M1849 Army Kammerlader

The M1846 had proven to be a success. It was more accurate than any other rifle it was compared to, it was faster in reloading and in 1849 it was decided that the kammerlader should be the long-gun for the infantry.

Some minor changes were done to the M1849 model, amongst these were a new rear sight (still behind the chamber), a slightly differently shaped rear stock as it now would have a slight curve from the trigger guard to the butt plate (M1849 at the top, M1846 beneath). The butt plate got a “heel” on the underside of the stock, in order to protect this better. The hammer was again changes to an even sturdier version than on the M1846 – the picture shows the M1849 at the top, the M1846 and the M1842 at the bottom. The bottom plate was simplified, now only needing two instead of fours screw attaching it.

Three companies were again chosen to produce the rifle, Kongsberg would be the main manufacturer and would supply some 6600 of this rifle. Auguste Francotte & Cie in Liege, Belgium and Carl P Crause & Söhne in Hertzberg, Germany deliver 2000 of the M1849 each. All three production runs started at #1. A total of 10 600 were made of this rifle by 1855, when a modified model was introduced, making this the most produced Norwegian long-gun so far.

As with the M1842 and the M1846, finding M1849′s with the original rear sight it practically impossible. The pictures on this page therefor shows the rifle with the M1855 rear sight. They have one at our Defense Museum, so I’ll bring my camera down and take a picture – one day…

The pictures above show the three different rifles, the Francotte at top, the Crause & the Kongsberg. Click the pictures to enlarge them. Identifying the three different M1949s is not all that difficult. The Kongsberg and the Francotte are very alike, but the Francotte is not marked with production year, has the ELG in an oval beneath the barrel and a crowned S on most of the major parts. The Hertzberg has a damascened barrel that can be seen through the staining and even easier on one that lacks the brown staining. It is also marked with a capital R in front of the chamber. If the serial number is above 2000, it is a Kongsberg, if it has a Crowned K, it is a Kongsberg.

There is quite a bit of equipment to be found for these rifles. On the picture to the left they have the klikklær (click leather) mounted. With this in place, one could dry fire the rifle without hurting it. It came with a carrying strap (of course), there were different kind of muzzle plugs and even a special star shaped tool for disassembling and cleaning or repairing  the rifle.

While finding the earlier models in next to new condition is almost impossible, not so with the M1849. The Norwegian army now had so many kammerladers that not all were taken out into the field, but just stayed stored at the arsenals until they were sold off to the public. I have been very lucky and have one of each in practically untouched, brand new condition, even with matching numbers on the bayonets. All three are regretfully converted to the M1855 rear sight.