Michael Brady – A 1903 Springfield Pseudo-Scout

Jeff Cooper – “The Colonel” – allowed that there might be some scouts that departed from Scout Rifle doctrine in order to make use of some special advantage, such as using the 30-06 cartridge or the 1903 Springfield action in particular. Such rifles usually did not meet the scout rifle criteria for length or weight and were dubbed “pseudo-scouts.”

I had my 1903 Springfield (circa 1927) made into a pseudo-scout. Initial gunsmithing and integral bipod stock was done by Brent Clifton. It wears some sort of impervious finish applied by Robar.  The scout scope mount and rings added later by the Gunsite ‘Smithy. A garage burglar stole the original Burris scout scope and its very expensive Talley rings years ago, so my 1903 has served as my iron sighted “rain rifle” for some time now. At about seven pounds without a scope it’s light enough to be unpleasant for extended shooting despite its Pachmayr Decelerator butt pad.  It’s slightly muzzle-heavy, what with it wearing a bobbed GI barrel. It wears an M14 National Match front sight on a customized base out at the end of the barrel where it belongs, and a Williams receiver sight with target knobs that tore at my thumbnail while I learned my bolt flick. Its aftermarket Timney trigger releases a striker that has the lock time of a doorknob, but there are no light strikes.

I took my pseudo-scout to our first API270 General Rifle course in 1988.  In those days I could hold my own out to 300 meters with iron sights.  Alas, halfway through the week it suffered simultaneous parts failure of the magazine selector, ejector, and firing pin (buy your spares now, boys!).  I finished the course shooting The Colonel’s Scout III – a Ruger 77 with a Ruger No.1 sight base.  The 1903 action, as delightful as it is, is only a few years less obsolete than the Krag and parts are growing scarce and more expensive. Synthetic stocks for it were never common. The Clifton bipod stock is the stuff of legend (and a few border skirmishes) but is now long gone. The Springfield was my first centerfire rifle, bought in the days when a “sporterized” 1903 wearing a Redfield receiver sight could be had for $50 1974 dollars, so I’ll be holding on to it, but I wouldn’t do it again.