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  #1  
Old 03-08-2017, 03:09 PM
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30-40 krag haedspace issue


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I have an 1898 Krag rifle and it has a major head space issue, it splits the cases near the rim of the case, it even splits new cases on the first firing. Any way I have talked to several gun smiths and only two have showed an interest in working on it. One guy is a certified gun smith but he works out of his home so I really don't now about the quality of his work. I had one gun smith tell me it could be fixed but he won't attempt it because the receiver on the Krag is very soft and he is afraid he may damage it when removing the barrel, the only one who seems like he is capable of doing the job says he can do it for $275.00 but again he told me that he would have to use an aluminum block whatever that is and be careful with the receiver and not to damage it. Are there any Krag experts out there that can give me some advice on this issue, I really like to shoot my Krag but am also thinking about using it as a wall hanger, any advice or options on this issue is appreciated.
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Old 03-08-2017, 04:31 PM
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Fastfreddy-- That is a particularly tough rifle to work on. The action wrench needed is complicated to machine and would be very doubtful it would ever be needed again.

Krags are deeply case hardened and tend to crack when torqued wrong. You really need to find out WHY you have headspace before trying to fix it. Once case-hardened surfaces lets go it keeps going.
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Old 03-08-2017, 04:36 PM
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Fire form new brass with 2-3 grains of Bullseye and some Cream of Wheat and toilet paper, then just neck size you cases. It works for my 30-06AI made by Charlie O'neill that's older than me. Make sure to clear any left over Cream of Wheat between shots though.

If you reload that is.

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Old 03-08-2017, 04:40 PM
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...or use about 14 grains of Unique and good old Aunt Jemima grits and the bore is pretty much self cleaning.
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Old 03-09-2017, 08:54 AM
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BUT---Not before you find out WHY there is a headspace issue! As noted, the receivers are prone to cracking, and the bolts also! Once you have determined the receiver and bolt to be sound, then proceed with the fire-forming. Good luck - those are grand old rifles!
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Old 03-09-2017, 11:55 AM
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Wot the gentlemen wrote ∆

A few possibilities for you to look at, to see why you are having problems.

The Poor Krag and Jorgensen landed on some bad luck in 1892, local inventer's and manufacturers were outraged, actions were made with horrible square form barrel threads and from the same Grade of steel, and with the same poorly controlled heat treated as the low number model 1903s. It looks like they were scapegoated for Roosevelt's grandiose Imperial ambitions in Cuba and the Philippines, not going smoothly, and it looks like the 220 grain military loads were way over pressure ( I'd be curious to know what pressures are needed to get 2,200 FPS out of a .30-40 case and 30" barrel with a 220 grain bullet, even with present day powders, if anyone has quickload)

Since then they've had over a century of running the gauntlet of a far greater danger - Bubba...

First thing, remember that the Krag has its locking seat cut on a helix, the bolt is advancing slightly and with massive force as the handle is turned down, finger tip force is more than enough for taking measurements.

Is it headspace? Have you a micrometer, or even dial calipers? Take the firing mechanism out, keep the extractor out of the way, give the front of the bolt and the breech a good clean and start with a sized but otherwise empty case, and add a shim at a time of baking foil behind the head, until you feel the slightest bit of resistance on the bolt handle turning down

Measure the case rim (remember that it's chamfered at the rear) and the stack of baking foil shims, and report back.

Have you any engineer's blue? Blue the empty case head, put it in the chamber and gently close the bolt behind it, do you get an even transfer of blue to the bolt face, indicating that it is square behind the case head?

What is the clearence (if any) between the rear of the guide rib and the front "locking cheek" of the receiver bridge with the bolt closed and the handle pulled backwards?

Are there any bright areas on the bolt ? Where are they?

Give the bolt a good scrub in kerosene or gasoline, wipe it dry, does any weep out of a crack? You can also try your hand at magnetic flux leakage, if you take it to a welding shop for them to do it, ask them to have something soft under it, you don't want it dropped on a hard floor.
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Old 03-09-2017, 12:33 PM
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Poor mans die penetrant test--- Wash in gasoline, dry with paper towel then spray with common athletes foot powder. Look for the dark lines of a crack to show up in the white powder.
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Old 03-09-2017, 07:57 PM
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you can try these guys....
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  #9  
Old 03-10-2017, 02:12 AM
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If the rifle is in good condition, but has excessive headspace, reloading is one way to solve the problem.

You neck up your case necks to 33 or 35 caliber, then neck back down just enough to get the round to chamber. You are creating a false shoulder that allows the case to headspace properly for fire-forming. You can also seat long, heavy-for-caliber bullets into lands a bit, with a modest charge, but the prior method seems to work better.

Two sturdy hooks over the mantle also come to mind.
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  #10  
Old 03-20-2017, 07:48 AM
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Check out Krag Collectors Association Forum. This site is dedicated to nothing but Krags and the guys know their stuff. I own a Model '98 Krag built in 1901 and this site has been a wealth of information.
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  #11  
Old 03-20-2017, 05:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magilla26 View Post
Check out Krag Collectors Association Forum. This site is dedicated to nothing but Krags and the guys know their stuff. I own a Model '98 Krag built in 1901 and this site has been a wealth of information.
I am not going to that site again, got infected by some nasty mailware and cost me $150.00 to get my computer cleaned.
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Old 03-21-2017, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by fastfreddy View Post
I am not going to that site again, got infected by some nasty mailware and cost me $150.00 to get my computer cleaned.
Sorry to hear that. I am on that sight weekly and have had no problems.
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Old 03-22-2017, 07:06 AM
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I think that Forgotten Weapons, has a scan of a 1917 issue of a Krag manual.

Did you try looking at any of the things that I suggested? How do they look?
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Old 05-06-2017, 05:53 AM
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I fell into a Krag Cavalry Carbine with a 1901 date and it was a semi basket case to start with. First off stock was cracked at grip, right behind action screw going straight down grip and all the way out the right side. The shoulders the action rests on (see a Krag stock and you will see it is very thin at the bottom of the action) and had hair line cracks at the bottom of the vertical surfaces where they meet at the lowest cut out for the action there long cracks on each side.

I figured the rifle had been the victim of a horse falling on it. That called for surgery so out came the Devcon 2 Ton Epoxy and I mixed it with acetone to thin it and injected it into the grip and clamped it shut with radiator hose clamps.

On the shoulder the action contacted I set it up in drill press and drilled vertical holes from top down through the cracked areas (but not out the bottom of the stock) and put flooded holes with Devcon and acetone mix and eased the dowels down it.

On the forearm I flooded the lightening cuts in stock with Devcon and laid in 1/4X20 all thread. None of the reinforcing threaded rods or dowels can be seen with the action in the stock.

Finally I drilled from the front down the middle of the grip area and inserted 1/4X20 all thread ground flat on one side to allow the excess Devcon to be forced into the wood pores and out past the end of the rod.

The result was a stock that cannot be flexed!!! And hopefully won't be experiencing any more trauma as it has seen its share.



Just look at that nice sharp rifling in the throat ! ! ! ! I thought I had a winner for sure.

Then I found the bad news, rifle grouped 8" at 100 yards. Apparently dirt dobbers had built a nest in the bore and it was pitted so much the rifling could not be seen for about 4" from muzzle. Made me sick ! ! ! !


I was telling a shooting gunsmith buddy about it named Clif Huston from Florida and he said to bring the rifle to Camp Perry and give it to him. He said he already had a Krag reamer so I took it to him. He brought it back to me with a new 30 cal barrel that was turned down to dupe the factory contour from a target rifle barrel take off and he put Remington 700 Sights on it.

I went out and shot it with some 190 gr Winchester Match bullets and shot a 1 1/4" 5 shot group at 200 yards and I could not believe it. I knew right then that rifle was going to have nothing but TLC the rest of its days and since it is 116 now ........well we will see or whoever will see I pass it to.

Then to top that off a gun shop was going out of business in Columbus, Ga and they were selling factory ammo for 5.00 a box and I got about 400 rounds (all they had). Also got a hundred empty cases in the sale. I rarely shoot it but it is one of my favorite rifles.

I would try the case forming routine Jack Belk described. Those things have a throat in them the bullet will arrive it next weekend. WC Davis in the NRA reloading manual has lots of loads for the Krags. He says spitzer bullets do not give best accuracy and recommends Hornady 30-30 bullets in the 150 and 170 gr weights seated way out for a 3.089 length. I used Hornady 170 gr loaded to 3.037 OAL (note no longer a military chamber but now has a new chamber/throat to SAAMI specs) and 46 gr. 4351 (not 4351 not a missprint) 4351 probably no longer available.
I was not able to find my 190 gr load that shot so well.
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Last edited by Humpy; 05-08-2017 at 03:25 AM.
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Old 05-06-2017, 10:10 AM
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I will probably be taking it to the gunsmith that said he could fix it for $275.00, I want to start shooting it again.
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Old 05-06-2017, 10:39 AM
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fastfreddy--- BEWARE! Find out how he's going to 'fix it'? If I got a quote like that on a rifle the 'smith had never seen, I'd be VERY wary!

If you would answer the questions in post #6 it would be helpful to those of us that want to help.
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Old 05-06-2017, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBelk View Post
fastfreddy--- BEWARE! Find out how he's going to 'fix it'? If I got a quote like that on a rifle the 'smith had never seen, I'd be VERY wary!

If you would answer the questions in post #6 it would be helpful to those of us that want to help.
No amount of experimenting is going to change the fact that the head space needs to be corrected, cases split when fired whether they have been fired more than once or new cases, even factory rounds split. The guy I plan on having do the work said the barrel has to be removed and then carefully set back, it is a trial and error process, chamber has to be reamed out also. Only concern he has is that Krag receivers can crack if to much stress is put on them so he has to take his time with the project, he is the only gun smith that I talked to that is willing to do the job, one other gun smith said he could do the job but it would cost much more and he is backed up for at least a year.
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Old 05-06-2017, 12:09 PM
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Fast Freddy, was just getting ready to write the same thing Jack did. Could you post of pictures of your fired cases?
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Old 05-06-2017, 01:29 PM
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FF- There is a question that's VERY LARGE and important that should be answered BEFORE you spend money on the gun: WHY does it have headspace? What changed and why? Until you know that, it's like putting air in a flat tire without patching the hole.
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Old 05-06-2017, 02:13 PM
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Reading this thread with interest. Have a couple questions.
Does the Krag head space off the rim or shoulder. Either way why would new cases be splitting at the head?

Guess it could if the bolt lug or receiver lug got set back?
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Last edited by MontyF; 05-06-2017 at 02:15 PM.
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