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A bore'ing story about a '98 Krag at 500 yards

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Rapidrob
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A bore'ing story about a '98 Krag at 500 yards

#1 Post by Rapidrob » Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:40 pm

In '76 I bought a 1898 .30-40 Krag from Mexico after they lost their rights to own firearms. The rifle was in good shape until I shot it. The rifling was so badly attacked by Hg in the primers the fired bullet removed the rifling when shot.
Jump to 2006 and a local gunsmith found me a NOS original barrel! He installed it on my action and I took it to the range. Accuracy was poor to say the least. A safe queen it became.
This week I re-read a book on the Krag rifles in the USA and verified that some of the Krag rifles had over-sized bores. Several reasons for this to happen.
No load I tried shot worth a hill of beans. I slugged the bore fully expecting the NOS barrel to be .308 to .3085. Nope. It is .310. No wonder it shot so poorly.
I loaded up some Russian cup based 150 grain lead core FMJ's and some steel core heavy ball of 180 grains. Both measure .310.
My stand-by long range powder is Reloader-15. It loves 99% of the worlds military caliber rifles from the last century.
Target is our man torso silhouette AR550 target set to 500 yards.
My first shot was left of the target by two feet in the 15 MPH wind. I adjusted the rear sight base to one notch over and the 2ND shot was 1 foot to the right. I halved the distance moved and fired the third shot which hit low but centered in the target. I raised the leaf sight on notch and it was too much sending the bullet over the left ear of the target. Dropping the sight back down and holding in the chest area of the target I placed the rest of the 15 shots more or less in the center of the target if not just a little low of dead center.
The 150 grain cup-based lead core bullets with their tiny metplath shot very well indeed. My spotter was amazed how well the rifle like this bullet.
I tried the heavy ball steel core bullet and the rifle did not shoot them well at all. They were all over the impact area in every direction.Some were yards short,others almost went over the 20 tall berm. I have no idea why they shot so poorly?
I have lots of the cup-base bullets for next weeks match at 200-500 yards. The old warhorse is going to sling lead accurately for the first time in almost 50 years.
I'll keep you posted on how well it does in the match.
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DaleH
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Re: A bore'ing story about a '98 Krag at 500 yards

#2 Post by DaleH » Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:29 am

Sounds great! Can’t wait to hear your results and I hear you on their bores being “all over the place”.

Haven’t taken mine out past 200-yds yet, but am having tons of fun with it using cast boolits & CE Harris loads through it. We have an informal milsurp shoot weekly using cast loads only and its a hoot watching some of these shoot again.

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Re: A bore'ing story about a '98 Krag at 500 yards

#3 Post by slowbob2 » Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:59 am

All military rifles of the late 1800's and early 1900's had groove diameters larger than their ammo . The bore sizes were always right on but the groove depth would only be held to within .003 or so as they did not care as much about that as it did not matter as much with the long round nose bullets . They wanted at least a few .001's clearance to keep friction and pressure down . The spec for the US Krag was a .306 bullet with a groove no smaller than .3085 and up to .003 extra . You should see how well one will shoot with the right load and quality bullets [ not surplus junk ] , several of my 98's and 96 have shot back to back sub one inch five shot groups at 100 yards with issue sights at matches .

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