1897 Krag-Jørgensen

Krag year stamp

Manufactured in 1897, as you can see on the stamp.

Krag body

On the left side, the most characteristic feature of the Krag-Jørgensen features a metal plate that "cuts" into the body. Also characteristic of the 19th century, it features a magazine feed switch. In the downward position, the internal magazine feeds. In the upward position, it prevents magazine from feeding. Interestingly, on the US versions of the gun, the switch is reversed. Upwards position feeds, while downwards does not.

Krag bolt handle

A straight handle, with a nicely-sized ball to hold onto. Both the bolt handle and a notch in the bolt act as secondary locking mechanisms.

Krag body

On the right side, the most overall iconic characteristic of the weapon is evident. In Norway, we call it the "fyrstikkboks", or matchstick box, because, well, it looks like one. In USA, it is more commonly known as an ashtray instead. Regardless, the magazine holds five rounds.

Krag chamber inside

A better look into the chamber itself.

Krag chamber and magazine

Here we can see how the magazine cover extends past the weapon body. The engineering of the magazine is very interesting, though not possible to see on images alone. It is a powerful spring-loaded mechanism, which retracts when the magazine is flipped open, giving way for cartridges. When it is closed, however, a spring-loaded arm pushes the cartridges into the U-shaped funnel, allowing the weapon to feed from magazine.

You can also see the locking lug on the right side. Notably, the Krag-Jørgensen has only one locking lug on all versions of the weapon. This results in tremendously smooth action, but it also means the chamber is not as resilient against pressures of modern cartridges. You need to use lower charges and preferably slow-burning gunpowder.

Although there are two secondary locking mechanisms, they are still on the same side as the one locking lug. This asymmetry results in a curious and rather unfortunate side effect. If there is oil or water in the chamber when the gun is fired, bullets will veer off slightly to the left, resulting in a scuffed shot. For this reason, Krag-Jørgensen was banned from hunting big game between 1970s and 2002.

Krag from top

The top side of the Krag-Jørgensen body. It, too, has a slightly curious aesthetic. At the bottom you can see the safety mechanism. Pretty standard for bolt-action rifles. Flip it all the way around when the chamber is closed, and the gun will not fire.

Krag total shot

The barrel is 65 cm long. The weapon weighs approximately 5.2 kg, making it a very light gun for being a 19th century firearm.