Springfield Armory Museum - Collection Record

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Title:RIFLE, MILITARY -  U.S. RIFLE MODEL 1903 .30 SN# 833
Date of Manufacture:1903
Eminent Figure:
Catalog Number:SPAR 5532
Measurements:OL:110.4CM 43 1/2" BL: 60.9CM 24'

Object Description:

U.S. RIFLE MODEL 1903 .30 SN# 833
Manufactured by Springfield Armory, Springfield, Ma. in 1903 - Standard Model 1903 bolt-action, 5-round clip fed magazine rifle. Weapon was originally a rod-bayonet. Weapon modified in 1905/06 and then later altered to .30-06. Style "S" stock without finger grooves. Smooth buttplate with well for cleaning rod, etc. Bolt is WWII vintage and the handguard is the second variation. Weapon is complete and in very good condition.

Barrel: SA/Ordnance bomb/5-08.
Stock: S.A./HP. P in circle near trigger guard.

Web site photo showing some of the '03s in storage at the Springfield Armory.

Notes: "For reasons which no doubt seemed good at the time, the US Army had adopted the Krag-Jorgensen rifle in 1892, at the beginning of the smokeless powder era, but within a very short space of time, the Krag's limitations were realized and the Ordnance Department were forced to look into the question of replacing the guns with something more advanced. It has to be admitted that this step must have taken a great deal of courage, considering the large sums of money which had been laid out for tooling up and producing the Krag. Be that as it may, after considerable investigation of contemporary rifle designs and the painful lessons of the Spanish-American War, the Ordnance Department decided the Mauser system had the most to offer and entered into arrangements with the Mauser company to build a modified Mauser under license in the United States.
Since it was first manufactured at the Springfield Arsenal, the rifle came to be widely known as the 'Springfield Rifle', although correctly titled the 'US Magazine Rifle, Caliber .30, Model of 1903.' As originally designed, it was built round a blunt-nosed bullet of 220 grains weight (Caliber .30in M1903), but while troop trials were in progress with this model, the German Army introduced its 'spitzer' (pointed) bullet, and the rest of the world turned to follow suit. A 150-grain pointed bullet was adopted by the USA to replace the earlier model and the rifle was redesigned to suit it. The cartridge with this bullet entered service as the 'Cartridge, Ball, Caliber .30, Model of 1906', and inevitably both rifle and cartridge have come to be known as the '30-06 Springfield.' As has already been indicated, the rifle is basically a Mauser but it is interesting to see that the American designers appreciated the waste of effort that went into the contemporary practice of designing a rifle for infantry and a carbine of the rest; in similar fashion to the designers of the Short Lee-Enfield in Britain, they produced a short rifle which successfully filled both roles, sufficiently long to be carried in a saddle scabbard as a cavalry weapon.
The Springfield survives to this day in the bands of private owners, and survived for military use until the Korean War (1950-3), in which it was used as a sniping rifle, and during this long career there have been surprisingly few variations...." - Schwing

"...The only cloud, a tiny one, in the Ordnance Bureau's blue sky was the rifle's design. It had an uncomfortably close similarity to the patented features of the Mauser. The cloud soon grew larger.
The following year, after continued testing, the M1901 cartridge clip was found not completely satisfactory. The 1903 model Springfield needed a new clip design. A new design proved to be an outstanding performer but also similar to a patented feature on the Mauser clip.
President Roosevelt didn't like the rod-type bayonet. And said so in writing. In January, 1905, he wrote to Secretary of War William Howard Taft, 'I must say that I think that ramrod bayonet about as poor an invention as I ever saw.' One wonders if the president knew it was selected by his own choice for ordnance chief, General Crozier himself, from a previous rifle. In any event, in March 1905, the M1903 got a regular sixteen-inch knife bayonet.
There was yet one final - and major change to be made to the new '03, a new and more deadly cartriWhen DuPont developed a new cooler-burning Pyro single-base powder to fire it, the resulting new 1906 .30-caliber cartridge became known as the .30-'06, the famous 'thirty-aught-six.' When the Springfield '03 rifle was rechambered to accommodate the nw cartridge, the result was considered a masterpiece.
Yet, with universal praise ringing in its ears, the Ordnance Department was about to be publicly embarrassed. On March 15, 1904, while the first armory production run of fifty thousand '03s was under way, there were urgent conversation going on behind closed doors in Washington. The words 'patent infringement' were being whispered. Ordnance experts and government patent attorneys, comparing the Springfield '03 rifle and cartridge clip with the Mauser rifle and clip, shifted uncomfortably in their chairs. Patent infringement was evident to every eye. In spite of the armory's design changes, the Springfield rifle was such an obvious copy of the Mauser rifle that Mauser could sue for patent infringement. Worse, he had an excellent chance of winning. The army chief of staff, the secretary of war, and even the president himself had to be informed. The implications were enormous. The Mauser people in Germany, would soon enough have some examples of the new Springfield '03, and their patent lawyer would be knocking on the door of the Ordnance Department.
This was an uncomfortable moment for Crozier. The Springfield '03 was his gun. He had been associated with it from the beginning when he was still a captain. As indicated, President Roosevelt made no secret that he wanted the German weapon for the U.S. Army. Author James Fallows states flatly that Roosevelt 'ordered the War Department to buy Mausers for American troops.' But, Fallows adds, 'there was little enthusiasm in the army for a rifle that came not only from outside its own system but also from outside the country.' Therefore, instead of licensing the Mauser from Germany as the Flager regime had done with the Krag-Jorgensen, General Crozier had come close to duplicating it.
One ordnance expert states unequivocally that the new American rifle was not as good as the German rifle it purportedly copied. 'Various departures were made from the German design, and in evey instance the designers had laid an egg. If these departments were made as an improvement, they failed. If they were made with the worthy notion of avoiding royalty payments to Paul von Mauser, the inventor of the Mauser action, they also failed.
On March 15, 1904, an official letter, over the name of Brigadier General William H. Crozier, Chief of Ordnance, was addressed to Waffenfabrik Mauser, Wurttemberg, Germany. The letter said, 'As an examination would seem to indicate that some of the features of the cartridge clip recently adopted for the United States Army may be covered by your United States letter patent NOs. 402,605; 482,376; and 547,932, it is requested that your attorney in this country call at this office for determining what, if any, of its features are voided by your patents and if so, to arrive at an agreement as to the royalties which should be paid therefore. The Germans must have had a solid case. Crozier was wiving royalties at them even before ethe conversation.
On May 4, 19On June 16, 1904, Arthur Frazier met with General Crozier again. The Mauser people, he reported, had now carefully examined the Springfield '03 rifle and clip. As for the clip, the general's expectation there was a patent infringement was incorrect. There was not a single patent infringement on the clip. There were two. General Crosier asked, assuming the U.S. government agreed with Mauser, what kind of arrangement could be made. Mauser, Frazier answered, was asking for a dollar royalty for every one thousand clips made for the Springfield '03. General Crozier took that under advisement.
But the meeting was not over. Frazier stated that the Mauser people had also examined the new Springfield '03 rifle and found not one but five infringements. Mauser required a dollar royalty on each Springfield made.
Arthur Frazier then delivered more disturbing news to General Crozier. The American made Krag-Jorgensen rifle also infringed on Mauser patents. In other words, the United States had been infringing on German-held Mauser patents since 1892, when it first issued the Krag-Jorgensen to its troops. Frazier made a conciliatory offer. If, he suggested, the United States were to be cooperative in a cable arrangement might induce Waffenfabrik Mauser to waive the Krag-Jorgensen infringements. The general took the offer and went off to see his lawyers and his superiors.
On December 22, 1904, the lawyers gave the U.S. Ordnance Bureau another unhappy Christmas. Mauser, they said, clearly had U.S. Ordnance over a barrel. Since the armory had already gone to the enormous expense of obtaining and setting up the production tooling to make the Springfield '03 rifle, the Ordnance Bureau was hardly in a position to dicker unless it wanted to abandon the enormous sum expended on the Springfield '03 rifle and go in search of another rifle.
The general now had no choice but to walk up to the negotiating table with his hands up and his wallet open. At the next meeting, General Crozier and Frazier reached an agreement. After a review by the comptroller of the Treasury and a few revisions, the agreement was submitted through Frazier to his client, Waffenfabrik Mauser, in Wurttemberg, Germany.
On March 27, 1905, Waffenfabrik Mauser accepted the offer. And the final agreement was ratified by the comptroller on April 5, 1905. The United States agreed to pay Waffenfabrik Mauser 75 cents for each Springfield rifle made. And 50 cents per thousand clips made. All royalty payments would cease after total payments reached U.S. $200,000.
Between November 6, 1905, when the Germans received a Treasury check for $11,367.53, and the July 1909 Treasury check for $8,117.25, the U.S. Armory made nine payments to Waffenfabrik Mauser for the specified total of $200,000.
In most aspects, the transaction seems a bargain. The United States was embarrassed, but now had clear title to one of the finest rifles in the world. Everyone seemed satisfied with Crozier's handling of the matter, and on November 19, 1905, President Roosevelt reappointed him to a second four-year term as chief of ordnance....
In 1907, an additional damaging blow was dealt to the new rifle when General Crozier had another German visitor, also bearing patent infringement papers and representing Deutsche Waffen-und Munitionfabriken, Berlin, Germany, the manufacturer of the spitzer rifle cartridge for the German Mauser rifle. This cartridge, the Berlin firm announced, was covered by U.S. patent 841861 issued on January 27, 1907, and the U.S. Army was infringing on itd say the United States copied the whole system, lock, stock, and barrel, infringed on seven or eight German patents, and were forced to pay royalties.
This time, General Crozier assigned the problem of replying to Lieutenant Colonel John T. Thompson, acting chief of ordnance whenever Crozier was absent. Colonel (and later General) Thompson, who was to invent the Thompson submachine gun, went to a gathering of government patent attorneys and listened to their analysis of the situation. Deutsch, they assured him, had a very weak case and told him not to pay. Deutsch, they felt, could be beaten in court.
Colonel Thompson contacted Deutsch and informed them that the United States felt there was no case. When Deutsch pressed for a settlement, Thompson refused. On July 18, 1914, Deutsch brought suit against the United States in the U.S. Court of Claims asking for royalty payments on a quarter-billion M9106 rifle bullets at a dollar a thousand for a total of a quarter of a million dollars. The timing was ironic, just ten days before the start of the worst war the world had ever seen, in which many millions of rounds of spitzers would be fired.
But in 1920, Deutsch reopened its claim in the American court. A U.S. tribunal did not try to determine whether Deutsch had a patent infringement suit. Rather, it focused on the wartime seizure of the German patent, which was covered by a U.S. treaty with Germany. On July 2, 1921, the tribunal stated that the United States was in open violation of that treaty and awarded Deutsch $300,000 in damages. The U.S. government appealed and the case was in the courts for more than seven years before it was finally settled, on December 31, 1928. After twenty-two years of on-again off-again litigation, Deutsch won. With interest, the $300,000 award for damages had grown to $412,520.55 - another Christmas present for the Ordnance Department." - Hallahan

Army #6408 - Weapon loaned to Mr. Joseph H. Dudek, Adjutant, Polish American Veterans of Mass., Chicopee, Mass. Loan returned on 21 May 1956. Loan included 30 blank firing cartridges, cal..30.

Brophy, William S. THE SPRINGFIELD 1903 RIFLES. Stackpole Books. Harrisburg, Pa. 1985.
Ferris, C.S. & John Beard. SPRINGFIELD MODEL 1903 SERVICE RIFLE PRODUCTION AND ALTERATION. 1905-1910. C.S. Ferris. Arvada, Co. 1995.
Ford, Roger. THE WORLD'S GREATEST RIFLES. Barnes & Noble Books. N.Y., N.Y. 1998.
Hatcher, Julian S. HATCHER'S NOTEBOOK. The Stackpole Co. Harrisburg, Pa. 1962.
Schwing, Ned. 2000 STANDARD CATALOG OF FIREARMS. Krause Publications. Iola, Wi. 2000.
Walter, John. RIFLES OF THE WORLD. 2nd Ed. Krause Publications. Iola, Wi. 1998.

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