The gang over at American Rifleman keep on churning out episode after episode of the "I Have This Old Gun" series. They come so fast that's it's difficult to keep on top of the latest and greatest offerings. One we stumbled on yesterday concentrated on the
U.S. Krag-Jorgenson Rifle.
Based off of the 1886 design by Norwegians Krag & Jorgenson, the 1892 U.S. Krag-Jorgenson became the first foreign made firearm to serve as the standard service rifle for the American military. Why such a move? Because they U.S. Ordinance Department wanted to move away from the single-shot black powder rifles and into a breech loading repeating rifle. One man jumped on the opportunity to distribute the new rifle to his troops.
"The Krag was made famous by Theodore Roosevelt," says National Firearms Museum (NFM) Senior Curator Phil Schreier. "He made sure his men were armed with the latest in firepower and that meant the 1896 Krag carbine, which they all took up San Juan Hill."
About ten years later, the Ordinance Department switched to the '03 Springfield and the remaining Krags were eventually purchased by the general public.
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"A lot of the Krags were sold out of military service were sporterized which is a bit of a conundrum when it comes to collectors when it comes to collectors today," NFM Director Jim Supica explained. "The collector market tends to pay a higher premium for the military carbine version ... because there's a little more romace when it comes to the carbine."
For the complete story on the U.S. Krag-Jorgenson, check out the video from American Rifleman's "I Have This Old Gun."