SOLD FOR: $3500
Model: 1903 Self-Loading
Serial Number: 99099
Year of Manufacture: 1918
Caliber: .22 Winchester Automatic Rimfire
Action Type: Stock-Mounted Tubular Magazine-Fed Semi-Automatic Rifle
Markings: The left of the barrel is marked “MANUFACTURED BY THE WINCHESTER REPEATING ARMS CO. / NEW HAVEN, CONN. U.S.A. PAT. AUG. 27. 01. FEB. 25. 02. FEB. 3. 17. DEC. 22. 03.” in front of the rear sight and “MOD 1903 .22 CAL. AUTOMATIC. / -WINCHESTER- / TRADE MARK REG. IN U.S. PAT. OFF.” behind. The top-rear of the barrel and top-front of the receiver each have ovalled “WP” proofs. The underside of the receiver and forward area of the trigger guard are marked with the serial number, “99099”. The top-rear of the receiver is marked through the finish with “U S” and a flaming bomb Ordnance mark.
Barrel Length: 20”
Sights/Optics: The front sight is a beaded blade with Winchester’s 1902 patent mark dovetailed to the front of the barrel. The rear sight is a “U”-notch sight dovetailed to the rear of the barrel and screw-adjustable for elevation. The top tang is drilled and tapped with a folding Lyman aperture sight installed, adjustable for elevation and with a locking arm for the folding hinge. Model 1903 rifles ordered by the US Ordnance Dept. during WWI were ordered with Lyman folding sights from the factory.
Stock Configuration and Condition: The stocks are two-piece smooth walnut with straight grip, straight comb and steel crescent buttplate. The stocks have some scattered nicks, scuffs and scratches. The left of the forend has a grain-line surface crack where there is a knot in the wood. Otherwise, there are no chips or cracks. The LOP measures 13 1/4″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has wear around the edges with some scattered light surface oxidation. Overall, the stocks rate in Very Good condition.
Type of Finish: Blued
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is sharp. There is no erosion.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 90% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning at most edges. The receiver has a patch of minor oxidation on the left flat, the trigger guard assembly has some oxidation, the nosecap has some light scraping and minor oxidation, and there are a few other spots of light oxidation. There are a few scattered nicks and scratches. The action shows light operational wear. The screw heads are generally sharp, the bottom buttplate mounting screw is tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this rifle rates in Very Good-plus condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The charging handle is a plunger in the front of the forend. We did not fire this rifle. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork and Accessories: None.
Our Assessment: When Winchester came out with their Model 1903 semi-automatic rifle, they chambered it in .22 Winchester Automatic. This was a smokeless powder round with a case slightly larger than a .22 Long cartridge to prevent the use of .22 rimfire ammunition loaded with black powder, which was still common at the time. Later on, the .22 Long Rifle cartridge would become prevalent, and the model 1903 would be usurped by the Model 63. This example’s US Ordnance markings indicate that it is one of 600 rifles purchased in 1918 during WWI for use training Air Service troops in the use of light machine guns and automatic rifles in Aerial gunnery. About 500 of the rifles were sent to Europe while the remaining 100 remained stateside and all were sold after the end of the war. This rifle’s clean, bright bore and strong mechanics still make for a great shooter provided you can source some .22 Winchester Automatic ammunition. It will also make a great addition to a Winchester, US Military rifle, or military training rifle collection, especially given the scarcity of the US marked 1903s. Good luck and happy bidding!