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M1879 & M1881 Jarmann, M1884, M1887 & M1887/90 Jarmann


GENERALLY:    The Jarmann, (named after its Norwegian designer, J.S.Jarmann) was originally a single shot, and was evaluated by a joint Norwegian-Swedish board in 1878-79 but eventually adopted only in Norway.  The English language history of this rifle is one of the most confused I have come across, with sources referring to a M1879 & M1881; M1881 single shot, M1884 repeater, M1881/87 conversion of the single shot to repeater and M1884/87 (in reference to the addition of the magazine cut-off).  (See recent e-mail references listed below for more detail).  The Jarmann was is turning bolt action rifle outwardly similar to the Italian M1870 Vetterli, the German M1871 Mauser and French M1874 Gras.   The Jarmann was a small bore (10.5mm) typical of the late black powder era.

The repeater version of the Jarmann is a modification of the original single shot adapted to a Kropatchek tubular magazine design adopted for service in Norway by both its Army and Navy.    It has a one piece stock with a single spring-retained barrel band and pinned nose cap fitted with a bayonet bar on the right side.   Similar to the German M71/84 Mauser, a magazine cut-off lever for utilizing the repeater as a single shot is fitted to the left side of the receiver of later models.  The Jarmann sight, in addition to its 1,500 meter graduation, (later modifications extending the standard range to 1,600 meters) is fitted with an auxiliary "volley" sight on the left side of the fore end for ranges out to 2,600 meters.

It appears that only approximately 28,000 of all types were ever made.  Their scarecity perhaps expalining in part why accurate, consistent information about the Jarmann is so difficult to find.

PHOTO:  The owner of the above rilfe and I both believe it to me a M1883 Jarmann repeater.

DISTINGUISHING CHARECTERISTICS:    The bolt appears to me to be derived from an amalgam of several different bolt atcion military rifles of that era (the Gras, Mauser and Berdan).  The Jarmann receiver is unique and unmistakable in having a split bridge with the bridge being divided into two sections (forward and back) and the bolt handle base locking the bolt by closing between the two sections.  The action of locking the bolt also moves the receiver shield mounted on the bolt handle into position to cover the slotted receiver section.

MISC NOTES:   The owner of the Jarmann featured on this page sent me the following letter:

Subj:  Jarmann rifle
Date: 00-09-14 11:13:54 EDT
From: m----- @ (TH)
To: KeithDoyon@MilitaryRifles(.)com

The history of the Jarmann started May 1st 1877(?) in Stockholm, with a Swedish/Norwegian comittee meeting.  In an effort to find and propose a suitable rifle for the Norwegian and Swedish armies, a number of rifles and carbines was tested and evaluated.  Both single shot and repeaters.  In 1880 a cartridge of 10.15 mm caliber was approved for use in infantry rifles.  This caliber was used in different trial versions of the Jarmann designed rifles, both for single shot and repeaters.  Testing of these rifles was conducted during the years 1877-1885. Norway adopted a repeater in 1882.  It had an 8 round magazine.  Also, one cartridge could be placed below the bolt (on the "feeder") and one in the chamber. The rifle was rejected by the Swedish army.

I am in possesion of a Jarmann repeating rifle marked with model no. 1883 (yet another model no. , could be a trial model).   I also have some cartridges and cases. Caliber 10.15 mm x 61R (Jarmann) ( Picture of cartridge on this homepage)
Some of the cartridges are still in their original packaging belt (belt made of two thick paper strips, one wide and one small. The smaller strip is "weaved" in to slots on the wider strip forming pockets where the cartridges are placed.  Strongly resembles machine gun feeding belts. These belts were kept in wooden boxes.
I have tried the rifle at some occasions and it works well except for the feeding from the magazine. You should not be in a hurry when repeating.  Not a good feature on a military rifle.
I will try to get a picture of my rifle.   (KD note:  As you can see, he got some wonderful pictures!!)


Also, in response to some earlier e-mailing back and forth, I received this wonderful letter from a correspondent in Norway!:

Subj:  Re: Jarmann
Date: 00-03-21 19:57:45 EST
To: KeithDoyon@MilitaryRifles(.)com


OK, brief summary:

In 1879, the single shot Jarmann is proposed for adoption by the army.  The argument being there are no satisfying repeaters at this time.  One of the members of the rifle board disagrees, and the rifle issue is to be looked further into.  I don't think this rifle was made in any quantity, for the army at least.  This would be the M1879, although it is not an official designation, as the rifle was never adopted.  The field test guns, made for the army, could of course have been marked 1879, I dont know.

In 1881, the crown prince ruled that the Jarmann with fixed magazine under the barrel should be adopted by the Norwegian infantry.   Production details of the gun were still to be determined.  M1881 is also not an official model designation as far as i know, and i dont think there were produced much guns between 1881 and 1884.

In 1884, Kongsberg Vapenfabrikk made two guns that were to function as models for manufacture, [KD note, prototypes] know what i mean i hope :)  This is known as the M1884 Jarmann.  [The M1884s] run to serial number 14xxx.

In 1887 a number of changes to the Jarmann was, [KD note, Adopted] uhm, whats that word again, well, this became the M1887.  Some few changes were made in the years 1888-1890, and this rifle is known as the M1887/90 in documents from that  time.  Thats pretty much it, again taken from a publication from the Norwegian Army Museum.   I forgot the cite, will follow later.

Oh yes, I said once that the Krag Petersson was adopted by the norwegian  navy.  The navy adopted the Krag Petersson with magazine under the barrel in 1876.  It was in 12mm, I think the same as the Remington, although it doesnt say anything else than 12mm in my book. it would be logical that it is the same as the Remington. it was rimfire at least.  Under 1000 were made.


(This set of photos courtesy of a wonderful Swedish correspondent)


Pic showing the left side of the receiver.  The lever that flips over forward and back, along side of the receiver, is the magazine "repeater selector" to lock the elevator spoon up for single shot use, or to engage the elevator spoon for use as a repeater.


Note the tab on the right side of the forward barrel band.  This was the long range (or "volly") front sight, used in lieu of the regular front sight when shooting at very extended ranges, when accuracy was not critical and the rifles were to be used as though they were artillary, firing en masse as vollys!!  This feature is seen on numbers of rifles of this era such as the Russian M1871 Berdan II, the Spanish M1871/89 Remington and the Belgian M1873 Albani.

 Jarmann Bolt Details

Left view of Jarmann bolt body and striker assembly partially disassembled.


Right side view of Jarmann bolt assembly fully disassembled.


Right side view - flipped over -- of the disassembled Jarmann bolt assembly.

Page first built September 16, 1999
Revised March 21, 2000
Revised October 1, 2000

Updated: Nov 6, 2021

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