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).