30-40 Krag 1895


I got 30-40 Krag with the following headstamp: F, 2, 95. That’s my first pre-1900 round. How common is it?


Vlad–It is hard to tell from the scan, but your case appears to be plain brass, not tinned. If so, the case has been polished to remove the tinning. Plain brass cases were not used until May, 1900.

Almost all dates from Aug., 1895 to May, 1900 ball loadings with tinned cases and solid heads are very common. Oct. 1893 to May, 1895 with balloon heads are more difficult to find, but still are not scarce.

Frankford arsenal continued to load the .30-40 Krag using plain brass cases from May, 1900 to Sept. 1907. Almost all of these dates are common.


You are right. I found remnants of tinning above the rim, someone polished this round. It is a good example of a discussion topic from a month ago about people screwing with ammo. Guys, be like Nancy Reagan, say no to polishing and other surface defacement, gives Ron and me a headache. As long as we are on the topic of 30-40 Krag, what would a tinned round with steel jacketed round-nose and NO HEADSTAMP or any other marking be? Which year and arsenal?


Vlad–All .30-40 Krag ammunition made by the government was made by Frankford Arsenal. Most of the commercial companies, including Kynoch in England, had contracts for this round during the Spanish-American War in 1898-99. All of these used standard commercial headstamps, except the Kynoch loads which used “K C 98” & “K C 99”.

As for your round with no headstamp, are you sure it has no headstamp. Many of these have very light headstamps.
The only unheadstamped loads I am aware of, with tinned cases, are Model 1896 Blanks. If the blanks were made from virgin cases, as opposed to the commonly used reclaimed ball cases, they had no headstamp. They were loaded with a white waxed paper bullet. It would be a simple matter to pull the paper bullet out and subsitite a ball bullet. These unheadstamped tinned case blanks were made from Feb. 1896 to 1907. The use of reclaimed cases was authorized in Feb.1903.

Speaking of bullets, they, with the exception of some very early rounds, were all either cupro-nickel or cupro-nickel clad steel, not plain steel. There are 5 different round-nosed bullets. The first ones were German silver jacketd (1893-1894) and the part inside the case was slightly larger in diameter than the rest of the bullet and had no cannelure. This was followed by the same bullet with cupro-nickel or CNCS. A cannelure was added in 1896. Starting in 1900 a 3-cannelured bullet, called the Lissak bullet was produced. The final form was the “Cole” bullet which was used from Nov. 1902 and had no cannelure and is CN.



I have one of those un-headstamped cases in a box somewhere. It is not tinned, as I remember. Somebody once told me it was a .30 Purdy Nitro Flanged rather than a 30-40. I never bothered to measure it to see if it really was different since the guy was an “expert” and I trusted his opinion. And I’m not about to dig thru my boxes of junk to find it.

Also, weren’t the full length “Gatling” blanks unheadstamped? Maybe somebody cut one down and seated a bullet in it?

What do you think?



No need to dig through your “boxes of Junk” .According to the book “Kynoch” by Hedlund the 30 Purdey IS a 30-40 Krag.


Ray–Actually there are two brass full length blanks. The Model 1893 and the Gatling. Both had a one piece brass case with a simulated bullet and no headstamp. You can tell them apart quite easily. The powder in the Model 1893 rattles. The Gatling used a compressed black powder load and does not rattle.Both of these blanks are relativly rare compared to the Model 1896.

I did not mention these above as it never occured to me that someone might cut the simulated bullet off and stick a real bullet in one of these.


I did not mention these above as it never occured to me that someone might cut the simulated bullet off and stick a real bullet in one of these. ***** That really is hard to believe.


Here are 2 scans of that “headstampless” 30-40 Krag. Sorry, I am still “playing” with the new scanner. I’ll get a hang of it eventually.


It’s done all the time with 7.62x51 blanks. Why not here?



Regarding my 2 photos above of un-headstamped round. A well respected collector from Wyoming told me that very early ammo had no headstamps. May this round be an early production and not a fake?


Just trying to push my point to an extreme. Below is another Krag which has a faint “F” around 1 o’clock and what looks like “8” to me at 4 o’clock. Randy says that it is actually “9” which is the begining of “98” (year 1898). This whole headstamp is not centred well, like if Frankford people were trying out headstamping. So is it possible they did not use headstamping in the very begining?


Ray–People might cut off the 7.62 blank (I assume you are speaking of the extended case blank) because they are so readaly available. But no one is going to come up with enough of the Model 1893 or Gatling blanks to be cutting them off for general reloading. I won’t say it could not happen, just that it is unlikely. And besides, Vlad’s round is tinned.

Vlad–Yes, there were Pre-adoption cases that were unheadstamped. Springfield Armory made at most a few hundred cases inn 1890 which were tinned and without headstamps. These were deleivered to FA for testing. These were loaded with compressed black powder. (does yours rattle?). These are extremly rare. The first known lot of the service ball .30-40 Krag was headstamped F 6 94 and the release date is August 1894. All, except the Gatling Blank, were loaded with smokeless powder and will rattle when shaken. To my knowledge, except for the experimental pre-adoption rounds, ALL ball loadings had headstamped cases. The only tinned, unheadstamped loads I have seen were the blanks as discussed before. Concerning your comments about the neatness of the headstamp. I have seen original boxes in which the headstamps ranged from well struck to barely readable and in 2 sizes of “F” and numbers, all in the same box. The “F” can also be stright or slanted. It appears that the bunters were hand made one letter and number at a time with little quality control.

Bottom line, until proven otherwise, and I do not consider myself an expert on .30-40 Krag, I still think this is a Model 1896 blank that has been reloaded with a ball bullet.


Yes, the round without headstamp rattles. I guess the only way to know for sure is to analyze the gun powder. I am going to keep it a mystery.


Hi, Vlad and Everyone…Hope y’all don’t mind if I jump in here…many tinned case rounds were made as experimentals, for various powder trials, etc., and are not headstamped. There are also non-tinned rounds that appear to have been made in the 1890’s that have no headstamp. The earliest known production run with headstamp is F 5 94. Some of the FA dated rounds are quite scarce. Frankford Arsenal was not the only maker of .30-40 Krag for the government where a dated headstamp was used. Dated rounds by other US makers are as follows: W.R.A.Co 4 07 and 7 07, U M C 10 06, 11 06, 12 06 and 5 07, and U.S.C.Co. 5 07. The Model 1893 blank, loaded with black powder for use in Gatling guns, was interchangeable with the smokeless version and was probably used in rifles also…the powder in these also rattles as it is just loose and not compressed, but fills the case almost all the way to the simulated bullet nose. Vlad…the black paint on the base of your case appears to have been applied by someone for identity, etc, and is not original. Hope this helps…Randy


Thanks. Mine rattles like it is half filled.


Ron & Randy et al

The first experimental 30 caliber rifle (a modified Trapdoor) was fabricated in 1890. At that same time Frankford Arsenal was ordered to manufacture 100,000 experimental cartridges “. . . of the design submitted by Springfield Armory . . .” I assume that these cartridges were 30-40 (for want of a better designation). However, official records indicate that the design of these cartridges was arrived at ". . . after many experiments and exhaustive trial . . . "

So, my question, what were the cartridges used to arrive at the final design and what firearms were they tested in? Could these trials have possibly been done overseas? Do any of those early cartridges exist in collections?

Going back to my earlier comment about trimming 30-40 gatling blanks for reloading - I meant that someone could have possibly done that using fired cases. There must have been a s**t-can load of those fired cases laying around somewhere. That kind of thing is quite common with the extended length 7.62x51 cases and I don’t think handloaders of the early 20th Century were any less frugal than those of today.



[quote=“sksvlad”]Here are 2 scans of that “headstampless” 30-40 Krag. Sorry, I am still “playing” with the new scanner. I’ll get a hang of it eventually.

You may get better pictures if you drape a loose sheet of white paper over the cartridge before scanning in place of the lid. This brings the detail and colour up much better. For both headstamps and cartridge side views, try running a “Pre-scan” or “Preview” first, depending on your scanner and software. Then use the mouse to define the area to crop the picture to, preview again and you should see a big improvement. Then run the proper scan which will only scan the cropped area. If you scan the whole flatbed size and then crop the result you won’t usually get good results.