All About Stocks! How the National Match Competitions Aided Rifle Design

by Miles

During the interwar years, Springfield Armory shrunk drastically. To the extreme point of going from five thousand full-time employees to two hundred. One of the ways that Springfield Armory dealt with this was to commit to producing rifles for the National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio. At first the Armory was taking production rifles and tightening up a few tolerances. But this later progressed to dedicated National Match rifles with heavy barrels, Lyman rear sights, and a shortened forend. Through the Civilian Marksmanship Program, these could be sold to civilians that were eligible in purchasing them (which still exists to this day). During the course of the National Matches, it was found that a pistol grip style stock lended itself much better to accuracy and controllability during the firing process. Now, Springfield Armory by no means didn’t invent the pistol grip stock, these had been around previously. But the change from the straight stock to the pistol grip stock during the National Matches led to changes in the 1903 design as a whole because the Ordnance Department realized the benefits it could have for soldiers in the field. This resulted in the M1903A1. However, there was the problem of tens of thousands of stock blanks left over from the First World War. They couldn’t be made into the full pistol grip “C” type stock because there wasn’t enough wood in the blank. So the Ordnance Department authorized a variance, allowing a “Scant” stock to be created by the various contractors that made the M1903A3 and M1903A4 rifles during the Second World War.


M1903 Springfield




National Match rifles

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Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I've made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at

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