Canadian C-19 Ranger Rifle Procurement to Begin in 2017; Will Be Complete by End of 2019

Associate-Minister-of-Defence-Julian-Fantino-centre-poses-with-members-of-the-Canadian-Rangers-at-the-Colt-Canada-plant-in-Kitchener.-Albert-Delitala

The Canadian Rangers will soon all get their hands on the newly adopted C-19 Ranger Rifle, developed by Sako and made in Canada by Colt Canada. The new rifle’s procurement is set to begin in 2017, reports the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, which will inaugurate a three-year phase-in period that will be completed by the end of 2019, by which time any Ranger who wants one will be able to use the new rifle. From CBC:

The summer, the government signed a $32.8 million contract with Colt Canada to manufacture 6,820 rifles. The guns will be distributed to the Rangers starting in early 2017 and phased in over three years, until they are fully equipped in 2019.

Rangers Rifle

The new rifle for the Canadian Rangers, the C-19, has red markings that will make it highly visible. (Dave Croft/CBC)

The guns were designed by Finnish gunmaker, Sako Tikka Rifle, but will be made at a plant in Kitchener, Ont., which is expected to hire an additional 30 people for the job.

The design was modified after testing in the field, said Hahn.

“It has been tweaked to our needs and has been thoroughly tested both in the lab, in colder environs, as well as out on the land,” he said. “It performs very well after being in the back of a sled or qamutik, and fires every time you pull the trigger.”

The new rifle has a number of advantages over the aging Lee-Enfield rifles it will replace, Hahn said.

“It’s lighter, easier to handle, and for me as a left-handed shooter, I’m able to manipulate the bolt a lot easier than with the older rifle.”

Hahn added, the new guns are adjustable which will allow each gun to be adjusted for the Rangers’ physical dimensions. That had become a problem with the Lee-Enfield rifles, he said.

“The parts are not made any more, haven’t been made since 1954, and as a result you know some of the shorter-statured Rangers had trouble with the longer stocked rifles,” said Hahn.

Versus the prototypes, the production C-19 rifle’s stock uses a brighter red laminate color instead of the older yellow-orange and grey for improved visibility in the snow, changes to the sling mounts, as well as other minor changes that have not yet been publicly detailed. The Canadian government is set to procure almost seven thousand of the new rifles to replace their stock of aging WWII-era No. 4 Lee-Enfields.

The C-19 is a fascinating anachronism: For the first time in 75 years, a government has held trials to select a bolt-action rifle not for precision sniping or training, but as a standard issue arm for troops in the field. Of course, the Rangers are not exactly soldiers (and the C-19 comes with no bayonet mount or grenade launcher provision!), but the trials were no less rigorous. The result is the first service bolt action design in the better part of a century, and an interesting analogue to Jeff Cooper’s “scout rifle” idea put into actual practice in the wilderness environment where it is best suited.



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. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


Advertisement

  • Gus Butts

    As a Canuck who has lived up north in a community with Rangers and who has seen them work first hand (rescues, defense against large wild predators, etc.), this is actually an amazing rifle for them to get. Sako/Tikka makes some great rifles and the Rangers will be happy with this smaller, handier, lighter and sturdier rifle with 10 round magazines and fixed sights. The fact that they can now finally install a scope of their choice thanks to the rail is good as well. They kept the SMLEs for as long as they could for a reason and this is a great replacement.

    • Just say’n

      Too bad they couldn’t find a home-grown solution though…are there any gun makers left in Canada besides Colt Canada?

      (nothing against Finnish arms- love my M39).

      • Gus Butts

        All the Canadian companies just make really cheap and dangerously bad or outrageously expensive for no reason 1911 and AR-15 clones. CADEX makes their own bolt-action rifles I guess.

      • iksnilol

        They’re going to be made in Canada. So it is kinda home-harvested at least.

  • AK

    Looks like they are using the Tikka T3x receiver on the production version. Probably means the entire basic rifle is T3x spec. Interesting to see if Sako will bring the length-adjustable stock and irons to the commercial Tikka rifles as well.

    • Gus Butts

      Plans to sell this on the civilian market are already in effect, if I remember correctly. You just won’t get the Ranger crest on the stock.

      • AK

        Yeah, heard about that. I’m wondering if these mods will be available for other models as well, or just the civvie version of the C-19. Sako should have included a licensing clause in the contract, so they can make 100% accurate copies for the collectible market.

        • john huscio

          Different calibers might be nice.

          • AK

            Yeah, that’s pretty much the point. Irons would be a nice additional option on T3x rifles across the range of models and calibers. I don’t really care for the utilitarian stock color scheme, however.

          • Gus Butts

            I always drop my actions in $1,200 fiberglass stocks that produce the exact same result anyway because I love that GAP camo.

        • Gus Butts

          Indeed. I think it was Colt Canada who wanted to produce some more for the civilian market since they’d already be set up for it and I have no idea if Tikka/Sako can produce the C19 specifically with its features. They didn’t care about producing under 7,000 rifles because I guess they sell enough rifles around the world in any given year and I think this is the only reason why they agreed to let Colt Canada produce them. Nobody submitted pistols to Colt Canada back in 2010-2011 to be produced and issued to the CF to replace the aging fleet of Hi-Powers because Colt Canada was to buy the rights to make the pistols, and that did not go well with all of the manufacturers out there. For a small batch of rifles to equip the Rangers though, I guess Tikka/Sako didn’t care.

          • AK

            Sako could easily produce the C19. The action is the Tikka T3x stainless, only real add-on would be the iron sights, and those just need a little machining on the action and barrel to install. I guess the main value of this deal for Sako is the military credientials and publicity that will help civilian sales of T3x rifles, regardless of model. The big wigs at Beretta probably don’t really care either way.

  • AK

    Sako should try to sell this same rifle in 9.3×64 to all the Arctic countries and territories as polar/grizzly bear security.

  • Tim

    Uhhhhh…I may be a 3rd grade drop out, but ~6,800 rifles purchased for ~32 million loonies comes it to well-over $4000 per rifle.

    • AK

      Try getting a custom gun from Beretta at less than that price! 🙂

    • Gus Butts

      When we’re talking about military contracts this includes spare parts, 3rd and 4th line maintenance from Colt Canada and all the documentation for the entire life of the rifles. So for a century, if the Lee-Enfield taught us anything. You don’t just “buy” a military rifle, issue it and forget about it.

      • Tim

        Yeah, but it’s a friggin’ bolt gun. Do they seriously anticipate re-barreling it 7 times?

        • Gus Butts

          They might. Not necessarily for burned out barrels of course but the Rangers haul these rifles in very harsh places and they could easily get destroyed.

  • Maxpwr

    Cool new rifle and let’s hope those surplus SMLEs make it to the US after the conversion is over.

    • Swarf

      Yessss.

    • BattleshipGrey

      I hope so, but somehow I doubt they’ll even be made available to the Canadians.

    • Gus Butts

      Just like the Browning Hi-Power No.2 Mk1* that we don’t have much of in storage anymore (or any parts, at all), they are probably so messed up and in garbage condition that even if we don’t destroy them, they would be worthless on the market. Parts haven’t been made for them in over 60 years and the reason they finally decided to buy new rifles is because they can’t even replace or fix broken SMLEs.

      • Maxpwr

        The one on the right in the photo looks pretty good to me. If that’s messed up garbage then I’ll take it for a song.

        • Gus Butts

          What you can’t see is that its receiver is stretched and its headspace is all out of wack and the extractor is snapped off. They had to salvage a dozen other SMLEs to mock one up to make a good-looking one for photos.

          • Maxpwr

            So you’re the guy who sits around the gun store and can tell what’s wrong with everyone else’s firearm without even looking at it. And of course when a politician is trying to sell a new government expenditure at a public relations event you always go out and spend time to put together a good looking specimen from the best available parts to show what you are trying to replace rather than showing one of these sewer pipe barrel rifles with a busted stock with polar bear claw gouges that apparently the entire Rangers armory is made up from. If these were sold as surplus in the US they would be snapped up in an instant.

          • Gus Butts

            I was making a joke. Not all of them are FUBAR but if anything goes wrong with any rifle or part there’s nothing they can do about it because parts just don’t exist anymore. Rangers don’t have armouries, they keep their rifles at home so the condition of their rifles depends entirely on them, but yes I’m actually one of the guys who actually inspects these rifles when they pass by because it’s my job. I can tell what’s wrong with their firearms because I literally go through them and I can tell that the fleet is not in good shape. They are such in bad shape that they had to fabricate completely brand new rifles chambered in something else for them to replace the entire fleet. If the Rangers have to give the rifles back they’d get destroyed, unless they are sold to another country’s military (they won’t because of their state), like every other firearm the CF gets rid of exactly like the old FN C1s, which are semi-auto FALs, that everybody else in the world oh so wanted. Just like our fleet of Browning Hi-Powers that we have to send back to the depot if some specific parts are missing or broken because we don’t have any spare parts available anymore and they have to strip down broken guns for parts and make functioning ones, these Lee-Enfields are in the same boat but at least they have an actual replacement coming.

    • Tom

      I seem to recall reading that those Ranger who had them would be permitted to keep them so no surplus for America.

  • Goody

    I hope Beretta sells them. Otherwise there’s no chance in hell a Canadian rifle will make it down under…

  • gusto

    if the main purpose is defense against bear I would want 9,3×62 or perhaps 300winmag which sako/tikka makes in their t3s

    • Gus Butts

      It’s for anything really: From stray cats with herpes to unfrozen mammoths that found their ways into villages.

      • iksnilol

        Unfrozen mammoths… the worst.

      • gusto

        hence 9,3×62, too big for daisys and too small for T-rex but great for everything inbetween

  • Holdfast_II

    I think Colt Canada does good work, and I had no issues with my C-7 back in the day, but this requirement that they must produce all Canadian Forces small arms is idiotic, unfair and terribly limiting. And the reason why Canadians are still using Hi-Powers with sand from Juno Beach in the hand-grips (ok, I exaggerate a bit).

    • Gus Butts

      You’re not exaggerating, actually. I inspect those Brownings and I confirm.

  • AK

    I think the caliber is up to the user, because operating environments, ammo availability, etc. vary. .260 Rem is nice modern alternative for the Swede due to short action compatibility, .308 is better in projectile availability and cost. All a matter of preference.

  • Richard Lutz

    The 9.3x62mm round would be much better for polar bears. If you only have time to fire one shot at a charging bear I know which I would prefer.

  • bucherm

    Rangers mostly travel on snowmobile and sleigh, they aren’t hiking everywhere with it.

    I do find it funny you’re complaining about the weight and further up you want a bigger cartridge.

  • Richard Lutz

    Replacing a 9-lb rifle with a 10-lb rifle? By that logic the U.S. military should replace their M4 Carbine with the M16 Rifle.