Monday, January 13, 2014

Murphy's Law Needs to Buy This

Well, not this exact one.  I was drooling so much I forgot to take pics of the one I'm referring to.

Since I had to wait on Blu all afternoon Saturday, I chose to go over to the old section of Leesburg and poke around the antique malls.  Having already paid the lower of the estimated costs for his tests I was feeling broke on a stunned level, but it was still more interesting that making a 50 mile round trip twice.  And I could have lunch in town, which in Leesburg is a yummy and comforting idea.

So I hit the Leesburg Antiques Emporium.  Lots of good stuff there.  Including antique guns.  This one caught my eye simply because I liked the way it looked. A lot of nice wood.  A stocky carbine - my short arms could probably handle it.  It's a Springfield "Krag", which replaced the Springfield single shot trap-door models and served as the Army's primary rifle from 1893 to 1904.

From Wikipedia:

 According to contemporary, perhaps sensationalized accounts, the Krag's complex design was outclassed by the Spanish Mauser during the Spanish American War, and proved ill-suited for use in tropical locales such as Cuba and the Philippines. American soldiers found themselves unable to match the volume of fire displayed by the Spanish 1893 Mauser rifle, with its box magazine that could be fully reloaded with clips, and a high-velocity, flat-shooting 7mm cartridge which was quickly dubbed the 'Spanish Hornet'. During the American assault on the strategic Cuban city of Santiago, a small force of 750 Spanish troops armed with Model 1893 Mauser rifles defended positions on San Juan and Kettle hills. The attacking force consisted of approximately 6,600 American soldiers, most of them regulars, armed with the then-new smokeless-powder Krag-Jorgensen rifle and supported by artillery and Gatling gun fire. Though the assault was successful, the Americans soon realized that they had suffered more than 1,400 casualties in the assault. A U.S board of investigation pinned the blame on the superior firepower of the Spanish Model 1893 Mauser rifles, although modern analysis has determined that many of the casualties were due to superior Spanish fortifications on the high ground. With the Krag's replacement with the Mauser-derived M1903, the rifle is tied for the shortest service life of any standard-issue firearm in US military history (1892–1903).
According to the seller, this particular one was actually issued to TR's Rough Riders.  Oh.  Want.  Don't care if it didn't work well in tropical climates. Don't care if Mauser's outclassed it.

The price tag is only $8,500, Murph.  You're a collector - you've got that much laying around, right?


  1. NIce. I am missing a Krag from my collection. But $8500? Seller can KMA for a couple of reasons, the first being that ridiculous price. His story of where it's been is just that--a story--unless he has actual documentation, which I doubt. Most of us learned the hard way to "buy the gun, not the story" and I've been nipped a few times back in the day before I got the message.

    But more importantly, that one's a fake anyway. It's not a real Krag carbine. It's a Krag rifle that was cut down at some time in it's life. Hard to pick out the clues from that one picture but the front sight gives it away. That's a 1903 Springfield front sight post which tags this rifle as a cut-down, possibly done back in the day by Bannermans or the DCM. It's worth a few hundred bucks but that's it.

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  3. @Rev and Keads - Particularly since you can get a Krag of those years of issue for less than $1000.

    @ML - That pic isn't the one at the shop. It's just one I stole off the web.

    And yeah, serious need of paperwork. I once was in an autograph shop that had lots of plaques with the autographs set with pics and biographies in engraved brass and wood. Lovely. And the one they had as John Adam's autograph was actually John Quincy Adams. I told the staff that it was wrong but I betcha some collector with more money than knowledge bought it at some point.

    1. OH, ok. I wondered who'd let you set an "$8500 rifle" on the floor for pics. But as Old NFO says...without documentation, it's just another rifle. Now if you happen to run across an un-cut rifle or real carbine at a serious price, lemme know, k?

    2. I'm thinking that with verifiable documentation for a primo rifle carried by TR's guys that $4000 sounds more reasonable. On the other hand, I've been left slack jawed by some appraisal prices assigned to guns on "Antiques Roadshow".

  4. Nice piece, but without documentation/provenance, it's just another rifle...