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 10 The old "ethics" issue, again (Read 472 times)
Dick Hosmer
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The old "ethics" issue, again
Nov 1st, 2019 at 2:34pm
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I have an "ethical" question that I'll throw out for discussion.

I am going to be severely thinning my collection in the fairly near future. I have two carbines, very similar in condition, 70210 and 76381. I am going to keep 70210 as it is an SRS-documented Boxer Rebellion piece, and the other is just a normal 1896 carbine. "Problem" is that 70210 was upgraded at Benicia to the long stock and 1901 sight - and that's not how it appeared in Peking.

My dilemma is, should I swap the parts to make 70210 "right", knowing that I am 'changing history', or leave things as they are? The patina and wear issue is not a factor - if swapped, no one would be able to tell.

Would appreciate as many comments/responses as possible - and I fully expect views on both sides. Thank you.
  
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Whig
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Re: The old "ethics" issue, again
Reply #1 - Nov 1st, 2019 at 4:08pm
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Very few of these historic Krags are exactly correct and original. I don't see any problem changing your carbine the way you propose since it will look good with matching patina and be extremely desirable as it will stand. You have been its care taker for many years and you have not mis treated it. Would be OK as far as I'm concerned. I'm more upset at the bach1s continuing to buy good Krags and selling off the parts to make a profit. Some of those parts may go back to make good Krags but how many were destroyed to begin with.

I'm a vote for do as you want. You're making it better, not worse.

Great post to make us think about how we can and should decide these things for ourselves, where applicable.
  
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butlersrangers
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Re: The old "ethics" issue, again
Reply #2 - Nov 1st, 2019 at 5:21pm
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I would let it be. It was arsenal updated and is in the configuration it wore, when it left the U.S. service.

(This is not rehabbing Bubba's Deer Rifle into a palatable presence).

It is a neat story that it also served, in an earlier guise, at a documented historical event.

I see no point in changing a legitimate U.S. Arm. A knowledgeable collector will appreciate the whole story and treasure it, as it is.

Also, who knows what obscure list or record of Krag serial numbers could show up in the future?

p.s. You should sell the other model 1896 carbine to me!
  
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olderthansome
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Re: The old "ethics" issue, again
Reply #3 - Nov 1st, 2019 at 5:41pm
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If it was a Rough Rider carbine, would you change it?  I don't think I would feel right about "changing history".  We are, after all, just caretakers, not really owners.  If the changes are done by the Arsenal with routine maintenance and 'IRAN' then that's one thing - part of the history, not changing the history, but if the changes were by bubba or one of Alibabba's band of 40, changing it back to as original as possible is really a rescue mission. 

The problem is a long term one anyway.  If we leave them as found or as carefully 'rescued', there is no guarantee that the piece won't fall into unpleasant company when we are gone.  But I've made too many mistakes in my life already without piling on guilt for trying to deceive.  It really is a tough call. Putting it back is probably the best thing for this piece and its history, but it will not, in fact, be the same piece as it was when it made history‚Ķ..unless it went to Benicia before it was upgraded (?)

Oh, what tangled webs we weave when first we practice to deceive.
  
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Whig
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Re: The old "ethics" issue, again
Reply #4 - Nov 1st, 2019 at 6:12pm
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Dick, you are the one of us with the most time collecting and enjoying Krags. I would be interested to know your gut feelings on this issue.

I don't really think that this is an "ethics" issue. It is certainly debatable, as we are seeing here, but not from an ethics perspective. You are not trying to deceive any future collector by trying to return this carbine to a more original configuration, apart from what unknown history it may claim.

I think that there are very, very few Krags that are exactly as they were when they left Springfield Armory those many years ago. There have been arsenal upgrades, repairs and cleanings as well as far too many short-term owners, shooters and collectors who have had each Krag in his possession for some part of its life.

How many different changes have been made by all of these people since then? I value history and love to research and collect documentation as much as I'm able to for each of my Krags. But, those are few and far between. So, if I can improve a Krag with a more original part without being too obvious (patina, wrong part or incorrect variation, model type, etc) I don't feel like I am doing anyone who might own this in the future a dis-service. It is better. If there is a known history that I might be obviously altering, I leave it alone.

So, don't struggle too much with this. You're not ruining it and you're not deceiving anyone. Keeping it as is is perfectly fine but improving it as discussed is fine also. Not an ethical conundrum.
  
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Culpeper
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Re: The old "ethics" issue, again
Reply #5 - Nov 1st, 2019 at 6:50pm
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I am torn on this just like you.  But the one thing I try to remember is this gun is no different from any other gun.  It is a tool.  When the tool was damaged or wore out it was either repaired or scrapped.  Humans are the only animal that imparts emotion into a "thing".

I would document the heck out of it.  Post pictures here and sell it as is.  Then the next buyer can worry about it and anyone who comes across the krag in the future can see what it was like on a given date in time.

Culpeper

  

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Local Boy
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Re: The old "ethics" issue, again
Reply #6 - Nov 1st, 2019 at 7:43pm
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Hi Dick,

Sell them both to me and let me worry about! Wink

All kidding aside...

Even a sporterized Krag has a history and any change that occurs to it changes it's history.

IMHO: You would be taking your desired carbine back to a time when it was originally configured.  Document it's history well and I believe when it comes to value or desirability...
You'll always find somebody who will pay top dollar for a 1896 configured Krag carbine (my personal preference) with a documented history.

We could probably go round-and-round on this subject and maybe money is not the issue...but what's your personal preference???

Whatever you decide I believe the majority will stand behind you sir!
« Last Edit: Nov 1st, 2019 at 9:43pm by Local Boy »  
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Todd Doyka
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Re: The old "ethics" issue, again
Reply #7 - Nov 1st, 2019 at 8:20pm
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i would say let it be.
  
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Re: The old "ethics" issue, again
Reply #8 - Nov 2nd, 2019 at 6:26pm
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I'm as torn as a thread-bare shirt that's a few sizes too small!  On the one hand, I understand about wanting to make the Boxer carbine correct... and on the other, I keep going back to "Do No Harm" because it IS how it left service.  I only ask you this:  If you do change it, will your conscience be at ease?

I've been a member here for a long time now.  I have learned countless about Krags and their histories.  People like you, Mr. Hosmer have imparted an education to me that I could never repay... and I am eternally grateful.
  
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Mark_Daiute
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Re: The old "ethics" issue, again
Reply #9 - Nov 3rd, 2019 at 12:59am
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Uncle Dick,

LEAVE IT BE you know in your heart that's the only answer.

Mark
  
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waterman
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Re: The old "ethics" issue, again
Reply #10 - Dec 3rd, 2019 at 2:38am
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Here I am again, a month late.  And with a different POV than the purists.

Dick has an 1896 carbine-barreled action that can be traced to Boxer Rebellion service, a 1901 sight that is not quite period-correct, and a long carbine stock.  Presumably, all those parts went together at Benicia when the carbine was repaired or upgraded, but we don't really know that.  Probably none of us were even born when that work was done.  Unless the carbine comes with something that documents the sale, the post-Boxer history is kinda fuzzy.

We need to ask ourselves "when and why were the upgrades done?"  How much was really to repair service arms?  How much was just to make surplus Krags more sellable?  How much was just to keep a skilled workforce employed, knowing that they would be needed in the future?

We are not the first generation of Krag collectors and enthusiasts.  Those guys were our grandfathers.  We're simply the first Kragistas with access to a bunch of information (like the SRS lists) and the means to transmit that info & our opinions around the world in a few seconds.

So my opinion is "go ahead and return it to the same assemblage of parts that it had at Peking." Swap parts with the other '96 carbine.  That's nothing different than what would have been done at Benicia. The post-WW1 rebuilds didn't have much to do with keeping the Krags in service, but only to get rid of them faster.

  
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Whig
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Re: The old "ethics" issue, again
Reply #11 - Dec 3rd, 2019 at 10:05am
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I think Dick may have been born before all that work was done at Benecia. That's why he's wiser than the rest of us.

Maybe I'm wrong! (Just joking, Dick!)
  
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Dick Hosmer
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Re: The old "ethics" issue, again
Reply #12 - Dec 4th, 2019 at 8:05am
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Thanks for all the input! I'm still cogitating (I don't do ANYTHING in a hurry - ask my wife).
  
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