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My first Krag - Model 1898 (Read 268 times)
Madmatt
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My first Krag - Model 1898
Oct 3rd, 2018 at 1:57am
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Hello all! Earlier this week I was finally able to add a Model 1898 Krag to my MilSurp collection. Bought from a buddy that had never shot it and it's been sitting in the back of his gun safe for far too long in need of some TLC.

While it's my first Krag, I have been doing my research and armed with Poyers book and what I learned from watching the excellent C&Rsenal video series on Youtube I know a few things about this one. It's sporting the 1902 sight and based on the serial it was made in I believe May of 1899 ( I looked this up last night but I can't recall the exact month now).

Her condition was not bad for a 119 year old rifle but some minor pitting had begun to set in along the stock line.  The stock itself has a lot of dings and rough spots but thankfully no cracks and the handguard is real nice shape.

The action is as smooth as I have always heard although the trigger was in need of some attention as it seemed to be rubbing and sticking a bit. I took the trigger group apart and lubed it up which fixed the sticking. It does seem like its a rather heavy trigger though. What should the approx lbs for the trigger to engage be? 

The stock was very dirty and essentially black with years of no maintenance. I won't sand an original stock but I did give her a nice bath using diluted denatured alcohol which got rid of all the grim and grit. Applied a fresh coat of BOL and finished off with some wax and the grain and true color of the wood came back to life.

The stock does sport the script letter "P" and numeric inspector stampings behind the trigger guard. The left side cartouche is extremely faint though and you have to look hard in order to just make out the outer outline. Sadly these eyes of mine couldn't make out the letters within.

Headspace checked out and I have some 30-40 Krag rounds on their way and can't wait to see what this beauty can do.

Here are some pics, before, during and after my cleaning.
  
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Madmatt
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Re: My first Krag - Model 1898
Reply #1 - Oct 3rd, 2018 at 1:59am
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Due to posting restrictions, I had to move pics to this reply.

(You need to Login or Register to view media files and links)

There is one other interesting thing I found on the stock. Embedded into the buttstock was a circular brass disc, although its very small. I didn't get a good pic of it yet but will post one soon. Its similar to something like the stock disc you find on a SMLE, but much much smaller. This one had the number "7" engraved into it. Any ideas what that could be? It does not look like its a repair pin either. Curious...

  
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butlersrangers
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Re: My first Krag - Model 1898
Reply #2 - Oct 3rd, 2018 at 4:44am
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'Madmatt' - Welcome to the KCA Forum.

That is a pretty nice model 1898 Krag rifle that you added to your collection.

I suspect the 'brass disc' on your stock was an inventory number that a collector put on the rifle to identify it in his 'collection catalog'.

Your serial number, 199XXX (?), would indicate likely manufacture around April to May, 1899. If you wish to give the whole number, a KCA member will check if it is documented in Springfield Research Services (SRS) Data.

The wood grain in your stock appears to be Italian walnut. Due to a shortage of cured black walnut blanks in 1899, the U.S. Ordnance Department purchased Italian walnut blanks from a New York City lumber merchant. These stocks usually have Stock 'cartouche-date' of 1899, 1900, or 1901. The initials  on your cartouche stamp would be "J.S.A.", in fancy script, over an acceptance date - (Joseph Sumner Adams - assembly shop foreman).

The Italian walnut stocks are lighter in color and have a 'yellowish appearance' in contrast to the darker 'reddish brown' American black walnut stocks.

The Italian stocks were sometimes darkened (maybe locally) with stain to better match a unit's other rifles. The Italian walnut stocks will be seen in a variety of tones.

Springfield Armory stained the American Black walnut stocks with 'logwood' which imparted a reddish-brown color.

Attached: #1. Photo of Madmatt's stock showing European grain. 2.&3. Photos of a stock, that I have, showing stained and unstained areas, as well as, 'cartouche'.
« Last Edit: Oct 3rd, 2018 at 3:04pm by butlersrangers »  
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Madmatt
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Re: My first Krag - Model 1898
Reply #3 - Oct 3rd, 2018 at 3:26pm
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Took a few more pics showing off the proof markings and the small brass disc.

I noticed something i missed the first time around, looks like there are overlapping proof marks behind the trigger guard. I see at least one script P (which looks like it is stamped over the top of another script P) but above that is looks like there is the number "80" stamped on top of and just below an earlier stamping of "60".  Maybe someone with better eyes can discern what the first stamping is as the second digit is hard to make out.  Also of interest in the a letter "F" stamped into the stock just behind the rear swing swivel, right in front of the brass disc.

As for the SRS data, the serial is #199684, any info on that would be great.

Pics here: (You need to Login or Register to view media files and links)

Any additional input is appreciated!

One last thing, try as I might, I still can't make out any cartouches (letters or date) on the left side of the stock. I see what might be the faint rectangular shaped outline but sadly that part of the stock was badly oil stained and scratched up so it's difficult to say for sure.
  
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Culpeper
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Re: My first Krag - Model 1898
Reply #4 - Oct 3rd, 2018 at 3:44pm
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Nothing listed in The Krag Rifle Story by Mallory and Olson
  

Deacon in the Church of the Mighty Krag
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butlersrangers
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Re: My first Krag - Model 1898
Reply #5 - Oct 3rd, 2018 at 4:56pm
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'Madmatt' - The small number stamps behind the trigger-guard likely identify a sub-inspector or 'stocker'. Small initials or numbers appear in that area on most Krag stocks.

The "F" stamp behind the sling-swivel is likely a regimental company stamp.

The redundant 'circled P' stamps are a clue your stock was 'recycled' during an arsenal or armory refurbish or rebuild.
During such work, Krags were taken apart, serviceable parts refinished, parts went into bins, and arms were assembled with a new mixture of parts.

During even skillful stock 'refurbishment', original markings were left faint and became irrelevant. A new 'circled P' indicates the rebuilt arm was function tested and fired.

I don't know if any military or national guard entity used brass 'ID Tacks'. I have seen such things on some arms that came from Large Collections.
  
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Madmatt
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Re: My first Krag - Model 1898
Reply #6 - Oct 3rd, 2018 at 5:26pm
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Would they have restamped the stock when the 1902 rear sight was put on to replace the earlier issued sight?

i know the history of the various sights (Buffington etc.) and why and when they were put on but I have not heard if when they swapped out the sights if that also came with a new proof stamp.
  
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butlersrangers
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Re: My first Krag - Model 1898
Reply #7 - Oct 3rd, 2018 at 6:08pm
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I don't know.

It is very unlikely your Krag is now wearing the stock it was originally born with. This is OK. It was in service from 1899 to after 1918 and was likely arsenal/armory 'rebuilt' along the way.

Your Krag barreled-receiver conceivably could have worn a model 1896, model 1898 and model 1901 sight (and appropriate hand-guard), before its current 1902 rear-sight.
  
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