Video - 1898 Springfield Krag carbine

UK Outfitters

Muir

Well-Known Member
That was a very nice review. I currently own three KJ's but have owned a dozen more in the past. My first foray intocast bullet shooting at the tender age of 14 was using a Krag Jorgensen rifle and the Lyman 311-299 gas check bullet, both owned by the grounds keeper at our local sportsman club. He taught me all about Krags. His was purchased from the US government in the Great Depression for $2 (if I'm recalling correctly) and with it he got 40 rounds of 'full patch' 30 US Army ammunition. He kept his rifle spotlessly clean and it was deadly accurate with these bullets sized to .312 inches. Loaded over Unique powder it was eye-sight capable. I could easily tease MOA with my young, perfect eyes. Two of my Krags have been rebarreled. One I purchased with a custom 30-40 barrel in place and the other had a ruined bore and so I rebarreled it to 25 Krag, one of the first wildcats using the Krag action. (A.O. Neidner) None of my Krags have seen a jacketed bullet while in my possession.

Two weeks ago I was presented a rifle identical to yours, including the replacement front sight blade. A good friend who had admired my Krags, was on a trip and found a dirty, rust sprinkled rifle on the shelf at a gun shop. HE had it shipped home and since I seem to be the resident Krag Guy in my area, he brought it to me for inspection. It cleaned up very well indeed. The Inspector's cartouche was still plainly visible in the wood and the dirt and rust sprinkles literally wiped off. The bore looked horrible but I brushed it out and then used some JB Bore Paste to get the remaining crud out of the edges of the lands. It actually looked pretty good. I gave him 2 boxes of early 60's vintage (?) Winchester 220 grain Silver tip loads asking only that he return the boxes for me to display. We took it to the range one afternoon and at 50 yards it shot about half inch. At 100 old eyes came into play and we shot between 1.5 and 2 inches. Needless to say my friend is happy as a clam.

We are going to reload for this rifle. I told him that is was possible to put 150 grain bullets out to 2500 fps with judicious powder choice and that this would flatten out his trajectories quite a bit.

But I am rambling... I have a sweet spot in my heart for Krags and the 30-40 cartridge. Thanks for posting your video review.~Muir
 

alberta boy

Well-Known Member
I've always liked Krags , unfortunately , they're very uncommon up here . Another one for the list . It's strange actually , out of the Krag , Springfield and Garand , the M1 Garand is by far the most commonly encountered . I should qualify that by saying you can't swing a dead cat without hitting an AR 15 clone , but for some reason , or no reason , I don't put them in the same class as the old walnut and steel rifles .
I still have an unhealthy need to own a 1903a3 , I really miss the one I did have years ago . I bought it basically unfired ..........then I shot it and sold it , I tend to do that a lot , I'm an idiot .

AB
 

Roro

Well-Known Member
I always wanted to handle and shoot a canadian ross straight pull. I know they are much maligned, unfairly from what i have heard, from their unsuitability in the trenches. Still they are an interesting design.
 

enfieldspares

Well-Known Member
I handled a Krag maybe forty years ago. A more useless military arm...as compared with what was being used by other nations at that same time...I cannot imagine. And as was proved and paid in blood at San Juan Hill in Cuba.

I actually owned a Ross, the 1905 Model, in .280" and came 3rd in Historical Classic Rifle Running Deer at Bisley back in the 1990s or so. There actually was a resistance as you pulled the bolt back so it wasn't as smooth as, say, a Winchester 94 or Marlin 94. Or in fact as a properly functioning SMLE.

The British NRA in about 1910 or so described the .303 Ross as "a target arm masquerading as a military weapon". The problem of it in the trenches in WWI was exacerbated by the fact that Britain had, in order to increase delivery of .303 Mk VII, relaxed the size tolerances on that ammunition. So adding to the problems of the Ross.

Apparently the problem that the version carried by the Canadian Army was that it had a each locking lug blog was a single block. So each time it was roughly used to open it the locking lug became more and more distorted.

In WWII they were issued to the Merchant Navy for use to shoot sea mines. An old member of my Gun Club used one for just that when he was on convoy in WWII.
 

alberta boy

Well-Known Member
I always wanted to handle and shoot a canadian ross straight pull. I know they are much maligned, unfairly from what i have heard, from their unsuitability in the trenches. Still they are an interesting design.

I've owned a number of different Ross rifles of different marks . I have a M 10 at home at the moment , it is a very accurate rifle , a virtue that they were known for . You can still pick a decent one up for under 500 CDN . As ES points out though , they had reliability problems that were exacerbated by the lack of uniformity in British ammunition . The SMLE's chugged along just fine regardless , the main reason Canada adopted the SMLE later in the war .
The Krag did have some dated features for it's day , but it also came about at a point in history when weapons development was at a pace never seen before , or since for that matter , in human history .
Muir has a few very nice Ross rifles , I don't think they're for sale though lol .
A bit off point , but interesting , an aquaintance of mine is a collector of all things Winchester . A few of you here are members of Canadian Gun Nuts and are familiar with him . I was at his place a while back picking up a gorgeous 1886 Winchester , he asked me if I liked High Walls , silly question , and would I like to see one that he had just picked up . My first thought was , it's a repro and he's winding me up . He wasn't , and it was probably the nicest 1885 Winchester I've ever seen . It was also in 30/40 Krag . I like my bolt guns , but old single shots have a special place in my heart . I will build a High Wall on a suitable action before I go for my final dirt nap , it's just a question of 30/40 or 303 Brit . I apologise for the thread derailment lol .

AB
 

alberta boy

Well-Known Member
I handled a Krag maybe forty years ago. A more useless military arm...as compared with what was being used by other nations at that same time...I cannot imagine. And as was proved and paid in blood at San Juan Hill in Cuba.

I actually owned a Ross, the 1905 Model, in .280" and came 3rd in Historical Classic Rifle Running Deer at Bisley back in the 1990s or so. There actually was a resistance as you pulled the bolt back so it wasn't as smooth as, say, a Winchester 94 or Marlin 94. Or in fact as a properly functioning SMLE.

The British NRA in about 1910 or so described the .303 Ross as "a target arm masquerading as a military weapon". The problem of it in the trenches in WWI was exacerbated by the fact that Britain had, in order to increase delivery of .303 Mk VII, relaxed the size tolerances on that ammunition. So adding to the problems of the Ross.

Apparently the problem that the version carried by the Canadian Army was that it had a each locking lug blog was a single block. So each time it was roughly used to open it the locking lug became more and more distorted.

In WWII they were issued to the Merchant Navy for use to shoot sea mines. An old member of my Gun Club used one for just that when he was on convoy in WWII.

I'm old enough to have actually known a veteran , Ernest McKenzie , of the great war who carried a Ross in the opening stages of WW1 . To say he despised Ross rifles would be an understatement . The only thing he hated more was the gas attacks , some of the first , that he endured . As I get older , I realize , it wasn't that long ago . Again , I apologize for the derailment lol .
 
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Yorric

Well-Known Member
Jon have you tried a heavy,soft lead, gas checked bullet in the rifle? It might just work by setting up into the rifling enough to engage & stabilize. Anyway that is a nice wee rifle to own. Thanks for posting your video.
A lot of modern rifles don't feed & eject anywhere near as well!
Ian
 

alberta boy

Well-Known Member
Jon have you tried a heavy,soft lead, gas checked bullet in the rifle? It might just work by setting up into the rifling enough to engage & stabilize. Anyway that is a nice wee rifle to own. Thanks for posting your video.
A lot of modern rifles don't feed & eject anywhere near as well!
Ian

Good suggestion , and it does feed and eject very well , not bad for a rifle that was built over one hundred years ago .

AB
 

enfieldspares

Well-Known Member
As I get older , I realize , it wasn't that long ago .

No, it wasn't. My Grandfather fought in WWI. Went over the top in the first wave on the Somme on 1 July 1916. I've a photogrpah of him somewhere looking all nonchalant. He survived the war only because, later, he was blinded. I still have his Field Message Book from that day. In it is the carbon imprint of this despatch that he sent on 2 July 1916:

From: 2nd Lieut. W A Smith - No 10 Platoon - C Company - 2nd K.O.Y.L.I. - 2nd July 1916
To: Adjutant 2nd K.O.Y.L.I.


I have the honour to bring before your notice the splendid and heroic work carried out by Corporal Dobson of my platoon in action on July 1 1916.

Corporal Dobson organised attacking by bombing the German strong points on our left and if it had not been for the splendid and heroic work done by this gallant N.C.O. we should probably have been surrounded.

He went forward in shirt sleeves and was throwing bombs from 8.30 a.m. until he was unfortunately hit in the back about 5.00 p.m. that evening by a German bomb. He died a few minutes after being hit.

His loss will be felt keenly by all the platoon. He was a capable N.C.O. always cheerful and fearless and always had a cheery word of encouragement for the recruits.

This being my report, I have the honour to be, your obedient servant, W.A Smith 2/Lt. No 10 Platoon 2nd K.O.Y.L.I.

Essentially the KOYLI's supporting battalions on either side failed to keep up and they became surrounded on three sides. It is, in fact, a Victoria Cross citation as, at that time, that was the only posthumous medal possible. Corporal Dobson did not receive it as the 1 July 1916 was not a day that was marked with success for the British Army. He lies, still, with the twenty thousand others who died that day, in France. Not far from where he fought alongside my Grandfather.
 
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alberta boy

Well-Known Member
What would your friend make of the gun in the link below ? I was keeping my beady eye on it, but it sold.

Winchester - 1895 .303 .Rifles for sale
He actually has a few , the 303Brit is the most commonly encountered chambering for 95's where I am , probably because of the popularity of the 303 Brit in Canada . There still reasonably priced if you're looking for a shooter . The Model 21 receiver sight on the rifle pictured is very desirable and can get a bit pricey .
He also has a very nice 95 in 35 Winchester that I like , an obsolete , but capable cartridge . Once you get into the larger calibers , like the 35 and 405 Winchesters , the prices climb rather steeply . It's cheaper to buy a Browning repro than a decent original , very cool rifles though .

AB
 

Muir

Well-Known Member
I let my son shoot my Ross 1910 rifle (full military) using cast bullets. Out on the desert he was popping gallon water jugs at 200 yards with a .314" cast bullet and some Accurate Arme 5744. He likes the Ross but being a blade guy, he liked the bayonet better, I think. No doubting the accuracy of the Ross, though.~Muir
 

Muir

Well-Known Member
I handled a Krag maybe forty years ago. A more useless military arm...as compared with what was being used by other nations at that same time...I cannot imagine. And as was proved and paid in blood at San Juan Hill in Cuba..
I was thinking about this last night. I'm not certain that carrying a different rifle would have spared any blood. The American troops were advancing up a hill under direct fire with inadequate artillery support. The slaughter would have happened anyhow. Blaming the Krag (soley) would be like blaming the Enfield for the bloodshed at Gallipoll.

Granted, the 30-40 round was a hold back by some stuffed shirt penny pinchers in Washington. They were hoping to retrofit Trapdoor Springfields to handle the smaller rimmed cases and I have actually handled two of these Springfield Armory prorotypes. It was an unsuccessful venture.

An interesting side note on the 30-40 Krag is that when the 1903 was being issued, the Krags were sent to National Guard troops. These units had to be self supporting back then so the standard practice was to have meetings at which they cast bullets from 10-bullet gang molds, prepped them, and loaded their training ammunition. They also shot these bullets in competition. The story goes that the National Guard troops routinely kicked the behinds of the regular Army troops carrying the yet-to-be-refined 1903's on the 600 yard course. It was quite embarrassing and as a consequence, a rule was introduced 1n 1911 banning any rifle that did not load from a stripper clip, effectlvely eliminating the Krag units from competition. Having shot the Krag since my teens, and having shot that same National Guard loading, I can say that I believe the 30-06s were bested by the Krags. The 30-40 is a superbly accurate cartridge as are the Krag rifles..~Muir
 

enfieldspares

Well-Known Member
Muir...I read your post but I also know that some commentators say that historical accounts say that as the Americans advanced up San Juan Hill there were spilled .30-40 rounds everywhere as the men tried to load whilst on the move. So they were put at a severe tactical disadvantage as the Krag was obsolete technology. I think Roosevelt, and others, are the original source?

A parallel in Europe would be the Battle of Sadowa where the Austrian Lorenz muzzle loader came up against the Prussian Dreyse breechloader. Accounts are given of the Austrians standing up fully erect to reload sustaining heavy casualties against the Prussians who as well as having the obvious speed advantage of a breechloader did not have to stand fully erect to reload. Even though the Austrains taught loading from the prone position it was still very slow and inefficient.


Our rimmed .303 of course was, partly, adopted as the Martini could be, and was, successfully rebarreled and issued in that calibre.
 
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enfieldspares

Well-Known Member
So what i couldn't edit, Muir, to include is that the obsolete weapon, the Krag, as it can't be loaded on the move quickly or without the risk of spilling rounds prevents modern tactics evolving. Just as at Sadowa the Lorenz gave the Austrians the same problem. So Id argue that the Krag by dictating the tactics is to blame.

Same as at Gallipoli if the ANACS had had every man a BAR instead of everyman and SMLE, again the result may have been different.
 

Muir

Well-Known Member
So what i couldn't edit, Muir, to include is that the obsolete weapon, the Krag, as it can't be loaded on the move quickly or without the risk of spilling rounds prevents modern tactics evolving. Just as at Sadowa the Lorenz gave the Austrians the same problem. So Id argue that the Krag by dictating the tactics is to blame.

Same as at Gallipoli if the ANACS had had every man a BAR instead of everyman and SMLE, again the result may have been different.
I agree. Not a great combat rifle and a different rifle might have yielded different results but i doubt it. San Juan Heights was more problematic than the weapon choice. Good artilllery would have helped. The US would have been better off to isolate the heights haul in some decent artillery and pound the entrenched Spanish at their leisure.

As to the BAR: Have you ever carried one of those?? It was about 18 pounds loaded. With extra mags I'm not certain I could get out of a chair let alone a trench! Fun to shoot, though! :)~Muir
 

enfieldspares

Well-Known Member
I've handled a working BAR, yes, but never shot one. I've handled, shot, and was trained on the BREN. Including using the sling to shoot it from the hip. Whoever called it a LIGHT Machine Gun was having a laugh! Having carried one on exercise it isn't light! The best comparison of the two BAR v Bren is that by Lee Ermey. It's easy enough to find that I won't post it here. To his credit "the Gunny" does admit that the Bren is superior. But, of course, what he doesn't, oddly say, is that the BAR was available in 1919 the Bren not until 1937. So for it's time the BAR was certainly as originally intended maybe tactically better than the contemporary Lewis Gun which had I was told Immediate Action drills for about fifteen or stoppages in two different positions.
 

alberta boy

Well-Known Member
I agree. Not a great combat rifle and a different rifle might have yielded different results but i doubt it. San Juan Heights was more problematic than the weapon choice. Good artilllery would have helped. The US would have been better off to isolate the heights haul in some decent artillery and pound the entrenched Spanish at their leisure.

As to the BAR: Have you ever carried one of those?? It was about 18 pounds loaded. With extra mags I'm not certain I could get out of a chair let alone a trench! Fun to shoot, though! :)~Muir

As a matter of fact , I have . Back when it was legal , you could hunt with a modified ( permanently altered to semi auto only ) BAR , BREN or any other firearm , as long as it was a deer legal cartridge . I had a post war ( WW1 ) BAR for a few years . I did lug that big heavy pig out to some property that belonged to a friend during White-Tail season . I managed to drop a nice , big , dry Doe with the old girl . As far as I know , I'm the last guy any where near me to do it .
The laws have changed now , you can't even shoot a BAR in Canada legally anymore . Must have been all the shootings that involved BAR's ........... oh , I forgot , there has never been an instance of one ever being used in a crime in Canada , ever ........... yes , I am a little bitter . It was one of my favourites , after the Bren lol .

AB
 
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