Loading for my new 1903A3

boltstop

Sergeant
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May 17, 2010
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I posted a brag thread on here a couple of weeks back about a nice 03A3 I picked up at the Collector's Gun Show.

I'm going to start loading '06 for it. I have Varget but I've heard it's a little fast for '06 loads. My research here suggests H4350 powder as a good starting point and I should be looking for ~3000ish (and possibly touch north of there) on 147gr pulldowns - I figure getting good bullets is pointless as I am 47 years old and my vision is not what it used to be, and obviously I'm not putting telescopic sights on my 70 year-old war trophy (prolly one of you lads would hunt me down and gimmie what fer, LOL).

Am I on the right track here? Brass is once-fired FA and seems thick. I've annealed it and am in the middle of FL resizing, decapping, cutting with my Lee dealie to length.

I guess I'm not necessarily looking for MOA here as there's no prayer I'd ever be able to hold same. But what should I be shooting for? 4 MOA?
 

Greg Langelius *

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Re: Loading for my new 1903A3

I figure Garand loads should work.

For bullets, I use Hornady 150gr FMJ. CCI-200 primers, Remington (R=P) brass, and either 49.0gr of IMR-4895, or 50.0gr of IMR-4064. Treqt these loads as max loads for the Garand. I find that military brass can be difficult to work with, primarily because of primer crimping, age hardening, and thick necks.

Good ammo is not pointless, and the above loads are a good compromise between quality and practicality. They tend to be on the tame side, which can be a blessing with the M1903's lighter overall weight. Just be sure to pay attention to pressure indicators.

For less recoil or for hunting, consider 125-135gr bullets (there are .308 Matchkings in these weights, as well as the Sierra 125gr Pro-Hunter, which is designed for use with lighter, i.e. .30-30, charge weights), and use the above charge weights as starting points, going either up or down.

You do not need massive bullets for either target work or hunting when you keep within reasonable distances. For my purposes, I try to keep my shots at 250yd or under. I would only consider bullets heavier than 150gr with the .30-'06 when the distances begin to exceed 500yd. A good 168gr Garand load should get you to 1000yd OK.

Your vision can be corrected and besides, you'll need some sort of glasses for safety reasons anyway. Let the Optometrist know what you need (sharp resolution at distance). I'm 66, and woefully farsighted. I get my eyeglasses from the VA, and had my annual exam last week. The Doc says that when the glasses come in, my corrected vision will be 20/15. If you're a shooter over 40 and you don't have a relationship with an Optometrist, it's overdue.

If you find you can do the vision thing, the above loads should work with 155gr Palma Matchkings, and if you don't mind the added recoil, try 168gr or 175gr Matchkings with a 2gr reduction in the charges mentioned. For non-handloaders, Hornady makes a Garand Match loading.

Greg
 

boltstop

Sergeant
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Re: Loading for my new 1903A3

Thanks, Greg. I'm taking your words to heart and will make an appointment with Kaiser today. What's the worst that could happen? My scrip may need a touch of adjustment.

The diabetes is beginning to rob me of many of life's joys. Will have to stave off this for shooting.
 

pmclaine

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  • Nov 6, 2011
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    Re: Loading for my new 1903A3

    I shot this last week with an 03A1.

    P6013762.jpg


    Your 03A3 sights are much more user friendly. You should be able to do better than 4 MOA with your rifle if it is in good shape.

    I've read the Hornady manual section on loading for M1 Garand as well as gleaned reloading data from the CMP and Culvers Shooting Pages reloading sites. The recipe I decided on is printed on the target. (Check this to confirm) I think my trim to length was 2.84.

    A poster (Ceresco) on the CMP reloading Forum swears by a Sierra 110 grn Spire Point load that is accurate and soft shooting to 200 yards.

    Best of luck with your A3. Springfields are fun.

    Note - To those that have viewed my target a number of times my apologies for posting the target again. I'm pretty happy with it especially under the circumstances I shot it.
     

    boltstop

    Sergeant
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    May 17, 2010
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    Re: Loading for my new 1903A3

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: pmclaine</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I shot this last week with an 03A1.

    P6013762.jpg


    Your 03A3 sights are much more user friendly. You should be able to do better than 4 MOA with your rifle if it is in good shape.

    I've read the Hornady manual section on loading for M1 Garand as well as gleaned reloading data from the CMP and Culvers Shooting Pages reloading sites. The recipe I decided on is printed on the target. (Check this to confirm) I think my trim to length was 2.84.

    A poster (Ceresco) on the CMP reloading Forum swears by a Sierra 110 grn Spire Point load that is accurate and soft shooting to 200 yards.

    Best of luck with your A3. Springfields are fun.

    Note - To those that have viewed my target a number of times my apologies for posting the target again. I'm pretty happy with it especially under the circumstances I shot it.</div></div>

    Thanks - and great shooting! I think it's important to remember that with a rifle like this, I'm not looking for tiny groups. It's a living piece of history that may have been at Guadalcanal or Tinian or something. I would love to be able to replicate your performance.

    I'll let you cats know how this all shakes out this summer.

    BTW, I have 200 147gr M80 pulldowns on the way. I've had one previous experience with pulldowns that was pretty awful, but I also have some 168 grain SMKs and will be buying some more, along with a pound of H4350 or IMR 4350 to push them down the barrel.
     

    Greg Langelius *

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    Re: Loading for my new 1903A3

    I hope I've helped. I am diabetic, but very slightly. I'm fortunate enough that the VA has decided my efforts with diet are enough, and I no longer need to take Metformin. As mild as it is, its still not a fun drug.

    I sold my 1903 because I was undergoing Chemo. I would not own a gun I was unable to shoot. Recoil was the issue, and I sold myself short. I miss the gun, and consider the choice to be one of my poorest ones. Someday, I will own another 1903, but that day is not quite here yet.

    For me, the 1903 is an icon. A good one, like a Garand, belongs in every shooter's gun cabinet, and on the range as well.

    Enjoy yours. Mine was a Smith-Carona, and I will miss it always. What the <span style="font-style: italic">HELL</span> was I thinking...?

    Greg
     

    2clicks

    Sergeant
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    Re: Loading for my new 1903A3

    My 03a3 held the 10 ring with cmp garand 150 gr issued bullets out to 200yrds. I bought a case in 2001. After shooting them i was a true believer that good ammo was a must so I got into reloading because they shot so well. 4350 is a classic -06 powder It's worked well for people I know. I use a 4895, or 4064 since I shoot a garand too.
     

    boltstop

    Sergeant
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    May 17, 2010
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    Re: Loading for my new 1903A3

    Greg, I'm sorry health challenges allowed you to act on selling your Smith Corona A3. When was she born? Mine was Jan '43 receiver, barrel marked 12-42. Ogden re-arsenaled. Original everything; looks great. Bore's Good to Very Good. I electro-cleaned it and a metric shit-ton of black gop came flying out of the bore, and now the rifling's showing beautiful detail and high relief.

    It's glorious. I'm in hock for it up to my eyeballs, but it's no money sink - someday Mrs. boltstop will be able to get every penny out and then some.

    Hopefully I'll get to put some rounds in before that day comes, LOL.

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    Greg Langelius *

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    Re: Loading for my new 1903A3

    It was a strange animal. It had a 1903A3 receiver and (empty) sight mount, but a 1903A1 barrel, sight, and handquard. It had a 1939 dated barrel marked with the ordnance flaming ball and a star. It was mounted with a "C" stock. I never saw another like it before or since. I never had the chance to date it by S/N before its departure.

    My real star is my Garand. It's a pre-war S/A, S/N dated to September 1941. There's a 1953 dated Winchester barrel on it and except for one decent sized ding in the forward hand guard, it's been arsenal refinished to like-new condition.

    I've updated it with a 1" extended hard rubber butt pad, 1/2MOA rotate-adjustable hooded rear sight aperture, and a hooded front sight with interchangeable apertures (I use the post/ring aperture). I've refinished it with Tru-Oil and glassbedded it according to the NRA Garand Reprint instructions.

    It shoots just about anything I feed it pretty darned well for an issue-grade battle rifle that's nearly a half decade older than myself.

    Greg
     

    esorensen

    Sergeant
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    Apr 13, 2008
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    Re: Loading for my new 1903A3

    49.5 gr Varget and a CCI BR2 with a 168 SMK in LC brass, gets me just a hair over 1 MOA in my 03A3. Works in the Garand too. The eyes still work great... The ears however...