O.H.J. Krag and A. Petersson began design of what became the Krag-Petersson Model 1876 rifle in 1872. As many as seventeen prototypes were used during development and the rifle was eventually sold to the Royal Norwegian Navy (RNN) in 1876, leading to a total production run of 975 in-service units and 30 used strictly for trials by the service. Beyond this were 115 of the rifles built for trials by Denmark. For Norway, the series was used to success an aging line of Swiss-originated "Vetterli" rifles taken into service in 1867.
The Model 1876 was one of the earliest repeat-fire examples to be taken into service in number by a major world power as a standard-issue weapon (also the first Krag design to be featured as such) owing much to its novel action. It would go on to manage a decades-long existence, despite its modest production total, until 1900 by which time it was more or less overtaken by modern solutions.
The rifle's internal action was of the "falling-block" approach, allowing for repeat firing from the available 10-round tubular magazine. The action allowed for single, manually-operated (by way of exposed lever at the back end of the receiver) fire involving a solid metal breechblock component sliding vertically during the operation. When down, the breech was open and allowed a single cartridge to be inserted by the mechanism (though final seating of the cartridge required manual interference). Once the cartridge was used up, the breech dropped again and the spent casing was removed/ejected rearwards - the chamber ready to accept a new round.
This action proved exceedingly popular towards the end of the 19th Century, giving the rifleman a tactical edge over contemporary designs. The falling block action was superseded by the manually-operated bolt-action system which, in turn, became commonplace for service rifles in the new century. The concept was, however, still largely employed in field artillery systems though on a much larger scale.
The Model 1876 sported an overall length of 37.44 inches, making it a manageable service rifle in the field - though it could accept a bayonet to extend the infantryman's reach in hand-to-hand combat. The cartridge in play was the 12.17x44mm rimfire and rate-of-fire could reach 11 shots per twenty-five seconds when feeding from the full tube magazine. Sighting was through a V-notch and front post arrangement giving an effective range out to 900 meters with a rated muzzle velocity near 1,260 feet-per-second.
In service, the Model 1876 proved itself a reliable, accurate long gun but found little favor outside of Norway (despite interest from France, Russia, and Brazil). The series ended its days in private hands and eventually fell to history with little to no examples remaining in circulation today.
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