Monthly 2-Gun Action Challenge Match

In addition to studying and researching unusual firearms, I enjoy shooting, and like to take any opportunity I can get to get trigger time with the more obscure designs out there. The local 2-Gun Action Challenge Match gives me a great opportunity each month to try out a new firearm in an environment designed to simulate some of the rigors of actual combat use. If a gun is going exhibit malfunctions or handling problems, they will probably come to light when you are reloading under pressure, running, shooting from unorthodox positions, and so on. I enjoy the physical challenge of the match, and it’s a great way to get a new perspective on different firearms designs.

I didn’t have an unusual pistol to use this month (I used my trusty Argentine Ballester Molina automatic), but I had a semiauto Madsen LMG for the rifle portion. The Madsen was the first light machine gun design to see practical military service, and was also one of the longest-serving guns of its type. The Madsen first came on the market in 1902, was being manufactured new into the 1950s, and was in service internationally until the 1990s, notably with Rio de Janeiro police teams. I will be posting a video on the Madsen’s operating system and mechanical details next week, but I figured it would be fun to post the video from this past weekend’s match using it…


  1. Well, although an ugly and ungainly looking gun, I must admit that the Madsen does the job.
    Got a chance to shoot Uncle Bob’s FA Madsen (can I post a photograph on this site?).
    Wonder what the price is for the Semi- and the Full?
    Might get one some day.

    • Midwest Metal is charging $2400 for a turnkey Madsen (semi), built on a 1950 parts kit, which has a much better bipod design than the 1946 I had in the match. FWIW, the first clip of my little video intro montage is actually Bob Faris’ full-auto Madsen. 🙂

      Not sure what the full auto ones are going for these days, but I would guess somewhere in the 20k range…there aren’t very many on the registry.

  2. I simply love the Madsen LMG, if for no other reason, the truly Byzantine system of operation. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a really clear drawing of the path that the bolt takes, guided by the “switch plate”. I think that Hogg states that it actually bends the round slightly getting it into the chamber.

    The Germans used quite a few during WWI, taken from the Russians, if I recall correctly. I’m not clear as to whether they were used in the original 7.62x54Rmm, rechambered to 7.92x57mm, or something else. Certainly the German storm troopers would have been better off with the Madsen than the MG08-15.

    • Well, I also put together a video on how the MAdsen works, which will be posting next Monday. Hopefully that will clarify the system…it definitely doesn’t bend rounds as they load (at least not when it’s working properly). The biggest problem with the mechanism is that there is no mechanism for allowing you to force the breech assembly forward into battery it the mainspring doesn’t take care of it. So if you get a round only partially extracted (which did happen to me while clearing the gun at the end of stages; it takes a good brisk yank on the handle to clear a round from a hot barrel), you have to open the top cover and push it back into battery with a finger. The charging handle only allows you to pull the system backwards.

      And yeah, I would take a Madsen over an 08/15 Maxim without a second thought.

    • I’m crazy, not stupid. 🙂

      I may use a bolt action of some sort in this match sooner or later, though. The rules includes a class for folks who have limited ammo, in which the number of shots required is halved (ie, one per paper instead of two) but the penalties for missed or poor shots are doubled. So if I can come up with a particularly interesting bolt gun, I might give that a whirl.

      • Pity you broke the Ross – it would be perfect for a match like that. Do you know anyone with a Swiss straight pull you could borrow?

      • Might I suggest a Styer M95? Straight pull with enbloc clips. Of course an Lee Enfield is non too forgotten a weapon, but would probably give the best results in a timed event. Or you could go for sheer cool points and use a Lebel.

        • I’d go with a K31. With the higher penalties for misses, you can’t go wrong using such a supremely accurate rifle.

      • I tried this match with a Mosin-Nagant M91/30 last year, with the bayonet attached. I had a ton of sticky bolt, and yes my rifle was clean. The barrel/receiver was getting too hot and it would stick. If you do use a bolt action, make every hit count.

  3. Having fired that particular Madsen, I’m impressed with your results. The sights aren’t bad by modern standards but it’s got the heaviest trigger I’ve ever encountered on a long gun.

  4. Excellent video, Ian. I wonder, if some sort of forward grip had been added, would that have helped handling?

    • Yeah, I think it really would. It seems that the Brazilian cops who used them in this sort of run-and-gun activity would ditch the bipods and wrap the back of the barrel jackets in various types of insulating material, and that would also work better than hanging onto the front bit of the receiver. FWIW, I did accidentally press my arm against the jacket after one stage, and managed to get my wrist into contact with the barrel through on of the ventilation slots. That’s going to be a nice permanent scar, I think.

  5. Little away from technology for second; I looked at announcement page of the “2-gun action” event, it looks really good. I’d even venture to say patriotic; it fosters in people useful skills, on top of camaraderie, that’s for sure.

  6. Ian outstanding job. The Madsen brought back memories. That contortionist part of shooting through the barrier would crush me. The 1911 part was impressive too. The semi auto Madsen is really nice.

  7. Very cool, Ian!

    I’m relieved you’re going to be doing a vid on the Madsen’s mechanism, too. Just reading about the way that thing (supposedly) operates is enough to make my brain hurt. At the moment it seems about as sane and logical as North Korean quantum physics…

  8. Frankly, I thought you did rather well, considering that you were taking up the challenge of using a weapon that was hardly suited to this sort of match set-up. I really appreciated how well you managed when firing through all those cut-out ports of differing sizes and configurations, especially when you kept scoring direct hits even when having to cant the weapon sideways and twist your anatomy into an unnatural position. Certainly not the easiest thing to do with a 20-lb. gun with a top-loaded magazine and relatively tall sights!

    Did any of the other participants try out the Madsen to see if they could manage as well under the circumstances?

  9. Will you be posting more footage of upcoming matches of this type, especially those featuring really interesting and unusual firearms such as the Madsen? I’m almost sure that there are also other participants who will bring “forgotten” weapons to these meets, at least on occassion.

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