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Tools for Krags (Read 1210 times)
olderthansome
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Tools for Krags
Aug 20th, 2019 at 11:00am
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What are the best tools to use to disassemble a Krag?  What tools or brands would you recommend? Is there a good source for tips or procedures to follow?  I don't want to damage a single screw.  Thank you for any suggestions.
  
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butlersrangers
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Re: Tools for Krags
Reply #1 - Aug 20th, 2019 at 11:59am
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IMHO - It is about screwdriver fit and hardness, more than 'brand'.

I have a set by 'Chapman' that has an array of 'changeable' tips. The tips are ground to fit the slots of gun screws. The tips fit a handle and handle extension. There is also a lever that fits on the shank of the extension, when more torque is needed.

I also have a screwdriver by Hoppe's which works similar and stores tips in the handle. It is 'magnetized', which I don't like. But, it is convenient for my Range Bag.

I also have a couple sets of those cheap 'Jeweler's Screwdrivers'. They are good for tiny screws.
  
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olderthansome
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Re: Tools for Krags
Reply #2 - Aug 20th, 2019 at 1:35pm
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Thank you!  I'm thrilled to know that Brand is not as important as hardness.  I have a couple of smaller sets that have bent rather than snapped.  I also have had one in another set snap and I think both were trying to help rather than hurt.

I'll try a tip or two and see if I have any luck without using too much force. 

Should I remove the bolt before separating the metal from the stock?  I will have to remove it a some point, but I'm not prepared to get too involved with that until I read about the strength I might need to take the bolt apart and vice versa.

Thank you, again.
  
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Whig
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Re: Tools for Krags
Reply #3 - Aug 20th, 2019 at 1:48pm
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There are no special tools, as Butlers said, to use to properly and carefully disassemble a Krag. It is imperative to have the right tip for the screwdriver for each screw that you remove. There are different size screws from the trigger guard down to the rear sight screws that require a change of tip. Two things about using them. With the correct and sharp tip for the screw, press in firmly and turn very slow with continued pressure downward. This is where people mess up and lose grip and bugger the screw. Also, clean out the screw slot well. A dirty screw slot will not allow a firm grip deep in the slot. I have to do this frequently on some of my screws that haven't been loosened for 100 years or more! Sometimes, if the screw is stubborn, cover it well in a thin penetrating oil and allow it to sit for a day or so. I rarely have to do this.

Go slow in removing the hand guard from the barrel also. This should come off after you remove the lower stock from the receiver and barrel. Sometimes the receiver and barrel is stuck so remove it slowly and up cleanly from the stock or you might break off some of the delicate stock wood. Many Krag stocks have old cracks in them. I reglue small cracks all the time to stabilize them.

But, to remove the hand guard, remove the rear sight and slide the hand guard forward on the barrel until it touches the front sight. Then it can be removed from the barrel. Many hand guards are cracked and can worsen when off the barrel. It helps to put a nickel or quarter in the clips under the hand guard when it is off the barrel to keep the spring force from cracking the wood.

These are just a few suggestions in taking a part your Krag. Go slow and ask questions if any problems.
  
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King carp
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Re: Tools for Krags
Reply #4 - Aug 20th, 2019 at 2:00pm
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I use a "chapman" gun screwdriver set. It is a compact set of various slotted heads and handles. You can usually find the right size slotted head to avoid damaging the screw head  in this set. They are properly hardened for years of service.
  
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Local Boy
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Re: Tools for Krags
Reply #5 - Aug 20th, 2019 at 3:51pm
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Okay keep it clean boy's!!!

Here's a simply trick...grasp the tip of the screwdriver, after it's been seated in the screw, with your thumb and forefinger while the other hand is turning the screwdriver.  This will help prevent the screwdriver from losing it's purchase and damaging surrounding wood/metal.

Especially useful when dealing with buggered up screws.
  
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butlersrangers
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Re: Tools for Krags
Reply #6 - Aug 20th, 2019 at 4:57pm
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FWIW - Getting the screw 'started', when loosening, is the trick.

Initially, I reverse my hand and hold the screwdriver handle like an ice-pick.

This allows lots of control and downward pressure, while giving a strong and slight twist, to start rotation.

Like 'Whig' said: Cleaning the 'slot' is important. It gives the screwdriver-blade more surface-contact with the screw head.

I clean the slot and its corners of crud, rust and debris by using Hoppe's, toothpicks, a smaller screwdriver blade, pointed leather awl, and a tooth-brush. This makes a great difference in how well the screwdriver blade fits.

An old trick is to use a small mallet and give some light taps to the 'hilt' of the screwdriver handle. This can help bottom the blade in the slot and loosen the threads a bit.

I also have a pile of junk screwdrivers, that I file to shape, to fit unusual screws.

(It is always good practice to lay and position a gun on a protected bench or table to safely support the weight and stabilize things, while you focus your attention and effort on properly removing a part).

I generally remove a rifle's Bolt, first thing, while the Arm is still assembled. (Safer and Easier)

All the suggestions have been good ones (and the voice of experience).
  
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Whig
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Re: Tools for Krags
Reply #7 - Aug 20th, 2019 at 5:34pm
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I've used Chapman's for years until a friend's brother died and I bought his entire reloading and tool workshop and got a great Brownell's 58 bit screw driver set that has almost any size and diameter of driver tip. It does make the job easier when you have an exact fit. I wouldn't buy one on my own but this was cheap. The Chapman's is inexpensive and very good.

Grinding the tips of used screwdrivers is a great thing to do. I have fabricated many tools like this when I haven't had the right one at hand. Good way to build up a good gunsmithing tool set.
  
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olderthansome
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Re: Tools for Krags
Reply #8 - Aug 21st, 2019 at 12:43pm
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I called a friend and found out he had a small set of hollow ground tips and a handle that I could borrow.  So far I've only used three of the sizes, but each worked very, very well.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that all the screws I removed were not at all difficult.  I don't think this thing has been used since it left a cleaning and repair session at Springfield sometime after 1900.  There was very little rust, but a fair amount of hardened grease and oil.  The screws were snug, but not so tight that just a bit of firm pressure could remove each one. 

If everything continues so well, I will be very pleased and after reading Butlersrangers post about bolt removal, I'm going to try that as well later today.

I am also considering using some Murphey's Wood Soap on the stock. It seems a little oily and very dark.  In some spots it is also greasy or sticky. but no damage or cracks. After I get it well dried, I think it will just need some Linseed oil and it will look a lot better.  Any thoughts?

I thank all you guys for your comments.  You've been a big help and convinced me I need to get a set of better, hollow ground screw drivers.
  
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butlersrangers
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Re: Tools for Krags
Reply #9 - Aug 21st, 2019 at 5:45pm
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A wipe down of your Stock, with old 'T'-shirts wet with Turpentine or Mineral Spirits, will clean off old grease, sticky residue, and grunge.

Wipe-off the softened mess with paper toweling, as you go along.

Go slow, You likely will be pleased, when rejuvenated wood is visible.
  
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