1903 Springfield Griffin and Howe 28" target rifle

M1903, M1903A3 and M1917.
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Calfed
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1903 Springfield Griffin and Howe 28" target rifle

Post by Calfed »

I ran across a rifle that looks similar to a 1903 Springfield Heavy Barrel (Style T) target rifle, but purports to have a 28" barrel installed by Griffin and Howe.
The stock is obviously different than a Springfield target stock and kind of looks like it could be a G&H stock, but I'm coming up blank on whether G&H ever made up 1903 Springfield HB target rifles.

Auction description states: "Custom U.S. Springfield, Model 1903, Bolt Action Rifle, with 28" custom heavy barrel by Griffin & Howe, .30-06 caliber, SN 1269532, custom heavy walnut checkered stock, very nice condition."


Anyone able to shed any light on the question?


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roverboy
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Re: 1903 Springfield Griffin and Howe 28" target rifle

Post by roverboy »

Very nice. I love the grain in the stock.
Calfed
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Re: 1903 Springfield Griffin and Howe 28" target rifle

Post by Calfed »

roverboy wrote: Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:41 pm Very nice. I love the grain in the stock.
Thanks rv.

I'll post better pictures and information when the rifle arrives.
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Re: 1903 Springfield Griffin and Howe 28" target rifle

Post by Polock »

Headless cocking piece and all! I really like the classic big bore target rifles. When I was a kid, friend of my dad was an "across the course" shooter. One of his rifles was a 03 Springfield, cherry wood target stock and a Browning 1919 MG bbl. I can only assume he used that bbl because they were dirt cheap (this was late 1950s) and were nice and heavy.
Now that I know more, I wonder how they headspaced the bbl since they had a stellite chamber lining--don't think a reamer would have any effect on the stellite.
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Calfed
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Re: 1903 Springfield Griffin and Howe 28" target rifle

Post by Calfed »

Thanks, Polock
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Re: 1903 Springfield Griffin and Howe 28" target rifle

Post by Calfed »

My 1903 finally arrived at my FFL. I got a chance to snap a few quick pictures before it went into his safe for the obligatory 10-day "cooling off" period.

The bore is very good...shiny, sharp and the muzzle measures "0" on the CMP muzzle gauge. The bluing is excellent.

The barrel is marked "Griffin and Howe Inc New York"
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And "30.06 Gov"
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Bolt had striker modified and the bolt handle is marked "J5"
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Stock has interesting grain
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Polock
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Re: 1903 Springfield Griffin and Howe 28" target rifle

Post by Polock »

Admired many G&H sporters thru the years, never saw one of their target rifles. Appears to have a great piece of walnut, and whole gun finished as nice as any custom sporter they made. The tight bbl is a plus--I'd be tempted to take it to a NM shoot, just for old times sake. You would definitely get style points!
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Calfed
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Re: 1903 Springfield Griffin and Howe 28" target rifle

Post by Calfed »

Polock wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:24 pm Admired many G&H sporters thru the years, never saw one of their target rifles. Appears to have a great piece of walnut, and whole gun finished as nice as any custom sporter they made. The tight bbl is a plus--I'd be tempted to take it to a NM shoot, just for old times sake. You would definitely get style points!
Can't seem to find much about their target rifles. I found this, but it is a decade old...

https://www.morphyauctions.com/jamesdju ... fle-37982/
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Re: 1903 Springfield Griffin and Howe 28" target rifle

Post by Calfed »

Finally got in and picked up my rifle.

I couldn't find any more markings on it, other than this. Under one of the scope blocks I found "No 1x27". The X digit was drilled through for the scope block.

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Bolt body has the previously referred to "damascene"

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Muzzle is tight..."0"- on the CMP gauge.

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Re: 1903 Springfield Griffin and Howe 28" target rifle

Post by Calfed »

I heard back from Bob Beach, the now-retired historian for Griffin and Howe...


"I regret that I have retired from doing the research and letters of provenance effective the end of 2018. There is a current G&H employee who intends to continue the service but it will take some time to rearrange his present responsibilities and familiarize him with the available documents.
A new Research email account has not yet been set up for him so I will continue to read and respond to inquiries. As you may know there are no original G&H& records prior to 1970 except for those rifles sold through Abercrombie & Fitch which owned G&H from 1930 until 1976 and sold many G&H rifles as both new and used guns. I checked all of the possible G&H serials numbers in the A&F records that were in the form 1x27 and there were four possibilities, but each does not seem to describe your rifle.

No. 1127 is built on a Winc. M54 action

No. 1627 has a 26 inch barrel

No. 1827 is a Winc. model 70 in .270 caliber

No. 1927 is in caliber 257 Roberts.

This suggests that your rifle could be:

No. 1027 built in 1930 – 31

No. 1227 built in 1933

No. 1327 built about 1933 - 34

No. 1427 built in 1935

No. 1527 built about 1936

or No. 1727 built in the early 1940’s

These dates are derived from the dates of near number G&H rifles sold at A&F and Michael Petroff’s research. I will check the files at G&H when I next get there which may not happen until November. G&H does have some paperwork for guns that were sent back for shop work post 1970 but these haven’t yet been put into the database that I can check. If I find anything more for you I’ll be sure to get back to you.

Thank you for the inquiry and enjoy owning this piece of undocumented history.

Regards,"
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Re: 1903 Springfield Griffin and Howe 28" target rifle

Post by shoot4fun »

Nice of him to provide the information for you, despite his retirement. Also nice to see he's going to pass your info on and ensure the next person in line continues the work.

Hope you enjoy that nice rifle. Still a bit of a mysterious beauty, isn't it?

Happy and Safe Shooting!
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Re: 1903 Springfield Griffin and Howe 28" target rifle

Post by Calfed »

Thanks, shoot4fun.

I've come to believe that this was built as a Wimbledon style "bull gun". I found this article about a Wimbledon "Bull Gun" made by Griffin and Howe for Ben Comfort, who won the 1935 Wimbledon match with it. Comfort's rifle was chambered in 300 H&H. and was built on a Remington model 30 action, which bears a strong resemblance to a 1917 action.


http://sportsmanslegacy.com/firearm/gri ... mer-keith/

The barrel profile, although chambered in 300 H&H mag rather than 30.06, appears to be very similar to mine.

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Muzzle seems very similar to mine also.

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Damascene markings on the bolt seem similar

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Calfed
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Re: 1903 Springfield Griffin and Howe 28" target rifle

Post by Calfed »

From what I've learned, prior to Ben Comfort using a rifle chambered in 300 H&H magnum, most bull guns were chambered in 30.06 (like my rifle) and based on a 1903 Springfield action.

I mounted a Lyman Super Targetspot on my rifle and comparing it to Ben Comfort's Wimbledon "Bull Gun" is what convinces me that is probably what my rifle was conceived as.

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