The Elusive Madsen
One Of The Last Of The Military Bolt-Actions Rifles
One of the most interesting, elusive and odd milsurps to reach our shores is the Danish Model 47 Madsen rifle. Odd? Well, considering that the Madsen was designed and manufactured after WWII, this unique rifle is considered to be the last, general issue, military bolt-action rifle ever designed in the 20th century. It’s the timing of the Madsen bolt-action rifle which is so odd.
Introduced in 1951 to members of an international arms community, already awash in WWII surplus semi-auto and selective-fire rifles and carbines as well as surplus and newly manufactured military bolt actions, the fate of the new Madsen rifle was almost preordained—a preordained failure—which makes it all the more fascinating as a milsurp since so few were actually made.
There has been little written about the Madsen, which, given their rarity, is understandable so I went searching for some original Madsen publications. I had to look no further than Cornell Publications’ incredible treasury of 3,000+ old gun catalogs and 600+ old gun manuals, including factory gunsmithing manuals.
Over the past decade, collectors all over the world loaned Cornell Pubs catalog and manual collections. Cornell prints out the catalogs and manuals on demand. The resulting reproductions in b&w or color are of high quality and inexpensive, compared to the cost of an original, if you could even find one.
Fortunately, Cornell had two Madsen catalogs: one devoted exclusively to the “Madsen Lightweight Military Rifle” and the second to much broader offerings of Madsen products including light and heavy machine guns, submachine guns, mortars, 20mm cannons and the Madsen-made Ljungman semi-automatic rifle.
Story By: Holt Bodinson
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