Rough Rider Krag at auction
Last weekend, Skinners had an early 1895-production Springfield Model 1896 Krag Saddle-Ring carbine up for grabs. Few of 1896s were made, just 22,493– with only a handful being 1895-marked. With their handy 22-inch barrel and 41-inch overall length, the five-shot”half-capsule” fixed magazine, bolt action repeater had a magazine cut-off to allow single .30-40 Krag rounds to be fed to keep the stumpy horse gun topped off.
It was also the last saddle ring (due to its ring and bar sling attachment) carbine ever made for the U.S. government– the end of an era. It even had a cleaning rod that was stored in the butt trap.
Another thing that made this gun special is that it was SN 27892, known to be issued to Alvin C. Ash, a trooper in G Troop of the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry.
As noted by Springfield Armory, who has a similar 1895-marked M1896 (SN 30023) in their collection, TR and his buddy Leonard Wood (now remembered with Fort named after him) really worked to get them:
“Wood and Roosevelt had to put forth some effort to obtain the Krag carbine for the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry; this was the first-line cavalry weapon, and it had been in service only two years when the Spanish-American War broke out. All the carbines issued to the Rough Riders were new, unused weapons, even though many of them were manufactured in 1895. The mechanism of the Model 1896 Carbine had been improved in a number of respects over that of the Model 1892 Rifle, many of which were in the hands of regular infantry troops at Santiago.” – Franklin B. Mallory MAN AT ARMS, July/August 1989
In the end, Ash’s Krag went for $30,750, with most of that being the premium for a Rough Riders-connected named piece, as Saddle Rings of the same vintage normally go for about a 1/10th of that.