The Winchester Polishing Room Records sugget the 172xxx SN range was processed in 1903; but a SN search indicates 172220 was made in 1899.
It's entirely possible that the receiver was made in 1899, but for some reason not assembled/finished until 1903.
IMO, age alone isn't sufficient reason for obtain a Cody letter - but if the gun has one or more Special Features, then a letter would be indicated, to find out in what config it left the factory. (IOW, to find out if the special features were added later by someone besides Winchester)
Last edited by PetahW; September 11, 2013 at 08:11 AM.