Rat River Trapper Firearms

Discussion in 'Guns, Knives, Tools, Etc.' started by randyt, Aug 29, 2020.

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  1. randyt

    randyt Master Survivalist
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  2. Sourdough

    Sourdough "eleutheromaniac"
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    I think that I have every book written about "The Mad Trapper of Rat River". I have long considered him "not" a criminal. He for sure was in the top one percent of men who functioned in the frozen arctic. Anyone planning to function in the arctic, be it Northern Europe or North America could profit from studying his theories. Which can be reduced to simply, have only why you need to get the job done, and zero in excess of that.

    There are better photos of his complete firearms and knife inventory. What would be fun for me is a discussion of "Current" production tools that he would choose, and then modify for his needs. Sadly it is not likely that such a discussion is possible.

    I have used "Albert Johnson" as a "User name" on several internet forums.

    Here is something to consider. Those who live in locations similar to "Alaskajohn" and myself could have a wide range of tools like Albert Johnson preferred cached in the wilderness. Just never ever bring them out of the wilderness.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2020
  3. randyt

    randyt Master Survivalist
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    Thanks for the reply. The discussion you mentioned would be interesting. Why would it not be possible?

    In your opinion was the cut down shot used for a set gun or some other purpose?

    I mean set gun for animals
     
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  4. Sourdough

    Sourdough "eleutheromaniac"
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    The problem is "Myth". Or to state it differently people believe the myth and bullshit because they have "ZERO" field experience in the given area. However they have a lifetime of firearms propaganda that is intoxicating, and addictive.

    They mean well, they have good intention, but are simply regurgitating flawed bullshit.
     
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    1. TMT Tactical
      Then help educate us flawed firearm owners. Not meant as sarcasm but an honest desire to learn or separate the BS from reality. Better to learn from those that live it vs. the internet experts.
       
      TMT Tactical, Aug 29, 2020
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    2. Sourdough
      Myth is stronger then truth. People will listen to the truth, then go back and re-embrace the myth. The myth is comfortable, and if people regurgitates myth on a forum......everyone goes 100% in full agreement.

      Notice on the thread about my neighbor getting mauled to death, I said I would post about prudent firearms for bear attacks. What followed are pages of post by those expounding their opinion on that subject. So I just walked away.......it was pointless to post based on experience. The myth rules.
       
      Sourdough, Aug 29, 2020
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  5. Alaskajohn

    Alaskajohn Master Survivalist
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    Sourdough, I’ve read about the mad trapper in some of Jim Rearden’s books, but he only touches on him in some short stories. Winter is coming so I want to stock up on some books to read. What book or books do you recommend? Thanks
     
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  6. Sourdough

    Sourdough "eleutheromaniac"
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    The event has been skewed many ways, by different authors. I would suggest start with Dick North's book. What he brings that is special in addition to his assessment of events, is he has a great chapter at the end that deals with the physiology of the human body as it endures what he did at the end of the chase. Essentially decomposing from extreme physical exertion over days and weeks, on a pathetic diet. And that chapter alone was worth a lot to me.
    https://www.amazon.com/mad-trapper-Rat-River/dp/0770508960
     
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  7. Alaskajohn

    Alaskajohn Master Survivalist
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    Thanks, the book is on the way!
     
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  8. randyt

    randyt Master Survivalist
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    Castner's Cutthroats is a interesting book, not about TRRT but close time frame and about woodsmen.
     
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  9. Sourdough

    Sourdough "eleutheromaniac"
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    A great book about that period and that area of earth is "Born on Snowshoes". Every man with daughters should purchase a copy for each daughter.

    Men who "think" they are serious tough, should never read the first page of this "True Account" book. There are two editions, I have both. One is superior, both are great. It is one of the best books recounting life in that part of Alaska during that period.

    Just as a clue.....at one point she is pregnant pulling a sled on a long trapline, with a newborn child, and a toddler child in the sled. In the sled also is the harvest of two or three days making the route on snowshoes. Each leg of the line has a 6'X6' wall tent. Yes, it is bitter cold. Rest for a few day back at main cabin. Then do the three day hike again.

    But she grew up in that environment, and her childhood was horrific in that lifestyle, that location. The detail in this book is awesome.
     
  10. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Legendary Survivalist
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    Thnx for article, never before had I heard of this fellow. I'm from families that were well past just "rural" (Mom's dad was a subsidence hunter). So, where I'm from, there are all manner of stories like, "There's this hyar feller what lives up'n th'head'a Sugar holler an' he keeps t'himself. Ain't no friendly bone in his body. Don't go a'huntin' up'n thar. That's his'ns. He ain't got no deed, but he's done claimed that fer himself. He'll shoot'yuh, boy. He ain't right in th'head. Let sleepin' dawgs lie."

    Unless some strange fellow living deep in the forest makes no trouble, I say leave him alone.

    If he visits crazy-crap on others, you gotta shoot him like some bear that has gone strange aggressive. You'll never jail someone like that.

    Were I a member of the authorities and certain that Johnson was not taking native lands illegally, I'd have bought him a trapping license myself ... one time only. I'd have sent a courier to the man or his area with a package containing the license and a letter detailing the government's position. The courier could nail the package, a wooden box painted red then protected with clear lacquer coating (not tallow), with Johnson's name on it. Within the letter I would state, "I bought you your first license, but you will be responsible for further licensure in times future. This is the law. You have the money to pay these nominal fees. You know not to trespass upon the claims of others. All civilized peoples wish no conflict. The local community wishes peace and God's Bounty be upon you." Notice that I never use the words, "or else." Never do that unless you want a war. What I would NOT tell anyone would be that if Albert Johnson trespassed on the trapping lines of others and he got his ass shot off for the deed, I in my authority's purview would bring NO charges against the shooter.
    .
     
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  11. randyt

    randyt Master Survivalist
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  12. Sourdough

    Sourdough "eleutheromaniac"
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    I think to have any basic understanding, one needs a good grasp of what life was like for everyone in that part of the north at that time. Both in town, at the edge of town, and well away from town. Both the social and physical realities.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2020
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  13. randyt

    randyt Master Survivalist
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    when I lived in the rural south, when visiting you generally pulled in to a drive way and stayed in the vehicle until someone came to greet you.

    I can imagine in the bush it's that times a hundred
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2020
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    1. Old Geezer
      "These hyar folk ain't kin, let's jist sit here a minute." My dad's dad went a'visitin' on Sunday afternoons. It's what you did. That man loved his cars and passed that trait off to his sons. My dad didn't past that to me. My mom's dad was not particularly friendly. I think maybe we were trespassing many times when we were hunting. He'd say, "I know this man." I don't know if that was true. Men were afraid of him. Later in life he began confessing some of his sins to a teenage boy, me. I just kept my mouth shut.
       
      Old Geezer, Aug 29, 2020
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  14. randyt

    randyt Master Survivalist
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    I ordered a copy of Born on Snowshoes. Best place I found was Abes books. I have found it pays to check both amazon and abes. One or the other can be considerably cheaper, just depends.
     
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  15. Sourdough

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    Last edited: Aug 29, 2020
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  16. Sourdough

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    Something cute about "Born on Snowshoes". I know quite a few guys who really enjoy read about "men" who did incredible adventures in Alaska or Africa, or India, especially hunting and explorers.

    After I recommend they read "Born on Snowshoes"..........They responded after reading that she was the Toughest "Man" that ever wandered any wilderness.
     
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  17. Alaskajohn

    Alaskajohn Master Survivalist
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    Ordered Born on Snowshoes! It was about $31 shipped used on Amazon for the hard bound book. I now have a good half dozen books for this winter. I’ll need a few more. I have the time since I don’t run a trap line!
     
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  18. watcherchris

    watcherchris Legendary Survivalist
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    Ordered the born on snowshoes and mad trapper book. I am ready for some new reading.

    My thanks to the members for these book titles.


    By the way...is that a Savage model 99 in the photo??

    I've not handled or inspected one close up..but have heard that at one time they were very popular across this land...and no longer being manufactured though in their day they came in many calibrations. .308 Winchester seems as if it would be a good calibration for such an rifle....or even .243.


    Watcherchris
    Not an Ishmaelite.


    Post Script....

    Yes..it is a model 99 Savage...looked it up on line..

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Savage_Model_99
     
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  19. Sourdough

    Sourdough "eleutheromaniac"
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    There are photos of a Savage Model 99 that he cut the stock to the pistol grip and the barrel to 1/2" front of the fore end. No sight.......sight not needed.
     
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  20. Sourdough

    Sourdough "eleutheromaniac"
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    Hollywood made a movie about the Mad Rat River Trapper, stared Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson. Was called "Death Hunt". (It is a little corny, but not bad).

    They have never really figured who Albert Johnson really was. That is likely a name he opted for, when he relocated from someplace in Europe. Pretty much everything surrounding this event remains less then 100% for sure. Especially what triggered the start of the downward spiral.

    That actual event and manhunt has a lot in common with the book "First Blood" by: David Morrell. (Which I purchased the week it was released) Later the foundation of movie "Rambo"

    It is interesting how his cabin was constructed. There are the remnants of a few here where I live, in an old gold mining town from the late 1800's till about 1936'ish. I think I addressed this on the small cabin thread.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2020
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  21. Sourdough

    Sourdough "eleutheromaniac"
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    One of my best examples of firearm related "Myth" is double ought buckshot. It has so overwhelmed peoples myth because of old western movies, and how effective it was.

    What is missed is that there are many sizes of buckshot. And while there is an application for double ought buckshot, one could consider perhaps one of the "many" other sizes might be a better choice for the intended application.

    I use #4 buckshot for most applications, and triple ought for others. Double ought is in between, yet the myth of double ought drives the "sales" of that size buckshot. My guess is the many people think that double ought is the "only" buckshot available.

    There are hundreds of other firearms related myths.
     
  22. randyt

    randyt Master Survivalist
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    that would be awesome to see, can you post a link to the photo?
     
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  23. Sourdough

    Sourdough "eleutheromaniac"
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    I just did a quick search, and did not find it. I guess it was connected to someone other then Albert Johnson. It was a neat photo from that time period. At this point I don't know where to search for the photo.
     
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  24. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Legendary Survivalist
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    3cc227d773666e06c72aafbc21128094.png

    A real concern, at least for me, is that post economic collapse, many people will no longer be able to feed their dogs, so they are just going to toss them out somewhere. Most of these dogs will starve to death or be killed by other dogs. The surviving dogs will not be any little sissy pooches, they by definition will have survived hell and thus will have returned to their wilder nature, i.e. wolf-like. Packs of these dogs will be a terror. This is already happening in "good" times.

    Dog packs cannot be tolerated. They tear children to pieces. They must be eradicated. One shot from your shotgun has to kill and cripple as many as is possible. Bird shot will NOT be adequate. You must use buckshot, however you need to get a whole lot of pellets out there of sufficient diameter and weight. Buckshot of the largest diameters (00 & 000) would be great, problem is that these loads are limited in the number of pellets. Buckshot loads of #3 and #4 have many pellets and each pellet can cause crippling even fatal injuries on dogs (and humans for that matter). Personally, I store buckshot for dogs eradication. Were a swarm of humans to attack, I would go with smaller buckshot to drive them back.

    Home defense: Numbers 3 & 4 buckshot at close range are quite lethal on humans. A load of 20 ga. buckshot (even birdshot out to 10 ft.) has substantially more energy than a .44 magnum handgun. Another thing about round lead balls is that they dump ALL of their energy into the critter or human. Twenty gauge loads will blow outdoor-use pressure-treated 2" x 4" boards in half. And here is another thing, smaller buckshot are less likely to penetrate a home wall and still have a bunch of energy as is the case with 00 and 000 buckshot. If you want to blow holes through automobiles, go with 000 if you can find this load available. Smaller buckshot you cannot count on to go through the sides of cars -- they may do it, they may not. Shotgun slugs go through trucks and cars (especially the saboted brass slugs out of a rifled shotgun barrel).
    .
     
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  25. Alaskajohn

    Alaskajohn Master Survivalist
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    I got an interesting note from the Amazon seller. She said she has had that book for two decades and all of a sudden she got 5 orders this past weekend. She asked if I knew of why the sudden demand.
     
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    1. Sourdough
      Tell her that some "Jackass" suggested it.......:rolleyes:
       
      Sourdough, Sep 2, 2020
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  26. Caribou

    Caribou Master Survivalist
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    "40 Years in the Wilderness", by Dolly Faulkner I found to be an interesting read. It documents the life of a woman the truly wanted to live in the Alaska wilderness. I never met Dolly, that I remember, but I know her children. She is alive, the last I heard. No roads, too far to hike out, only way in is by plane and she didn't have one.

    https://www.amazon.com/Forty-Years-...swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1599087560&sr=1-3
     
  27. Sourdough

    Sourdough "eleutheromaniac"
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    "COLD HANDS - WARM HEART"

    This is one I recommend to those who are totally clueless about homesteading in remote Alaska. Ain't much better now then in the early 1970's. This was a haunting read for me, as I did a Federal Homestead Act prove up at the same time (early 70's) she tried, incurred many the same issues.

    It is a good study of the many SHTF things that happen, and how "wonderful" it can be.....and seconds later "hell" beyond most peoples grasp.

    People snivel about weather related hardships in the lower 48.......but there are others around. People pretend to imagine being isolated alone in the wilderness, but they can't. In the end she failed to make it work, but she lived a dream, with several nightmares thrown in. It sounds easy.....but is very-very hard.

    It is not in the same class as "Born on Snowshoes", but educational and frustrating the mistakes they made. Likely more interesting to a female reader.

    https://www.amazon.com/Cold-Hands-W...46WPB08R43M&psc=1&refRID=9EJBYPZHA46WPB08R43M
     
  28. randyt

    randyt Master Survivalist
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    another Dick North book I've been wanting to get is The Lost Patrol. it sounds interesting
     
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  29. Sourdough

    Sourdough "eleutheromaniac"
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    Speaking of upper level Shit hitting the Fan........Your in the middle of nowhere, seven years old and your in charge now that your mother is dead on the cabin floor. And there is nothing to eat but a maggots on her body. That is pretty much the start of this story.

    I knew him when he race in Anchorage in the 70's.

    On the Edge of Nowhere
    by
    James Huntington

    His father is a white trapper, his mother an Athabascan Indian who walks a thousand miles in winter to reunite with her family. Thus, Jimmy Huntington learns early how to survive on the land. Huntington is only seven when his mother dies, and he must care for his younger siblings. A courageous and inspiring man, Huntington hunts wolves, fights bears, survives close calls too numerous to mention, and becomes a championship sled-dog racer.
     
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  30. Alaskajohn

    Alaskajohn Master Survivalist
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    That was one of my favorite books. There is a book about his brother too, but it isn’t as good as this book.
     
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  31. randyt

    randyt Master Survivalist
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    another photo of the rrt gear. I've read that those snowshoes weigh 10 lbs a piece

    6144a269212f765acf771fead788accf.jpeg
     
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  32. randyt

    randyt Master Survivalist
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    that was fast, Born on Snowshoes showed up today. I haven't started reading yet but did check it out some. I noticed she was using a 30-40 krag rifle. Not surprising, I think one could be had from CMP back in the day for less than ten bucks and was a popular choice.
    It looks like a very interesting book.
     
  33. watcherchris

    watcherchris Legendary Survivalist
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    30-40 Krag.....Wow!! Last gun show I went to they were going for almost 900 dollars..right in there with the 1903 Springfield's. Never aspired to own one as the ammo is not as easy to find as 30.06 or .308 Winchester.

    But in the hands of someone who knows how to use it...it is fine....just like the .303 British....which is also not as common around here..

    Had I rifles in either 30-40 Krag or .303 British...I would be rolling my own ammunition. Now that I think about it...both of these are rimmed cartridges.

    Watcherchris
    Not an Ishmaelite.
     
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  34. randyt

    randyt Master Survivalist
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    I have four 30-40 krags, two 1898 bolt actions and two 95 winchester lever actions. For awhile the brass was not being made. Then Graf had some made, I think by Jamison. Also .303 can be worked over to 30-40. years ago when I was a kid, I had a norwegian krag in 6.6x55. I traded it off, wish I had not.

    My hobby is shooting old firearms. The oddest to date is either a snider enfield or 41 swiss. Those round are made one at a time. The enfield is made from 24 gauge brass and the 41 swiss is made from 8mm lebel.
     
    1. Old Geezer
      Wow! And WOW! again.
      You have super-taste in cartridges. I own no 30-40 Krag, however I'm totally aware of it being a near-perfect all-around cartridge. For me it is the .303 Brit. I had a friend (brilliant design engineer) who was totally taken with the 6.5 Swede -- his motivation was not emotion / nostalgia, it was pure reason. The Krag bolts are slick and I love the 95 Winchester look and feel. Great that you can form and load 3040 ammo. Well done. Very impressive to anyone who truly appreciates firearms. I am totally envious.
       
      Old Geezer, Sep 11, 2020
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  35. randyt

    randyt Master Survivalist
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    I've been reading the born on snowshoe book. The part where she plays with the three black "puppies" she found along the river is so precious. lol
     
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  36. watcherchris

    watcherchris Legendary Survivalist
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    Reading that book myself Randy T. Born On Snowshoes. So far it has been very good...

    Four 30-40 Krags ...Wow!!

    Watcherchris
    Not an Ishmaelite.
     
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  37. randyt

    randyt Master Survivalist
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    it's a long story on on how I ended up with some of the stuff I have. In a nutshell it went like this. Granddad has something and my father thinks that's cool so he gets one . Then I show up and grandpa and dad have something and that's cool so I get one. They pass on and I end up with what they had. Very tight family and it's all seen as heirlooms.
     
    1. Old Geezer
      At a gun show today, I saw a Martini Henry cadet rifle. These were used as training rifles in Australia. It did not have a tang sight, nor vernier, just a regular rear site. It was billed as a 32-20, however one wonders if this rifle was chambered in the original .310 and somebody was shoving 32-20 cartridges into it. Many of these were re-barrelled in other cartridges/calibers, to include the 32-20. Whereas using 32-20 ammo in a .310 might work, it couldn't be accurate. The .310 actually has a larger bore diameter. Here is an image of one of these rifles that I found on the web (I like this rifle's rear sight, mounted to rear section of receiver):
      [​IMG]
       
      Old Geezer, Sep 12, 2020
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  38. Caribou

    Caribou Master Survivalist
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    The great thing about the 30-40 Krag is that most were built before 1899 so they can legally be sold between States without an FFL, and they can be sent through the mail. Ammo and brass are both available though not on every shelf. As mentioned Graff is a good place for brass and dies. I've noticed 30-40 on the shelves of the smaller gun stores more often than the large sporting goods stores.
     
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  39. watcherchris

    watcherchris Legendary Survivalist
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    I've seen people up at the gun club with those Martini Henrys....in some kind of 45 caliber...I think it is called .450 and it is a big case with some kind of paper patched bullet in it. I am guessing that these rifles go back to the black powder days by the side of the large bottle necked case.

    When first you see a paper patched cartridge it takes some getting used to in the days of high speed copper bullets.

    Watcherchris
    Not an Ishmaelite.
     
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  40. randyt

    randyt Master Survivalist
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    577/450 kynoch. I've been wanting to pick one up to shoot. They also made one in 303 brit.
     
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