Meet the Canadian Rangers’ new Sako rifle, built to defend against large carnivores, extreme temperatures
The Canadian Rangers — a sub-component of the Canadian Armed Forces Reserve that patrols the north and other remote areas — are finally getting new rifles to replace the aging current model, the Lee-Enfield No. 4. There have long been calls to replace the decidedly vintage Lee-Enfields, which in various incarnations were standard issue for the British military from 1895 to 1957 (the No. 4 model dates to WWII). Age, and the scarcity of replacement parts, have made the Lee-Enfield difficult, if not impossible, to maintain.
The rifles, customized versions of commercially available hunting rifles, will have to protect Rangers against “large North American carnivores” such as polar bears and wolves at ranges from 0 to 300 metres and remain operable in both freezing and blistering temperatures.
Here are the details of The New Canadian Ranger Rifle (NCRR) system as outlined in an information sheet from Colt Canada:
The overview: The Government of Canada and the Department of National Defence with Colt Canada, under the Munitions Supply Program (MSP) will replace the original Lee Enfield rifle fleet with a commercially available hunting rifle.
The replacement:A bolt-action, calibre .308 Winchester, magazine-fed rifle.
Extreme conditions: Rangers will use the NCRR while patrolling some of the most remote coastal, central and northern areas of Canada. The NCRR will have to withstand temperatures as high as 39C, with moderate to high humidity, and as low as -51C. The weapon also faces exposure to salt-laden air and water, and will have to be transportable by foot, Ski-Doos, sleds, small boats and ATVs.
The accessories:A hard transport case, soft transport case, sling, cleaning kit and trigger lock.
The roll out: Prototype rifles have been delivered to the Rangers for a trial that lasts until the end of the year. The production of 6,500 or more rifles will start in mid-2016, with completion in 2018.
The model The replacement rifle is based on the SAKO T3 CTR (Compact Tactical Rifle). SAKO Ltd is based in Riihimaki, Finland. The Canadian supplier is Stoeger Canada from Whitby, Ontario. Colt Canada will produce the barrel, bolt and receiver under licence from Sako.
Canadian modifications: A larger bolt handle and enlarged trigger guard to accommodate gloved hands, plus protected front and rear iron sights. Orange or red colour with Ranger Crest. A two-stage trigger with three-position safety.
With files from David Pugliese