M1903 & 20rnd BAR magazine? - Shooting Sports Forum

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Old 02-08-2008, 19:14   #1
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M1903 & 20rnd BAR magazine?

Hi all

Just asking did the USMC convert M1903's to accept M1918 BAR magazines?, I heard this was done but only so many.
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Old 03-27-2008, 03:29   #2
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I'll give my 2cents since it's been awhile.

I don't know if it involved BAR mags, but I recall some "trench" magazines on 03s. Egunparts has replicas, I bought one but haven't gotten around to fitting it. Should get me some doubletakes.
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Old 03-30-2008, 11:44   #3
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Either World War 2 Magazine, or Military History, I forget which, had a piece on this a few years ago. The short answer is "yes, these modifications did take place", but apparently it was a field expedient modification and not an official program. It wasn't just the Marines either, as there is some evidence of these conversions seeing use by Army soldiers as well. Details seem to be sketchy, but period paintings and memoirs do occaisionally mention this being done. I think that there is a mention of it in the novel "The Thin Red Line", based on the author's experiences in the Army on Guadalcanal to the effect that some Army troops - armed with M1 Garands - thought it a peculiar item common to the Marines.
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Old 04-05-2008, 23:25   #4
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Back in the late '50's early '60's there were advertised in The American Rifleman 1903 or 03A3 trigger guards and accompanying detachable 20 round magazines that were sold as original GI. They were not cheap back then (Maybe $30), but then a 1903 or 03A3 cost that back then. I don't know if they used BAR mags, original or modified, or their own magazine, as I never bought one.
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Old 07-31-2008, 17:46   #5
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From what I remember seeing at a fun-show one time, the 20rd mags for the M1903s were not detachable mags like the BAR mags, they replaced the floorplate on the milled triggergaurds. They came with another spring and used the '03 follower, they didn't have feedlips, so you couldn't load 'em untill they were installed on the rifle.

I've heard a few theories of how these were used/issued.

1- Guys in front line trenches would use rifles fitted with this mag while on sentry duty, and trade off with the next guy. This is so the sentries could lay down continuous fire untill everyone else could get to the parapet in the event of an attack.

2- Aircrewmen would keep these rifles( and shotguns ) in the plane for offense/defense, before mounted machineguns came about

3- Sgts and squad leaders would carry them, so they could spend more time and concentration directing their men, and less time loading their rifles.

These all make sense, but who knows what the real reason was, maybe just a solution to alot of different problems.
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Old 12-04-2009, 14:10   #6
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mag on 03

there was a trench mounting that the rifles fit on and the bolt was remote operated and a periscope was mounted to sight thru.
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Old 12-04-2009, 14:48   #7
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I think GunPartsCorp (Numrich) still carries copies of Mauser trench mag conversions. I've got one buried somewhere and it may be adaptable to the 03, but I haven't tackled that project yet. No, they aren't cheap, but no fun is, is it?
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Old 11-06-2010, 13:40   #8
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I have one of the replica trench mags for my Mauser, it works great after a few mods, namely replacing the follower and spring with those from a MG 13 magazine. They do not have feed lips but rather have a retainer clip allowing the mag to be loaded then placed in the rifle. It can also be top loaded through the action.

I did find this on the web...I don't know anything about it just relating the info I found

WW1 1903 Springfield 20 Round Extension magazine in original carton. Complete with long follower spring with follower and cover for magazine. Excellent Condition.
Classic and rare 1903 Springfield accessory for giving extended fire power to the 03 Air Service rifle and/or the 1903 rifle in the Trench. Will display like a million dollar bill on your 1903 Rifle. $1100.00
I have also heard that some BAR mags were spot welded in place on the 1903's...rumor?
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Old 02-17-2011, 11:47   #9
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I read about BAR Magazine being spot welded to 03s in James Jones book about Guadalcanal, the thin red line.
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A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences. Proverbs 22:3

Last edited by XR750; 02-17-2011 at 12:03.
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