Details on Canadian Ranger rifle process

2013_11_05-Rangers-shooting_Steve-Watton

Nathaniel F covered the choice of Sako in an earlier TFB post with some very detailed information about the rifles adoption, so I’m not going to rewrite what was put down about the specifics of the rifle. However Beretta recently released a new press release specifying more information on the trials of the Sako rifles, and how many were being ordered, 6,500 or more. They are currently in the offial limited rate production and trial stages, with a formal adoption by the end of 2016 and to continue until 2018. In addition, in the last post we said the design was based on Sako’s T3 Compact Tactical Rifle, this was slightly off as Sako doesn’t have a T3 CTR in its lineup, but Tikka does. This press release was actually released by Beretta which explains the odd combination of Stoeger Canada, Sako, and Tikka. Sako owns Tikka, and Beretta owns Sako, in addition to Stoeger, which naturally also owns Stoeger Canada. However, how Colt Canada got in the contract is beyond me, with their production of the barrels and some other components (probably cheaper to import most of the components and have the licensed barreled made at home). In addition I don’t know how the contract worked out, but I just find it puzzling that there wasn’t a company in the United States or Canada that could deliver 6,500 reliable bolt action rifles and the Rangers had to go overseas to Finland. It must have something to do with Sakos experience with rifle designs in sub zero temperatures or else the hassle of importing and coordinating all these companies probably wouldn’t have had a cost benefit.

Stoeger Canada with SAKO, Finland deliver the first rifles for the New Ranger Rifle Program to Colt Canada. The SAKO .308 rifle design based on the Tikka Compact Tactical Rifle (CTR) has been selected as the new Ranger Rifle for Canada replacing the Lee Enfield.

These prototype rifles have been delivered to the Rangers and will undergo user trial evaluations from now till the end of 2015. Production of 6500 or more rifles is expected to commence in mid-2016 with a completion mid to end 2018.

The ownership of the intellectual property of the design will remain with SAKO, and Colt Canada will acquire a manufacturing license for the design on behalf of The Government of Canada and the Department of National Defence, under the Munitions Supply Program (MSP).

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The original rifle that the Ranger Rifle is based on.



Miles V

Former Infantry Marine, and currently studying at Indiana University. I’ve written for Small Arms Review and Small Arms Defense Journal, and have had a teenie tiny photo that appeared in GQ. Specifically, I’m very interested in small arms history, development, and Military/LE usage within the Middle East, and Central Asia.

If you want to reach out, let me know about an error I’ve made, something I can add to the post, or just talk guns and how much Grunts love naps, hit me up at miles@tfb.tv


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  • The Forty ‘Twa

    The involvement of Colt Canada was explained by some Canadian readers in the comments of the previous article, it might be worth reading up on that so you can get that bit removed from the article.

    • MPWS

      It is also contained in last line of Release.

  • Vitor Roma

    Is the bolt fast like a Lee Enfield or the typical mauser based design?

    • Ken

      The vast majority of modern bolt actions are 90 degree bolt throw with two opposing locking lugs, based off the Mauser to some degree. There are a few rifles (Ruger American I think) that have a three lug bolt with a shorter throw.

      • Marc

        60 degree bolts are common outside the US. AI, Sako, Sauer, Steyr, even Mauser all have 60 degree bolt throws, and have had them for decades.

        • Mike

          Heck straight pull actions are still fairly common in Europe. If I remember correctly Browning has two or three straight pull models they sell in Europe.

          • Goody

            If you ever get a chance to shoulder a Browning Maral, do it. For a full size rifle they handle excellently and offer a factory sight picture that is a great improvement on most rifles. The only thing stopping me from buying one is the ‘bolt hold open’ which is just weird for a bolt action, and of course the price.

      • Goody

        Sako 75 & 85, browning A-Bolt, Ruger American, Sauer and some other Euros are 3 lug, 60 degree lift. Weatherby mk5 are 9 lug with 54 degree lift. Tikka T3 are 2 lug with offset recesses, allowing for a 70 degree lift. There are a few other 70 degree models out there I’m sure.

        70 degree is quick enough, I feel. Though I only have a T3 and even then only shoot it slow fire ‘for score’, I think a shorter lift would require too much torque and be a bother in some of the more finicky shooting positions.

    • jussi

      Tikkas are very smooth

      generally they shoot as good or better than sakos even, the sakos are fancier and has got a beefier action and comes in a few africa calibres which the tikka doesn’t (yet)

      tikkas are slightly cheaper and have cut some corners, the synthetic stocks feel somewhat cheap (not on the level of savage, ruger the cheap models)

  • kgallerno

    Colt Canada got in on the contract because the Canadaian Military requires that all small arms come from a Canadian sourse.

    • Rich Guy

      How, in the world, did Colt manage to set up that deal? Who in their right minds would agree to it?

      • kgallerno

        Colt Canada agreed to the deal as it guarantees future contracts for them. A smart move on their part.

        For the Canadian Government trying to sole soure all its small arms from Colt Canada, doing it that way guarantees that we have the capability to service, buy more and buy parts for said firearms in the future. The idea of course being to keep the business in Canada.

        However it is a flawed plan as Colt Canada doesn’t design much on its own and the Government doesn’t want to pay them the tens of millions to design our firearms.

        As such when Canada needs new firearms we tender out to solicit designs from other companies. Generally this is laughed at from manufacturers because normally no one is willing to hand over design and technical details of firearms over to Colt for such small orders placed by our Government.

        Im surprised Beretta actually did.

        • John

          >I’m surprised Beretta actually did it.

          I’m not.

          The Beretta ARX rifle series has had problems with pretty much everyone who’s ever handled, fired and owned one. Beretta has resorted to bribing countries for at least a couple militaries to adopt them. Meanwhile, everyone has complained about the Beretta 92 pistol and its problems so loudly and widely that the U.S. Department of Defense is actually going to look for a new issued pistol, and they’re not just blindly accepting revised Beretta designs as a stopgap.

          Beretta has very, very little to lose by siding with Colt on this. Particularly as Colt America has filed for bankruptcy. So. Combine forces and maybe everyone gets to make a little money for a change.

      • Jay

        Colt Canada is a parasite company, that doesn’t design nothing. They just wait for the government to buy them the license from outside, do few modifications and then milk the contract for triple the price. The Canadian government pays around $2500 for the C7/C8s, because of this.

      • The deal predates Colt’s purchase of Diemaco. It all tracks back to the closure of Canadian Arsenals Limited’s Small Arms Division back in 1976. Ever since, Diemaco has been under contract to support the Canadian Forces’ entire small arm inventory.

  • Jay

    Hey Miles. The rangers wanted a Ruger rifle, but Ruger refused to give the Canadian government the license, knowing it will be owned by Colt in the end. The Tikka was the second option.
    Colt Canada’s involvement brought the price of this rifles to over $4000, but that’s the Canadian way.
    This kind of government forced, parasite monopolies are everywhere in Canada. Even in some of the most basic areas.
    There’s only one (foreign) company allowed to make cigarettes for Canadian market….and they are all made in Mexico. The alcohol is sold by the beer store and LCBO in most of the country. The Liquor Store (LCBO), is government owned and it’s the only place you can buy sprits. The Beer Store is foreign owned. It is the only company outside LCBO, allowed to sell beer in most of the country.
    You can’t buy your beer when you do your groceries at Costco, or at the corner store. You have to drive to the parasite beer store or LCBO.
    Canada is does not have a free market. Just like we pay forty five bucks for a twelve pack, fifteen bucks for a pack of smokes, we will now pay four thousands for this bolt action rifles.
    The right people have to milk every aspect of our lives.

    • screwtape2713

      I believe i commented in an earlier thread about how your version of Canadian liquor laws is right out to lunch. (Hint: alcohol and tobacco are both regulated provincially, not federally, so a national “monopoly” is impossible…)

      You never responded, yet here you are parrotting the same line of nonsense. Same with your comments about cigarette manufacturing for Canada, btw…

      • Jay

        Except the cigarettes sold on the reservations, every cigarette sold legally in Canada is made by one company. B.A.T. (British American Tobacco). Nobody else is allowed to compete. Fact! And they are all made in Mexico! Fact!
        Most Provinces don’t allow anyone but the LCBO and Beer store to sell beer. Even this two have behind the scene agreements to limit the products sold.
        Anyone who thinks what’s going on in the business world in Canada it’s ok, or normal, is a sucker, who needs to go out more.
        Go cross the border a few times and check the prices and the variety of products. Maybe you’ll wake up.

        • screwtape2713

          Like i thought — horse feathers!

          1. BAT is one of the five largest tobacco companies worldwide, so naturally many of the brands sold in Canada are also owned by it — but not all. Otherwise there wouldn’t be at least two other conglomerates named as defendants in the Canadian anti-tobacco class action suits. Real fact!

          2. I still don’t know what this mythical “foreign owned Beers Store” is. alcohol is provincially regulated and the rules vary in each province.

          In Saskatchewan, for example, you can get almost any beer or liquor in the world served to you in the bars and licensed restaurants. For offsale, you can buy from offsales attached to many bars, from the govt liquor board stores, or from liquor stores operated by supermarket chains such as Sobeys.

          In Alberta, the situation is the same except that ALL liquor stores are private – the govt liquor board regulates alcohol and licenses sellers but does not operate any stores itself.

          And so it goes, province by province. The idea that someone has a national monopoly is total crap.

    • Interesting that the Tikka was the second choice, IMO it’s the better gun.

  • James

    Anyone know if the new rifles are going with irons or optics? If optics, then which ones? Seems like with all the socialist bullshit in Canada these days you all might be using enfield for another 100 years…

    • Tom

      Irons only (at least the Enfields were irons only). These are rifles (and troops) designed to operate in extreme environments.

      Also whilst the Rangers are reservist they are not exactly your weekend warrior types who only shoot a rifle every few months. These are hardy people for whom a rifle is a tool to put food on the table – i.e. they know how to use a rifle and do not need fancy optics which at best add unnecessary weight and at worst will fail in the extreme conditions these rifles will operate in.

      • screwtape2713

        They do have optic mounting rails, however.

      • James

        Fancy or not, optics help even the best shooters squeeze the most out of their rifle. There are a number of high quality and highly rugged scopes available.

        It’s not like they need a battle rifle that can hold up to bayonet charges. Yes it’s rough country and it gets crazy cold, but there are hunters in that area that operate in the same conditions or worse and still use optics.

        Obviously, backup irons are a must on all weapons that COULD be used in combat but a QD scope seems totally reasonable for the Rangers.

        I’m sure the Rangers are great shooters but if they’re going to modernize their rifles it seems like optics should be considered.

        • screwtape2713

          I suspect the choice to use optics will be up to the individual Ranger. They have been provided a rifle with a standard mounting rail – unlike the Lee Enfields that had no easy way to mount scopes. If a Ranger wants to mount his pet scope on this rifle (that he would otherwise keep on his own hunting rifle), I strongly suspect nobody will object as long as he can pass his annual quals with the gun in stock configuration.

          That is assuming optics aren’t quietly made available later once the huge fuss over finding a rifle has settled down.

  • Leonidas

    Why they didn’t buy Mosin-Nagants? Very cheap, bolt action rifle and plentiful ammo…

  • T

    Just to clear a few things up. Stoeger canada is NOT owned by stoeger firearms. This is the second time sako has submitted rifles to the Canadian government making them very familiar with the process, the first time being the trg for the c14 trials. Ruger LOST to sako during testing. Ruger already sells receivers to colt canada to build our sartech rifle in 30-06. Colt Canada also already makes parts for that firearm

  • Goody

    No, it looks like a row of high dollar slicked up match rifles; and standard prone is hardly unstable.