Staff Writer (Updated: 2/15/2016):
The Krag-Jorgensen was a bolt-action, repeat-fire rifle of Norwegian origin designed in the latter half of the 1800s. It was produced through a plethora of full length rifle and shortened carbine forms for decades and became the standard service rifle of the Norwegian Army, the United States Army and the Danish Army. Design work began in 1886 and over 700,000 of the rifle line were produced with many seeing continuous service throughout World War 2 after over 50 years in circulation. The Krag-Jorgensen family of long guns received its unique name from its designers - Norwegian Army Captain Ole Herman Johannes Krag and state arsenal director/gunsmith Erik Jorgensen - and was born through the original "Model 1894".
Krag-Jorgensen Model 1894 (1894)
Type: Bolt-Action Rifle
National Origin: Norway
Manufacturer(s): Kongsberg Vapenfabrikk - Norway / Steyr Mannlicher - Austria-Hungary
Manually-Actuated Bolt; Repeat Fire
6.5x55mm M94 Norwegian Krag; 8x58R; .30-40 Krag
5-round integral magazine
V-Notch Iron Rear and Front Post
986 mm (38.82 inches)
520 mm (20.47 inches)
7.50 lb (3.40 kg)
1,900 feet/sec (579 m/sec)
3,000 feet (914 m; 1,000 yards)
The Norwegian rifle took on a sleek refined form with a long-running wooden body incorporating the shoulder stock, receiver and forend as a single piece. The barrel was "double-banded" (metal loops clasping the wood to the metal) and capped at the front with a smooth, curved shape. All of the metal working components were laid within the wooden body including the bolt-action, firing mechanism, sights and barrel. As the wooden forend was essentially the full length of the rifle, only a short length of exposed barrel was present. The bolt lever was fixed at a 90-degree angle (referred to as a "straight bolt" as opposed to the "turned down" bolt encountered in more modern rifles) with a knob at its end for a firm grip. The sights were iron with the front (basic post) fitted atop the muzzle and the rear (V-notch) fitted ahead of the action. The trigger was set in its traditional place under the receiver and ahead of the integrated grip handle leading to the shoulder stock. As was the case with rifles of this period, the Krag-Jorgensen featured a bayonet mounting assembly under the barrel. Sling loops were positioned at the second barrel band (inner-most) and under the stock for ease of transport. Carbine forms of the full-length rifle were nothing more than compact versions completed with shorter barrels and forends which made them handier for cavalry soldiers and specialist troops such as engineers and artillery servicemen (at the expense of range).
As the Krag-Jorgensen was accepted into the service of foreign armies, it was only natural for its localized use to take on cartridge types suitable for the customer. As such, Norwegian-based rifles were chambered for the 6.5x55mm M94 Norwegian Krag rimless cartridge. Conversely, the American models were chambered for the .30-40 "Krag" cartridge (approximately equivalent to the 7.62mm round) and the Danish Krag-Jorgensen rifles were chambered for the local 8x58R rimmed cartridge (7.87mm caliber). In all cases, the action remained the same though muzzle velocity was variable, largely settled by the type of ammunition (and subsequent powder charge) being utilized with general value spanning 1,900 to 2,800 feet per second. Effective range - again, dependent upon ammunition type being used (and environmental factors) - was in the vicinity of 900 meters. Feeding was through a five-round integral magazine well. One of the distinct features of the Krag-Jorgensen was in its ability to be fed individual cartridges and not require charger/"stripper clips" as in other designs of the period. This also allowed an operator to "top off" the magazine - another limitation of charger-loaded designs. Of course the manual reloading process consisting of individual cartridges was something of a detrimental feature to the Krag and others like it.
For the Norwegian Army, the Krag-Jorgensen competed favorably against the Mannlicher Model 1892 and the Mauser Model 1892 in trials to which production of the indigenous Krag began in 1893. After a period of live evaluation by the Army, the Krag-Jorgensen design was formally adopted into service in 1894 (as the "Model 1894"). Its availability went beyond its military use for thousands were purchased across the civilian market. Before long, the rifle was modified into the shortened carbine form and specialized variants would inevitably appear for military, hunting and sporting use. ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
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