View Full Version : Krag bedding
Over the weekend I got to put a proper 92/96 forearm on an 1895 cartouched stock. Previously I'd repaired a cracked wrist on the stock. After putting everything together, I was comparing my handiwork with a stock that has been well sanded. The well sanded stock, I discovered, has been free floated, from the rear band to the front band, there's room to slide a piece of paper under the barrel. It's probably floated more, but the bands draw the barrel down. I also noted heavy contact of the bottom of the receiver, just forward of the front action screw. The stock I just put together shows no contact in that area. So, what I have here is a wonderful opportunity to see which works best. In the stock with the free floated barrel, I've got a rifle and load that's wonderfully accurate (can hold the X ring at 200yds), I'll see how it does with the stock I just put together and report back. May be awhile, no range time until Mon or later.
The receiver bottom should at least be in contact with stock (tight), I would think!
The bottom of the magazine is what I mean Dave. On the stock with the free floated barrel, it touches, just forward of the front action screw. Whoever floated the barrel probably removed a bit from the ring area too. On the stock I just put together, there doesn't appear to be any contact by the magazine bottom, it's all on the receiver ring and the rear action screw, with some contact on the sides forward of the rear screw.
I like to bed up under the barrel band and a little bit of the barrel just forward of the receiver. And do a good bedding job on the receiver - this is on butchered rifles.
When I had that mint Ljungman, i used paper shims under the bands, instead of the usual acraglass. My thought is the bands should be tight enough to change the tone of the barrel, like a finger on a guitar string, ideally in a way that cuts barrel whip whay down.
OTOH, no one is going to acuse me of being a sharpshooter.
my 2 cents
To add a little more:
I shoot mausers a lot, also old school rolling block rifles. Almost every rifle I have has barrel bands. I know the US approach to beding is to free-float. I like to take the Euro approach: tighten up the bedding under the bands and use them as fixed points along the barrel.
At the same time, I think old rifles tend to up another one. individuals, and what makes one of them shoot well just f%$#s up another one.
The bands are an interesting point John. For them to be truly tight on a Krag, the swivels should move freely when the screw is tight. Otherwise you're just tightening against the tab on the swivel. Yes, rifles are individuals, what works for one won't necessarily work for another. I've done the stock swap though, it will be interesting to see what comes of it. I wouldn't think it possible to get much improvement over what I had, but a one hole 100 yard group would be a welcome sight. I should note that CMP rules don't allow shims of any material to be used, or glass bedding, so fit and the tightness of the action screws are the only variables to play with.
There's always a catch!
I made it to the range today. The rifle definitely shot a bit better when it was in the stock with the floated barrel. Groups were larger, but no big shift in point of impact. I'd also changed from the 1901 sight to the 1902. I left off shooting the rifle using the 1901 set just a bit above 300 yards and setting the 1902 to 300 put me right back in the black, shooting at 200 yds. I'll put the rifle back in the sanded stock before shooting anymore, time for tinkering has about expired!
Krag bedding. I've just been going around and around with a very nice Krag rifle - in nearly new condition inside and out - to prepare it for shooting. The Krag is one of my least favorite rifles in terms of the stocking and bedding (and one of my favorites in nearly every other respect). The problems (as I see them) are that the receiver is VERY oddly shaped, compared to Mauser-type bolt actions, with a very large flat surface on the bottom of the receiver, little contact at the tang, oddly-proportioned recoil surfaces, and action screws set so closely together that you can't really adjust the vertical lie of the barrel in the stock with shims, and working the tension of the screws one against the other. I don't know what the original Krag riflemen did for optimum bedding, but I've decided that it doesn't make much difference whether the barrel is bedded snugly into the foreend tip, or springs slightly upward into contact with the band, so long as it is consistent. The one 'trick' I've found useful in either case is to coat the barrel channel and band surfaces with moly grease, so the barrel does not bind as it heats up.
Of course, the shrinkage and, sometimes, warpage of the long, thin stock with the huge cut in the middle doesn't help, either. I've never had a chance to work-up a good Krag carbine, but suspect it would be less difficult, due to the shorter foreend and single band.
mhb - Mike
thanks. that was interesting!
You're welcome! I hope any of it is useful.
I noted while working on this rifle that it had no contact on the large flat bottom of the magazine, or on the receiver ring itself, though it had full contact at the tang, and the barrel sprung slightly upward when freed of the bands. I put one small shim (washer) under the tang, to tilt the barrel slightly downward into its channel, which worked. However, when I re-assembled the rifle and snugged up the screws (not very tightly), and inserted the bolt, the bolt bound on closing: it turned out that the forward screw had sprung the receiver downward in the middle, causing the cocking piece to bind on the bottom of its slot in the receiver (!) - which illustrates the power of the screw. When I loosened the front screw, the problem went away. So the rear screw is fairly snug, and the front one is only tight enough to hold things down without (likely) loosening in firing.
I intend to shoot the rifle this weekend, and will report what happens.
mhb - Mike
and was very pleased!
I fired a total of 25 rounds of handloads (174 grain M1 ball bullet, seated to the cannelure, 45.1 gr. IMR 4350) - the windage was dead-on, and with a bit of fiddling with the elevation (the O'Hare 1903 micrometer works perfectly on the 1901 Krag sight), the rifle was shooting into the center of the 100 yard smallbore target. The last ten rounds (two five-shot groups fired about 15 minutes apart) went into an extreme spread of 2 5/16", and scored 96 - 5x. The first five were centered at 10 o'clock in the nine ring, with one x, and measured 1 1/2", while the final five (with a slightly different POA) were all in the 10-ring, with one dead-centered and three others cutting the x, with diameter of 1 1/4".
mhb - Mike
Sounds like the washer shim gave you just enough pressure of wood on the barrel. You must have pretty decent eyesight, too.
I actually have to wear reading glasses to see the front sight clearly in rifle shooting - works for handguns, too. I'm gonna take this Krag to our monthly military rifle as-issued match. We've been shooting this for some years, and the results are compiled at http://members.cox.net/azshooter/
It is a very good comparative record of performance of the various types of MILSURP rifles (and handguns) in competition - some of the arms date to the 1860's, and all have done rather well.
mhb - Mike
did well: 195 - 9X, and average group size of 1.88". This was the highest score and best group average in the match, though the surplus ammo bonus (5%) gave the high score to a 1903A3 with Greek ammo (197 - 4X). I've asked the rules committee (Tom) to rule that a raw score shot with any rifle for which NO surplus ammo is available (for which the bonus is therefor not possible), if higher than any other raw score, be allowed to stand as the winning score.
The load for the Krag was 45.1 gr. IMR 4350, Rem. 9 1/2 primer, 180 gr. Sierra Match King bullet seated to nearly touch the lands, in new R-P cases.
I'm very pleased.
mhb - Mike
Good show! I wouldn't worry too much about the bumped up score beating yours, you know you got the highest. Sounds like a change that would have to be effected before a match, and frankly, the rule is something I've never heard of. The Greek ammo is reputed to be reasonably accurate, even better than LC, some have said. Sounds like a rule made up by some whiner who either had a bad lot of ammo, or wanted to blame a bad day on the ammo. Do you get a 10% boost for shooting cast bullets?
It would be nice to see some photos of the areas of the barrel/stock being discussed with appropriate descriptions. Interesting discussion though and I have a couple of beaters that are candidates for experimentation.
My sporterized Krag for bench rest shooting of cast bullets has a ring added to the front of the reciever for an additional screw through the stock. The barrel is free floated. The action is glass bedded.
This is a long-standing (local) match, and is intended for MILSURP rifles in (as near as possible) as-issued condition. That means no glass bedding or permanent alterations to the stock, though we have all agreed that 'field expedient' measures such as washers, non-permanent shims inserted where needed to help correct for shrunken or warped stocks, and sights altered only as needed to correct for elevation or windage, without changing the shape or style of the originals, are acceptable. Originally, there was a 5% bonus available for cast bullets, also, but we finally decided that cast bullets in rifles not originally intended for them was outside the spirit of the thing: a separate discipline, really (though, obviously, cast bullets are the only option for many of the earlier types, which always used lead projectiles in the original ammo) - and that no bonus was needed, as has been demonstrated quite adequately by guys shooting such rifles as the 1867 Werndl (Joe Paull, specifically).
As Tom is the originator, proprietor, and 'rules committee' for these matches, he can change any rule to suit conditions, or as he feels appropriate. He usually doesn't post the scores for some time after each match, so could declare the rule change applicable to the latest result, if he wants to.
I'm in favor of shooting what works best in any particular rifle, and let the scores stand as shot. I've had some surplus ammo that was capable of winning on its own merits, but such is scarce or non-existent in some calibers. I've shot a wide variety of rifle types in these matches, and believe that just about any of them is able to compete and win, if properly managed and fed good ammo. Some calibers and types of surplus ammo are acknowledged to be better (more accurate) on average than most (7.5 Swiss, 6.5 Swede), and some U.S. caliber surplus ammo is also excellent, but most surplus ammo is not really able (or intended) to produce the best possible accuracy in service rifles. The Greek ammo is pretty good stuff, though I had a small quantity of LC57 M2 which was the best of such ammo I've ever had my hands on - and won some matches with: I wish I had a lot more!
mhb - Mike
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