The Madsen Light Automatic Rifle couldn’t beat the FN FAL and G3
by MATTHEW MOSS
In the late 1950s, the Danish Madsen company — a.k.a. Dansk Industrie Sindikat — followed up on its successful light machine gun by developing a new lightweight automatic rifle for the Finnish army.
The resulting LAR was a versatile and potentially very effective weapon. But it arrived at a bad time.
Development began in 1957. The initial prototype, chambered for the Soviet 7.62-by-39-millimeter M43 cartridge, entered Finnish military trials in 1958.
While the rifle apparently performed well during trials, Finnish authorities rejected it in 1960. Madsen revised the design to fire NATO’s 7.62-by-51-millimeter round in 1962, but the same year the Finns adopted the M62, an AK-clone chambered for the M43.
The Madsen LAR was out of time. And that was a shame.
The select-fire LAR was capable of mounting optics and bipods for various roles. It operated by way of a long-stroke gas piston and featured a rotating bolt similar to the AK-47's.
The LAR prototypes boasted receivers made of high-tensile aluminum alloys while the barrel and gas piston tube were chromium-lined to prevent fouling. They also had in-line stocks to improve control during automatic fire.
The later prototypes had free-floating barrels in order to maximize accuracy. The earlier M43-chambered LARs fed from standard AK magazines while the later m/62 NATO models used proprietary 20-round box magazines.
Madsen developed the rifle in a number of configurations — some with fixed wooden stocks, others with folding or collapsing metal stocks. The m/62 weighed 10.32 pounds — a tad heavy compared to Belgium’s competing FN FAL, which weighed 9.81 pounds, and the 9.05-pound Heckler & Koch G3.
The LAR prototypes had folding carrying handles and aperture sights ranging out to 600 meters.
The Madsen Light Automatic Rifle was without doubt a promising design. However, by 1962 the FN FAL and G3 dominated the market for 7.62-by-51-millimeter battle rifles. These rival weapons were cheaper and easier to manufacture than the LAR was.
Madsen abandoned the LAR in 1965. With Madsen’s M47 lightweight bolt-action rifle have failed earlier and with the company’s post-war submachine guns meeting only moderate success, the LAR’s failure compelled Madsen to move away from small-arms manufacturing.
Originally published at www.historicalfirearms.info.