Can Any Rifle Enthusiasts Help Me?


Slightly Touched
9 Years
Apr 2, 2010
New Hampshire
My father had a 30-40 Krag rifle that belonged to my Great Grandfather and was left to my father when my Grandfather died. It was stolen from him in around 1990. I know who stole it and I'm 100% sure he hocked it for cash, and I could even make a few likely guesses as to what towns he might have hocked it in. It meant the world to my father and I've always wanted to somehow recover it for him (buy it back from whoever has it now) as a surprise. But I don't know A THING about guns. I was thinking of putting a want ad out there somewhere, don't know if Craiglists would allow that type of ad or not, or maybe post ads in the towns I suspect it could be in, but I'm trying to figure out if there is ANY way to recover it. I know it's a ridiculous long shot, and the odds are it's long gone and I'll never see it again, but you never know.

Does anyone have any suggestions about how to identify this gun? Are there markings or styles that vary that could identify it as my father's? I've tried casually asking him what kind of gun it was, but all he says is a 30-40 Krag. I thought to post this because I saw another thread that TheKid posted about one. I tried looking it up online but haven't found much out about them. Doesn't help that I'm TOTALLY gun-illiterate. Are there a million of these things out there that all look the same, or is there something specific I could ask my dad to narrow his down? I need to be casual about it, make up an excuse, like I was chatting with one of you about one and it made me want to ask him about his.

I can't figure out a way to say "Exactly what did it look like, did it have any scratches..." etc., because he'll obviously be suspicious. ANY suggestions on how to go about this or is this just impossible?
While it is possible that the rifle is something else; it is almost sure to be a U.S. service rifle. They were issued more or less between the Civil War and WWI. A quick search shows about a half million of them were made.

Unless you have a serial number or some specific detail there is know way you will ever know if you have found the right one or not. A lot of these rifles were "sporterized" or otherwise modified by the owners.

You can go to and search for krag and see what folks have listed for sale.
Laura, you might want to see if you could get your hands on old Insurance paper work your Dad might have had on it. Another route might be a copy of a police report might have a Serial # with the description of the Firearm. Just a thought.....
Without a serial number it will be nearly impossible to identify as his.

If it wasn't reported as stolen, you won't be able to get it anyway
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I'll just kind of reply to everyone at once here. My mistake on calling the gun by the caliber, I told you I was gun illiterate.
That's what my dad always called it though, so that's all I've ever heard it called.

It WAS Military issued, I believe to my Great Grandfather who served in the Spanish American War. Or, possibly to my Grandfather, who served in WW II, but I don't think it was then. I believe it was issued to my Great Grandfather, but I mentioned my Grandfather also, because my father gets mixed up these days with his family history. All I know is my father always said, "That was when they issued you a gun and you got to keep it".... And I'm pretty sure it was not originally my Grandfather's, I'm almost certain it goes back to my GREAT Grandfather.

Definitely no paperwork, insurance, etc on it. It was amazing my father had that gun at all, we aren't a big family for heirlooms (I am, but my family before me wasn't), and he just kept in the corner of the bedroom for years, assuming nothing would happen to it.

And no, it wasn't reported. I posted this knowing that you folks would inevitably ask *why* it wasn't reported, or how I know who it was who stole it, so I might as well get that out of the way. My half brother stole it. Let's just say he's not a good guy. When my parents were divorcing and my father was partially moved out, my brother came in and helped himself to a few things, my father's guns, my father's coin collection, etc. My mother was there for this, but did nothing. So yes, I have a lousy mother and brother and I'm not in touch with either of them, that only being one of many reasons. The point is, I know it was him and I guarantee he hocked it. I could guess which towns he would have hocked it in like I said. But no, it wasn't reported due to arguing amongst my parents and dysfunction that I won't bother getting into because it was years ago.

Oh, and of course no pictures of it that I know of. I do remember it, in the corner of my parents bedroom, but I couldn't tell you details, I was too young and told never to go near it. All I can remember is that it was a light brown, compared to modern rifles, and that it looked old, and I think it was bolt action but not even sure of that, as it sat along side a couple of other rifles.

I knew it would be a shot in the dark, no pun intended. I wish there was a way to find it.

Maybe I could try finding out which rifles used this caliber during that time era? Or which ones with that caliber were military issued for the Span-Am war?? IF I thought I could even find a look-alike from the same time period, maybe that alone would mean something to my dad, even if it wasn't THE same gun, I don't know...
Thanks Ken!

I just called my dad. I realized it being Memorial Day and all, it would be a perfect excuse to say that the topic "happened to come up" on BYC. So I asked him as much as I could. First he said it was a "breach loader", whatever that means, and either held 5 bullets plus one in the chamber, or 4 bullets plus one in the chamber. He said it had a thing on the side the hinged open to put the bullets in. As we were on the phone, you posted that link, so I read him the description of it, and he said, "Yes, that's it, exactly." Then he said they always just referred to it as a 30-40 Krag, as you also said.

I tried to get more info. He said it was definitely my GREAT Grandfathers, who served both in the Span-Am War and in WWI. He said it was issued to him in one of those wars, and he just kept it and passed it down. He said it was dark brown, not reddish, and well worn (not shiny). He said he once shot out an 8" tree with just two shots with it (my dad I mean).

He confirmed what I thought, no clue of the serial number. I asked him if it had any distinguishing marks, would he know it if he saw it in a line-up; he said no. He said he doesn't remember anything in particular about it, that it was special of course, because it had been passed down for three generations, so it was purely sentimental.

On the wiki link you posted, it has on the right, a list of variants. I read those to my dad and he had no clue what I was referring to. So I don't know if those variations made the gun look very different or not. I really want to research this, but it's hard because I know nothing about guns.

I'd like to narrow down what models were used in what wars, maybe I could figure it out that way. I know my Great Grandfather was a Sergeant in one of those wars, but don't know which one or if that has any bearing at all on which type of gun he would have used.

So frustrating. I'm pretty creative and would love to surprise my dad with either THE gun or an exact version, but I really don't have a clue what I'm doing.
a 30-40 Krag in good condition can be worth up to 3000-4000 and the 30-40 Krag in the picture i have is a completely renewed one. The old one I still have has like a little box on the side and the chameber is bigger than most guns. Sorry but that is all I can help with. Oh and go to and look up 30-40 Krag and click images and look through the regualr things lol

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