1898 Krag Model 1896

Springfield Armory US Model of 1896


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This rifle is distinguished as America's first magazine-fed, repeating, brass-cartridged, smokeless-powder rifle. The repeating magazine was a very unusual, side-loading, under-and-around-the-bolt feeding system, which did not lend itself readily to stripper clip loading. A Norwegian design (by Captain Ole Hermann Johannes Krag, director of the Royal Norwegian Arms Factory at Kongsberg, and Erik Jørgensen, also of Kongsberg, Norway), it nonetheless served the US well in Cuba and the Philippines during the Spanish-American War, but was out-performed by the Spanish-Cuban army's Mauser Model 93s, with their faster reloading (using stripper clips) and heavier bullets. This disparity led directly to the development and production of the US Springfield Model of 1903, a virtual copy of the Mauser system. Still, while it lasted, the Krag was very popular with the troops, boasting the smoothest operating bolt action of any rifle ever made in quantity, and giving rise to the highest praise, even today, for a bolt rifle in comparison: "Almost as smooth as a Krag!"

My Model 1896 was built in 1898, incorporating the many minor improvements made in the previous two years, and was apparently restocked at some point in its early life, since the only stamp on the wood is the firing proof 'P' aft of the trigger guard. The metal retains near-100% blueing, and the wood is near-100% perfect, with no dings, scratches, or gouges. The bore shows a light surface frosting in the 1/3 nearest the chamber, but as you can see below, there is absolutely no negative effect on accuracy.

Here are a few representative targets, all shot from benchrest/sandbag.

Factory ammo, 100 yards:

Handloaded ammo (IMR 4064, SGK/RN):