My Ranch Gun: Madsen M47

There are many factors to consider when choosing a truck or ranch gun, and in this episode I put mine to the test. I have written about this rifle before (and shot it on the run and gun course), but let’s see how it performs out in its element.

Picking a truck gun:

Picking A Truck Gun

Madsen Run and Gun:

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Thanks to our sponsorĀ Ventura Munitions. Without them TFBTV Would not be possible.


Transcript …

– [Voiceover] Hey guys, it’s Alex C. with TFB TV.

Today’s video is going to be about my ranch gun.

And to be honest, this isn’t actually a video I intended on making.

I just got kind of inspired this past weekend when I was on the ranch, which is about an hour and a half north of where I live, and where I spend most weekends taking care of cattle and doing some shooting if there’s time.

So the reason I decided to do this is because when I got there I saw a coyote harassing one of the five newborn baby calves that we have.

Being as how it’s springtime, the breeding stock are all having new calves, and while I have not lost one to a coyote yet, it’s a fear that’s always been in the back of my head.

Cows aren’t exactly the smartest creatures, and a couple of hungry coyotes could definitely do some damage to a baby.

While the parents will sometimes protect their calves, these are extremely docile cattle, and as you can see here I’m pretty dang close to them and they really don’t care what I have going on.

As a matter of fact, I can hand-feed most of them with the exception of one or two that are a little skittish.

Anyways, on the very back of the property I’ve built a 300 meter range.

Basically it’s just a giant dirt mound that I dug out with a bulldozer, and piled up over the course of about two weeks or so.

And it’s proved to be very very useful so far.

I capped it at 300 meters because realistically I don’t really feel like I do much shooting beyond that distance, and I never really have with the exception of just a few times that was kind of more of a why not rather than a practical shooting experience.

Anyways, my ranch gun is a Madsen M47 bolt action rifle.

Now I’ve got two of them, one is kind of a keeper that’s really nice that I’ve just put back as a collector’s piece.

And one is one that legitimately rides everywhere with me on the ranch.

I like that they’re lightweight, they’re handy, they have a muzzle brake, a rubber recoil pad, and they’re just wonderful rifles, also chambered in.30-06, which you can find pretty much at any gun store in America.

Now we have done a run and gun with this rifle if you’d like to see that, with some speed shooting and speed reloading and everything like that, but that’s not really what I wanna talk about in this video.

The reason I chose the Madsen is because it has excellent sights and the aforementioned features such as the lightweight compactness, handy rubber recoil pad and muzzle brake.

I wanted to show you guys that maybe a bolt action is still a very good choice for defending your property, defending your animals or anything like that.

(gun fires) Probably less ideal for self-defense because there are better options out there, but this rifle has served its purpose wonderfully since I got it.

This is me shooting at 100 meters, and as you can see, it’s very easy.

Even with sights located forward of the receiver ring, rather than being rear aperture sighted, it’s still very capable.

While I’m not a professional bolt action shooter, I’m not a novice either, but it is a skill that you can pick up pretty quickly.

Now in my experience you have between five and 10 seconds to set up a shot on a coyote, so sitting down like I am here and shooting is not exactly practical, so that’s why I practice shooting bolt action standing up a lot more than I do from a prone position.

But let’s take it back to 300 meters, which really doesn’t sound like a lot, until you get back there with an iron-sighted rifle.

Anyways, I’m using 168 grain Federal ammunition.

While these rifles would have been designed for lighter M2 Ball ammunition, I noticed that I did have to move the rear slider up to 400 to land on the steel.

And the results were a little more pleasing than I thought.

(gun fires) (gun cocks) (gun fires) (gun cocks) (gun fires) (gun cocks) (gun fires) (gun cocks) (gun fires) (gun cocks) So at 300 meters with iron sights this gun is a champ.

It just shoots very well, and the rubber recoil pad and muzzle brake just make it a joy to shoot.

While I’m definitely not on par with those guys in Norway who participate in the lovely sport of Stangskyting, I definitely enjoy shooting iron-sighted rifles at a longer distance.

This rifle isn’t one I shoot very often for fun, because it’s almost been relegated strictly to pest control.

That said, these are very capable, and the good news is you can find these for about $500.

It’s a shame they didn’t make more of them.

Anyways, big thanks to Ventura Munitions, and another big thanks to you guys for watching this video.

Hope to see you next time.

Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


  • Schnee

    I really respect the use of a milsurp rifle like this for real work–my go-to truck handgun is a Smith 1917 revolver in .45ACP like Indiana Jones carried. But let’s be honest: A Glock 19 for under the seat or an AR-15 with a 3x scope for your ranch is far more logical. Less romantic, but more logical.

    • Suppressed

      I always hear people online talking about truck/trunk guns; older rifles, cheap AR’s, pistols with sig braces, and just plain pistols. It’s so odd to me because from my state’s law doesn’t really allow for much of that. In my state:
      – Having a pistol in your car without a CCW is verboten. Only to/from FFL, range, etc.
      – With my CCW, I got a paper telling me they’ll rescind it if you leave your pistol in your car. You just don’t make unplanned stops to fed bldgs., schools, etc.
      – CCW or not, transporting a loaded rifle is a no-no. A rifle is considered loaded by officers if the ammo/mag isn’t in a separate container when in the vehicle. Even if you comply with that, they will find a way to ruin your day if they get the sense that you’re always riding around with that legally unloaded rifle in the trunk, because you can’t impromptu hunt even a squirrel here without it being in season and having a license. So then they assume/know you’re planning on using the rifle in self-defense, and are probably doing so because you’re ineligible for a CCW, so now some 5hlt is gonna come your way.

      So it’s not even worth it :-/

      • Street Detective

        new jersey?

        • Suppressed

          Snugged up next to it, PA.

          • Schnee

            Duuude! You need to move out west. I moved here from your neck of the woods. In my current state, you can carry a gun in your car anywhere for whatever reason. If it’s within reach, it can’t be loaded unless you have a CCW. Loaded is defined as requiring fewer than two operations to fire. So this thing sits under my truck seat with 30 rounds. Empty chamber and safety on=good to go. Cops are cool about this, too, as long as you aren’t an obvious troublemaker.

      • CupAJoe

        Here in Kansas we now have constitutional carry, in addition to open carry, and concealed carry license is still popular for people that travel out of state or want more training. We’re allowed to have loaded hand guns in our vehicle, but a loaded long gun is a no no as far as I can tell.

        • Suppressed

          I’m jealous, I hope you guys always remember how fortunate you are and never take it for granted.

          Here in PA, if you got busted with a hash pipe back when you were 19, you can NEVER get a CCW. “Oh, you smoked weed before? Well, your right to properly defend yourself from criminals away from your home is forever lost! Your wife is being assaulted by a group of men? Tough cookies, you better eat your Wheaties.”

      • lardmonkey1

        not sure what part of PA your in but you can leave your pistol in your car loaded and be fine. I have never heard of getting it revoked for doing it.
        you can’t have a loaded rifle in your car but you have the rifle in a case with loaded mags or rounds on strippers in an outside compartment of the same bag as long as it is a separate pocket. though your not allowed to hunt from the car or just after you get out.

        i usually have a milsurp bolt gun with rounds on strippers in my car often.

        Though it is annoying not being able to hunt with semiautos

        This ak pistol below would be perfectly legal to have loaded in a car as well an sbr or sbs

        • Suppressed

          Right, the pistol is legal have loaded in the car *with* a CCW. On the 5 “do nots” listed on the paper they gave me when I got my permit, my county lists leaving your pistol in your car right up there with carrying into a school, federal building, or airport. Whether they can back that in court or not is beyond me, but I can’t afford to find out.

          I have heard others such as yourself say that their country has no such restriction and some that do. How much of that is correct vs. misinformation, I do not know. Good to hear it’s better where you’re at though!

          • lardmonkey1

            My guess is it is just something that the sheriff suggest not doing. Even though PA is a shall issue the sheriff could revoke your license for what whatever reason and it is up to you to fight. Your sheriff might not like that and revoke it if they find out you did it. though I prefer to carry everywhere and do my best to avoid areas that don’t allow it. I would not have a problem leaving it in the car if I absolutely had to anywhere in the state.

            also carrying in a airport isn’t against the law as long as it is before the security checks as most airports are locally owned. as such they cannot restrict carry beyond state limits. Fed building is fed jurisdiction and I am hoping that the school issue get sorted out.

  • schizuki

    That long reach to the bolt handle, tho…

  • Vhyrus

    If you aren’t shooting past 300 and fast follow up shots mean life and death for your calves, I would switch to an AR. It’s plenty of gun for coyotes and it’s less a problem if you miss the first shot.

    • In my experience, you get one crack at a yote. I have tried hunting them with small bore self loaders, but even at 200 meters or so when the shot sends the gun off target, you dont have time to setup a new shot before the animal is long gone.
      Make that first shot count.

      • Don Ward

        Pretty much this.


    Alex C. …

    Living the life.

  • Tierlieb

    You obviously like old rifles. But from a practical perspective, for $500 you might also get a Ruger American Rifle, Mossberg Patriot, Savage Axis or whatever other entry level bolt action.
    All with shorter barrels, more weather-proof stocks and, arguably, better precision than the Madsen. Chambered for even cheaper 308 WIN or 223 Rem. Throw on a cheap Leupold fixed 4×33 and you’ll be better equipped than any WW2 sniper.

  • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

    At the moment mine is a H&R single shot 12ga. It always goes bang and I have a load for any situation. When I reluctantly give my parents’ M1A back in exchange for my 336 that they currently have, the 336 will probably take the H&Rs place.

    But if I could afford it, it would be a M1A with a scout scope.

  • Bob

    Alex, have you tried the Hasty Sling method? I don’t know if it is fast enough for shooting coyotes, but it is something I like.

  • Cal S.

    Come on, Alex, we all know that “Truck/Ranch gun” is just code for “I want another gun…Ah, I have an excuse!”

    If I truly wanted a beater instead of taking my extra AR along, I’d buy a cracked-stock SKS and slap a Tapco stock on it with a sub-$100 red-dot and call it a day.

  • Paul Faiella

    300 meters is over 980 feet. What would be the odds of a kill shot of a cayote using iron sites? I don’t have a clue I’m asking for your experienced opinion Alex. I liked the Madsen too based on your videos it looks like a great rifle.
    Keep up the great work, I look forward to it.

  • Old Vet

    Dang it, I am in China right now and they won’t let me view any of these videos. Americans should really appreciate our freedoms.

    • Franco

      They really are trying to make us more like China when it comes to guns. It wouldn’t surprise me to see this type of censorship in the future if we end up with a Hillary or Bernie president

  • Franco

    I typically carry handguns but I can see the benefit of a compact long gun. I like the lever action for this duty and think one in 357 or 44 magnum with a 16in barrel would be ideal. Of course they are not cheap these days. The keltec sub2k some others mentioned here might be just about perfect. Waiting for one in 10mm. The CMR30 in 22 mag might be nice too.

    • maodeedee

      A Glock 20 in 10mm with a Mechtech upper makes an exellent little sub-gun/carbine in a caliber suitable for most North American game animals.

      • Franco

        I was actually thinking of getting one in 10mm. I wish they would work with the compact frame like the G29 or G30 since I have one of those now. If and when I get the G20 or 21 this will be on my short list.

  • maodeedee

    Interesting. I’ve never even seen one of these guns and I’ve seen a lot of guns over a period of about 60 years.

    I think the best of the WWII era bolt guns overall is the British SMLE but they generally are not as accurate as the Mausers and the Springfield’s although some are better than others. The Mosin Nagant’s are not bad and fhey have good sights,but I don’t like the bolt handle being so far forward on them and their safeties are not user-friendly. The bolt handle on the SMLE is closer to the trigger guard and that helps being able to make fast repeat shots.

    I can see only two problems with this gun and that is the bolt handle location and the fact that they are so rare that I doubt that it would be possible to get parts if anything should ever break.