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Cody Firearms Museum

Makers
Johnson, Thomas Crossley 5 Winchester Repeating Arms Co., New Haven, CT 967
Descriptions
stock and left side metal removed from buttstock to show internal mechanisms front sight 59 gracefully sculpted magazine loading opening on right side of buttstock stock 186 magazine 88 recoil operated 2 walnut 486 tubular 51 drift and screw open sporting 150 barrel 187 post rear sight 51 round barrel 64 crescent buttplate 4 cross bolt safety in rear of trigger guard finish 98 blued overall, except for bolt actuating rod, springs, and miscellaneous internal parts
Names
firearm 4093
Use
cutaway 15 rifle 1140 semi-automatic 17
Date:
1903
Dimensions:
L: 36.5 in, Barrel length: 20 in, H: 7 in
Credit Line:
Gift of Olin Corporation, Winchester Arms Collection
Gloss:
The first semi-automatic rifle put out by Winchester was also the first successful simple, blowback action rifle ever made in this country to handle 22 caliber rim fire cartridges. It was announced to the trade in the July 1904 catalog as the Winchester Automatic Rifle Model 1903. The M/03 was developed and patented in 1903 by Thomas Crossley Johnson, who entered the employ of Winchester on November 30, 1885. During his long service with the company, he became nationally known as a successful designer and inventor of firearms. The M/03 was the first automatic (self-loading) rifle and also the first hammerless repeating rifle made by Winchester. Factory records show the first delivery of Model 1903 rifles to warehouse stock was made on March 2, 1903. About 126,000 were made. The Model 1903 is an automatic (self-loading) rifle with balanced breech bolt, simple blowback operated mechanism. This means that the breech bolt contains a quantity of metal proportioned to the weight and velocity of the bullet so that the shock of the recoil is absorbed by the breech bolt which in a sense balances the recoil. When the cartridge is fired, the bullet leaves the muzzle of the barrel before the breech bolt commences to move rearward. The design and weight of the breech bolt are so proportioned that there is no loss of velocity and energy of the bullet. In order to obtain the nicety of balance required to operate this type of mechanism, it was necessary for Winchester to develop a new cartridge for this model. With this self-loading type of mechanism, the trigger must be pulled and released for each shot. Trigger lock added December 1903, about serial No. 5,000. The manufacture of this model was discontinued in 1932, when it was redesigned and reissued the following year as Model 63, chambered for the 22 Long Rifle smokeless cartridge (Barnes: 1980).
Inscription:
top barrel/MANUFACTURED BY THE WINCHESTER REPEATING ARMS CO./-NEW HAVEN, CONN. U.S.A. PAT. AUG. 27. 1901. FEB. 25. 1902. FEB. 3. 1903-/WINCHESTER-TRADE MARK-/MOD. 1903 22 CAL AUTOMATIC
Remarks:
Winchester R & D label on left side of buttstock.
Model:
Model 1903
Caliber/Gauge:
.22 Winchester Automatic Rimfire
Serial Number:
182-- serial number cutoff due to cutaway design (last number possibly 3)
Accession Number:
1988.8.320

As of 06-14-2017 this object is on display in the Cody Firearms Museum.
If you are making a special trip, please double-check before visiting.

Virtual Exhibits

June 2014 - New Items
June 2014 - New Items - Curated by Seth Johnson


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