Bob Dunlap is a renowned expert on many firearms, including U. S. military rifles.

For those of you looking for complete specifications and tolerances for National Match versions of these rifles, and those of you looking for enough information to qualify you as an Armorer for the U. S. Army Marksmanship Unit, this course is NOT for you. This course also does not cover rebarreling, as this is not a unit Armorer function. BUT, for those of you looking for practical instruction in how to get your rifle completely apart, clean, troubleshoot, make common repairs, and get your gun back together  and operating properly with none of those pesky and embarrassing leftover parts, you have come to the right place. Bob uses a cut away gun so that you can actually see how the internal parts function and their relationship to one another. This will help you to understand the design and function of these guns.

If you want the long course, on the design, function and extensive repair of this gun and firearms in general, look into our basic 108 hour Professional Gunsmith course.

Among the items covered are:


The M 1903 was originally designed by the Springfield Armory in 1901. That version was not accepted by the US Army. It was redesigned and the 1903 version was accepted. The 1903 MKI was developed toward the end of WWI and included changes to accept the Pedersen semi-auto .30 pistol cartridge device. Early 1903s suffered from improper heat treating which left the receivers very hard, but brittle. Some burst and they are not recommended for continued use. Springfield guns numbered below 800,000 and Rock Island guns numbered below 285,000 are suspect

Production restarted in 1942 due to the shortage of the M1 Garand. The rear sight was changed, the barrel was changed to a two groove and the finish degraded and the rifle was designated the 1903A3. Production continued through February 1944. The 1903A4 was a dedicated sniper rifle and was used through the Korean War and into the Vietnam War

The gun was such a close derivative of the German Mauser rifles that the US lost a patent infringement suit and actually paid Mauser and the German government $3,000,000 for licensing the use of a rifle we were using against them in a war

The actions make a fine base for a civilian rifle and huge numbers were “sporterized”

Design & Function

  • A word of caution for the Springfield  worshippers, the course guns are tools for instruction and will not be handled as if they were the British Crown Jewels
  • A cut-away gun is used to illustrate and demonstrate the gun™s design and function
  • Loading and stripper clip functions are demonstrated
  • Feeding and ejection and the operation of the ejector are shown
  • How a snap-over extractor works
  • Function of the magazine cut-off/bolt stop shown and explained
  • Bolt lock-up, locking cam, and striker operation shown
  • Primary extraction cam shown and operation is demonstrated, caution against removing its ugly cousin on the 1917 Enfield is expressed
  • Striker/firing pin cocking piece and bolt cocking cam shown
  • Two stage trigger operation shown
  • Cone breech purpose and operation demonstrated
  • Safety design and operation
  • Re-cap of operating cycle and fire control operation and sequence


  • Ken Brooks demonstrates complete disassembly, special attention given to parts that should not be disassembled under normal circumstances & why
  • Noted are parts under spring tension so that they are not launched into Never Never Land
  • Use of a digital camera or cell phone camera during the disassembly is very useful during the reassembly process
  • Bolt removal and disassembly
  • Stock removal and disassembly
  • Trigger guard and magazine disassembly
  • Trigger and sear removal and disassembly
  • Magazine cut-off removal and disassembly
  • Ejector removal
  • Rear sight removal and disassembly

Cleaning & Lubrication

  • AGI cleaning & lubrication methods shown, along with the reasons for their use
  • After cleaning, dry with air gun, a hair dryer, or in the oven on Warm ~185-200 degrees (metal parts ONLY)
  • What oil AGI likes to lube the gun with during assembly


  • Making sure you have no parts Left over
  • In many cases the order of assembly is important, Ken shows you the correct order
  • Assembly is in reverse order of disassembly
  • Getting the right pieces in the right places, the easiest way possible
  • Using the proper tool to help you line up the parts to accept their pins
  • How to achieve proper gas operation on re-welded/salvaged guns
  • Differences in the 1903A3
  • Removing the stamped 1 piece sheet metal trigger guard and the minor differences in spring assembly in the follower
  • Removal and disassembly of the rear receiver sight
  • Replacement and reassembly of rear sight
  • To stake or not to stake
  • Reassembly and re-installation of the trigger guard and magazine box

Troubleshooting & Repair

  • Problems involved in changing calibers
  • Safety modification issues
  • Drilling and tapping for a scope mount
  • Custom safety and trigger modifications
  • Loose firing pin
  • Fitting the extractor
  • Magazine feeding problems
  • The safety lug
  • Firing pin tip shape
  • Hints & tips

Final Thoughts and Wrap- up 

If you noticed how often the terms explanation, and demonstration are used, you may be getting some idea of why this course is a must have for any 1903/03A3 Springfield rifle owner, or someone who intends to be.

View a sample of the content of this course below.

Weight0.25 lbs
Dimensions7.56 × 5.44 × 0.63 in


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