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I won this Krag - question about handguard

Discussion in 'Firearms Research' started by Bullseye, May 16, 2017.

  1. Bullseye
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    Bullseye Member

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    I won this and I am pretty sure it is almost complete except it lacks the wood around the ladder sight.
    I am pretty sure it is a model 1898 rifle. The stock might be cleaned up but not too badly or it may be original. I don't know. I saw it briefly at a gun auction and left a bid.
    I won it and was surprised that I did. I won't see it again until next week.

    If it needs a top half of the handguard, am I going to have a hard time making this complete finding one?

    Thanks. Ser no looks like 19101.
    Please tell me about my rifle. I already have a straight shooting sporter krag and I handload for that.
    So how it works is not something new to me.

    Thank you

    View attachment 234958
     
  2. Dog Soldier
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    Dog Soldier Member

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  3. RPRNY

    RPRNY Member

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    Serial Number 19101 puts production in late 1895 to early 1896. Nice rifle! Funnest, easiest shooting rifle I own. My pet load is the Lyman 311284 over 22 grs 4227.
     
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  4. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Looks like it has been altered a lot more than just losing the handguard.
    Pictures are fuzzy and at funny angles but it APPEARS that
    1. The barrel is shorter than standard.
    2. The front sight looks like a 1903's.

    Kind of a cross between a Philippine Constabulary (stock) and an NRA Carbine (sight.)
     
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  5. Bullseye
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    Bullseye Member

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    Thanks guys.

    I looked up Philippine Constabulary and found it interesting that while most Krags had the upper handguard at the sight, the section of wood forward of that is not on those Philippine Constabulary rifles. I may have one of these Philippine Constabulary coming? I don't think so. They say the real ones never made it to the US. I dunno.
    I will have it Saturday. The only images I have are from the auction listing. It did strike me as a long rifle when I held it.
    Cut down, I don't know. Could be?
    My bid was $675 that I left for the auctioneer. I did not attend, I left the bid at the preview the day before. I won it.
    I may have even paid less. Don't know yet.
    I think at that price or less, I did pretty good. Normally, I won't bid on a rifle unless it jumps out at me as being pretty nice and I like it a lot. I do remember looking for cracks in the stock and I didn't see any. Well, we'll see?
    I do think I am going to have a challenge of sorts matching up an upper handguard stock, if I really feel the need to hunt one down.
    It didn't look terribly lacking for some reason that it was missing. The barrel was blue under where it would be.
    I think there were two blank pins or whatever they were between the receiver and the rear sight on top. You can see one of them in that one image above just behind the rear sight.
    Maybe the original site was mounted there? I still like the idea of having this soon. There's something about shooting the 30-40 Krag that is different than all the others.
    Kerrrr plow ..... smack!
    A moment later.
    A fun rifle to shoot.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2017
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  6. AlexanderA
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    AlexanderA Member

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    That would be consistent with the "Model 1894" marking on the receiver. These were originally made with full-length cleaning rods, and thin, flat buttplates with no trap in the butt. Later, the vast majority of these were updated to the Model 1896 specs, by filling the cleaning rod channel with a walnut dowel, and modifying the butt. (Unmodified Model 1894's are one of the "holy grails" of U.S.military collecting.) Check to see if there is evidence of a filled cleaning rod channel.
    Yes, the shortened front end definitely looks like a Philippine Constabulary carbine. Here's what the relevant web site has to say about it:

    "Unique to only the Philippines, the Krag full length rifles were modified and cut down to a shorter size at the POD (Philippine Ordnance Depot) in Intramurous. The original purchase price for each Krag, $6.00. The Krag Carbine would also be short lived, they would later be replaced by Springfield M1903 rifles by 1910 (but Krags would still be in service until 1917). Less than a handful of these Philippine Constabulary Krag Carbines exist today. Making them the mostly highly sought after and prized rifle of all Krag models by gun collectors and enthusiasts."

    http://armasdefilipinas.blogspot.com/2011/07/m1899-philippine-constabulary-krag.html

    (Additional pictures at that site.)

    Regarding the rear sight, that's definitely not an M1903 Springfield sight, but rather one of the several different types of original Krag sights. (Krag sights are a study in themselves.) It's definitely missing the wood handguard around the rear sight, which is matched to the particular type of rear sight.

    So what we appear to have here, then, is a double alteration. First, it was an M1894 converted to M1896 specs, and, secondly, it was converted in the Philippines to a Constabulary Carbine. Looks like you got it for a steal.

    Edited to add: Or, more likely, it could be a rifle altered by the government for school / cadet use. According to Bruce Canfield (quoted on another forum), there are only one or two authentic Philippine Constabulary rifles in the U.S. On the other hand, most of those school rifles had the later M1902 rear sight. Yours appears to have the original M1892 sight. Needless to say, there's a lot of confusion regarding PC rifles.

    Repro handguards are available. Even the repros are pricey.

    http://www.partsforantiqueguns.com/Krag (Springfield) Upper Handguards.htm

    BTW, the handguard is held on by two spring clips, that are riveted to the handguard. The easiest way to install this, without scratching the barrel, is by removing the bands and the rear sight (the sight is fastened with two screws, and is readily removable), and sliding the handguard rearward from the front of the barrel. Then you reinstall the sight and the bands.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2017
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  7. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    To quote a usually reliable source (ME!)
    "Pictures are fuzzy and at funny angles but it APPEARS that
    2. The front sight looks like a 1903's."

    Please take a look at the other end of the gun and tell me what you see there.
    We may have to wait til the gun arrives and we get better pictures. And a measurement on barrel length.
     
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  8. Bullseye
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    Bullseye Member

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    Hey thanks guys. Yep you guys have as good a look at it as I do at this time but I promise, I will update with all kinds of info when I get it home and better pictures. Who knows what I got at this point so hang loose. I'll check in this weekend.
     
  9. AlexanderA
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    AlexanderA Member

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    Yes, you are right. It does look like an M1903 front sight. I didn't read your post carefully enough, and for some reason assumed you were referring to the rear sight.

    Now, the alteration (if a PC rifle) was done in 1906, so it's possible that a Springfield sight could have been used (that would have been the M1905 sight, not the original M1903 rod-bayonet sight). It certainly would have been easier to use a keyed and banded front sight than a brazed-on Krag sight, when shortening the barrel. On the other hand, photos of PC rifles show a Krag-type sight, so this would tend to be evidence that this was a school rifle, and not a PC rifle. Regardless, considering the extreme rarity of PC rifles, you would probably have to have some sort of documentary provenance to establish that fact. We have to make the working assumption that this was a school gun.

    I'm more confused than ever regarding what exactly this is.
     
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  10. Bullseye
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    Bullseye Member

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    Again, I really do appreciate the high road converstation here going on. You guys are most helpful.
    I'll have to ask about provenance, Maybe the auctioneer has some info on it or can contact the consignor and ask them what they know.
    I have my own coin auction with him on Saturday. All my stuff, all day. That's kind of why I had to bid on something. Well, now I can't wait til tomorrow night to bring it home.
     
  11. boom boom

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    I have a 94 Krag and yes, those sights are either a 94 or 96--there is a slight alteration between the 94 and 96 sights to account for changes in the issued ammo--other sights are significantly different. If the sight ladder has a c marking, then it is for a carbine and is not original to the rifle. The front sight is not original nor for a Krag but you know that. The original Krag front sight is a very narrow blade and fitted into a barrel dovetail. The sight blade is retained by a very small diameter pin.

    Now, regarding the Constabulary Rifles--as posted before, these are very rare and here is a gunboards (serious collectors) forum posting on that issue http://forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?139582-Philippine-Constabulary-Krag-Carbine

    What you have is some sort of cut-down Krag (if you see a plugged rod hole in the front--someone has shortened the long original 1894 stock--it will also have a buttplate without the hatch for a segmented cleaning rod which is present in later stocks). Your stock is also not a carbine stock FWIW. It is also fairly frequent that 1903 barrels were rechambered and reworked for .30-40 Krag which is difficult to tell if the person cutting down the stock etc. was talented. It has enough odd features that I would check out the Krag Collector Forum or gunboards--there is also a good collector book by Joe Poyer from Northcape Publications cheap (there are older master works by Brophy and another by Franklin Mallory that goes into significant detail about construction, etc. that may be out of print now.). I also believe that you can obtain some information based on the serial number about where your rifle has been via Springfield Research Service for a fee if they are still around.
     
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  12. AlexanderA
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    AlexanderA Member

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    I have examples of the M1894 (unaltered), M1896, and M1898 rifles in my collection. I was just looking at them this morning, in connection with this thread.

    I have a theory as to your missing top wood. If, as we are guessing, this was an altered school / cadet rifle, most likely at the time of alteration it was fitted with the later M1902 rear sight. Sometime later, an owner might have wanted to restore it to an original M1892 sight. He found the sight, but was unable to find the wood that went with it, so he left the wood off.

    The M1892 (original to the M1894 rifle) and the M1896 sights are quite similar. The easy way to tell them apart is that the M1892 sight has a push button locking plunger for the slide, while the M1896 has a knurled locking knob. From your pictures, it appears that you have the push button type slide (making it an M1892). The push button slide is rounded on top, since it contains a plunger spring. The M1896 slide is flat on top.

    The wooden handguards have the same inletting for both the M1892 and M1896 sights. The difference between handguards is that the M1894 rifle handguard is shorter, exposing the receiver ring, while the M1896 handguard is longer, covering the receiver ring. You can shorten the back of a repro M1896 handguard, making an M1894 out of it. (The inletting for the later sights is completely different.)

    The alteration was not a "sporterizing" or "bubba" job. It was professionally done, retaining the rifle's military characteristics. Regardless of whether this is a Philippine Constabulary gun, you still have a worthwhile collectible.

    One more thought. Check to see if a bayonet will fit on the muzzle. Because of the barrel shortening, and the taper of the barrel, the muzzle would have had to be turned down on a lathe for a bayonet to fit. For cadet use, it seems that being able to take a bayonet would have been a requirement. (Krag and Springfield bayonets are functionally interchangeable.)

    Note also that the stacking swivel appears to be missing. (That's easily replaced.)
     
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  13. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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  14. AlexanderA
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    AlexanderA Member

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    I took a look at that web site, and I'm more confused than ever. Besides that, the material on the web site doesn't address the OP's rifle. For one thing, the web site says that Model 1898 rifle stocks were used in converted M1899 cavalry carbines. The stock on the OP's rifle is not an M1898. The bevel in the wood around the bolt handle marks it as an M1894 or M1896. And the receiver is marked "Model 1894." No carbines were marked "Model 1894."
     
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  15. RPRNY

    RPRNY Member

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    Why do we think it's a Philippine Constabulary rifle again? Just the visual cues or did I miss some sort of provenance. I was under the impression that none of those rifles returned to the US. A crap crown and cut down or rebarreled with a 30-06 barrel seem more likely explanations, no?
     
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  16. Bullseye
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    Bullseye Member

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    I'll have this tomorrow afternoon. I don't think it is missing the swivel. See picture. I sorta remember seeing it there. I don't see the block that a bayonet hooks on here. Can't wait to give you guys better pictures. View attachment 235056
     
  17. Mauser lover

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    Okay, a couple of things here... I wanted to follow this thread and see better photos, so here is my post to get alerts!

    Second.... Why is that the stacking swivel? How would one use that (what looks like a pretty normal sling swivel) to stack rifles? I am familiar with the use of the cleaning rod as a stacking rod as well, but this sling swivel? I always thought that that one with a slot in it (on the 1903 and Garand too, I believe) was a place to hook your sling when not in use (thereby keeping it out of the mud, etc). Yet, when I googled it, that is the only thing that came up! What is going on here?

    I'm short on experience with the Krag, so that could be a problem too...
     
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  18. AlexanderA
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    AlexanderA Member

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    Stacking swivels serve the same function on Krags, Springfields, Enfields, Garands, etc.: three rifles are hooked together by the swivels to form a "stack," or tripod. Think of the swivel (with the slot) as two hooks. This has nothing to do with the sling. The British call this a "piling" swivel.
    http://www.thedrillmaster.org/2013/01/14/the-stacking-swivel-and-stack-arms/

    Bullseye: You may well be right in that the swivel may be rolled upwards in the picture. I couldn't see it clearly. If the band lacked a bayonet lug it would be surprising.

    ETA: The Krag stacking swivel is the same as the early M1903 Springfield stacking swivel, except perhaps that it has a bit finer degree of polish.

    The proper sling for a Krag is 66" long by 1 1/4" wide. It has a brass double claw hook on one end, and a brass stud button on the other. Two sewn keepers. This is installed by attaching the button end to the lower swivel, and passing the hook end through the upper swivel, and again through the lower swivel. The hook is then fastened into the row of double holes in the sling. (The sling swivels are 24" apart.)

    The Krag sling is just like the sling for the Trapdoor Springfield, except that the Trapdoor sling is a little bit longer (about 71" long instead of 66").
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2017
  19. Mauser lover

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    Got it! Found a picture of Garands too.

    Okay, how is a sling to be shortened when not in use? Would the Krag sling have hooks and holes in the leather?
     
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  20. RPRNY

    RPRNY Member

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    The Pattern 1887 Sling (leather with holes) and webbing/cotton M89 (tropical) Sling were used on the Krag-Jorgensen Rifle.

    [​IMG]
     
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  21. AlexanderA
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    AlexanderA Member

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    Yes. As I pointed out, there were slight differences in length. The Krag slings were standardized at the 66" length, which was a bit shorter than the typical Trapdoor sling. As can be seen in your picture, some of these were pieced together from two shorter pieces of leather. The Army was notoriously frugal in those days. They tended to recycle whenever they could. The source of the leather was often surplus Civil War slings, of which there was still an abundance.

    The sling in your picture is in the tight "parade" adjustment, that is, the sling, when set up that way, exactly covers the 24" between the swivels. The lower part is actually three thicknesses of leather. To sling the arm, the hook would be unhooked from that position, passed back down through the keeper and the lower sling swivel, and hooked again on the back side. That would give enough slack to comfortably carry the weapon.

    Unlike the M1907 sling, these slings were used strictly for carrying, and not as an aid for steady aiming.
     
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  22. Bullseye
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    Bullseye Member

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    I picked up the rifle today. Just got home. I think we are in for a letdown as it is clearly marked 1898 and there are some stock problems that I missed. The stock has a repaired crack or two. How I missed that, I don't know. Anyway, I will post images as promised by tomorrow ( Sat ) evening.
    I apologize but the serial number begins with 9 not 1 so it's probably got us all excited for nothing.
    I feel bad about that, misinforming us all.
    The good news is, it cost me $539.00 all together which isn't a big loss if it isn't anything special.
    I am exhausted as it is really hot, and I was very busy with the auctioneer since early this morning til almost 2 o'clock, setting up for tomorrow mornings coin auction.
    It is nap time.
     
  23. Bullseye
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    Oh it has the stacking swivel and a lug for a bayonet.
     
  24. RPRNY

    RPRNY Member

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    It's a Krag. You now own it. How could this possibly be disappointing for anyone? ;)
     
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  25. boom boom

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    Bullseye,
    The most challenging thing for a Krag owner is feeding it. If you reload, git thee hence to Grafs.com and get Krag brass asap for the easiest solution. They should have the reloading dies as well. Slug the barrel to determine bore width as some has claimed up to .310-.311 from the nominal .308. If you use lead bullets with lighter loads, then the Krag will last practically forever with decent care. Remember, if your grandfather was 120 years old like the Krag, would you challenge him to racing up several flights of stairs?

    In loaded ammo, Remington has in the past has ran some limited runs during hunting season of Krag 180 gr. Softpoint ammo but apparently not last year.
     
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