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Thread: An old timer...

  1. #1
    Member Darreld Walton's Avatar
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    Default An old timer...

    Friend of mine in Fairbanks mentioned something a couple years back about finding a 98 Krag in an abandoned cabin.
    Considering these things were available for what, a couple of bucks back in the day, and the Army would sell ammunition, and components on the cheap, it stands to reason that there were some used.
    Anyone have any first hand, second hand, or even fables about the .30-40 Krag and it's effectiveness or lack of on big critters?
    I've heard of really big animals going down rather effectively to the old 220 grain soft point loads, and the couple that I've fooled around with certainly point to a potential for some fine accuracy with a good barrel.
    The one I wanted to try out the most was a remodeled 1898 Krag in a Bishop stock, side mounted scope, and had been rebarreled with a 1917 Enfield barrel. With the 220 Hornady round nose, and enough IMR 4350 to give about 2100 fps, it wanted to put a magazinefull through a nice, tight cloverleaf pattern. That rifle wouldn't feed a spitzer type bullet through the magazine, so I just stuck with the 220's, but never got in the right spot at the right time with it to try it on a critter.........

  2. #2

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    I used to hunt with an old man who had bought his brand new when he was a young man. Never owned another rifle. He shot it so well and it performed so well on game, I used to think it was pure magic. Goes back to "beware the man with one rifle" I think.

    That was a long time ago and he's long dead, but about 10 years ago I ran across a Krag set up just like his. It's a basic 1950's era sporter with trimmed stock, recoil pad and Marble sights and no other changes. Grabbed it up in a heartbeat for less than $100 and played with it a fair bit since then.

    It's more accurate than I am, but I simply can't shoot as well as I'd like with those sights. I wouldn't consider modifying mine for a side mount scope and there's way too much hassle mounting a receiver sight, so I'm stuck with those. Still okay at 3-4" at 100 yards.

    Recoil seems milder than a 30-30, but performance on deer is at least as good. I tend to use it in the same circumstances traditional for a 30-30, and the bolt is so smooth it launches followup shots just about as fast. Based on watching my old friend I'd have no qualms using it to 100 yards or so on moose and elk with the factory loads. They're simply not moving fast enough to "over-expand" so they act more like Noslers than conventional soft points. Expansion seems to be good and penetration is excellent, but I've never managed to recover a bullet from deer. Seems like a case of that magic combo of right velocity for right bullet adding up to great performance without belts, soldering or any other magic inside the bullet.

    Interesting that yours won't feed spitzers. Mine does fine, provided they approach max LOA for the round. I.e., longer spitzers seated well out feed smooth as glass. Short loads are where the problem comes in. I've been really happy with any 180-grain or heavier I've loaded. Hornady 165's are okay, while 165gr Speers and Sierras are iffy. I haven't found a 150 or lighter that will cycle cleanly, mostly because you simply can't seat them out far enough to do the job.

    I've still got a couple hundred 225gr cast bullets out of a couple thousand a friend swapped me. They're #2 alloy with gas checks, and perform so well I'm debating picking up a similar mold. I don't find anything exactly like it in the catalogs, so I'm guess his is an older design.

    Fun, fun rifle with lots of nostalgia for me. So good on game it's hard to leave home when ranges are suitable. One of my favorite "rock busters" for informal shooting trips to a dry creekbed near the house. I need to buy more brass though, because I've never been ready to quit when I burn through the 120 rounds I have.

  3. #3
    Member Darreld Walton's Avatar
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    Default One of these days...

    I let this one slip away a couple of years ago, but I think I've got a line on one that could be had for real reasonable, and redone to match this one. It's got one of the 'no drill' Redfield aperture sights that mount into the hole where the magazine cutoff goes, and secures with a longer rear magazine cover screw. With more than a hundred rifles and shotguns in the vault, why is it that I miss this rifle?
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  4. #4

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    That's a gorgeious piece! Mine is a certified clunker in comparison. I knew about the Redfield sight, but haven't located one yet.

    Funny how rifles from the past haunt you. Call it "the one that got away" or something, but there's a whole lot in what you are talking about.

    Funny but a friend of mine has two 30-40's worth mentioning. One's an old Ruger #3 single shot with custom wood and the other, believe it or not, is a Shilo Sharps. They're outrageous rifles and he can pump the velocities convincingly in the #3, but I wouldn't pay what he has in them even if I like the caliber. But we would play the "cold dead fingers" game with my old clunker.

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    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Default

    When I lived in Fort Yukon, I noted that several older gentlemen used the 30-40 Cartridge in 1895 (model 95) Winchesters.
    Many of them had since bought Model 70s in 30-06 in the 1950s, (that was their new gun) But they still used the 95 in 30-40 occasionally or let a visitor use it. With a 220 grain bullet it works just fine....

    Mine is out in my shop waiting for me to finish the new stock. The old stock was placed next to a cabin wood stove a litte too long..

    I could also use a new barrel since sombody bobbed mine....



    xx

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    Default And beneath the starry flag.....

    civilize'em with a Krag.

    A veteran of the Spanish-American war, the Boxer Rebellion and the Phillipine Campaign, from whence comes the above line, the Krag rifle is steeped in military history, even though it's service record was short.

    Not only is it in a very useful caliber but an action of smoothness and unique grace, very quick to cycle. What it lacks in strength it more than makes up for in beauty and accuracy. The 30-40 caliber not so anemic as some would have you believe and every bit the equal ballistically of the 7X57 model 1893 rifle it faced in the hands of the Cubans. There was never a problem with the Krag carbine in that San Juan skirmish, or the caliber but one of a tactical disadvantage for the U.S. troops. The terminal performance of the 30-40 round is on a par with any round of the era.

    What a lovely rifle, the Krag. I'd really enjoy a slick '96 carbine, I've never owned one but had the opportunity to load for and shoot several over the years.

    I was in a shop in Anchorage about a year ago and on the wall was a pristine carbine, I think a '96 but may have been a '98, I don't recall, but it was like new and pricey. I walked out and came home then about a week later I got to thinking about it and called the shop, it was gone. Apparantly some one thought it worth the money.

    I have also seen them with the rear aperature sight, clever attachment. I always liked that.

    Loads that I have found that worked well were with 150-180 Sierra or Hornady round nose with 40 or so grains of H4895. If I remenber correctly they were about 2400 fps for the 150's and maybe 2200 fps for the 180's. Certainly more than adequate for white tail and such. It is a good caliber, easy to load for and easy to get good results. It is also the third caliber that I ever loaded for. The first was a 244 Remington (model 722) second was 30-06 Springfield (Springfield 03-A3) and the third, my high school buddy's model 92 Krag rifle. So there is some sentimental attchment here.(sniff!)

    I think that side saddle open box magazine, a trademark of the Krag, is very unique and functional. I never had a problem with one.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  7. #7
    Member Darreld Walton's Avatar
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    Default Krag carbine

    The photo is of a 98 carbine that I owned for a short while. I put it in the State Fair here in southeast Idaho a few years back and got a dandy ribbon with it!
    It also shot extremely well. Nicely balanced, I should've hung onto it, but someone offered me an insane amount for the thing, and I let it go.
    There are a few still kicking around here, mostly 98's, most all, also, with replacement barrels. Someone in this region had to make a fair business out of putting '03 barrels onto them, because that is what is almost universally installed on them.
    I remember seeing a few 95 Winchesters come into Morris Sporting Goods in Great Falls when I worked there part time. Always priced 'REAL Friendly', but in my youthful ignorance, I figured I'd hold out for an 06 or a 405.....Those are all astronomically priced now, too.
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  8. #8
    Member Darreld Walton's Avatar
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    Default 'Nuther shot...

    Still have the blanket. You can just make out the bar that mounts the aperture on the Western sight I had on this rifle for a bit.
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    Default Lovely little Krag..

    DW,

    Is that a DCM rifle? Was that why the aperature sight?

    Nice, very nice. That's similar to the last one I saw and it was about $1100.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  10. #10
    Member Darreld Walton's Avatar
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    Default Krag carbine

    It may very well have been a DCM rifle originally, but the 'Western' brand sight was installed by the fellow that I got it from. A LOT less user friendly than the Redfield, two screws held the aperture in position, and they had to be loosened to slide the aperture for windage adjustment, then re-tightened, hoping that it didn't move. Vertical adjustments were likewise accomplished.
    I found a true 'Carbine' rear sight and installed it on the barrel where it belonged, removed the adjustable rear sight and reinstalled the magazine cutoff and screw that the previous owner had left in the accessory hole in the butt.
    In the photo, you can see how the aperture was mounted to the slide. Of course, when it was removed, there was no damage.
    In 'original' condition, it was worth a great deal more. The trade and cash that I ended up with returned what I figured was worth about $800 or so.
    In excellent condition, an original carbine can indeed bring $1200+ to the 'right' individual. Best and most economical way is to put feelers out, follow up any leads, and pick one up from someone not caught up in the internet auction frenzy.
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  11. #11

    Default Thanks!

    My wife's uncle gave me a "Krag" years ago. I've enjoyed loading for and shooting it. It has the peep/ghost sight and some modifications to the stock that Uncle did. It has however been well taken care of. (the cartouche(sp?) says 1898 on it.)
    Probably ruined any collector value but I'd never sell it anyway. If my wife wants to use it that will be great if not, figure one of the Grandkids will enjoy it.

    The rifle shoots very well and I loaded some moderate 180s for it in some unfired brass a friend gave me.

    I hear all kinds of "oh those were weak actions" etc. Sure seems solid to me. But I've also noticed those same folks quite willing to take it off my hands.....great thread guys.

    Regards
    Shortwave

    Ride well, shoot straight and be a man of honor.

  12. #12

    Default Yikes!

    The prices you guys are floating really startle me. Mine's in great shape, but "plain Jane" wood, great bluing with no rust and little wear. Not saying it's worth anything like yours, but it makes me really happy I got it for $75. Checked my records, and that was six years ago, so the deal is even better than I thought.

  13. #13
    Member Darreld Walton's Avatar
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    Default Prices=Scary!

    If I could find them for $75 today, I'd buy all I could! Well, enough to have some fun with, anyway!
    Lots of fakes, and 'assembled' rifles out there, so be careful!
    The only 'problem' I've consistently heard about is the lug on the bolt cracking at the root. And darned few of those! Part of what made these things so 'slick' is that the receiver and bolt are case-hardened. Consider that these were made just prior to the 1903 rifles at Springfield Armory, under the same conditions and the same equipment that gave us the 'brittle' low numbered '03's.
    IF you find a crack, bolts are still fairly available, leaving only headspace issues to contend with if it had to be replaced. If it hasn't failed by now, it's not likely to with the use any of us would put it through.
    I gotta find another'n!

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