The M1903A3 Springfield rifle is a fascinating gun. Mine is a Greek return obtained from the CMP in 2005. It is an accurate bolt gun. The sights are aperture and post but the adjustments are cruder than the later M-1 Garands, M-14's and current M-16A2. M1903A3 elevation stops are in 4 MOA increments and windage about 1.5 minutes per click. The front sight blade is also about 1/2 the width of a typical current generation U.S. military rifle font sight, even thinner than a match front blade. This means you can only use the mechanism to get close and then you have to start playing with managing your sight picture to hold just the right spot to get 10's and X's. And that's what makes this gun so fascinating. The final element in the game is mental imaging.
I had a great time shooting the Springfield Match today. This was my second time using this rifle in competition and I remembered to move my head out of the way of the bolt. The first time I shot a rapid fire string with the M1903A3 I cut myself four times. The combined length of the bolt plus the cocking piece on the end means that a good disciplined stock weld you learn to do with a semi-automatic rifle gets you nice crescent shaped cuts.
See the CMP Western 2006 Springfield Match Results
As of Sunday evening I was 4th overall in the this year's Springfield competition. Another round of competitors will shoot the match on Monday and their scores will be mingled with the Sunday results. Not bad for the gun's second time competing.
Monday will be my turn to fire the M-1 Garand match and my score from that will co-mingle with Sundays Garand shooters. Final practice this evening.
Because I took the GSM Master Instructor Course, I got to shoot the First Relay this year. That means you get to stay on the line all day as a coach instead of going to the pits. It's considered a prestegious slot and you do get to shoot in the morning before the wind comes up at Wilcox Range at Camp Pendleton. But you also work all day coaching with no break until the end of the match. The reality is I think taking a turn in the target pits is better. You can relax, eat and exchange stories in the pits. No time to do that when coaching. But if you have a bunch of new shooters on your firing point and you enjoy teaching, which I do, it's a very rewarding way to spend the day. Bright smiles from fellow humans are the true treasures of life.