My Dad’s Remington 03-A3

Written by Ballistic Technician Gary Prisendorf

20160717_132508In either 1968 or 1969 my father purchased a Remington O3-A3 rifle in unissued condition from GDisco, a local discount store that went out of business years ago.

The one on the rack had a few dings in the stock, so dad asked if they had any more still in the box?  The clerk advised they had two more and brought them out for him to look at.

Dad picked out the one with the best wood and put it on layaway because he didn’t have the $69.00 asking price.

I was born in 1969, so that old rifle has been around my entire life.  In fact, it was the first center fire rifle that I ever shot.  I remember dad telling me I was going to shoot a 30-06 and I was only about 6 years old at the time.  I had to get up on my knees to get high enough at the shooting bench to see through the sights.

Dad had a little cast bullet load using a 115 grain Lyman bullet and 14 grains of Unique.  I remember thinking how cool it was that I shot a 30-06, when other kids my age were still shooting BB guns.

Over the years, the old rifle pretty much had a steady diet of cast bullets.  Other than twenty rounds here and there for target shooting or the occasional deer that either dad or my brother Billy shot with it.  But the rifle rarely saw a real 30-06 load.

Around 6 months ago, I was talking with dad and told him I wanted to load up some 168 grain Sierra MatchKings #2200 and just see what that old rifle could really do.  We agreed that when the weather warmed up we would head to the range and do just that.

So this last weekend it was off to the range with the old rifle.

After a few sight in shots I was ready to go.

I sat up 3 targets at 100 yards and went to work.

20160717_163600I shot 3-5 shot groups, the first being 3.177”, a little disappointing, but I was having some difficulty seeing well using the aperture sight with my 47 year old eyes.  I also had to use a 6 0’clock hold because the rifle hits a little high at 100 yards.

The second group was quite a bit better 1.911” which I was happy with, but decided to try one more group to see if I could improve.  I’m glad I did, my third and final group measured 1.614”, which I consider pretty good for iron sights and bad eyes at 100 yards.

I gave dad’s old rifle a good cleaning and tucked it safely away in the back of my safe.

I failed to mention earlier that this old rifle isn’t just any old 03-A3, this one is special, it is a one of a kind.  What makes it so special?  Well it’s special because it is my dad’s rifle.

My father passed away on June 25th after a long battle with cancer and emphysema.

He was my best friend, my hunting buddy and the best father anyone could have ever asked for.

It was dad who got me interested in hunting, shooting and reloading.  If it wasn’t for him, I doubt I would even be here at Sierra today, doing a job that I really enjoy.

Even though the old rifle is tucked away inside of my safe right now, I don’t think of it as mine.  It will always be dad’s rifle.

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21 Responses to My Dad’s Remington 03-A3

  1. firstriverbend says:

    Touching article. Sorry about the loss. 😦
    As for the O3-A3, an interesting rifle with an interesting history.
    I have been reading Hatcher’s Notebook and he writes a very interesting and informed amount about this rifle and its development. It might be of some interest.


  2. John cates says:

    Sorry about your dad’s passing. Memories like that are what makes life special. I have an A3-O3 , shoots under 1″ groups using 168 gr. Sierra Matchkings. Use it to deer hunt and target shoot. Great rifle.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jim Laviana says:

    You are very fortunate to have such a great relationship with your Dad, enjoy the memories !

    Liked by 1 person

  4. David Ambrose says:

    I’ve got a similar story, except my dad built a 30-06 out of a surplus Mauser action. He put a new stock on it and added what’s now an ancient scope. My dad’s not around any more either, so I try to take it out every now and then, just so I can go shooting with dad.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Walter says:

    I also have my Dad’s 1903. He shot it the 1950’s and 60’s in the highpower matches. When I got the interest he set up dummy rounds to practice for rapid fire. My Dad is also gone but the rifle and the memories remain

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Carlton Yee says:

    I have both a 1903 and a 1903-A3 and the A3 is much easier to shoot accurately. The peep rear sight makes the difference. Both were CMP guns and in great shape. The 03-A3 is a 1944 acquired in 2002. They sold for $425 from CMP then.


  7. David Ruppel says:

    Good story! Sorry about your loss.



  8. Skip Craske says:

    Sorry for your loss. I’ve hunted for 50 years with the A3-03 my father-in-law purchased after WW2 for $16,00. My wife and I are celebrating our 50th anniversary so I’m real sure about the date. I load 165 gr Sierra HPBT GameKing #2140 bullets with 49 gr of IMR #4320 and have never had a deer take more than two steps after the shot. Every November I take his gun and the memories of a wonderful person and go hunting. Skip

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Charles says:

    I have My Dads 03-A3 as well ( he passed when I was 14yrs old ) he paid $16.50 for it I still have the paper work form the mid 50s. I have hunted with it for many years I am 60 now. I have other fine guns but this one is my fave. Killed many Deer a few Elk and so on. It is on its second Barrel and third stock ( I kept up grading to better looking wood). All these stories tell something about what a great Rifle it is. And the great memories about our Dads and our hunts .

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Arzee says:

    Very nice story. Sorry to hear about your dad. I inherited my step-dad’s 03-A3 when he passed away in 2010 but have yet to give it a good cleaning before taking it out to the range to see what it can do as he also left me a bunch of other rifles to work on.


  11. Robert Ruder says:

    These personal stories are great to hear. Sorry about your buddy, … your dad!


  12. Ron says:

    Great article. I have an 03- A3 in a C stock myself and it shoots moa (when I do my part) with 49 grains of Varget behind a 168 grain MK. Bought that rifle from a school teacher back in 1973 for $75.


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