Krag Rifle

The Krag-Jørgensen is a repeating bolt action rifle designed by the Norwegians Ole Herman Johannes Krag and Erik Jørgensen in the late 19th century. It was adopted as a standard arm by Denmark, the United States of America and Norway.

A distinctive feature of the Krag-Jørgensen action was its magazine. While many other rifles of its era used an integral box magazine loaded by a charger or stripper clip, the magazine of the Krag-Jørgensen was integral with the receiver (the part of the rifle that houses the operating parts), featuring an opening on the right hand side with a hinged cover. Instead of a charger, single cartridges were inserted through the side opening, and were pushed up, around, and into the action by a spring follower.

The design presented both advantages and disadvantages compared with a top-loading "box" magazine. A similar claw type clip would be made for the Krag that allowed the magazine to be loaded all at once, also known as the Krag "Speedloader magazine". Normal loading was one cartridge at a time, and this could be done more easily with a Krag than a rifle with a "box" magazine. In fact, several cartridges can be dumped into the opened magazine of a Krag at once with no need for careful placement, and when shutting the magazine-door the cartridges are forced to line up correctly inside the magazine. The design was also easy to "top off", and unlike most top-loading magazines, the Krag-Jørgensen's magazine could be topped up without opening the rifle's bolt. The relative complexity of manufacturing this magazine has been suggested as a reason why many countries did not adopt the Krag-Jørgensen. For others, the magazine's features likely aided adoption.

The Krag was not used on a wide scale and doesn't show up in photos. BUT Sid Hatfield purchased 10,000 rounds of 30.40 Krag ammo for sale at his store in Matewan after the massacre, so some miners had them. At the time of the battle, they were just starting to show up on the civilian market. Odds are more likely that they were used by Chafin's militia more than the miner's themselves.

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