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1898 Krag Zero Help

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Mark [email protected]#121004, Nov 28, 2019.

  1. Mark Olinhee@#121004

    Mark [email protected]#121004 Member

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    Just received my great uncle’s M1898 Krag 30-40 and am trying to figure out how to properly sight it in.

    I set up at 100yds on a more or less flat range, have the 1896 rear leaf sight with the front sight blade of about .25 in—so I think the sights match up, but strike of the round was about 8 inches below point of aim.

    I’m using Remington core-lokt 180 grain ammo.

    I know the Krag is supposed to set a battlesight 300 yds. Does that mean that I need to set the rear sight slide at the 300 mark to accurately shoot at 100 yds?

    Our first shots (the low ones) were with the rear sight slide all the way to the rear of the leaf, then to bring the strike of the round up, we just slide the slide forward until the back edge is just about at the 300 mark and hitting center mass.

    Is this correct? I thought the slide should have been all the way back but was shocked at how far the round fell at only 100 yds. Am I doing something wrong—the manual I found online did not have zero procedures, so I’m guessing at this.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. MikeInOr

    MikeInOr Member

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    With the site set to 300yards it should be shooting several inches high at 100 yards. I suspect you might have gotten a hold of some underpowered ammo? With the Krag being well over 100 years old I wonder if factory ammo is downloaded considerably for safety? I don't think the Krag has a very strong action compared to more modern arms... smooth yes, strong no. Or mayby the sights are messed up or not original?

    People were shorter back then so maybe they originally designed the sights to compensate for this? What would be a head shot today would have to be several inches lower back then. ;)
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2019
  3. Alaskan Ironworker

    Alaskan Ironworker Member

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    Sounds like you need a shorter front sight, or a taller rear sight.
     
  4. Curator

    Curator Member

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    The 180 grain Remington load is a turkey! It has been chronographed in my Krag at about 1850 fps. The original Krag load was a 22 grain round nose cupro-nickel jacketed bullet at around 2100 fps. Both barrel time and recoil of this load results in it hitting about 6 inches high at 100 yards in the standard rifle with original sights. Lighter bullets hit lower
     
  5. Mark Olinhee@#121004

    Mark [email protected]#121004 Member

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    Very helpful, thanks. It’s pretty old ammo and doesn’t have any velocity or ballistic info on the box. I’ll have to look for ammo that is closer to the original 30-40 specs and keep experimenting.
     
  6. illinoisburt

    illinoisburt Member

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    Is there a specific issue why not to simply move the sight to align with the current point of impact? Do you plan to shoot the gun extensively with other ammunition or extended unknown ranges there sight adjusting is expected? I have a feeling that's how the uncle had it sighted previously.
     
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  7. DocRock

    DocRock Member

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    The Remington Core-lokt 180s are slow but that should not explain being several inches low at 100 yards with the sights set for 300 yards. Worth trying another box to make sure there wasn't something freakish with the ammo.

    please can we have pictures of rifle and close up of sights? That may reveal something.
     
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  8. fpgt72

    fpgt72 Member

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    I think they do this because of lawyers....in my carbine it came in a little less. These are old guns after all.

    I generally buy a box or two to run in them to see the numbers....and at $32 a box that is enough. Unless you need the bullet to work....think hunting there is little point IMHO to push these guns hard.
     
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  9. boom boom
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    boom boom Contributing Member

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    The Krag had a number of different sights and one of which is actually defective. The initial 1894 rear sight blade proved to be inaccurate because the sighting blade and ladder were calibrated during a very cold winter which resulted in the rifle not shooting to point of aim. It was replaced by the similar 1896 rear sight which you report having.

    Then the 1898 sight came along which resembles the No. 1 Enfield rear sights, then we had the 1901 and 1902 sights. The 1901 rear ladder sights with a small peep hole resemble closely the last of the old Trapdoor sights with windage adjustment and the sight ladder similar to the later 1903 Springfield sights. The 1902 rear sight was similar to the 1898 sight but with a tiny folding peep sight for long range shooting. The bottom picture is from Parallax Bill's milsurp forum of the different Krag sights. In addition, those marked C on the slide are calibrated for the shorter carbine length barrel. Obviously a carbine sight ladder on a musket length barrel won't yield the proper point of impact via the sights. Front sight bases on the original barrels are brazed on and only the sight blade is removable with an incredibly small pin punch. S&S Firearms has the proper sight height sight blades for the Krag if you like.

    To make things complicated, people have changed out or altered the front sight blades with either taller or shorter blades to reflect the loads that they shot. Barrels have been cut and these often have 1903 front sights or a common thing was to take 1903 barrels and alter them from Krag usage and of course use the 1903 front sights. Some have also done things like cut a dovetail and put aftermarket front sights etc. or use commercial band front sights.

    As others have said before, Krags are not a particularly strong action and the trajectory curve is not very flat on these. They are what they are. The military tried to use a hotter round in the Krag's last years that ended up causing cracks in the single lugged bolt which caused the Army to backtrack. That being said, they work well with long heavy cast 220gr cast bullets and people have had quite good luck with them without serious pressure issues when hunting.

    If you want to shoot the Remington loaded ammo, buy an aftermarket sight blade, get the pin punch to remove the existing sight blade, and adjust the sight blade by filing it down so that the POA = POI at your given range. Remington used to be all that remained of factory ammo but I believe that some others have reentered the market such as Hornady. Checking the specs on both at Midwayusa, they seem to be loaded for 2430 ft/sec for both but I'd imagine that is for a 30 inch barrel.
     

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  10. Mark Olinhee@#121004

    Mark [email protected]#121004 Member

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    All very informative—thanks, guys.

    I did adjust the slide on the rear leaf sight to bring POI up, and that worked. I just thought with such small parallax between sight and muzzle that it’s “base” setting would be fully to the rear.

    I’ve ordered some Winchester ammo with ~2300 FPS, but I haven’t found anything in 220 grain, so I’m sticking with the 180 for now and will take it to the range and experiment.

    I very much appreciate the forum and y’all’s input, since unlike my AR, there just doesn’t seem to be a military type of manual to follow with this gun.

    I don’t think it’s been modified at all but don’t know for sure. I love this thing because it’s been in my family for over 80 years and is also a piece of Army history. Here are the photos in case any of you see anything out of the ordinary.

    Thanks again!!!
     

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  11. Crowman

    Crowman Member

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    Problem is the ammo selected. Original Kraig military sights were set up to shoot to point of aim at the various ranges with a 220 grain JRN bullet at 2,000 FPS, not modern 180 Spitzers. I hand load using the new cases after firing off the light bullets and replacing with 220 grain JSP at 2,000 FPS. Those are spot on.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2019
  12. Mark Olinhee@#121004

    Mark [email protected]#121004 Member

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    Is there anywhere I can buy a 220 at 2000 FPS?...I’m not reloading and am dependent on the market.
     
  13. saiga308

    saiga308 Member

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    trucker long hauling everywhere LOL
  14. Crowman

    Crowman Member

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    Nope. Most are the faster 180 grain spitzers. Might find a boutique company rolling out a few boxes with 220 grain RN; otherwise, reloading proposition. The components are out there. Can buy cast round nose bullets as well as jacketed round nose. Ya gotta reload in order to duplicate the military loads. Will ultimately save you money.
     
  15. saiga308

    saiga308 Member

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    trucker long hauling everywhere LOL
  16. saiga308

    saiga308 Member

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    trucker long hauling everywhere LOL
    handloads are much more accurate to video time 4:48
     
  17. Archie

    Archie Member

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    Sighting in a Krag.

    The rifle was designed as an infantry rifle. The 'battle sight' setting was intended to hit the torso area of a belligerent at any range from end of muzzle to somewhere around 400 -500 yards. Using the issue ammunition, a 220 grain FMJ round nose at 2000 fps.
    Once the rifle was adjusted for windage (which required moving the front sight with a 'pusher') one set the sights to the 'battle sight' setting and then hold on a belligerent at the BELT level. Presumably, the bullet would connect with the opposition somewhere in the torso area above the belt line and below the shoulder level. Any hit was a hit. The strikes on target would be higher and higher until the trajectory was as high as it would get (with the sight settling) and then start striking lower and lower with distance. When the impact of the bullet was down to the belt level, one would not change the sights, but change the point of aim to shoulder level. At some range (I don't remember) the strike of the bullet would be too low to hit the torso of the belligerent and other arrangements would have to be employed. (They were probably out of the shooter's range, anyway.)

    It was never intended as a specific distance shooter.

    For commercial ammunition of a different bullet weight, the sights are of no value in terms of what the markings say. So you'll probably have to alter the height of the front sight. That will destroy the collector's value and the heirloom souvenir value of the rifle.

    By the way, that slow old heavy bullet does not set a lot of hearts a flutter, but it kills most anything in North America real dead. I believe it to be a bit light for large dangerous bear, but deer, elk and moose are subject to well placed shots.
     
  18. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    Different ammo at different velocities shoot to different points of aim. Set the sights to whatever hits point of aim for the ammo you want to shoot and carry on.
     
  19. fpgt72

    fpgt72 Member

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    I would say you really need to look into reloading....it is not that expensive to get setup to do....however it will eat money like most hobbies do....it is also not hard at all to do......if you can read you can di it.
     
  20. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    The last Krag I saw had a front blade slotted into a solid base. No lateral dovetail like a Mauser. It wasn't pushing anywhere.

    For casual shooting I agree that ignoring the range graduations and setting the sight to zero with the available ammo at the intended range is the easy way out. A new front blade and handloading to GI spec if you want to reenact Boxer Rebellion and Philippine Insurrection.
    If you were already handloading, I would suggest cast bullets at moderate velocity which won't kick and won't put much wear and tear on the rifle.

    1903 target shooters used sight micrometers to precisely set elevation on their "ladder" sights. I don't know if they were available in time for the Krag or not.
     
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  21. boom boom
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    boom boom Contributing Member

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    The sight base on Krag barrels was brazed on as you noted but it was very common in the era of corrosive ammo to rebarrel these in the 20's and 30's with 1903 barrels that were cut down and these of course usually used 1903 front sights. 1903 front sight mounts along with aftermarket sight bases were also used often when people cut the musket length barrels to a more manageable 20-24 inch barrel.

    Sharpshooters often preferred the 1901 rear sights (these have a fine aperture on the sight ladder and are adjustable for left right windage as are the early 1903 sights) as the 1901 Krag sights were based on the later so-called Buffington Springfield Trapdoor sights because Buffington was again Army Chief of Ordnance.

    The 1902 Krag sights are also called Crozier sights after Crozier succeeded Buffington as Chief were a throwback to the 1898 sights which resembled the British Enfield sights of the time. Thus, the battle in Ordnance was between open sights which were most common of Krag sights and the aperture sights with an open sight ladder preferred by Buffington. The 1894 and 1896 sights were more like Mauser types of the era with an open sight ladder with a sight slide. The 1902 has a tiny folding aperture sight leaf that folds over for use which are often damaged or missing--screws for these are made of unobtanium.
     
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  22. boom boom
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    boom boom Contributing Member

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    You have a gorgeous rifle and one to be proud of with its history and your family. Purchase the Northcape Krag book to go along with the rifle as these are not that much-the other two are more a military history of the development of the Krag, are out of print, and very expensive. There is also a wealth of info on the online Krag Collector forums whether or not you join.
     
  23. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Said people included Benecia Arsenal for sale to NRA members; the "NRA Carbine."
     
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  24. Archie

    Archie Member

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    You are correct Mr. Watson, the front sight is - under the normal definition - immovable. Still, some manner of adjusting windage is required. I have an Model 1898, so I do not know if prior models had this, but the rear sight is windage adjustable, but not casually. A flat push type tightener on the front of the rear sight (when loosened) allows the rear sight to turn on a front located axis. However, the rather fine scale suggests to me this one a 'set and forget' arrangement. Obviously, I could be wrong. However, once the windage was set, the elevation of the rear sight worked with issue ammunition.
    I have seen what you mention but only for M1903s. It isn't logically impossible for a few were made for 'target' use.
     
  25. boom boom
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    boom boom Contributing Member

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    The 94 and 96 rear sights are not designed to be adjustable for windage. https://www.americanrifleman.org/articles/2010/10/11/us-krag-jorgensen-the-foreign-rifle/
    The 1901 sights have the same extensive windage adjustable platform as the earlier Buffington Trapdoor sights and the later 1903 sights. The sight base has two components and the upper component to which the sight ladder is attached allows quite a bit of windage adjustment. The 98 and 02 Krag sights are adjustable to a lesser extent similar to the early No. 1, Mk. 3 sights using a micrometer type screw attached to the rear sight blade but as you note the adjustments are fine and not easily changed in the field. It is possible that someone made an O'Hare type micrometer sight adjuster for the 1901 sights as these are very similar to the 1903 but personally, I have never seen one and do not collect rifle sights as some do.

    Here are some real Krag experts talking about adjusting the 1901 and 1902 sights for maximum efficiency.
    http://www.kragcollectorsassociation.org/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1365070542/3

    As far as aftermarket sights, Redfield, Lyman, and others made micrometer receiver ap sights for the Krag. Some of these are supposed to be no-drill.
     
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