What the heck do I have!?

Sporterized and unofficial modified Krags
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dustin
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Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:20 am

What the heck do I have!?

Post by dustin » Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:50 am

Well, I have reached the extent of my research capabilities. Inherited from my grandfather, who had passed long before I got the rifle.

I assume it is a cut-down rifle based on the front sight, although the 1899 was only ever a carbine from my understanding, so why would it be cut? Possibly a re-barrel at some point?

Beyond that, the serial number seems extremely high (not even listed on the databases I found today). Labeled as: Model 1899 S/N: 848972
EDIT: (after more squinting, maybe the leading digit is a "3", which would make way more sense?)

Question part 2: the stock is clearly repaired from a major crack/break. Missing the upper handguard. If I were to replace either, where would I start and which ones would fit? The rear sight, best as I can tell, is a 1902?

EDIT: One more question: Relatively new to antiques, and this is by far my oldest firearm. It looks fairly rough externally, is it exhibiting "normal" levels of wear, what's the best way to care for it, outside of a complete restoration project?

Thanks folks!

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butlersrangers
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Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 11:35 pm

Re: What the heck do I have!?

Post by butlersrangers » Tue Sep 15, 2020 6:54 am

"Dustin' - Welcome to the KCA Forum.

You have figured out the serial number of your Krag. It is #348972, and was assembled at Springfield Armory, around September to October, 1901, as a model 1899 cavalry carbine.

Your rear-sight is the model 1902 rifle sight. This sight and the Stock are not original to your Krag.

I estimate your barrel to be 22 inches long. If so, it is possibly the original carbine barrel, but, it has been altered with a crude 'banded' front-sight and the muzzle area appears reduced to accept a bayonet. (It could also be made from an altered rifle barrel).
This work was not done at a U.S. Arsenal, Depot, or Springfield Armory.

I suspect it was done by or for Stokes-Kirk, a Philadelphia Sporting Good Merchant around from the early 1900's to the 1940's.
Along with pals, Francis Bannerman (N.Y.) and R.F. Sedgley (Philadelphia), they bought surplus parts and 'cobbled together' parts Krags.

Your Krag is in a configuration similar to what are called "School Rifles". (Real School Rifles were manufactured for private schools and academies by Springfield, Rock Island, and Benicia Arsenal in the early 1900's).
"Knock-Offs" were easily made by merchants with parts.

It is really neat that you have a Krag that was used in your family for generations. It should be a fun shooter!
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dustin
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:20 am

Re: What the heck do I have!?

Post by dustin » Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:00 am

Wow, that's a ton of great information, thank you very much for the reply!

Any words of wisdom on maintenance/the condition of the finish in the photos? Curious about whether I should just leave the wood alone, or attempt to replace one or both pieces. Taking it to the range this weekend for the first time, can't wait!

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butlersrangers
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Re: What the heck do I have!?

Post by butlersrangers » Tue Sep 15, 2020 1:48 pm

I would recommend just wiping down the metal with a cleaning patch damp with Hoppe's No.9 solvent.

Any light surface rust can be improved with a small pad of #0000 steel-wool saturated with Hoppe's. A light finger pressure will remove the rust and leave the original finish and patina of aging, intact.

Rub down and clean the wood with a 50/50 mix of Linseed Oil and Turpentine using an old piece of cotton jockey shorts or flannel. You can hand rub followup coats of the same mix.

I sometimes finish up with Lemon-Pledge or Howard's 'Feed & Wax'.

(You want military wood to have a hand-rubbed oil finish, not a shiny 'varnish looking' poly-urethane GLOP).

You have a Family Heirloom Krag. The original finish was quite different from modern guns. Don't try to make it look New! Everyone will hate you.

I would recommend using your Krag as you received it. Just maintain the wood and metal .... and Enjoy!

Ned Butts
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Re: What the heck do I have!?

Post by Ned Butts » Thu Sep 17, 2020 10:55 am

Any markings on that sling?

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