There are two cartridges, former military cartridges that soldier on to this day. One is the 45-70, this war horse refuses to die and has be with us since 1873, some 145 years. The other war cartridge is the .30-40 Krag, was known as the .30 Army from its adoption in 1892 to its replacement in 1903 by the Springfield. The .30 Army was Americas first smokeless round and replaced, partially, the Trapdoor Springfield in .45-70. Chambered in the modified Danish designed Krag-Jorgensen rifle, the bottlenecked and rimmed rounds had to be loaded through a gate individually through the right side. This was the primary weapon of the regular Army and served with the American forces in the Spanish-American War in Cuba and the Philippines. In Cuba it fought with the militia and reserve units armed with the venerable Trapdoors in .45-70, still belching smoke from the black powder cartridges.
Military Rifle Cartridges
The military cartridge is a round nosed and flat based 220 grain bullet with a muzzle velocity of about 2000 feet per second (fps). It exhibited some what of a rainbow resembling trajectory but was the fashionable design of the late 1800’s and was also the same design used by the British. Both the British in the Second Boer War and the US in the Spanish-American war where dismayed and disadvantaged fighting against their adversaries armed with modern, stripper clip loaded Spanish Mauser chambered for the 7X57mm Mauser cartridge loaded with a modern spitzer pointed bullet.
Custom Krag Rifles
When the 1903 Springfield was adopted many Krag rifles were surplus and made available to the civilian market, and many were sporterized with cut down barrels and checkered shortened stocks and many were shortened from 24-inch barrels to 20-inches. The Krag had a single lug bolt and had a very smooth action. Many a deer, elk or black bear where taken with Krag rifles and this old shooter was popular for many years. Ruger even chambered in its discontinued #3 Single Shot Carbine. Many of the national matches format and stages where shot with the 30-40 in the early days and the Krag had a good reputation for accuracy.
30-40 Krag Ammo
After about the late 1970’s through the 80’s the supply of 30-40 ammo started to dry up. It is even difficult to find brass for reloading. Old 70’s and 80’s ammo went for about $2.00 apiece at the gun shows, so many old Krag and Rugers just collect dust. Back in its heyday the 30-40 was chambered in other bolt action guns than the Krag and was chambered in the 1875 Winchester. But factory sporting ammo was only available to the Krag adherent in a 180 grain round soft-nose bullet limiting the Krag to about 150 to 250-yard shots with a rather high trajectory. The 30-40 Krag faded fast. Hornady just released a batch of .30-40’s load with a 180 grain Interlock boat-tail soft point bullets at an advertised 2,400 fps, breathing in new life to this old trooper. Test showed about and average of 2 MOA (minutes of angle) acceptable accuracy for a hunting rifle at the 30-40’s effective ranges, Krag is not a thousand-yard gun. Recoil is light.
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Cowboy action shooting is responsible for the revival of many a ‘ole timer’, but there are a lot of nostalgic shooters that would love to warm up grandpa’s old Krag. Shooting Range Industries offers custom portable shooting ranges. Contact us to learn more today!