly mother could love. Worn so bad the lands were all rounded off and pitted like a gravel road. It was one of the best shooting rifles I ever owned. Absolutely broke all the rules of why firearms are accurate and still shot wonderfully. Apparently it was worn so evenly from one end to the other it didn't matter. As long as the bullet leaves the barrel in a stable manner it matters little what path it took to get to the end of the barrel. Take my advice and and shoot your rifle before you do anything. Give it a chance to prove itself first.
     
  4. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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    Yes, shoot it first but I recently saw a recently unearthed batch of NOS barrels for your rifle for sale, you may want to grab one while they are available. Do a google search before you pay too much at an auction
     
  5. tdb59

    tdb59 OR Active Member

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    Most 03a3s will shoot 168-172 boattails MUCH better than m2 ( 150 grain ) bullets.
    The 170 grain casts should do fine, as well, as long as the crown is in good condition.
     
  6. Silver Hand

    Silver Hand Southern Oregon Coast Well-Known Member

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    I would shoot it as is with your 170gr RNFP .310"sizing or as cast pan lube, your preference. Lyman 311299 would be another good consideration if it were coaxed to cast a hair fatter. Shimming or lapping this mould will always work or just a bit more antimony, tin in the mix will usually get you up to the .310 you need. In the past upping with antimony, tin has worked for me. I have used lead shotgun pellets to raise the antimony in a pinch.

    Lyman 2-Cavity Bullet Mold #311299 30 Cal (309 Diameter) 200 Grain

    If money is not a matter and this is what you want I would secure the barrel as it can be resold if not put to use. At this point anything is possible.

    Silver Hand