Carbine serial number ranges
What serial number ranges were issued for 1896 and 1898 Krag carbines? Thanks in advance
The normal,usual,generally accepted serial ranges given in Mallory's book are-
I think I'll put those on a post-it in my shop!
I use to carry a piece of paper in my billfold with those on it.Looked at a lot of "carbines" that weren't in those ranges that had rifle rear sights.
It is not that simple, and needs to be updated - hope 5MF responds.
1896s are not a huge problem, and 1899s are almost squeaky clean, but the 1898C (with only 5000 made, a fairly rare gun, hence often mis-ID'd) is an absolute cesspool. Mallory's limits, however, do need expanding both ways, to embrace roughly 117000-132000.
The borders are not always tidy, for example, I can assure you that 37045 (500 into the carbines) is most assuredly a rifle.
LOL I was hoping 5mf would respond too.I have my pad and pen to take notes.Mallory's book is over 30 years old,the 2nd edition,the one quoted a dozen years old.Pretty much the same for Brophy,the only two books currently available to the vast majority of collectors at this time discounting Poyers book.Those serial ranges fall more in the line of rough estimates,the borders are indeed not tidy.
Just checking the SRS books 98 carbines are found starting with serial number 117,536 and are scattered out up to 133,919.And that's isn't that good a gauge of start and end numbers really, those are just ones that showed up on the SRS database with rifles and carbines interspursed between the two.
The same for 96 carbines using SRS listings lowest and highest numbers found-
Last edited by JBinIll; 06-11-2012 at 02:53.
Getting too focused on serial would be a mistake. "Carbines" will be rated on both condition and serial. A "carbine" in the appropriate serial range with obviously mismatched parts isn't going to have the value of a consistent one.
Adding to that is the rule of masses - one can predict the mass but not the individual. "Chinese people are short." Except the really tall one in the NBA. Which is why I just shake my head at the "your Krag was made in MON/YEAR" voodoo. Total nonsense.
Ignoring oddities the ranges for 1896 carbines will run from the mid 24X to the high 35X range.
I don't believe that 24,079-39,353 is accurate based on statistical frequency but that's based on the masses. A "carbine" in 39,XXX range would need a thorough review ("prove it is") whereas 30,500 would be assumed right ("prove it isn't").
Second block from about 67X to 80,000. Anything at, or above, 80,000 is suspicious. Which is why it's good to be about middle of that range. Again, 79,500 would need more "proof" than 70,500 (assumed to be a carbine).
All 1898 carbines need to be proven based on rare parts.
Anywhere from 117,XXX to 134,XXX. Anything outside that stretches the limits and needs thorough review. Which it will likely fail.
Last point. 1898 carbines in 1899 format. Where does that rate against a well faked one in the right range? A well faked one which I can now identify as fabricated? I'd take the honest one. I'd rather have neither but I'll take honest over fabricated.
The distilled version is:
"1896 carbines towards the middle of the range" and
"1898 carbines only after an educated review."
About a year ago an 1898 carbine sold for major coin. The gun was fabricated. Given that I can now identify those fabricated guns without fail, and that will be public eventually, that owner will be taking a serious hit. As Hosmer mentioned 1898 carbines are a minefield. Buy a dog and be happy with it. The potential for loss is much less.
I'm also aware of a serial sold at two auctions about a year apart. The first time it was a rifle and the second time it was a carbine. What's that thing worth given I have the serial and sale information for both auctions?
Careful before spending big bucks. Buy a dog first. Educate yourself on the dogs before going after the thoroughbreds.
In other words Mallory's listed ranges are about as close as you're going to get currently.
On the first block 1896s he starts too low and ends about 4K too high. He's too low on the start of the second block but ends about perfectly.
Mallory and Brophy both did respectable work.
The ranges start a bit broken (rifles and carbines intermixed) and end a bit broken but most "wrong" carbines are going to be far enough out of those border areas for it to not matter. It's not "135,135" where one will typically find a poseur, it's "300,500" or some similar number greatly out of range. Except the well fabricated ones. Those will be in the right neighborhood.