When the United States declared war against the “Central Powers” on April 6, 1917, it was obvious that there was an increased need for additional service rifles. The government had approximately 600,000 M1903 Springfield rifles on hand along with along 160,000 obsolete Krag rifles, which were totally insufficient to meet the project demand. Production of the M1903 rifle was ordered to be increased at both Springfield Armory and Rock Island Arsenal. The Ordnance Department consulted with Springfield and Rock Island engineers for ways to reduce production time and cost for ’03 manufacture but, without substantially redesigning the rifle to an unacceptable degree, only cosmetic changes could be accomplished. It was apparent that the combined output of these two national arsenals could not meet the burgeoning demand, and large numbers of additional service rifles would soon be needed.
The Ordnance Department determined that it had two basic options to procure the additional rifles needed: The first option would be to seek additional manufacturing sources for the M1903 rifle. The second option would be to adopt a second type of service rifle to augment the M1903 rifle.
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