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Thread: My 1898 Krag - Is It A True Carbine?

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  1. #1
    Member David Wile's Avatar
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    Question My 1898 Krag - Is It A True Carbine?

    Sometime in the late 1920s or early 1930s, my father and grandfather bought US Army Kragicon rifles through some government sponsored program which I suspect was something akin to our CMPicon of today. I know it sound crazy, but I seem to remember their saying they paid something like $1.50 or $3.00 for each of the rifles. I may be all wrong about that price, but that is the cost that sticks in my mind. My father immediately sporterized his rifle by shortening the barrel, fitting a new stock, and bluing the steel, but my grandfather choose to keep his Krag in the same condition it was when he bought it.

    Years later, my grandfather gave me his beautiful Krag, and I used it for hunting deer. I always like the fact that it was still a military rifle rather than a sporterized rifle. I allowed a friend to borrow my Krag to go deer hunting, but while he was deer hunting, he also did some dear hunting, and the rifle was stolen out of his car while he was in a place he should not have been. Needless to say, I was quite upset at the loss. He was my friend and he agreed to replace it as soon as we could find one of like kind and quality. It must have been in the late 1960s when we read a newspaper notice that a local gun dealer won a bid from the Pennsylvania State Police to buy a dozen or so 30-40 Krag carbines the police no longer required for their mounted troops. I immediately went to the dealer and picked out what looked to be the nicest one of the lot. My grandfather’s gun was a Krag rifle, and while these were Krag carbines, I thought I would rather have the carbine. That is how I came to own my Model 1898 Krag with the 216299 serial number.

    Since I bought the Krag about 40 years ago, I have always assumed it was a true carbine because it looked like a carbine, and the State Police reportedly used them for their mounted troops. Then I found this forum and started reading some threads that seem to call into question whether my Krag with its serial number could actually be a true carbine. It is clearly a Model 1898, but the stock cartouche is marked 1899. I am pretty sure the stock is a true carbine stock, and the front sight looks like a carbine sight to me. From what I have read, however, my serial number calls into question whether it truly is a carbine or not. It is a very nice looking piece and I have included about 15 pictures in the hope some of you all may have an idea about it.


    Click PICS to Enlarge

    The first three pictures are from the right side with a full length view, a back half view, and a front half view.

    - -


    Picture 4 is a close view of the front sight, and Pictures 5 & 6 show the barrel band from both sides.

    - -


    Pictures 7 & 8 show a side and top view of the rear sight.

    -


    Pictures 9, 10, & 11 are views of the action, with #11 being a close up of the model and serial numbers.

    - -


    Picture 13 clearly shows the side cartouche marked 1899, and Picture 14 shows a numeral marking and a “P” cartouche on the bottom of the stock behind the trigger guard.

    -


    Picture 14 shows a number “12" stamped onto the bottom of the stock butt. Could the “12" be a rack number stamped by the Pennsylvania State Police?



    Picture 15 is a stamping on the leather sling, and it looks to me like it says “W.H.M&M.CO.” with “S.M.G.” directly under it.



    I hope you folks can appreciate the pictures, and I hope you might shed some light on whether my Krag is truly a carbine or not.

    Best wishes,
    Dave Wile


    Last edited by David Wile; 12-02-2009 at 06:13 PM.

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    Question

    Hi David …

    … and welcome to the site ...

    Compare it against the Model 1899 Krag (Caliber 30-40) Carbine (click here), in the United States - Milsurp Knowledge Library (click here)

    Do you know if the serial number appears in Brophy's book? I don't have my copy with me, so I can't check it right now. The one in the Milsurp Knowledge Library is serial # 341336 and was manufactured by Springfield in 1901.

    Is there a "c" stamped on the sides of the sight and sight base, as per the example from the one shown below in the Milsurp Knowledge Library? (see pics below)

    (Click PIC to Enlarge)

    Regards,
    Badger

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  5. #3
    Member David Wile's Avatar
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    Thread Starter
    Hey Badger,

    The serial number on my Kragicon is 216299, and according to a list of Krag serial numbers attributed to Brophy, my Model 1898 Krag was produced in the 1899 fiscal year which ended 30 June 1899. The receiver is clearly marked Model 1898, but the stock cartouche is dated as 1899. Based on this information, I would assume my Krag is a Model 1898 which probably came off the Springfield production line prior to 30 June 1899. The rear sight seems to be an 1898 sight, and I cannot find any "c" marked on the rear sight at all.

    I would also point out there is no saddle ring or whatever it is called on the left side of stock as I have seen on some carbines. Actually, I have no idea how these slide rings were used, but then I never was a horse soldier.

    Best wishes,
    Dave Wile

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    Senior Member kragluver's Avatar
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    The carbine's front sight was also stamped with a "C". In one of your pictures, your front sight appears to have the "C". I think you do have an original carbine stock. The carbine rear sights were graduated to 2300 yds instead of 2000 I think (I may have those numbers wrong). I believe you have a rifle sight. Only 5,000 Model 1898 carbines were manufactured - original ones are rare. Most Kragicon's stamped 1898 were full-length rifles and many were cut down after they were sold off (mine for instance). An 1899 cartouche would not be incorrect on an 1898 rifle. The S/N on your Krag is very close to mine - I suspect you have a cut down 1898 rifle mounted in a carbine stock.

    The saddle rings were deleted on the later carbines (1899 for sure - not sure about the 1898s).

    I cross-checked my copy of Mallory last night and your S/N is definitely in the 98 rifle range. Still a nice looking Krag! Enjoy it
    Last edited by kragluver; 12-04-2009 at 12:57 PM.

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    Really Senior Member andiarisaka's Avatar
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    Your carbine could still very well be a real carbine Dave. The 98 carbines are very hard to prove. The only thing I see wrong is the rear sight, and that may have been changed when it was sent to state service. If I were you I'd post the pics on Culver's Kragicon forum where some more in the know folks will get a gander at them. The 1899 cartouche would be in line for this rifle, cartouches were done by calendar year and as you've noted the fiscal year, runs into the 1899 calendar year. The barrel appears to be genuine carbine, and not a cutdown rifle barrel. http://www.jouster.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=12

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    Senior Member kragluver's Avatar
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    andi makes a good point. I wasn't trying to say you don't have an original carbine, its just that the s/n looks like it was in the range of rifles per my reference books; however, there is new evidence coming to light regarding Kragicon's. There's a guy over on the jouster forum that goes by 5MadFarmers as well as Dick Hosmer that can probably tell you a lot more about this rifle. 5MF has some very interesting research work going on in the area of Krag's that is worth reading.

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    Senior Member musketshooter's Avatar
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    Model '99 carbines did not have sling swivels.

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    Senior Member kragluver's Avatar
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    5MF on another forum has uncovered Ordnance Dept memos directing units to install sling swivels on the carbines. I think this occurred after the '03 rifle was adopted. Unlike what the published works state, sling swivels on a carbine are not necessarily incorrect. Of course, it would be very difficult to determine if the work were genuine. Then too, the sling swivels very well could have been added after the rifle came into state possession.

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    Member David Wile's Avatar
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    Hey folks,

    In Post #4, Kragluver mentioned the carbine's front sight was stamped with a "C" which he thought the picture of my front sight seemed to show. I looked at the picture of my front sight, and I could not see any "C" marking. I did notice the pin through the post of the front sight, but I could not see and "C" stamping. So, I got my Kragicon and looked in bright light. I still could not see a "C", but I did notice something on the right side of the blade pinned in the larger post. I got my magnifying headpiece on to get a better look at the blade. Down where the blade goes into the sight post on the right side, there is a tiny marking that may just be a "C". If it is a "C" on the blade, it is really small, and it seems to be partially buried in the main sight post.

    According to rear sight pictures posted in the Krag Collectors Association site, it would seem I have a 1902 rear sight. Their site pictures show 1898 and 1902 rear sights to be very similar with their rounded sides. The 1902 sight has a slot in its elevation wheel on the right side, and it seems to be what I have on my Krag. My graduations go from 2 to 20, and it seems the 1898 and 1902 rear sights also have the same graduations. It seems strange that the 1898 and 1902 rear sights seem almost identical except for the elevation knob, yet the 1901 rear sight is completely different. They used the rounded rear sight in 1898, then changed it completly for 1901, and then essentially went back to the rounded 1898 sight for 1902?

    I know Kragluver suspected my Krag is a cut down 1898 rifle in a carbine stock, but if it was cut down, it sure was not done by someone in their garage. The barrel and front sight look like they were assembled in the Springfield Armory.

    Trying to identify these things seems to be very daunting. I see some carbines with saddle rings, yet mine does not have a saddle ring. Then Kragluver informs us saddle rings were eliminated on 1899s and maybe 1898s. Of course, my 1898 was probably an 1899 by serial number date. Then Musketshooter tells us that 1899 carbines did not have sling swivels, and mine does have sling swivels and an old leather sling. As a counter to Musketshooter, Kragluver responds that information exists that would indicate that sling swivels may actually be correct on my 1898/1899 possible carbine. Whoever does this research work has a special talent and would probably be very good at geneology research. It is real tedious work, and I commend those who have done it and continue to do it.

    In the case of my sling swivels, again I would point out that they were not simply screwed on by some back yard mechanic. The stock is very carefully inletted for a tight fit on the swivels, and again, it makes me think of Springfield Armory work.

    Has anyone had any experience with the "12" (Picture 14) stamped on the bottom of the butt stock? It almost seems like a rack number for storage purposes, and I wonder if the Pennsylvania State Police may have made the stamping? Also, does anyone have any information on the stamping on the leather stock (Picture 15)? Thanks to all of you for your insight and comments on my Krag thus far.

    Best wishes,
    Dave Wile

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Wile View Post
    Hey folks,

    In Post #4, Kragluver mentioned the carbine's front sight was stamped with a "C" which he thought the picture of my front sight seemed to show. I looked at the picture of my front sight, and I could not see any "C" marking. I did notice the pin through the post of the front sight, but I could not see and "C" stamping. So, I got my Krag and looked in bright light. I still could not see a "C", but I did notice something on the right side of the blade pinned in the larger post. I got my magnifying headpiece on to get a better look at the blade. Down where the blade goes into the sight post on the right side, there is a tiny marking that may just be a "C". If it is a "C" on the blade, it is really small, and it seems to be partially buried in the main sight post.
    Here David?


    (Click PIC to Enlarge)

    Regards,
    Badger

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