Canadian Rangers, optional to keep Lee Enfields

4crpg-photo

In yet another saga of the Canadian Ranger rifle ordeal, a good twist has come out in a recent story by the Ottawa Citizen, in that the Rangers themselves might actually be able to hold on to their issued rifles, in a personal capacity though (through either gifting or discounted purchase). I’m not sure how that translates to Canadian firearms laws, and it seems that neither do the authorities involved, but the very fact that they are considering this as an option is really something. This is going to be interesting as well, because the Rangers are officially apart of the Canadian Armed Forces. Most likely meaning that even though the Lee Enfields are obsolete, administratively the firearms are in a similar category as the issue Colt Canada select fire service rifles, they are all Government Issue. If this is incorrect, will some Canadian readers let us know more about this process.

“The possibilities are to give them (to the Rangers) or to sell them to the Rangers at a (discount),” Maj. Carl Gendron, deputy project manager for the Ranger Rifle project, told Defence Watch.

“There is a strong feeling among the Ranger community that they would like to retain those rifles, mainly for the symbolic value of it. Quite often they have been in the family for generations, handed down from father to son. We hope the Rangers will be able to acquire them. How exactly we don’t have the guidance yet.”

“We have asked for guidance from the government on that,” Gendron added.

So will the rest of the Lee Enfields be made available for sale to the public, perhaps through surplus dealers? No one knows at this point. There are an estimated 3,000 to 3,500 such rifles still left in army stocks, according to the Army.

“We still have cadets that still use them,” explained Gendron. “So it doesn’t mean that the rifles will be available to be bought. We’ll need to figure out what will be the consumption in the Army.

In addition, someone on the page posted this comment about the whole thing. He suggested that the whole reasoning for the Lee Enfield replacement was a political one based on one party trying to up their support over another political party-

Some people seem to be under the impression that replacing the No. 4s is necessary for some technical reason. The rationale is political. The opposition discovered that the Rangers were using Lee Enfields (probably from watching the PM’s annual arctic summer visit) and played it as “Tories don’t care about Rangers who are defending Canada with WW 1 (sic) rifles” etc. The rifle replacement program is a reaction to that misinformation.



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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  • MrEllis

    We can find good homes for them in America. We’re like Madonna when it comes to surplus rifles! One from each country, please.

    • Sam Deeley-Crane

      wait so you americans steal surplus rifles from africa

      • Lolinski

        BLOODY YANKS! Stealing our milsurps. Luckily they haven’t robbed Norway (yet).

        • Menger40

          All in good time!

          • iksnilol

            YOU CAN TAKE OUR COUNTRY! YOU CAN TAKE OUR LIVES! BUT YOU CANNAE TAKE OUR MILSURP K98s!

            … also our liberty, ya can’t have that either.

        • Ken

          Our CMP already received (most of) the M1 rifles and carbines years ago that you guys received as aid from us. Thanks for taking real good care of them though. The same can’t be said for some other countries.

          We’ve got an eye on those .30/06 K98’s too.

          • iksnilol

            Well, usually I’d be angry but I cannae do it now. Since the M1 carbines and Garands are kinda illegal for hunting and nae suitable for competition shooting (too inaccurate and slow).

            Also, feel free to reach out for the 308/30-06 K98s… if you want to lose a hand. #CrazyEyes

        • Cameron Bissell

          My Krag says different.

          • iksnilol

            What do you mean? I never said Krags are bad, I just said that M1 carbines and Garands are bad for Norwegian lawfull purposes.

          • Cameron Bissell

            The Krag reply was about robbing other countries of thier old arsenals. More a joke than a jab.

          • iksnilol

            Ah, I see.

      • No the benefit of obtaining older guns doesn’t make sense.

  • toms

    My understanding was ammo, parts, and wear were responsible for the replacement. In much the same way some police keep there old pistols a person becomes attached to a weapon they carried for years. I’d keep mine too for the memories and future generations.I’m happy to see that they wont be band sawed.

    • Joshua

      not really, a company in Australia still makes them new, in .308, I believe the Indian’s still produce them as well. If we’d wanted parts or replacement rifles, they can be had.

      • screwtape2713 .

        Not really. The Australian company’s weapons were looked at as a possibility but there were QC issues, and the Indian 2As are actually a variant of the No. 1 Mk III and therefore incompatible. And in either case, they would still have to be tooled up for in Canada to avoid the problem of overseas supply.

        There still are Longbranch No.4s in stores unissued since they were made in WW2, but the stock of small breakable parts like firing pins, sights, springs and mags is pretty much gone. You can still find them milsurp to keep a privately owned hunting or target gun operating, but reliable supplies for 3,000 rifles serving year-round in Arctic conditions….

        • Joshua

          I was not aware that a non-replacement option was investigated.
          It seems to me that for the last decade or so we get an article every election season or so about how there is a new set of trials to replace the Ranger’s rifles, then a few months latter they decide there is no funding to replace them and that’s as far as it gets.
          never have seen information that the government had investigated an option that did not involve replacing the Lee-Enfields.
          If you have knowledge I do not then I would love to hear it

          • screwtape2713 .

            It was in one of the working paper reports on the government’s website about Ranger Rifle replacement program.

  • I’ll take one.

  • hikerguy

    I applaud the Canadian government for this. Most centrist to left leaning countries would have them destroyed (At least I was told by a Canadian they were). Kudos….

    • Rock or Something

      Heck they do that it in some parts of the U.S… 🙁

      • hikerguy

        Yeah, that’s true enough…unfortunately.

  • Paul White

    I’d help dispose of o h, 5-6 of them

    • hikerguy

      I could probably help out on that as well, LOL!

  • Vitsaus

    Thats a nice story to read in the morning. Enfields are great rifles, I would trust one pretty well in the back country.

  • JumpIf NotZero

    The tikka they are replacing it with is superior in every possible way…. Of course they would be allowed to keep the Lee rifles :/

    • Joshua

      “in the words of the Zen master, we will see”

  • kyphe

    The LE mk4 is the kind of rifle you club a bare to death with if you run out of bullets! They will still be shooting straight in another 100+ years. Only non political reason to replace them would be ammunition commonality with other Services Snipers and Marksmen.

    • Parts are getting hard to find.

      • kyphe

        I know the official line Nathan, it just does not quite ring true to me. Companies like Peter Dyson and sons have be selling reproduction parts for Enfields for years and it is hardly expensive with most parts being £5 to £20. I would also feel that with many of these rifles having being handed from farther to son they would have been cared for very well with most minor repairs done by the ranger. The Enfield parts market is quite lively due to the popularity of the gun amongst collectors so prices do raise over time. But still this decision to replace these guns does not appear to stem from the rangers themselves.

        • screwtape2713 .

          Finding one part on the surplus market to fix your pet hunting rifle is one thing. Keeping the company armourers’ supply bins stocked with all the parts needed to keep 3,000+ rifles operating year-round in Arctic conditions is quite another — when full-scale production of both the weapon and parts for it ended 70 years ago. They still have some unissued rifles in stores – but not enough to replace losses for more than 5 years or so … And the parts bins (which have been drawn on steadily now by a 500 to 3500 man Ranger force since 1945) are at the same level.

          And btw, the replacement program first started about 15 years ago — when a different party was in power… The whole theory that it’s all a political ploy since the Opposition saw the old guns in a photo op 4 or 5 years ago and made political hay out of them is nothing but total ignorant stupidity yakking.

  • Llewellyn Franks

    For those who aren’t in the know, the Canadian Rangers are a volunteer civilian group that runs reconnaissance in the far north and are by no means a combat division. Their rifle is mostly meat for use against predatory animals and for survival.

    Just thought I’d let you know.

    • screwtape2713 .

      They ARE primarily a coastal and Arctic surveillance patrol and are not expected to engage in combat if some hypothetical enemy combat force showed up. But they are NOT “civilian volunteers”; they are part of the official Canadian Reserve Forces. Just thought YOU should know.

  • iksnilol

    Where can one get one of these rifles? 308, ten round doublestack detachable mag and short barrel (50 cm) seems really interesting to me.

    Is there a civvy version available?

    • Rusty S.

      Put a tikka t3 battue lite in a MDT or whiskey-3 chassis that takes AI mags. If you don’t mind a 20″ barrel, the t3 tactical has a 10 round mag good to go out of the box. Should not be hard to get in Scandinavia.

      • iksnilol

        Thanks, I’ll check into that.

  • Wetcoaster

    Lee Enfields are non-restricted guns, so as long as the Rangers have their PAL (or native equivalent), they can just walk home with them.

  • Riot

    They just better not be scrapped!

  • Bill

    I don’t think the argument that this should apply to the C7 will fly, but nice try 😉
    Because just giving government property away is generally frowned upon in the States, do what some agencies here do and sell them to the troop as surplus used property for the astronomical price of a dollar. I was going to say “buck,” but those guys might show up dragging in a 12-pointer.

  • Patrick M.

    I’ve heard of some “famous” US SOF guys who have been able to buy their issued Semi/Bolt Guns upon leaving the service

    • Michael Mabey

      My grandfather was aloud to keep his Enfield no4 after the war. Also keep his other weapons.

      • jcitizen

        My dad was allowed to keep his WW1 vintage 1911 after he left the Army Air Corp after WW2. They considered them old and obsolete anyway, but I can’t find any evidence the thing was used much. It is almost 100% original blue left, and it flew with him on every one of his missions in the B-17. He was full blood German, and knew they’d probably shoot him if captured, so he carried it every time as a last resort!

  • kgallerno

    All government firearms are destroyed here when no longer needed. Someone is going to have to rewrite some laws here for these Enfields to make into civilian hands.

    • Joshua

      well Harper is already doing that anyway, so I don’t see a problem there

  • Southpaw89

    If a man relies on a rifle to survive, and has carried it for untold years he is going to get attached to it. It would be really cool if the Canadian government lets this happen, concerns about misuse should be nonexistent even with the most paranoid anti gunner, because if anyone has proven they are responsible enough to safely handle a firearm its these guys.

  • Cannoneer No. 4

    Who challenges Canadian sovereignty in its Arctic lands? Canadian Rangers may be called upon to use deadly force against Russian Spetnaz invaders. If there is any validity at all to the Scout Rifle concept, Ruger and Steyr and Savage ought to be giving the Canadian Rangers free rifles in return for bragging rights.

  • Chi Wai Shum

    Political or not, these is not reason to assume those Enfield will last forever.

  • HenryV

    I was a bit of gloomy Gus on those LE’s futures when this was last mentioned. I hope there is something behind this story. Good news I hope. 🙂

  • ghost

    “Guidance” from the government? Yeah, need more of that.

  • John

    To be honest. If anyone had actually, truly care about these beautiful rifles and keeping them as a symbol of the Canadian Rangers, someone would have stepped up and started manufacturing modern replacement parts in NATO-specific calibers. They would have been the Lee Enfield No 4 A2-Plus, with a modern polymer stock, adjustable cheek rest, and a rail system for mounting any modern optics.

    Nobody did that, and so Sako-Tikka-Beretta-Colt got tapped to manufacture new ones.

    They’re beautiful guns. But. I do agree with the assessment that the modern rifles should be in a military caliber, just in case they need to be part of a military force. It’s simple logistics.

    • Joshua

      and who would “anyone” be in this case? it would have to be someone with manufacturing capability, the licensing to produce firearms in Canada, able to convince the government to pay them for producing the parts, hopefully fight against the tide of Mil-Surp to get some civilian sales as well, and still make enough to keep themselves afloat.

  • petru sova

    If I were living there and given the choice I would keep the high quality Enfield as opposed to the modern cast iron and stamped sheet metal new rifles. The new rifles are not as reliable or as easy to maintain in the field.

  • Leigh Rich

    Century Arms International…The major importer and supplier to us in the USA