Jarmann M1884

Jarmann M1884

Infobox Weapon|is_ranged=yes
name=Jarmann M1884

caption=Cross section of the M1884
type=bolt action repeating rifle
designer=Jacob Smith Jarmann
service=1884 to 1900 (reissued to second line units in 1905)
cartridge=10.15 x 61R rimmed
action=Bolt action
rate=Unknown, but as fast as the operator could operate the action
velocity= 485 to 500 m/s (1,191 to 1,640 ft/s)
range=2,400 m (2,600 yd)
weight= 4.5 kg (10 lb)
length= Unknown
part_length= 850 mm (33.5 in)
feed= 8 round tubular magazine
sights=V-notch and front post
variants=Swedish Jarmann (three bands) Norwegian Jarmann (two bands)

The Norwegian Jarmann M1884 was among the first bolt action repeating rifles to be adopted in the Western world. Its adoption, and subsequent modifications, turned the Norwegian Army from a fighting force armed with single-shot black powder weapons into a force armed with modern repeating weapons firing smokeless ammunition. Several thousand were manufactured to equip both Norwegian and Swedish forces in the 1880s. The design is unique, and was the brainchild of Norwegian engineer Jacob Smith Jarmann. After the design had been phased out of the Norwegian Army, a number of the weapons were rebuilt as harpoon guns.


The Jarmann M1884 fired a 10.15 mm black powder cartridge in an 8-round, tubular magazine in which the rounds were lined up in a tube below the barrel. It has a non-rotating bolt (the part of the action that seals the rear end of the barrel) locked by a rotating bolt handle, and reputedly a smooth action. However, this action is not considered strong enough to fire modern ammunition, since the only locking is provided by the rotating bolt handle.

Jacob Smith Jarmann designed his first breech-loading rifle—firing cardboard cartridges—in 1838,cite book | first = Karl Egil | last = Hanevik | year = 1998 | title = Norske Militærgeværer etter 1867 | publisher = Hanevik Våpen | id = ISBN 82-993143-1-3 | pages = Chapter 3] but this was turned down by the armed forces at the time. The logic was that a rifle capable of firing 13 shots a minute would be impossible to resupply with enough ammunition. In the 1870s, he stepped down from the daily running of his workshop to work on his newly invented bolt-action rifle. According to the patent, three particulars were considered new and unique with the action he had developed:
*The extractor, which not only pulled the spent round out of the breech, but also served to limit the bolt's rearward motion.
*The design of the rotating bolt handle, which served to lock the bolt to the receiver in the forward position.
*The way the extractor was secured to the body of the bolt.Another interesting oddity is that the Jarmann action does not have a separate ejector, but instead relies on the fact that the extractor pushes the spent round down onto the elevator. The resulting friction was enough to safely eject the round from the receiver.


has been referred to as "too excitable", especially when used with pointed bullets.cite web | first = Trond | last = Wikbor | title = Jarmanns gevær M1884 | url = http://www.geocities.com/trondwikborg/jarmann.html | accessdate = 2005-08-16] Also, the balance of the weapon changed with every shot fired. However, both of these issues are common to all firearms that use tubular magazines.

The first Jarmann design was firmly a single-shot weapon, and Jacob Smith Jarmann was reportedly at first unwilling to design a magazine for it. This may explain why the magazine and bolt do not always work well together.

The sights on the Jarmann M1884, as first issued, were graduated to a distance of 2,400 m (2,620 yd), and the original issue ammunition had a muzzle velocity of about 485 to 500 m/s. At first the gun used paper-wrapped lead bullets but soon changed to a steel jacketed bullet. During production, the sights were modified, and M1884s with serial numbers higher than 4330 also had a combat sight— by folding the sight arm fully forward, a V-notch was revealed. The combat sight was graduated to 430 m (470 yd), since the path taken by the bullet did not rise over 1.80 meters (6 ft) at this distance. The M1884s with the combat sight were also equipped with a sidemounted volley sight, intended for indirect volley fire over long distances. To be effective, an entire company would have to fire at the same time, which would ensure that at least some of the bullets found their targets. The volley sight was used at distances beyond 1600 meters (about one mile).


The aforementioned Norwegian-Swedish committee also designed the 10.15 x 61R cartridge that the various prototypes as well as the service weapon were chambered for. Originally a black powder round with a paper-wrapped lead bullet, it was later loaded with smokeless powder and a full metal jacket bullet. More than 5 million cartridges were manufactured for the M1884, in addition to several thousand specialty cartridges. The following different variations on the 10.15 x 61R cartridge have been identified:
*10.15 Ball, rounded tip, lead bullet wrapped in paper, black powder (possibly testing-only round)
*10.15 Ball, flat tip, lead bullet wrapped in paper, black powder
*10.15 Ball, flat tip, full metal jacket, smokeless powder
*10.15 Gallery, round lead bullet (for use indoors or at short ranges)
*10.15 Gallery, same as above but with a ring crimped around the neck of the case
*10.15 Blank, unpainted wooden 'bullet', smooth case
*10.15 Blank, same as above but with six long ridges pressed into the case
*10.15 Blank, same as above but with six long and six short ridges pressed into the case
*10.15 Dummy, red wooden 'bullet' going all the way to the bottom of the case, six long and six short ridges pressed into the case, and two rings crimped around the neck of the case
*10.15 Dummy, as above but with just the six long ridges and rings around the neck
*10.15 Dummy, as above but with brown wooden 'bullet' and two rings crimped around the neck of the case (tests only).
*10.15 Harpoon round, a blank round crimped shut, used only in the M28 harpoon gun
*10.15 Harpoon round, as above but closed with a crimped lid


of the Jarmann.

The 10.15 mm bullet fired by the Jarmann was fully enfilading (meaning that the path of the bullet would pass through a man-sized target) up to 438 m (479 yd), and at a range of 600 metres (660 yd) it did not spread more than 61 cm (24 in) with uncoated lead bullets and 46 cm (18 in) with jacketed bullets. This compared very favorably to the Remington M1867, then the Norwegian standard weapon, which was enfilading out to 300 m (330 yd) and had a spread at 600 m of 96 cm (38 in).

In comparison, the Gras rifle displayed a spread of 89 cm (35 in) and the Mauser rifle (presumably a Gewehr 71) had a spread of 80 cm (31.5 in), both at 600 m (660 yd).


Despite the problems with the weapon, no fewer than 30,000 were manufactured for the Norwegian armed forces in the decade between its adoption in 1884 and the later adoption of the Krag-Jørgensen in 1894. A further 1500 were manufactured for the Swedish Navy in the same period. In Norwegian service, it replaced the Remington M1867 and the last few kammerladers still in use.

When the weapon was chosen and first issued, the military considered it a very good weapon. It had a good rate of fire and had less than half the spread of the Remington M1867 at 600 m (46 versus 96 cm). It was later eclipsed, however by the radical development of firearms at the time. Within a decade it was phased out and replaced by the Krag-Jørgensen rifle. Even though it was phased out, several second-line units were issued the weapon in 1905, when war between Norway and Sweden was considered imminent.

Towards the end of their use in the armed forces, the original gunpowder cartridges were replaced by cartridges filled with smokeless powder. Despite the increase in muzzle velocity, the sights were not altered, thus radically decreasing the accuracy of the rifle.

Fate of the Jarmanns

Jarmann M1884s in their original condition are now extremely rare. During the 1920s and 1930s, a number of the surplus rifles was either sold to civilians or rebuilt into M28 harpoon guns.

, but without any takers.

It is reported that the Germans melted down the last remaining Jarmann rifles in military warehouses during the Nazi occupation, since they were "too obsolete to be of interest, too modern to have lying around". It is quite possible that as many as 21,000 Jarmanns were destroyed in this fashion.

M28 Harpoon gun

Infobox Weapon|is_ranged=yes
name=Jarmann M28 harpoon gun

caption=The M28 was delivered in a custom crate loaded with supplies
type=bolt action harpoon gun
designer=Jacob Smith Jarmann
service=1928 onwards
cartridge=10.15 x 61R rimmed
action=Bolt action
rate=Unknown, but as fast as the operator could reload
velocity= Unknown
range= 300 m (330 yd)
weight= 5.3 kg (11.7 lb) empty, 7.7 kg (17 lb) with harpoon
length= 1.06 m (42 in)
part_length= Unknown
feed= 1
sights=V-notch and front post
mechanism in a new harpoon gun called the M52. The sources indicate that around 1,911 Jarmann rifles were modified to M28s, about half of them after World War II.

The M28 was advertised as being suitable for use for hunting and rescue work, as well as for general shooting of lines. The advertisement reproduced here specifically mentions its suitability for firefighters, people erecting telephone lines and general construction work. The M28 was seen as suitable for hunting Northern bluefin tuna, seals, swordfish and other large marine animals. Among the equipment that could be delivered for the M28 were hunting harpoons, rescue harpoons, rocket-assisted harpoons, 'dum-dum bullets' and rope of various lengths in special crates. The special rounds for launching harpoons were manufactured until the mid-1970s.

Comparison with contemporary rifles

The Jarmann was, at the time of its adoption, considered a good weapon. By comparing it to the Remington M1867, which was the standard issue rifle in the Norwegian Army, as well as against the standard service rifles of Germany, France and the United Kingdom at the time it is clear that the Jarmann indeed was an excellent weapon for its time, particularly in its accuracy, range and enfilading effect.

ee also

Other Norwegian rifles:
*Remington M1867

Comparable weapons from the same era:
*The German Mauser Gewehr 71/84 and Gewehr 88
*The French Lebel Model 1886 rifle and its forerunner the Gras rifle
*The British Martini-Henry and Lee-Metford

ources and references

* Doyon, Keith [http://www.militaryrifles.com/Norway/Jarmann.htm M1879 & M1881 Jarmann / M1884, M1887 & M1887/90 Jarmann] Last retrieved 16 August 2005

External links

* [http://www.geocities.com/trondwikborg/jarmann.html Trond Wikborg's (Norwegian gun collector) page on the Jarman M1884]
* [http://www.militaryrifles.com/Norway/Jarmann.htm Page with some pictures and information on the Jarmann]
* [http://www.militaryrifles.com/Norway/MoreJarmann.htm More pictures of the Jarmann]
* [http://www.militaryrifles.com/Norway/JarmannBolt/JarBolt.htm Closeups of the Jarmann bolt assembly]
* [http://www.museumsnett.no/yrjarheimbygdslag/sjobruk/bildeside/kval/b_5388_s_gevaer_1.htm Photo of the M28 from the left side] , [http://www.museumsnett.no/yrjarheimbygdslag/sjobruk/bildeside/kval/b_5388_s_gevaer_2.htm right side with harpoon] and [http://www.museumsnett.no/yrjarheimbygdslag/sjobruk/bildeside/kval/b_5388_s_gevaer_3.htm closeup of harpoon and line] .
* [http://www.museumsnett.no/yrjarheimbygdslag/sjobruk/bildeside/kval/b_5490_knall.htm A photograph of two rather corroded rounds for the M28 ] .
* [http://www.museumsnett.no/yrjarheimbygdslag/sjobruk/bildeside/kval/b_storjeskyttere.htm The M28 in use]

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