Madsen L.A.M. 15 LMG
By James L. Ballou

It may be a matter of opinion that one of the rarest machine guns on the line at the old North Country Shoot on June 21, 1996, was a Madsen LMG designated L.A.M.15. To some, it looked like a “funky Bren” LMG. If asked what it was, the response would be a Madsen. “Oh, the SMG that opens like a clam shell.” No, this is one of the first LMGs and the longest produced machine gun in history. As reported in the October 2008 issue of Small Arms Review (Vol. 12, No. 1), the Madsen had a design that converted a Martini, single shot rifle to a full auto machine gun. L.A.M. M15 means “Leichte Automatische Muskette, M15.” It has been purported that in 1915 the Germans had purchased 500 LAM 15s from Madsen as a transition to the Maxim 08/15s. Very few have survived to be legally registered.

Test firing proved to be difficult as it was awkward to insert the magazine without a cascade of rounds arcing out into the air: frustrating at best. Because the Madsen is a short recoil system it has a tendency to recoil heavily resulting in the tendency of the bipod legs to flop down. This was corrected by an old Germanic “expediency,” a Faber rubber band secured the legs to the barrel during firing. You will note a single round beneath the weapon and an open ejection cover that opens when first firing. This is a good point, to allow the port to be protected from debris and foreign objects getting into the mechanism.

It was a thrill to fire such a rare and historic weapon, serial #56.

Make: Madsen Muskette
Model: LAM M15 “Leichte Automatische Muskette M15
Manufacture: Denmark, Dansk Rekylriffel Syndicat, M1915
Caliber: 7.92X57mm, 8mm German
Production: Allegedly 500 for German Army in 1915
Length: 45 inches
Weight: 20 pounds
Barrel: 23 inches, 4 grooves, RH twist
Magazine: Thirty round single stack
Cyclic Rate: 450 rpm
Muzzle Velocity: 2,350 fps
Photo Origin: Taken by Patricia Ballou, on June 23, 1996
Location: Old North Country Shoot, Stratford Hollow, NH

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V13N2 (November 2009)
and was posted online on May 25, 2012


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