The Krag Jørgensen rifles & carbines
Trond Wikborg

                                     The Krag Jørgensen (Krag-Jorgensen) rifle is by far Norway's most produced arms design. There were produced close to 1 mill of the various Krag Jørgens rifles world wide. United States produced a good 500 000 and the Norwegian army almost 200 000 in addition to the navy's 3400  and the civilian rifles. I have no figures on the Danish production.

Denmark was the first country to adopt the Krag Jørgensen rifle - in 1889 with a 8x58R calibre. United States adopted it in 1892 as a 30-40 calibre, but did not start production before in 1894. Norway adopted the rifle in 1894 as a 6,5x55. The Krag Jørgensens were also purchased in limited quantities by South Africa, probably of the rejected rifles from Steyr.

The mechanics on the US and Norwegian Krag's are very much alike, whilst the Danish bolt and loading gate is rather different. The loading gate lid on the Danish rifles moves out and forwards. The American and Norwegian lids fold down.

Only ten years after the M1884 Jarmann was approved and produced in the (for Norway) amazing quantity of about 30 000 rifles, Norway decided to abandon it and introduce the Krag Jørgensen rifle full scale (and this was way before Norway found oil!).
 

There is rather much on the internet about Krags in general and also about the Norwegian Krag Jørgensen rifle, so I'll just identify the main models here. I've tried to post the pictures in correct scale, showing the difference in size - and I am planning to get a better camera in the future...


 

Norwegian Krag M1894 Infantry Rifle
there is no bayonet lug like the M1894 below


M1894 Lang-Krag

This is the "ordinary" Krag Jørgensen infantry rifle – Lang-Krag - 30 000 were produced for the Norwegian Army by Steyr in Austria, 122 000 produced at Kongsberg - in addition comes production for the civilian market and for the navy. There should be tons of this rifle laying around, there were made one for every 10(!) Norwegian citizen. Regretfully most have been cut down, refitted with new stocks, mounted different sights, sold to the US etc. - it is surprisingly difficult finding an original army Lang-Krag (Long-Krag).
Another Article

M1895 Cavalry carbine-M1897 Mountain artillery & engineer carbine

All the different Krag carbine models were numbered as one series. The difference between the M1895 and the M1897 is only that the strap fastening was moved. I count these as one and the same rifle. The M1895 was very popular for hunting reindeer and there was not really all that much to modify. As a result, there are a number of original ones around in the mountain valleys, but they often show a lot wear and tear. These really have been used!


M1904 Engineer carbine-M1907 Field artillery carbine

While the M1895 only had a little wood between the lock and the rear sight, the M1904 is almost completely embedded in wood. This was not popular with the hunters and this carbine is really difficult to find in original shape and form. On the other hand, if you find it, it tends to be in fairly good condition. Again only the fastening of the strap as difference between the two versions M1904 & M1907.


M1906 Guttekarabin (Boy's carbine)

A number of Norwegian schools had long-gun training back in the mid 1800's. I personally have a M1794/1841, then shortened down to be used as practice gun for Trondheim Katedralskole some time in the late 1800's. There was political agreement in “arming the public” in Norway in the late 1800's. A war against Sweden was expected and school children of 14-17 years were to learn to use arms. The M1894 Krag was found to be too long and heavy for the children and the M1906 guttekarabin (boy's carbine) was made with a shorter shoulder stock, no handguard and extremely small loops for the sling. 2-300 of the M1906 were converted to single shot .22 – as were some of the M1894.


Norwegian Krag carbine manufactured in 1914


M1912 - M1912/16 -M1912/18 - M1912/22 Carbine

This is the only Krag carbine produced in any significant numbers – 30 000 is not bad on a carbine for a country that at the time only had 2,4 mill inhabitants. The original M1912 is very difficult to get hold of. The design of the front of the stock was not good and the stock cracked.
The carbine was redesigned as the M1912/16 and most of the older carbines were modified. The long Krag bayonet was also approved for the carbine at the same time.
The carbine was fitted with a new nose-band in one piece in 1918 and this version is called M1912/18. The last 9000 M1912 to be produced also got a new, straight bolt as the M1912/22.


M1923 Sniper

Well, a snipers rifle was the intention. But it was no success! This same year Norway got its public radio station called Norsk Rikskringkastning - the Norwegian National "around throw". That also became the public's popular name for this sniper rifle - Krag Kringkaster - the Krag Around Throw. And this was meant to be a sniper rifle.
The M1925 has a 66,5 cm barrel covered be the hand guard. The enlarged pistol grip is chequered and it was fitted with aperture rear sight and hooded front sight. It probably was designed for the long knife bayonet. 
Long story short, as far as I know there were only produced a total of about 630 of this rifle and most of them were converted to M1930's or hunting rifles. They had the stock cut down, barrel changed etc. To go British for a moment - an original M1923 is pretty hard to find!


M1925 Sniper

The M1925 sniper looks very much like a M1894, except for the enlarged & chequered pistol-grip, the rifled trigger & butt plate, better polishing of the receiver and some minor changes on the trigger guard. I'm not at all sure the M1925 ever was issued to the armed forces or used by them for anything but competitions. The reason for designing the rifle was mainly for the shooters associations to have a military approved sniper that was better and less expensive than the M1923. It should also be possible and inexpensive to convert a M1894 to the new Sniper. The M1925 was approved with 15 and 17 mm barrels, both open or diopter sights, with a total of five different front sights etc. The sniper was supposedly equipped with both the short and the long knife bayonet.
Pretty flexible, if you ask me? Most M1925's were delivered with open sights until 1930, then with aperture rear sight until production ceased in 1950. There were made a total of 2274 “true” M1925's, in addition to the converted M1894's. A number of the M1925's were later converted to the M1930.


M1930 Sniper

It was evident that one had not really succeeded in making the optimal sniper with the M1923 and M1925 – the first being pretty much of a failure in precision, the other one really only being a “glorified M1894”. The army had so far mainly used a M1894/1910 (the regular M1894, but fitted with a scope) as sniper, but there had been problems with the scopes.

Sweden and Denmark had their half-stocked, thick barrelled snipers at the time and Norway wanted something similar.
The M1930 has 750 mm long barrel (13 mm shorter than the M1894). It was 21 mm thick by the muzzle. The sniper was fitted with a sporting stock with hand guard covering about half the length of the barrel. The barrel had no open rear sight and was designed to only have an aperture sight. The front sight was hooded. This sniper did not take a bayonet.

The M1930 on the picture is slightly more “exciting” than the "normal" M1930. It is a German bastard. The receiver is dated 1944 and the number series belongs to the second serie of KJ produced at Kongsberg for the Germans - the NB serie. The receiver is also Waffen-amt stamped. There are no numbers at all one the rest of the rifle. The barrel has the correct length, but it is a 17 mm barrel - the same as the M1923.
The question is then - what is this and when was it produced. It might be a rifle assembled after WW2 when Kongsberg did put together bits and pieces as compensation for people who lost their rifles when the Germans came. It might also be a perfect example of how the Germans put together anything that seemed to be able to shoot straight the last half-year of the war. The receiver is probably produced in late fall 1944 according to the number.
As I'm not interested in prototypes and experimentals, this rifle is available in a swap.


 Other Norwegian military Krag Jørgensen rifles

The Germans had two versions of the Krag Jørgensen produced from 1943 to 1945 during their occupation of Norway. The first version is identical to the M1894, but with German proof marks and obviously made by rather demotivated workers. The finish is no where as nice as on the other Krags.
The second model is a shortened Krag - the Stomperud Krag. The Barrel is shortened by 15 cm to 61,3 cm and the front of the stock is cut some 18 cm shorter. It has about the same length as the K98 and came both as a 6,5 mm and a "soft" 7,92 for the really brave ones. These are rather scarce, are all produced in 1944 and have serial numbers between Nc 673 and Nc 1095.

Many of the KJ produced under the German occupation were "bastards". Some only "a little" off like putting M1912 bolts on M1894 rifles, some really weird like the almost un-numbered M1930 sniper mentioned above.

In 1946-1951 there were made almost 1600 of the Stomperud Krag. Most of these were built from used parts and they might have all kinds of strange markings - for instance a Steyr receiver dated 1944 (almost 50 years after Steyr stopped producing Krag's). These were civilian rifles to be sold to the public, but with bayonet lug.

The Norwegian navy had 3400 of the M1894 Kongsberg produced Krag Jørgensen in their own numbers series – starting at 2511 in 1895 and ending with 5906 in 1900.

The Krag Jørgens Bayonets

There are just about umpteen different variations of the Krag bayonets - and them a number of variations on the variations as well. I will eventually cover (some) of these, but Per Holmbäck has already done a great job here. Take a look at his pages and scroll down to the Krag.