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Howdy,
I've been looking to buy my first Krag, and have noticed at least two Krags which have an "H.H." cartouche on the left hand side (also accompanied by a cannon cartouche). One of the H.H. Krags is from an auction (a 1902) and the other (a 1898) from surplusrifle.com. The pics are included.

I haven't been able to find any information about what these cartouches could mean. And since the same cartouche is on at least two different rifles, it probably isn't somebody's initials. Might anyone by chance know what it means?

Also, I'm just curious.... were any Krags "arsenal reblued"? My gut instinct tells me no, although I've seen some advertised as such where the bluing looks too good to be original. The hardest thing about buying a Krag for me is the bluing -- it's darn near impossible to find anything that still has any! :)

Many thanks
cartoonist
 

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I have not been able to find an inspectors' cartouches with H.H. in any of my reference material. While it's possible that it was simply stamped by someone, the fact that two rifles - from different sources - both have it is very interesting.

While US Army stock markings were usually limited to inspectors' cartouches (on the original stock, not a rebuild), proof markings and refurbrishment markings when the Krags were handed down to the National Guards, state militias, military schools and veteran's organizations, they received additional markings.

As the Sage of Baker Street once said, "Curiouser and curiouser."
 

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I believe it is very likely the OP's Krag stock marking indicates (Armory, Arsenal, or Depot) rebuilding or refurbishment work done in the 1907 to 1917 era.

Per Franklin Mallory, "The Krag Rifle Story", 2nd edition, page 191: "Around 1908, the practice of placing a special mark on rifles cleaned and repaired at government arsenals, was initiated. This mark consists of the letter 'A' for Springfield and a series of letters ('B', 'C', etc.) for Manila Ordnance Depot. The letter 'C' has been observed on the left side of the stock of a Model 1898 rifle which appears to have been overhauled. In this case, a block letter 'P' was stamped on the stock behind the trigger guard to indicate the rifle had been re-proof tested".

Mallory describes the various finishes on Krag parts in Appendix 10 and arsenal re-finishing procedures for Trapdoor Springfield, Krag, and 1903 Springfield rifles in Appendix 12.

I have saved pictures of some Krag stock markings that I suspect are indicative of rebuilding prior to WW1. Some of these stocks had multiple 'circled P' stamps indicating re-proofing.

I wish I knew more. This is an intriguing and under-documented subject.

("HH"?? - I am tempted to guess Honolulu, Hawaii - Depot, but, that is just a wild conjecture. I have nothing to base it on, except there was an ordnance depot in Hawaii during the WW1 period).

It would be nice to have a "Rosetta Stone" on these markings.

Attached photos of markings possibly showing post 1907 arsenal work or rebuilding and a J.F.Coyle 'acceptance cartouche': krag-C-1901.jpg krag stock-JFC.jpg cartouche-1901 CA.jpg krag stock HH-ord wheel.jpg krag with eagle-ed.jpg krag stock 'J'.jpg
 
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