Happy Birthday Teddy: Theodore Roosevelt’s Personal M1903 Rifle
By Chris Eger
President Theodore Roosevelt was a statesman and soldier, but also a conservationist and noted sportsman with an interest in fine firearms. (Photo: Library of Congress)
As President and popular war hero, Theodore Roosevelt was one of the first in line to get one of the Army’s new M1903 rifles– but wanted it his way. With that, in honor of the 26th President’s 161st birthday this weekend, we take a look at one of his most interesting firearms.
Roosevelt, who earned perhaps a greater legend as a hunter and conservationist than any other American, had by 1903 led the New York City Police Department, been governor of the Empire State, was Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and had famously helped recruit and lead a regiment of volunteers up San Juan (Kettle) Hill in the Spanish-American War. At age 42, he became the youngest president in history– a record that remains today, after already filling the position of vice-president.
Roosevelt had a life-long love of hunting– shown above with a Winchester lever gun– and had resigned his post as assistant secretary of the Navy in 1898 to serve as a colonel in the Army during the Spanish American War, leading a volunteer cavalry regiment of