It seemed like a good idea at the time. When the Winchester Repeating Arms Co. rolled out its graceful, 10-shot semi-automatic Model 1903 rifle, it wasn’t entirely clear that the .22 Long Rifle would become the most dominant rimfire cartridge of all time.
As recently as 20 years ago, very few people cared about (or paid a lot of money for) this once common U.S. military rifle. Looking back at the thousands of earlier sporterized conversions provides the answer as to why original ’03s in superior condition have become so expensive-there simply aren’t that many good ones left.
A reader inquires why is the ’03 Springfield is accorded so much fame.
Without a suitable sniping rifle, and with no training organization in place, the Allies struggled against German snipers early during the Great War. That changed—and then the Americans arrived.
Though not well known today, Winchester’s first semi-automatic rifles saw service in and above the trenches of World War I, faced big and dangerous game, and set the stage for the modern sporting rifle.