Friday, April 14, 2006

A rifle, a time machine, and a treasure hunt...

"Underneath the starry flag, we'll civilize 'em with a Krag..."

Here's a splendid example of what I mentioned in my previous post.

At first glance, what we have here is a Springfield Armory Krag-Jorgensen carbine, lovingly restored by a talented artisan. A bit of research, however turns up the fact that surviving Krag carbines are rather rare. Some more research gives us a clue: A whole lot of M1896 Krag rifles were shortened to "carbines" and distributed via the NRA, hence their nomenclature: "NRA Carbines." One giveaway is the front sight post, which is attached to a band shrunk onto the barrel, rather than being machined from the barrel proper.

Using the serial number service at the Springfield Research Society, the serial number falls in a block of rifles issued to the 1st North Dakota Volunteer Infantry. Does this mean that's where this rifle was issued? Who knows?

What I do know is that this is a beautifully restored piece of machinery dating from the close of the 19th Century; a time when America, while still close to its roots, was feeling its way into its future role as a player on the world stage. Where has this rifle been? What has it seen? What has it done? Who was it issued to? What did they do? If only it could talk... It handles sweetly, shoots adequately, and holds a hundred years of memories locked in its wood and steel. By comparison, the average new-production modern rifle is, well... just another gun.

4 comments:

Jeff the Baptist said...

Amen. The Krag is one of those arms that make me mourn being born too late. To see what that rifle has seen...

Dan said...

That is a really sweet looking Krag. I've always liked that rifle but never had the opportunity to shoot one.

Dan

DirtCrashr said...

Good grief, where'd you find a brand-new Carbine?! My rifle's not nearly that blemish-free.

Les Jones said...

The thing about new guns is that I'm not in a hurry to buy one today because they'll make more tomorrow. When I get a shot at an old gun I know I have to leap on it.