This is an extraordinarily rare Springfield Armory Model 1892 Krag Rifle that remains in its original Model 1892 configuration. The vast majority of Model 1892 Rifles were subsequently modified but this rifle miraculously remains in its production configuration and was never modified. The serial number on this rifle is 20196, which was manufactured in October 1895, the second year of production. Only 24,919 Rifles were manufactured in the 1895 and only 1,518 were manufactured in October 1895 when this rifle was manufactured at Springfield Armory.
In the years after the US Civil War, the US Ordnance Department sought numerous times for a repeating rifle that could stand up to the demands of military service. The Ordnance Department established a Magazine Board in 1878 to review repeating rifle designs and selected the Winchester Hotchkiss for testing. The Winchester Hotchkiss proved to be too fragile for field service, but the Magazine Board continued to select and test repeating firearms. France’s selection of the Lebel bolt action rifle in 1886 provided additional impetus to the Ordnance Department to find a suitable repeating rifle for the US Army.
A new Board of Magazine Arms was established by the Ordnance Department in November 1890, in New York, to review several new small arms. A total of 53 rifles were reviewed and tested by the Board of Magazine Arms, to include the Austrian Mannlicher Rifle, the British Lee-Speed Rifle, the Danish Krag-Jorgensen, the Russian Mosin-Nagant Rifle, the Swiss Schmidt-Rubin rifle and the German Model 1889 Mauser Rifle. The Krag Jordensen design was submitted test rifles chambered in two cartridges: the Model 1892, Caliber .30 Government cartridge (later referred to as the .30-40 Krag round) and a rimless .30 caliber cartridge, both of which were developed and manufactured at Frankford Arsenal for the tests.
Each of the 53 test rifles were rigorously tested by the Board. These tests included firing 500 rounds without cleaning, artificially rusting the rifle and then firing additional rounds, and testing the rifle and actions in adverse environmental and weather conditions. The Board submitted the results of the testing on August 19, 1892 to Chief of Ordnance Brigadier General D. W. Flagler. General Flagler submitted these results along with the recommendation to adopt “Rifle No. 5,” which was the Danish version of the Krag Jorgensen Rifle, to the Secretary of War.
The Secretary of War approved the recommendation of the Krag Jorgensen Rifle, but the decision was anything but popular, particularly amongst American firearms designers and manufacturers, who protested that the US Government was selecting a foreign design. These manufacturers successfully lobbied Congress to force the Army to conduct another series of tests. Another examining board was then convened on March 1, 1893 with 13 American designs and the Krag Jorgensen design. The board found that none of the American designs were as suitable as the Krag Jorgensen design and this was then reported to the Secretary of War by Major General John M. Schofield on May 26, 1893 and, as a result, the Krag Jorgensen Rifle was confirmed as the US Army’s new service rifle.
Springfield Armory began tooling up for production of the new rifle in June 1893 and the first production rifle was manufactured on January 1, 1894. Production was initially 40 rifles per day and quickly reached 60 rifles per day. The goal was to quickly produce sufficient rifles to equip all of the Army’s infantry regiments followed by production of a carbine to equip the Army’s cavalry regiments.
The Receiver on this rifle is the original Type 1 Krag receiver, which was never modified. The original Side Plate still retains the vast majority of its original oil-quenched finish on the outer surface and nearly all of its finish on the interior surface and is the correct Type 1C Side Plate. The Type 1C was used up until around serial number 24,000. The Side Plate screw is only slightly marred. The bottom of the receiver still retains the vast majority of its original blued finish. The top, right, rear of the receiver was never modified with the extractor pin recess and remains entirely in its original Model 1892 configuration.
The Magazine well portion of the Receiver shows normal operational wear and retains considerable original, dark oil finish. The left receiver bolt recess and safety lug both remain in the white with normal wear noted. The left side of the Receiver, where the nomenclature, manufacture and serial number stamps are located, still retains the majority of its original, though slightly faded, finish. The chamber face of the Receiver retains considerable original dark finish. The Loading Gate lug and pin both retain the majority of their original finish.
The original Type 2 smooth face Trigger is present, and it retains considerable original color case-hardened finish towards the bottom with the top portion still retaining the majority of its dark finish. The Trigger Pin is the correct and early Type 1 Pin that is .10” in diameter and .455 inches long, which was used up until serial number 25,000. The original Type 1 Sear is present, and it retains 95% of its original dark oil finish.
The Loading Gate is the correct Type 1 D type that was introduce at serial number 11,000, and it retains considerable original dark finish with wear noted on the top edge of the gate thumb latch. The Follower remains correctly in the white and exhibits normal wear. The Carrier retains 95% of its original dark oil finish. The Hinge Bar and Pin is the correct Type 2 with the round end that was press-fitted into the head and it exhibits 95% of it the original dark oil finish. The Magazine Spring remains strong and the gate still opens and closes securely.
The original Type 3 B Magazine Cutoff is present, and it works correctly. The Type 3 B was introduced around serial number 16,000 and is characterized by 4 longitudinal grooves on the outer surface. The left side of the receiver has the correct markings, to include the year date “1894” followed by the “U.S. / SPRINGFIELD” and the serial number “20196.”
The Barrel on this rifle is its rare and original Type 1, Service Rifle Barrel. The vast majority of Model 1892 Rifles were re-barreled during surface and original Type 1 Barrels are extraordinarily scarce. Type 1 Barrels were used on Model 1892 Rifle production until 1895. The Barrel is 26” long. The muzzle on the Type 1 has a flat crown and the crown exhibits minimal wear. The witness line on the right side of the barrel aligns perfectly with the corresponding witness line on the right side of the receiver. The bottom of the barrel has a serif “P” firing proof stamp and a sans serif “B” inspection stamp. The breech end of the barrel is also correctly flat and has a script “12” stamp as seen through the lug recess. The bore of this Rifle has strong rifling and a mirror finish but there is considerable frosting in the grooves. It is still in firing condition. The Barrel retains 90% plus of its original but faded blued finish with wear noted at the muzzle and areas of old corrosion present in places.
The Front Sight Stud is present and is solidly brazed to the barrel. The Stud is the correct Type 1 with the stud slot measuring .055” wide. This slot was decreased to a .50” width on the Type 2 at the beginning of production of the Model 1896 Rifle. The Stud retains the majority of its original blued finish that now exhibits a plum patina in places. The Front Sight Post is present and is still secured to the Stud with the original pin. The Front Sight Post is the correct Type 2, which was approved for use on June 20, 1894, and which measures .285” above the Stud at the highest point. The Front Sight Post retains 90% of its original blue finish.
The Rifle is equipped with the original Rear Sight, Rifle, Model 1892. The Model 1892 Rifle Rear Sight was based on the earlier Model 1873 Trapdoor Rear Sight. It has a stepped base for range adjustments from 300 to 600 yards in 100-yard increments. The Leaf has range graduations from 700 to 1,900 yards in 100-yard increments. The Elevation Slide has a spring-loaded plunger that moves the slide catch into the corresponding grooves in the inside of the leaf. The Elevation Slide Screw has an unmarred slot. The Base retains 95% plus of the original blued finish. The Leaf is correctly polished to the white. The slide also retains 95% of the original blued finish. The detent plunger on the right side of the slide still has very crisp checkering. The Leaf mount screw has an unmarred slot. Both Rear Sight mounting screws retain the majority of their original blued finish and both have only slightly marred slots.
The Bolt is the original and rare Type 2 Bolt. It has the correct cutaway guide rib, which was changed from the long rib at serial number 14,600. The rear of the bolt does not have the cutaway slot for the securing stud on the cocking piece, which was eliminated around serial number 15,500. The majority of the original polished finish remains with areas of spotting that exhibits a mottled pewter patina in places.
The Cocking Piece is the original Type 2 that was introduced around serial number 16,000. The Type 2 has the beveled lug with locking notch on top and a small safety lock notch at the front of the neck. The comb has five rows of fine knurling and retains considerable original case-hardened finish on the head and neck while the barrel still retains generous traces of the original blued finish. The Main Spring has 31 coils and remains in the white.
The Bolt Sleeve is the original and rare Type 1B that was used from serial number 3,500. This sleeve has grasping grooves on the rear portion. There is, correctly, no safety lock spindle groove as was found on the later Type 2. The Safety Lock Pin is present, and the pin hole is correctly .11 inch below the shoulder. The Bolt Sleeve retains considerable original oil hardened finish that now generally exhibits a mottled pewter patina.
The original and rare Type 1 Striker is present. The Type 1 Striker had a slightly squared firing pinpoint and a squared end at the lug cutout. The squared firing pin was eliminated at serial number 21,000, just after this rifle was manufactured. The outer surface of the Striker remains correctly polished and the inside surface retains the majority of its original blued finish.
The Extractor is secured to the bolt sleeve with the original single-slot screw. The Extractor is the correct early Type 1 without the extractor hold open pin hump or corresponding notch in the receiver bridge. The Type 1 Extractor was used until around the time this rifle was manufactured and the vast majority were discarded and destroyed during arsenal refurbishment of Krag Rifles in the later 1890s. The Extractor main body and cartridge rim hook portion still retain the vast majority of its original bright, tempered blue finish. The Safety Lock is the early and correct one-piece type that retains traces of its original case-hardened finish on both sides.
The rifle sits in its original, very rare and excellent condition Type 1 Model 1892 Rifle Stock. The Type 1 Model 1892 Stock can be further subdivided into a Type 1A and Type 1B. The Type 1A bolt recess was higher than in the Type 1B, a change that was incorporated early in production around May 1894. This stock is the correct Type 1B with the slightly lower flared bolt recess. The Stock has the correct, unmodified ramrod channel. When earlier Model 1892 Rifles underwent upgrade, some of the original Model 1892 Stocks were reused and modified by widening the ramrod channel and gluing a squared wood insert into the entire channel up to the stock of the nose. To do this, the ramrod channel was widened. This stock has its original and unaltered ramrod channel with the correct flared end towards the butt and the original tulip-shaped recess at the nose and it measures .223 inches wide and approximately .242 inches deep. This stock also still retains the original ramrod threaded boss inlet into the stock to secure the ramrod when stowed. The inside of the stock also has the correct rounded vertical channel on either side of the trigger/sear recess for the .455 inch Type 1 Trigger Pin. The butt has the correct and original flat profile. The wrist is the original, small 1.675” diameter type. The original barrel channel is also unmodified with no air channels. The butt has the two lightening cuts, which were authorized around serial number 19,000, shortly before this rifle was manufactured.
The left side stock flat has the original boxed, clipped corner cartouche with the script initials “JSA” over the year “1895.” The initials are those of J. S. Adams, who was the Springfield Armory subinspector who took over inspection duties at Springfield upon the death of Master Armorer Samuel W. Porter in 1894. J. S. Adams inspected the majority of Krag rifles from 1894 until the end of production. The bottom of the Stock wrist has the correct, circle, script “P” firing proof stamp. The Stock is in very fine condition with minor dings and scratches but no cracks or chips noted and it retains its original oil finish and is in amazing condition given the extreme scarcity of original examples of Type 1 Stocks. Given the fall production of the rifle, this rifle was probably not stocked and finally proofed until early 1895.
This rifle has its original and rare one-piece Cleaning Rod, also known as the Type 2 Ramrod. The Type 2 Ramrod was made of steel and was adopted at serial number 500 to replace the earlier brass head Type 1 Ramrod that was deemed to be “unsightly” and which bent easily. The head end is swelled around the cleaning cloth slot that has parallel sides. This particular Ramrod is known as the Type 2A as it measures 29.50 inches long and the head diameter is .267”. The end is threaded at a diameter of .178” and the threaded area is .285” long. The ramrod exhibits a mottled pewter patina.
The original and correct Type 1 Butt Plate is present and retains the majority of its original blued finish that now exhibits a some plum streaks. The Type 1 Butt Plate is distinguished by its straight profile and that it does not have a trap door. The Type 1 Butt Plate was used only on Model 1892 Rifles until August 1895. The tang screw is in fine condition and is slightly marred. The lower butt plate screw is also single-slotted and slightly marred and is the correct Type 1 screw with the slightly domed head. The butt plate fits securely to the stock.
The Handguard is the original, very rare and fine condition Model 1892 Rifle Type 1 Handguard, which was used only on the Model 1892 Rifle. The Model 1892 Handguard is unique in Krag rifles in that it was the only one that did not extend to the rear over the receiver ring. Both original steel spring clips are present. All four rivets are present and measure approximately ¼” in diameter and all are just slightly recessed below the wood. The original slightly tapered bevel is present on the rear lip. There are no cracks or chips in the Handguard and it matches the color of the stock perfectly.
The Upper Band is the correct and rare Model 1892 Upper Band, Type 2. The solid Type 1 band was used from the start of production up through serial number 2,100, when the Type 2 was introduced. The Type 2 band was approved for use on April 2, 1894 and exhibits a cut away top that measures .780” wide by 1.215” long to lighten the weight of the band. It has the original ramrod channel lug on the bottom, front. The Band retains the vast majority of its original blue finish with small traces of plum patina. The Stacking Swivel also retains the majority of its original blued finish with wear noted on the outer edges, and the dome head, single slot stacking swivel screw is unmarred. The Stacking Swivel moves freely. The Bayonet Lug retains the majority of its original finish that is largely a plum patina on the bottom surface. The Upper Band Screw has a dome head and slightly marred single slot. The Band secures firmly to the stock and rifle when installed.
The Lower Band is the original and correct Model 1892 Rifle Lower Band and it still retains 98% plus of its original blued finish with a few small areas of old corrosion and small streaks of plum patina. The Band has the correct serif “U” stamp on the side. The Upper Sling Swivel also retains the majority of its original blued finish with small areas of plum patina on the edges. The Band Screw’s single-slot is slightly marred. The Lower Band pin, the head of which protrudes from the right side of the stock to help secure the band, is present. The Lower Band seats firmly on the rifle and secures the upper band without any play.
The Lower Sling Swivel Assembly, also known as the Butt Swivel Assembly, is the correct milled type. The Swivel Plate retains 95% of its original blue finish with very minor wear noted on the boss. Both done head, single-slot screws are present and are only slightly marred. The Sling Swivel retains most of its original blue finish. The Swivel moves freely.
The original Trigger Guard is present and is in very fine condition, retaining the vast majority of its original bright blued finish with only a few small areas of scratching on the guard bow and a few small areas showing a plum patina. Both Guard Screws are present, and both retain considerable original blued finish with very slight marring of the single slots.
This is an extraordinarily rare rifle that is a true survivor in its original Model 1892 configuration. Original and unmodified Model 1892 Krag Rifles are considered the Holy Grail of Krag collecting. This rifle functions perfectly.