Shooting both the '03 and '17, I gotta say its pretty much a toss up between whats better.. They both have advantages/disavantages.
The '03 is shorter, lighter, & sleeker. The sights are very accurate but take slightly longer to aquire a correct sight picture than the '17.
The '17 is heavy & longer, but has less felt recoil than the '03. Has a aperture sight with a longer sight radius, very quick to aquire sight picture. I really like the position of the safety (second to the Garand
Accuracy is about equal, both rifles have a ME of about 1.5.