The Krag Jørgensen
rifles & carbines
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...
Krag M1894 Infantry Rifle
there is no bayonet lug like the M1894 below
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).
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
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.
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.
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
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!
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
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.
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
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.