It is now the American military who do not spare money for the F-35 aircraft and the Zumwalt destroyers, that is, they acquire everything new, “fresh” and expensive for their army. And there was a time when the American congressmen economized on the army so that weapons for it were purchased on a leftover basis, so that if there were good winchesters, the American cavalrymen did not have them, and used the old-fashioned single-action colts even when Smith and Wesson exported her breakthrough single and double action revolvers to Russia (the first for soldiers, the second for officers).
Krag-Jorgensen rifle with bayonet.
It is believed that it was precisely because of the stinginess of those who were responsible for equipping the army that the Americans were defeated by the Indians at the Little Big Horn, where they simply suppressed them with fire from their Winchesters and Henry's rifles, while the soldiers of General Custer answered them from single-shot carbines Springfield.
Diagram of the device of the Krag-Jorgensen rifle. Below left is a sectional diagram of the store.
That is, the American military did not have enough money to upgrade weapons. Hence the desire to choose the very best of the available and at a relatively inexpensive price. As always happens in such cases, as soon as it became necessary to adopt a new rifle, the Arms Committee was created under the leadership of Colonel Robert Hall, where 53 rifles were presented, both domestic, for example, the Savage rifle model 1892 with a drum magazine and a shutter controlled by a lever, and foreign, up to the Russian arr. 1891 Even the Japanese rifle Murata was among them and could have been adopted by the US Army if it had not been outstripped among all others by a rifle from … Denmark - designers Ole Krag and Eric Jorgensen.
American patent for the Krag-Jorgensen rifle 1890
A) general arrangement.
B) magazine and drummer.
C) the device of the store.
First, the rifle was tested with the original 30-40 Krag cartridges, and then with the 0.3-inch cartridge, which was developed by Arsenal in Frankford. The rifles were subjected to very tough, one might even say - cruel tests. They were covered with sand, dipped in liquid mud, heated, fired with sawed-off cartridges and cartridges with an enhanced charge. And, despite all this, a rifle from small and distant Denmark withstood all these tests. In August 1892, the rifle was recommended for service. However, American gunsmiths were quick to protest this choice, considering this decision unpatriotic. More serious was another remark related to the transition to metric tolerances in the production of a new rifle: a new system of measures would require replacing the entire measuring instrument, rebuilding the machine park and, most importantly, high financial costs. As a result, a scandal began, and the smell of corruption allegations began. The press joined the discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of the rifle, in a word, "passion for the rifle" flared up serious. The US Congress, frightened, appointed re-tests of thirty now only American rifles, which the commission of Robert Hall (who had already become a general by that time!) Rejected. And it turned out that none of the proposed rifles, again, was better than the Krag-Jorgensen! For example, the same "Savage" with a drum magazine was considered too complicated. However, the design of the Danish rifle was also one more "highlight" that bribed the American military. This is … yes, a completely unique side shop.
This is how the bolt and the magazine lid looked at a rifle manufactured by Steyr, mod. 1896 g.
Here you need to stop and philosophize a little. There have always been and will be people who, having a good foreign model in front of them, tried to create something unique and of their own. Or they tried to bypass someone else's patent by all means. Sometimes, especially with regard to weapons, this led to curiosities. So, Samuel Colt drove away the man who offered him a drum with through holes for metal cartridges and he went … to Smith and Wesson. And after the death of her husband, his wife had to hire engineers who were supposed to bypass the lost patent, but create a revolver chambered for a metal cartridge. And such a revolver was created, and a cartridge was created for it, inserted into the sockets of the drum … from the front! And only when the patent expired did the famous "Colt Peacemaker" appear.
The magazine cover is folded down. The feeder lever is clearly visible, recessed in the lid, and the oblique protrusion on it, by pressing which it was folded back.
In this case, both Krag and Jorgensen could not help but know that in 1879 James Lee invented a very simple and convenient store. True, in the early samples of his rifle it was impossible to fire manually, loading each new cartridge. Then this drawback was eliminated, but the Danish designers, apparently, considered that their rifle should have a magazine, which can be recharged without opening the bolt and without stopping the firing, which the military even liked.
The shutter is open. The spring lever of the extractor located on top of it is clearly visible.
The muzzle velocity of the bullet, depending on the model and cartridge, was 580-870 m / s, the aiming range of American rifles ranged from 1700 to 1800 m, but it could be 2000 m 1945, that is, more than half a century, which is very decent for a rifle created so long ago.
Be that as it may, but the director of the Kongsberg arsenal Ole Krag and the gunsmith-technologist Erik Jorgensen ensured that their rifle was adopted by the Danish army in 1889. It was followed by the army of neighboring Norway. But, of course, the most impressive moment in her biography was her service in the US Army.
Brass muzzle with muzzle.
Fuse on the bolt and extractor spring plate.
What is the structure of this rather unusual rifle? The barrel was locked in it with one combat stop, which entered the groove when the bolt was turned. In European Krag-Jorgensen models, the base of the bolt handle also goes into a special groove and serves as an additional stop for the bolt. The handle is located at the rear, which is more ergonomically advantageous than in the middle. The cartridges are fed from an integral single-row five-round magazine, which is located under the bolt guide. In fact, this is an empty L-shaped metal box, closed on the right side by a door protruding from the forend.
Store device. The cartridge feeding lever is clearly visible.
The rifle is loaded as follows: the door opens (and for Danish rifles it leans forward, and for Norwegian and American ones - down, but in all cases, the cartridge feeder lever is automatically retracted to the lid wall), and cartridges are put inside. Then it closes, and the feeder lever is released and pushes the cartridges from right to left, towards the exit from the store into the receiver, on a guide with a recess along which the bolt slides. It remains to send the cartridge with the bolt into the barrel, lock it by turning the handle and you can shoot.
On some early models of rifles, the magazine cover opened forward, and instead of a protrusion, it had a knob on the side of the barrel.
The design of the store was such that the rims on the cartridges did not interfere with loading. It was also impossible to feed two cartridges to the ramming line at the same time, that is, no cut-off reflectors were required for the rifle. But in the design of the store, a cut-off was provided for the store, the inclusion of which turned it into a single-shot. The rifle was also discharged very easily. It was enough to open the store door and tilt the rifle onto the block, as they easily spilled out of it.
The location of the cartridges in the store.
To speed up loading in Danish rifles, a clip with a spring latch was used. Thanks to a special adapter, American rifles of the 1899 model of the year, thanks to a special adapter, could also be equipped from a plate holder for 5 rounds, which was inserted from the top-side, and the cartridges, as usual, were squeezed out of it with a finger. The rifle was equipped with a bayonet-knife, which was worn in a special sheath on the belt. The caliber of the American rifle was 7.62 mm, the Danish one was 8 mm, the Norwegian one was 6.5 mm.
The shutter is open, the magazine is closed, the feeder lever is visible in the feed window.
The shutter is open, the magazine cover is folded down, the feeder lever is pressed against the cover. One cannot but agree that this is a very ingenious and simple solution, technically very beautiful.
View of the stamp on the breech and the bolt box with the bolt open.
The rifles were used by the American military during the events of 1900 in Beijing and during the Spanish-American conflict of 1899-1902. The use has revealed both the advantages and disadvantages of this rifle. In particular, it turned out that the German 7 × 57 mm Mauser rifle is a longer-range weapon than the Danish one. Therefore, the Krag-Jorgensen rifle was soon replaced by the Springfield M1903 rifle chambered for the more powerful.30-03 cartridge, which, in fact, was a copy of the German Mauser 98. The Americans themselves called it "a rifle for one war." But in fact, this rifle of Danish armourers fought in the American army, rather than one, but "one and a half wars" in the Philippines, Cuba and China. Well, the rifles taken out of service were sold to the Americans and added to their home arsenals.
The personal impression of the rifle is as follows: comfortable, "good", not heavy, the pistol neck of the box lies well in the palm of your hand. It is very interesting to manage the store. You open it … and it is completely empty, and what pushes the cartridges over it is completely incomprehensible at first. Then you realize that when the lid is opened, the lever remains inside it. By tilting the rifle on its side, all five rounds can be poured into the magazine at the same time and without any clip. There is practically nothing to clog up there, so it is not surprising that the Americans chose this particular weapon, because they still did not know about what wars lay ahead of them …