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Thread: Updating an 03A3 Sporter, Keeping it Classy

  1. #1
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    Oct 2012

    Updating an 03A3 Sporter, Keeping it Classy

    I've got an heirloom RIA 03A3 that was sporterized by my grandfather in the years following his service in WWII. He's been gone since the late '90's, and while I was going through my safe, I pulled this rifle out to have a look and consider taking it back into the field. It's got a 20" .30-06 barrel on it that I'm almost certain is a Douglas, a Reinhart-Fajen stock with rollover comb and ebony tip, a 2-position safety, jeweled bolt, and aftermarket trigger of some type. Pretty sure it's bedded but I'm not pulling it apart to look. In short, it's a really nice rifle.

    Two problems. It's wearing a period Bushnell Sportview 3-9 that I don't trust and it has a hard-as-rock red Jostam "Anti-Flinch" recoil pad. I need to fix both of these while keeping the rifle looking clean and classy.

    Looking for recommendations on a good quality lightweight 2-turret 1" tube hunting scope, no illumination, objective 40mm or less with 32mm probably looking best on it, 2-7x, 3-9x or something similar. Probably from a classic maker like Leupold instead of Vortex, for example. Realistically this rifle's future use will be deer and groundhogs at 50-250 yards. Scope budget, let's say $700 or less. Half that is fine, I'm not a price snob.

    The recoil pad, I'm thinking Pachmayr Decelerator because of issues I've heard with Limbsavers turning gooey over the years. I've never fitted a pad before but it sounds like if I get a belt sander and am careful, I can do that myself. Your experiences / opinions welcome.

    Thanks for helping put an old rifle back in service. If some good quality pictures would help, I'll see what I can do.

  2. #2
    These guys sell restored vintage scopes that might fit the bill. My girlfriend inherited a 30-06 Model 70 with a Weaver K4 from her dad after he passed and these guys caught my eye when I was mulling over possible anniversary presents.

  3. #3
    I'd just buy a Leupold VX3 and call it done.

    A basic 3-9 x 40 will suit the rifle well

  4. #4
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    Apr 2013
    Quote Originally Posted by TBone550 View Post
    ....If some good quality pictures would help, I'll see what I can do.
    Yes! We need PICS!!!!!!!!!!

  5. #5
    Site Supporter farscott's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
    Athens, AL, USA
    If you want a gloss-finished scope and rings, you will need to buy used. Pretty much every scope today is matte finished. Without pictures, it is hard to say whether gloss or matte is the way to go.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    WV USA
    For the short ranges in the brush here in West Virginia Iím partial to Leupoldís now discontinued 1-4x scope. Depending on the ranges you shoot at over in plain Virginia the Leupold 3-9x might be a better choice.

    Decelerators are great pads, I have a friend with the jigs and tools to install them. He advises to put the pad in the freezer overnight before you sand/grind them to make the work go smoother.

  7. #7
    #LowLife4Life Bigghoss's Avatar
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    Dec 2014
    Anna Kendrick's fantasies
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyman View Post
    Yes! We need PICS!!!!!!!!!!
    Ditto. I'm not one to sporterize a milsurp but the fact is this was an extremely common practice and has become a particular interest of mine. I'm a sucker for a nicely sporterized rifle.
    Does anyone like pineapple on their pizza guns?

  8. #8
    I agree with the recommendations of a gloss-tube scope in gloss mount and rings. A used Leupold Vari-XI or Vari-XII 2-7x33 or 3-9x40 would be inexpensive and look right at home on your rifle; they only lack click adjustments and multi-coating but, for your purposes, neither is a necessary feature and I have found that the older friction adjustment Leupolds hold zero reliably--moreso than many newer scopes.

    For a recoil pad, I really like the red Pachmayr Decelerator pads and have them on several rifles. They have a very classy look. For a period-correct look, however, a Pachmayr ventilated recoil pad with a white-line spacer would be the way to go--I see those pads on post-war sporters all the time--particularly those, like yours, that have the aftermarket "Weatherby" or "California" style stocks that were popular in the 1950s and 1960s with roll-over combs and contrasting woods. The Pachmayr white-line pads do an alright job mitigating recoil as well, but for both function and looks I prefer the red Decelerator.

  9. #9
    Agree with littlejerry, I'd just buy a Leupold 3-9X and not wear myself out shopping.

    I think the perished recoil pad is an opportunity to correct a styling faux pas of the period and get a smooth sided rifle recoil pad on it instead of the then-common ventilated shotgun pad.
    Code Name: JET STREAM

  10. #10
    Site Supporter farscott's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
    Athens, AL, USA
    In normal times, I would shop SWFA's SampleList at but this is 2020. It used to be that every week there would be at least one or two classic Leupold scopes at very fair prices. Today not so much.

    I also suggest hunting for scopes on eBay. I like the older fixed-power Leupold M8 scopes and have collected 4X, 6X, and 8X samples for rifle builds by careful shopping -- before 2020.

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