The Mad Minute Challenge: A TFB Contest

    To fully immerse yourself in history, sometimes you have to go out and make some yourself. With this in mind, we at TFB are announcing our Mad Minute Contest. Rules will for the contest will be laid out below, but first what is a Mad Minute? For that, we turn to Matt of Historical Firearms:

    The Mad Minute

    Marksmanship training in the British Army involved an exercise known as the ‘Mad Minute’ in which a soldier was expected to fire at, and hit, a 12″ target 300 yards out at least 15 times.   A trained rifleman could hit the target 30+ times with his Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Rifle.   At the turn of the century the British Army was the most professional in the world with each soldier trained to be an expert marksman.  During the musketry classifications shoots of recruits there were three stages, one being the Mad Minute, shot at various ranges if this was completed with a high enough score the soldier would be classified a Marksman and given a crossed rifles badge and a 6 pence a day increase in pay – so it paid to be a good shot.

    As such when the First World War began the average British rifleman could out shoot his German and French counterparts.  At the Battle of Mons it was well documented that German infantry believed they were facing British battalions heavily equipped with machine guns rather than riflemen.

    The first and confirmed record for the most hits on target during a ’Mad Minute’  was set by Sgt-Major Jesse Wallingford – 36 hits at 300 yards in 1 minute in 1908.  However, this was allegedly bettered in 1914, by Sergeant-Instructor Alfred Snoxall with 38 hits in 60 seconds.  It has not been beaten since although there is little documentary evidence of the feat readily available. Hitting the target 38 times would require him to fire the 10 rounds pre-loaded in the SMLE’s magazine and then reload 6 times with 5 round stripper clips.   Add onto this that the rifle was a single shot, bolt action rifle which required the user to push up and retract the bolt and then return it forward pushing a new round into the chamber, then aiming and fire.  All while maintaining his cheek weld and line of sight.  This means Snoxall must have averaged around 1.5 seconds per shot to hit the target 38 times in a minute. Quite a feat.

    Watch the above video if you have not already.

    The competition rules ….

    1. You must use a bolt-action Enfield rifle (any variant listed on this Wikipedia article is allowed).
    2. The rifle must have a fixed 10 round (or lower capacity) magazine. The magazine cannot be removed during the course of fire.
    3. You must use a 12″ target.
    4. You must be no closer than 100 yards from the target.
    5. Any shooting position is allowed, but rifle cannot be supported. The use of a bench is not allowed. A sling is allowed to be used.
    6. You must use iron sights.
    7. The winner is the shooter with the most rounds on target during a 60 second interval.
    8. If there is a tie, the shooter with the least misses will win, and if there is still a tie, the shooter with the most accurate shots will win.
    9. You must submit a video showing you attempting the challenge, a separate photo of the target and a separate photo of the rifle used.
    10. We will make a compilation videos showing contestants attempting the challenge. The video and photos you submit may be used in this video or on TFB.
    11. The competition is open to readers worldwide.
    12. Your entry must be submitted before 15 June 2015.
    13. The winner will receive an original copy of the Musketry Regulations (Steve found it at a bookstore in the UK).
    14. To enter the competition fill out the form below. We will email all contestants in June explaining how to submit your video and photos.
    Nathaniel F

    Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. He can be reached via email at [email protected]