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An appropriate forum topic? (Read 4205 times)
waterman
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An appropriate forum topic?
Jul 20th, 2010 at 8:06pm
 
My last post mentioned a Krag Model 1898 Gallery Practice Rifle.  My questions are (1) is this an appropriate forum for this rifle? And (2), is any one interested?  The Krag GPR is a single shot rifle chambered for 22 LR.  It is made on a very late Krag action.  The conversion was designed by Harry Pope  Smiley and was first marketed by Stevens in 1903 or 1904.  Wink  But it is a bolt-action rifle.   Angry

Stevens marketed 22RF Pope barrels turned so that the chamber and rear of the bore are eccentric to the main axis of the barrel and the bore is centered in the barrel at the muzzle.  The extractor is very much like the extractor on a 22 rimfire Winchester Single Shot, except that there is no ejector function.  The extractor is operated by a secondary extractor rod which engages (for a time) the regular extractor fitted to an issue Krag bolt.  When the secondary extractor reaches the end of its travel limit, it snaps out from under the Krag extractor and pulls the extractor back into its original position.  When the Winchester-type extractor snaps forward, the empty case or extracted cartridge falls onto the feed trough on the bottom of the Krag action.

Stevens apparently sold several hundred of these barrels, the idea being that a qualified person could remove the military 30-40 barrel from Krag and replace it with the Stevens barrel.  The rifle would then be used for gallery shooting.  They are mentioned and pictured in Smith's book, but have you ever see one?

National Guard units in Ohio, PA, NJ & WA purchased barrels from Stevens (How many?) and apparently converted 800+ rifles.  In 1905, the Army's Chief of Ordnance said the conversions were not authorized & ordered all converted Krags restored to original condition.  NG officers demonstrated better marksmanship in units using the converted Krags than in units without the converted rifles.  Springfield Armory built 841 Krags as Gallery Practice Rifles in 1905-07 for issue to NG units.  I'm testing one of these.



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waterman
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Re: An appropriate forum topic?
Reply #1 - Jul 20th, 2010 at 8:16pm
 
If you look at the time line between the assembly of the Stevens-Pope conversions (1903-1904), the final order to restore the converted Krags (1905), and the appearance of the Springfield-made Krag GPR (1906-1907) you see the appearance of the Winchester Winder Musket and the Stevens 404 Armory Model.  Charles Winder was an Ohio NG officer.  Was this Teddy Roosevelt's version of Boeing vs Airbus selling a new tanker to the USAF?
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38_Cal
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Re: An appropriate forum topic?
Reply #2 - Jul 20th, 2010 at 9:07pm
 
Waterman, I'm certainly not offended by the topic...it's a single shot, it is from our era, and I'm sure that some of the early Schuetzen shooters may have trained with one at one point or another in their shooting careers.  Tell us more and show photos!

David
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David Kaiser
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slumlord44
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Re: An appropriate forum topic?
Reply #3 - Jul 20th, 2010 at 11:06pm
 
A Pope barreled Kraig .22 was sold on Gunbroker within the last couple of years. Realy wanted to buy it but I think it sold for somewhere around $1800 to $2000. Not certain about price but it was out of my price range at the time. Looking back, maybe I should have found the money somewhere. I have several military .22 trainers and it is a rare one. I for one am interested in more info on these.
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Re: An appropriate forum topic?
Reply #4 - Jul 21st, 2010 at 6:13am
 
Waterman

I am very interested in the Kraig Gallery,  Post I put up on the Stevens 425 Lever action got all sorts of back and forth & helped me sorting things out. Perhaps we need a "other" category, rifles or pistols loosely linked to strict ASSRA style rifles.

Boats

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waterman
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Reply #5 - Jul 21st, 2010 at 12:55pm
 
I don't have a digital camera. I'll get photos of this Krag posted, but please be patient.  I attached a low-res scan of a conversion from Smith's book.  Maybe that will work as a starter.

The Stevens-Pope barrels were intended to be "parts replacement" conversions & used the regular Krag bolt & extractor.  I think they were drilled & tapped for standard Krag barrel sights.  Once installed, they looked just like the military rifle unless someone made a sporter of it.  The only way to tell would be to look at the muzzle, or to look at the roll stamping on the barrel, or to open the bolt & look at the chamber.  The Stevens-Pope barrels had the eccentric chamber offset toward the top of the action.  The eccentric chamber offset to the top of the action made the bore slope "downhill" and required the sights to be adjusted to raise the line of sight.  Apparently Stevens made both rifle-length (30") and carbine-length (22" ?) barrels.

Empty cases were a problem.  Once you had fired & opened the bolt, the empty case either dropped onto the loading tray or hung up at the end of the chamber, just held a tiny bit by powder fouling.  But the loading tray had a cut on the left, where the cartridges were pushed up by the follower.  It was said to be difficult to get your fingers into the action to pick out the empty case.  

If you tilted the rifle to left, the empty case would roll toward the cut on the loading tray, or else get caught between the follower and the bolt.  The "working" solution was to remove the plate on the left side of the action.  A more permanent solution was to remove the innards of the magazine and let the empties fall into the magazine. But that made the re-conversion problem more complicated.  More parts to get lost.

More about the Springfield-made version on my next post.
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Joel Black
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Re: An appropriate forum topic?
Reply #6 - Jul 21st, 2010 at 2:06pm
 
The one Pope Krag I ever owned was the only Pope that I could not get to shoot a decent group. It had a perfect bore and my eyes were still good, but I never found any make of cartridge that it was happy with.
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Reply #7 - Jul 21st, 2010 at 9:18pm
 
That is where I am going with this thread.  Stand by.
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waterman
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Reply #8 - Jul 23rd, 2010 at 10:36pm
 
Joel,

Please tell us more about your Pope Krag.  Was it a 22 RF? Was it one of the Stevens-Pope barrels?  Was the barrel numbered?  If a 22 RF, do you know the bore & groove diameters and the twist?

Were the Stevens-Pope 22 RF barrels for the Krag numbered with the rest of the Stevens-Pope barrels or did they have their own numbering sequence?  IIRC, Smith tells us that the number of the Pope barrel on the Krag in the above photo is somewhere about 860.  That is right in the middle of the regular barrel sequence, so it does not tell us very much.

Waterman
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Joel Black
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Re: An appropriate forum topic?
Reply #9 - Jul 24th, 2010 at 12:09am
 
I'm afraid my cloudy old memory has failed me completely when it comes to that rifle. I'm in KC at the moment, but when I get home I will try to find my 3X5 card on it. At the time I owned it I was an undergraduate lab assistant for Prof. J. H. Matthews who was working on his set of "Firearms Identification" books. I ran all of the guns I owned through the battery of tests that measured land, groove, rate and direction of twist etc. The stats for each firearm was entered on a card. Somewhere in the rabbit warren I call an office, I believe I still have those cards.
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Re: An appropriate forum topic?
Reply #10 - Jul 29th, 2010 at 11:26am
 
I have time to get back on this topic.  I'm hoping Joel Black can find his 3x5 card.  Meanwhile, my comments about Pope inventing the extractor system were in error.  Pope positioned the offset chamber at the top (12 o'clock) position to make use of the regular extractor without any intervening gizmos. 

The offset at the top meant that the bore was pointed slightly downhill.  This required elevating the sights to get the rifle on paper at gallery-range distances.  And there were some extraction problems.  Following are scans photo of the chamber end of a Stevens-Pope barrel.  The scans are from Brophy's 1903 Springfield book.  The 2nd scan is of a Krag carbine with a Stevens-Pope barrel.  If there were hundreds of these barrels, what happened to them?

Springfield experimented with Pope's use of the Krag extractor.  3rd scan is a photo of that rifle.  Same problems as with Stevens-Pope.

The 6 o'clock chamber, the extractor patterned after that on the Winchester Single Shot and  the system for using a secondary extractor rod were Springfield Armory developments.  4th scan shows the secondary extractor rod.

Springfield used very high numbered Krag actions to build these rifles.  SNs will be > 476,000.  The actions are marked ".22 Cal" on the left side and can be identified by a hole drilled in the left side.  This hole allows the insertion of an internal trip pin.  The trip pin causes the Krag's extractor to release the secondary extractor rod.

Springfield ground away some of the right side of the receiver ring, allowing the shooter's fingers greater access to the chamber.  My experience to date says that the extractor works but does not always remove the case entirely.  Sometimes it is held in the mouth of the chamber, frequently just by sticky lube & fouling.  Other times the empty case drops into a vertical position against the face of the barrel.  I now run my finger into the action before each reloading, just to make sure the empty case is out of the way.
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Re: An appropriate forum topic?
Reply #11 - Jul 29th, 2010 at 11:28am
 
Don't know how to make those photos print in horizontal format.  Here's the second scan.
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waterman
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Reply #12 - Jul 29th, 2010 at 11:30am
 
This is the 3rd scan, the experimental Krag with a 12 O'clock chamber and ground away portion of the receiver ring.  The photo is not great and you have to use your imagination.
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Reply #13 - Jul 29th, 2010 at 11:36am
 
Scan #4 showing secondary extractor rod.
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Reply #14 - Jul 29th, 2010 at 11:39am
 
Left side of Krag Gallery Practice Rifle.  Another scan from Brophy's book.
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