Some Danish to go with your morning coffee

European Krags
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butlersrangers
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Some Danish to go with your morning coffee

Post by butlersrangers »

Well now I've done it. I got it in my head to tinker with a Danish Krag and picked up a Danish Artillery carbine at the MAAC Show, a couple of weeks ago.

Some of the forearm and the front barrel-band are missing. What remains is in good shape with all the serial numbers matching.
I got it to be a 'shooter'. (I probably paid a bit too much for an altered military piece, but the money is going to the Widow of an old collecting acquaintance).
BTW - It was the only Danish Krag at the show.

Down the road, I will likely restore the forearm, especially if I can locate a correct Danish front barrel-band with stacking-swivel. (Anyone have one lying around)?

It is an interesting rifle. It was built in 1896 at GEVAERFABRIKEN KJOBENHAVN as a model 1889 infantry rifle. Around 1908-1910 it was updated with a Safety-Mechanism and removal of the 1/2 cock-notch from the striker-rod.

Around 1924, the arm was converted into the Artillery Carbine configuration: An "A" for Artillery added to some of the serial numbers, shortened stock, shortened barrel (approx. 23 inches) and barrel jacket, new sights, side 'carrier-stud' & sling-swivel, and triangular shaped barrel-band swivel.
The carbine retains its original barrel, (though arsenal shortened). The Rasmussen rifling, which is like Metford rifling, has six rounded lands and grooves.
This gives the bore a hexagonal appearance.
I 'slugged' the bore by driving through an oversize lead projectile. Groove to groove dimension averaged .328". Land to land dimension averaged .311".

I have obtained some 8mm X 56RS Mannlicher (Prvi) brass in order to make some improvised 8mm X 58R Danish ammo. I will try some starting .30-40 data and use 196 grain .323" projectiles.

The Danish Krag feels rather heavy and bulky when compared to a similar length U.S. Krag.
The 1924 vintage sights are attached to the barrel-jacket and create a very clear sight-picture for aging eyes. The front blade can be drifted to adjust windage.

I will show detailed pictures of this rifle's construction and design in the coming days.
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Last edited by butlersrangers on Fri Feb 18, 2022 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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butlersrangers
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Re: Some Danish to go with your morning coffee

Post by butlersrangers »

The Danish action is anchored to the stock with three heavy screws or bolts. Two at the trigger guard and one at the front of the action.
These screws have almost the same thread as U.S. Krag trigger-guard screws, approximately 24 TPI and 1/4-inch maximum thread diameter.
The Danish screws are longer and have larger diameter slotted heads.

The Danish and U.S. trigger-guards are close in size but not interchangeable. All other Danish and U.S. Krag parts are drastically different.

Attached are some photos of my Danish stock paired with a U.S. Krag stock. The brass stock marker indicates the Danish carbine was apparently issued to the 3rd Field Artillery Regiment.
I have also copied a photo showing the complete forearm tip on a similar Danish carbine.
The 'stud', projecting from the left wrist of my Krag, slid into a 'back shield/carrier' that allowed the carbine to be comfortably carried on the Artillery man's back.
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butlersrangers
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Re: Some Danish to go with your morning coffee

Post by butlersrangers »

Similar in function, but different in approach, the Danish Krag uses a flat spring for trigger return and another flat spring as an ejector.

The 'ejector' places a bit of pressure on the bolt-body and the rubbing adds a bit of drag to bolt operation.
I suppose this friction obviates the need for a bolt 'hold-open' pin, when the Danish Krag is used as a single-shot with magazine contents in reserve?

The magazine cut-off lever allows the feed of cartridges when it is 'up'. It is very ergonomically designed.

The shape of the cocking-piece knob is reminiscent of the French Chassepot and Gras rifles.
It was clearly intended to allow secure 'thumb-cocking' of the striker assembly, while gripping the stock at the wrist.
Initially the Danish Krag had a half-cock notch on the striker rod, a dubious safety feature.

The excellent, self-contained, 'Safety' unit was a 1908 add-on. It kind of looks like a "LEGO" component!

The Danish Bolt is larger in diameter and shorter in length than the U.S. Bolt. The 'flat-spring' ejector leaves a light drag mark on the Danish bolt's finish.
There is a clearance-cut at the bolt's face, but not the machined groove, nearly the length of the bolt-body, as used in the Norwegian and U.S. Krag rifles to manipulate the mechanical ejector.

I do not know which bolt body and cocking-knob design would do a better job at managing high-pressure gases in the event of a cartridge-case failure?
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FredC
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Re: Some Danish to go with your morning coffee

Post by FredC »

Wowsers, such a detailed report. With 2 feet in the same photo. Looks like you are going to be keeping this one a long time to understand all the differences.

Is that correct on the length of the cartridge 26 and 28mm seem awfully short? Photo comparison when you get time.

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butlersrangers
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Re: Some Danish to go with your morning coffee

Post by butlersrangers »

'FredC', I was going for the full-blown Danish look, with socks & sandals in my photo.

Thanks for catching my clerical error. The cartridge information should have read 8mm X 58R for the Danish cartridge and 8mm X 56RS Mannlicher for the Prvi Brass.

(I have corrected the errors in my original post).

BTW - I think the U.S. Ordnance Department kind of missed the boat in not incorporating more aspects of the model 1899 Danish Krag in what became our service Krag.
IMHO, the Danish receiver and 'half-capsule' magazine was probably easier to manufacture than the U.S. Model 1892 Krag-Jorgensen,
which used 120+ machining operations to turn a 6 & 1/2 pound forging into a 1 & 1/2 pound finished receiver/magazine box.

Especially clever is the Danish magazine. It is a self-contained unit that bolts to the bottom of the receiver with two screws, kind of like an oil pan.

I guess the Danes have quite the tradition of building things in 'modules', like Scandinavian furniture that comes in a box and LEGO sets!
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FredC
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Re: Some Danish to go with your morning coffee

Post by FredC »

butlersrangers wrote: Fri Feb 18, 2022 10:30 pm

BTW - I think the U.S. Ordnance Department kind of missed the boat in not incorporating more aspects of the model 1899 Danish Krag in what became our service Krag.
IMHO, the Danish receiver and 'half-capsule' magazine was probably easier to manufacture than the U.S. Model 1892 Krag-Jorgensen,
which used 120+ machining operations to turn a 6 & 1/2 pound forging into a 1 & 1/2 pound finished receiver/magazine box.

Especially clever is the Danish magazine. It is a self-contained unit that bolts to the bottom of the receiver with two screws, kind of like an oil pan.

I guess the Danes have quite the tradition of building things in 'modules', like Scandinavian furniture that comes in a box and LEGO sets!
In smaller quantities the separate box for the magazine would have been easier. After a half million units they save a lot of tapped holes and screws. Sharp pencils would have been necessary for the final costs of each method. The one piece US unit should have the edge as far as rigidity, but they gave up a lot of that advantage by not using the forward hold down screw. By making that little notch in the receiver where the screw hole would been they saved a fraction of an ounce and made the extra barrel band necessary. It would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall and hearing all the reasons why the odd little things were done.

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butlersrangers
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Re: Some Danish to go with your morning coffee

Post by butlersrangers »

I thought the Danish magazine-gate, hinged at the front and opening forward, would be clumsy.
Actually, the gate has a crisp, quiet, and convenient latch.
The gate does not flop around. It is under a slight spring tension, even when fully open.
The gate can serve as a lever to compress the spring and collapse the follower assembly into the rear of the gate.

The open gate remains under control, giving a generous access to the magazine.

It would seem that a guide could easily have been added to facilitate magazine 'charger-loading'.

The magazine-gate also closes very quietly without a loud snap.
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