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Krag-Jorgensen Model 1898

The Krag-Jørgensen is a repeating bolt action rifle designed by the Norwegians Ole Herman Johannes Krag and Erik Jørgensen in the late 19th century. It was adopted as a standard arm by Denmark, the United States of America and Norway. About 300 were delivered to Boer forces of the South African Republic.


A distinctive feature of the Krag–Jørgensen action was its magazine. While many other rifles of its era used an integral box magazine loaded by a charger or stripper clip, the magazine of the Krag–Jørgensen was integral with the receiver (the part of the rifle that houses the operating parts), featuring an opening on the right hand side with a hinged cover. Instead of a charger, single cartridges were inserted through the side opening, and were pushed up, around, and into the action by a spring follower.


The design presented both advantages and disadvantages compared with a top-loading "box" magazine. A similar claw type clip would be made for the Krag that allowed the magazine to be loaded all at once, also known as the Krag "Speedloader magazine". Normal loading was one cartridge at a time, and this could be done more easily with a Krag than a rifle with a "box" magazine. In fact, several cartridges can be dumped into the opened magazine of a Krag at once with no need for careful placement, and when shutting the magazine-door the cartridges are forced to line up correctly inside the magazine. The design was also easy to "top off", and unlike most top-loading magazines, the Krag–Jørgensen's magazine could be topped up without opening the rifle's bolt. The Krag–Jørgensen is a popular rifle among collectors, and is valued by shooters for its smooth action.

American Krag–Jørgensen rifles


Like many other armed forces, the United States military was searching for a new rifle in the early 1890s. A competition was held in 1892, comparing 53 rifle designs including Lee, Krag, Mannlicher, Mauser, and Schmidt–Rubin. The trials were held at Governors Island, New York, and the finalists were all foreign manufacturers—the Krag, the Lee, and the Mauser. The contract was awarded to the Krag design in August 1892, with initial production deferred as the result of protests from domestic inventors and arms manufacturers. Two rifle designers, Russell and Livermore, even sued the US government over the initial selection of the Krag, forcing a review of the testing results in April and May 1893. In spite of this, an improved form of the Krag–Jørgensen was again selected, and was awarded the contract. The primary reason for the selection of the Krag appears to have been its magazine design, which could be topped off as needed without raising and retracting the bolt (thus putting the rifle temporarily out of action). Ordnance officials also believed the Krag's magazine cutoff and lower reloading speed to be an advantage, one which conserved ammunition on the battlefield. Ironically, this magazine design would later resurface as a distinct disadvantage once U.S. soldiers encountered Spanish troops armed with the charger-loaded 1893 7mm Spanish Mauser in the Spanish–American War.


Around 500,000 "Krags" in .30 Army (.30-40) calibre were produced at the Springfield Armory in Massachusetts from 1894 to 1904. The Krag–Jørgensen rifle in .30 Army found use in the Boxer Rebellion, the Spanish–American War and the Philippine–American War. A few carbines were used by United States cavalry units fighting Apaches in New Mexico Territory and preventing poaching in Yellowstone National Park. Two-thousand rifles were taken to France by the United States Army 10th–19th Engineers (Railway) during World War I; but there is no evidence of use by front-line combat units during that conflict.

The US 'Krags' were chambered for the rimmed "Cartridge, Caliber 30, U.S. Army", round, also known as the .30 U.S., .30 Army, or .30 Government, and, more popularly, by its civilian name, the .30-40 Krag. The .30 Army was the first smokeless powder round adopted by the U.S. military, but its civilian name retained the "caliber-charge" designation of earlier black powder cartridges. Thus the .30-40 Krag employs a round-nose 220-grain (14 g) cupro-nickel jacketed .30 caliber (7.62 mm) bullet propelled by 40 grains (3 g) of smokeless powder to a muzzle velocity of approximately 2000 feet (600 m) per second. As with the .30-30 Winchester, it is the use of black powder nomenclature that leads to the incorrect assumption that the .30-40 Krag was once a black powder cartridge.

In U.S. service, the Krag eventually proved uncompetitive with Mauser-derived designs, most notably in combat operations in Cuba and the Philippines during the Spanish–American War. It served as the U.S. military's primary rifle for only nine years, when it was replaced by the M1903 Springfield rifle in 1903.

Posted by George Freund on February 20, 2016 at 8:56 PM 4627 Views