Rangers to replace storied Lee-Enfields
By David Pugliese, Postmedia News August 2, 2011
After more than 60 years of carrying the venerable Lee-Enfield rifle, those who form Canada's first line of defence in the Arctic are getting new guns.
The Canadian Rangers are slated to receive their new rifles before the end of 2014, Canadian Forces officers said.
The Rangers, a sub-component of the Canadian Forces Reserve, are mainly aboriginals who patrol remote parts of the North.
Since they were formed in 1947, the Rangers have been using the boltaction Lee-Enfield rifle.
"While the Lee-Enfield is still an excellent weapon ., there is difficulty in obtaining spare parts," said Forces spokesman Maj. Martell Thompson.
At the time the .303-calibre Lee-Enfield was issued to the Rangers, it was the standard service rifle of the Canadian army. It had earned a reputation for reliability among Canadians during the Second World War.
Thompson said after consulting with the Rangers, it was agreed that the new rifle would be in the 7.62mm/ .308 Winchester calibre, which is similar to the NATO cartridge and is made by several companies.
The military is in the process of expanding the Ranger force to about 5,000.
Maj. Bruce Gilchrist, the army's project director for small arms, said 10,000 new rifles will be bought, enough for the next 30 years.
The replacement of the Ranger rifle is covered under the military's small arms modernization project that is working its way toward government approval.
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