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Some changes were fairly easy to accomplish, and others were more involved. The firm was assigned the serial number block of “3,000,000 to 3,599,999” for its initial production.The British were pressing for new rifles as soon as possible, and passage of Lend-Lease legislation opened up other avenues of arms procurement. Ordnance Department immediately contracted with Remington for M1903 rifles in order to arm the rapidly expanding U. Ten “trial production” M1903 rifles were produced soon after the contract was granted, and the first 1,273 production rifles were delivered in November 1941.Even though the Remington ’03 rifles evidenced a number of manufacturing shortcuts, they possessed a strong action, and all of them are in the “high number” category.The early production Remington ’03 rifles resembled late World War I production Rock Island ’03s, as they were produced on the old Rock Island tooling.
Remington turned out M1903 and M1903 Modified rifles as fast as production permitted, and they saw use as training rifles and were used in combat fairly early in the war.By the first quarter of 1942, the changes in the original specifications were sufficient to result in a rifle that was noticeably different from the early production Remington M1903s.The rifles with the changes were termed the “M1903 Modified” although, as stated, there is some indication that this term was in use as early as November 1941.In any event, the “M1903 Modified” designation has come into widespread use today to differentiate the Remingtons that incorporated the manufacturing modifications from the original, finely crafted ’03 rifles that were turned out during the first few months of production and will be used in this article to identify this variant from the earlier and later variants.It should be recognized that the production “shortcuts” were phased in over a period of time.
It was suggested that the old M1903 production tooling in storage at Rock Island Arsenal be used to produce rifles for the British. Remington agreed to pay for the stock blanks by manufacturing cartridges for the U. Other changes included altering the stock (and muzzle) to allow use of the Lee-Enfield No. government ordered 134,000 M1903s from Remington the same day that the British contracts were canceled.