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Thread: Krag carbine 1896

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Krag carbine 1896

    I looked at an 1896 Krag carbine today (serial number #69174). It was missing the rear sight and top handguard, but I know they're available. But, someone had removed the mag cut off and mounted a sight. Everything else looks good - the wood is in good shape, the saddle ring and barrel band are original.
    I'm wondering if the mag cut off can be replaced.
    They're asking $325.
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  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    The magazine cut off is the piece to the rear of the sight base. If you are thinking of restoring the gun to original, be aware the stock was cut out for the sight base. Also the tab on the end of the magazine cover has been cut off. I have a sight just like that on my Krag.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Is it a Redfield sight? Does the mount on your Krag look like this one?

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    Looking at your photo, the mag cutoff is present, just to the rear of the sight base. The saddle ring, while correct, could be a replica because of the better appearance it has compared to the rest of the visible parts. I know, because I've purchased a couple and installed them on a couple of my Krags where the part was missing to fill up the hole and have a better looking carbine. Can't tell without a close up, personal inspection.

    If you purchase this carbine, where do you want to go with the project? If it is complete authenticity I'd try to discourage you, as you'll be truly shocked at the price of an original carbine sight. They look very similar to a rifle sight of the period, but are stamped with a "C", and a nice one is worth over $300. As pointed out by quack1, the stock has been cut for the receiver sight's mounting base. An original stock in nice condition, plus the sight, plus the cost of the carbine will put you at a figure near $1000. The cost of an original, authentic hand guard will push you well over that figure.You could remove the sight base and do an ordinance-type repair by patching in a piece of walnut. Replica hand guards can sometimes be found, but finding them with the barrel clips installed is not so easy, and doing it yourself is a tricky job. On the last couple that I did I purchased clips and rivets from S&S Firearms, NY, and the clips were too soft to grip the barrel well.

    Before you purchase this carbine take a good photo or two of the tip of the front end of the stock and the muzzle and front sight and post them. We'll be able to tell if it has been cut down from a full length rifle. Take a photo the barrel band.

    If your desire is only to have a Krag in carbine configuration, then if the bore is good, and you otherwise like the carbine go ahead and buy it, because the price is right for that purpose. Ask the seller if they have the rest of the rear sight that fits onto the existing mount. If not, you'll likely have to purchase a new sight if you wish to remain with the receiver mounted peep.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    I have a restored 1896 carbine (replacement handguard, replacement rear sight, repro saddle ring, 1903 front sight), and I have an 1898 rifle. This one caught my eye. But you're right - it's too sporterized to restore. I posted the info on the Krag forum and they said the same thing -as a shooter the price isn't bad. One poster said that the sight looked like a Lyman 33 or 34 (I can't find any into on those sights).

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Mine is a Lyman 34.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Does the mount attached to the gun look like the one in the pic I posted? I can't find anything on Lyman 34 sights.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    Der Gebirgsjager,

    Excellent assessment of the cost of a Krag Carbine rebuild. In 2000 I found a Krag Carbine for $50 with nice action, but "Bubba" sawed the barrel off at 16 inches, put the mess in a sporter stock and wanted to be rid of it. My gunsmith fitted a new barrel cut and crowned to 20 inches and put the resulting arm in Bishop stock. He put original sights back on the gun and it is now my favorite woods deer rifle with good handloads.

    Adam

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Battis View Post
    Does the mount attached to the gun look like the one in the pic I posted? I can't find anything on Lyman 34 sights.
    Yes, the sight on my Krag has exactly the same mount. That's how I knew the stock and magazine cover were altered.
    There is a short write-up on the 33 and 34 in Strobels book. They are nearly identical, except for a couple details. I'm going on memory, so proceed at your own risk, but I think the 34 has threaded eyepiece and screw adjusted windage (both of which are present on the one in my post) and the 33 doesn't. They both were discontinued in 1943.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    Adam-- et. al. -- Krags are great rifles, and I'm still in love with them. But, one has to be realistic about rebuilding them. Restoring one to "as-issued" is a great feeling, but a point is reached where it just isn't worth it. I have well over a dozen of them in various guises and configurations, but a very few that are completely authentic. The as-issued carbine was just about the perfect sporting rifle for it's day, as evidenced by how many original long rifles were cut down to approximate a carbine. Because that version was so popular, in addition to the fact that far fewer were made than the long version, they got "used up" by their owners resulting in the surviving original carbines being very expensive. Myself, being kind of a pragmatic fellow, I decided to (in most cases) accept the cut downs for what they are, perhaps make a few improvements as I found to be desirable such a receiver mounted peep sights, and enjoy the results without going much farther in restoration. They are a wonderfully smooth action and a mechanical marvel in how they operate, given the fact that they were all produced at the very least 117 years ago and some as long as 126 years ago, but they do have their limitations in design (one locking lug) and metallurgy and should be treated gently using reasonable loads. I have two or three that are conventional sporters with replacement stocks, etc., but still prefer the "almost military" shooters. I've quit acquiring, but still find it hard to pass up a good Krag deal.
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  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    On the rack next to the carbine I was looking at was an 1898 carbine. I didn't pay much attention to it but I might have another look at it. It might be a cut down rifle but I don't think it had been bubba'ed like the one I was looking at (sights, etc).
    I have an Krag 1898 full rifle that I paid $150 a few years ago. It was sold as a non-shooting wall hanger. All it needed was a firing pin. That is a great shooter. The 1896 carbine that I have was sold as a cut down rifle ($150). After researching the serial number, I found out that it was actually a carbine. As I said above, I added a replacement handguard, replacement rear sight, repro saddle ring, and a 1903 front sight.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    Yup...90% of the cut downs I've seen had a 1903 front sight. Just the right height, apparently, after the barrel is shortened; and they can be made to work well with one of the old time no gunsmithing receiver mounted peep sights. I've got a couple where the original front sight was remounted on the shortened barrel, but it's usually pretty obvious even to the casual observer. It sounds like you've done well with your purchases.

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy 444ttd's Avatar
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    i have a no drill redfield 102k peep sight on mine

    https://i.imgur.com/7BTwpwD.jpg

    "The religion of KE: proposed by the ignorant, and parroted by the unknowing" - MikeG

    ​“Einstein's relativity work is a magnificent mathematical garb which fascinates, dazzles and makes people blind to the underlying errors. The theory is like a beggar clothed in purple whom ignorant people take for a king... its exponents are brilliant men but they are metaphysicists rather than scientists.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

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    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    I have the Redfield sight, too. From eBay, I thought it was expensive until I realized that it cost less than a good scope and would last at least another hundred years or so. Perspective is an adjustable thing.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master

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    Nice ol' Krag, 444ttd. Your Redfield sight is about a hundred dollar item now days, and not always available.

  16. #16
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    I have an 1899 Carbine, I just wish the army would have installed some way to sling it when dismounted. I guess they thought it would always be carried in a saddle scabbard.

    It is a very handy little gun as long as you keep it in your hands.

    Robert

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy 444ttd's Avatar
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    i think the redfield was around $40 on ebay 7 or 8 years ago. i have a lyman peep on my 98 mauser and i got(free) mauser redfield peep sight to put on my 91 argentine. i had a skinner sight on my encore but i got rid of it for a leupold 2-7x. i also have a williams fp sight on my m94.






    "The religion of KE: proposed by the ignorant, and parroted by the unknowing" - MikeG

    ​“Einstein's relativity work is a magnificent mathematical garb which fascinates, dazzles and makes people blind to the underlying errors. The theory is like a beggar clothed in purple whom ignorant people take for a king... its exponents are brilliant men but they are metaphysicists rather than scientists.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  18. #18
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    I also bought before researching the Krag and my first ‘carbine’ wasn’t. Made it into a Krag/scout. But on my second try I lucked up on an honest 1899 school [constabulary] rifle made from a carbine with carbine parts by the govt arsenal. One of my favorite bolt guns. The Krag Bowie bayonet is something that I made from a junk 1917 bolo knife. And then last year I found a 1896 rifle that was still in cosmoline at the Md Antique Military show which cleaned up perfectly. They are great guns but are old so reload with that in mind.
    Last edited by Baltimoreed; 02-12-2020 at 05:07 PM.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    There's some interesting stuff coming up in this thread.
    That's some good .30-30 shooting, 444ttd.
    Nice Krag assortment, Baltimoreed. I can understand you making your own Bowie bayonet, as they're scarce and very expensive. From the photo I can't tell the difference between yours and an original. What great luck to find a Krag still in the cosmoline. You must have found the last one in the world........

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy 444ttd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Der Gebirgsjager View Post
    There's some interesting stuff coming up in this thread.
    That's some good .30-30 shooting, 444ttd.
    Nice Krag assortment, Baltimoreed. I can understand you making your own Bowie bayonet, as they're scarce and very expensive. From the photo I can't tell the difference between yours and an original. What great luck to find a Krag still in the cosmoline. You must have found the last one in the world........
    you mean 35/30-30 or 35/30. i sent the 30-30 to JES Reboring and he rebored it to 35-30. and boy, he does a great job!!!!! i was sighting it in and it was 2 shots, move the peep, another 2 shoots, move the peep.......

    i using buckhorn sights, the 35/30 was about 1 3/4"+ at 100 yards(3 shots). when i got the williams fp peep, the group size shrank rapidly. on a good day, i would do under 1/2" at 100 yards(3 shots/benched). on a bad day, 3/4 - 1" at 100 yards. my army training ('91-97) and JES have alot to do with me and groups, ALOT!!!! my eyes are not what they used to be. when using the original krag sights, i was looking at 3 things(back sight, front sight, target) and i could not do it. i was on verge of throwing krag into my safe when i remembered peep sights(i was an idiot not to remember!). it took me a several months to find the redfield no drill peep sight but i did and the deer were scared once again!!!!

    Baltimoreed, wow!!!!! that is nice!!!!!!!
    "The religion of KE: proposed by the ignorant, and parroted by the unknowing" - MikeG

    ​“Einstein's relativity work is a magnificent mathematical garb which fascinates, dazzles and makes people blind to the underlying errors. The theory is like a beggar clothed in purple whom ignorant people take for a king... its exponents are brilliant men but they are metaphysicists rather than scientists.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check