Canadian Forces to Replace Lee Enfield by 2014

RackMaster

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Yes you read that right. ;) It's used by our "Ranger's" in the North and is still a great rifle. I'm curious to see what the replacement will look like.

Canadian Forces Should See the Replacement of the Lee Enfield Rifle in A Little More Than Three Years

August 25, 2011. 10:07 pm • Section: Defence Watch

By David Pugliese
Defence Watch

I recently wrote about the plans of the Canadian Forces to replace the Lee Enfield rifle. I actually heard from a number of folks who believe the Lee Enfield should be retained by the Canadian Rnagers as it is a solid, dependable weapon for what it is used for in the Arctic.

Others say it’s time is way past and the rifle replacement is long overdue.

Some background provided by the Army:

The replacement of the Ranger Rifle is one of the items covered under the Small Arms Modernization (SAM) project working its way toward government approval. If all continues as presently planned the Rangers should see their first rifles before mid winter in 2014. The SAM project is aiming for government approval in the summer of 2012. The work on the Ranger Rifle is well ahead of schedule and the Army hopes to have the RFP ready for release on the Merx website within 6 months of government approval

The current requirement for rifles is slightly more than 10,000. By the time the weapon is issued there should be more than 5000 Rangers. 10,000 may appear to be a little high but smaller numbers of the same weapon have already been identified for use by other parts of the CF and it is believed that once the Army starts fielding the weapons additional groups within the CF will identify a requirement for it.

Stocks to replace worn out, damaged, destroyed or lost weapons are needed to give the weapon the anticipated service life of 30 years, the Army has noted.

The new Ranger Rifle is being acquired as a system that will include a lockable hard case that can be used for secure storage in a home and for transportation of the weapon by air, land or sea.

The Lee Enfield has been in use with the Rangers since 1947.

Here’s the background, courtesy of the Army:

“Army HQ authorized the first two Ranger companies on 4 September 1947. The first CR patrol was stood up in Dawson with the company commander and 2-i-c receiving their commissions on 22 September 1947.

The second CR patrol was stood up in Whitehorse soon thereafter. Original proposals recommended issuing sporting or .30/30 rifles to the Canadian Rangers, similar to the PCMR, the military had less than 1500 of these on hand. The acting director of weapons and development suggested that they be given standard Army type rifles which would ease procurement and control. The Lee Enfield fit the bill.

At the time the Lee Enfield was service rifle so it is what they were issued.

And more details from Army Public Affairs on the decision to replace the Lee Enfield:

While the Lee Enfield rifle is still an excellent weapon and meets the Rangers’ requirements, there is difficulty in obtaining spare parts and it is therefore being replaced.

The Lee Enfield rifle has been maintained through the use spare parts from spare rifles since the mid- 1980s. Although, the Canadian Forces are several years away from a shortage, the national stocks (spare weapons held centrally) of these weapons are now becoming limited.

After consultation with the Rangers community, it has been agreed that the Rangers’ rifle will move from .303 calibre to the 7.62mm / .308 Winchester calibre, as this is best able to meet the Rangers’ requirements. .308 Winchester refers to a specific cartridge that is very similar to the 7.62 x 51 (NATO) cartridge, and is made by several companies.

The replacement of the Rangers’ rifle is part of the Small Arms Modernization project and is now working its way towards government approval. In order to ensure success, this project will continue to place a major emphasis on ensuring that the Canadian Forces Rangers participate in the creation and validation of this project.
 

pardus

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M1A1 would be a good replacement rifle for their environment.

Agreed.

If it had to be a bolt action, then a 7.62 version of the Lee Enfield would be hard to beat.
The Lee Enfield is a wonderful rifle, it's service history is testament to that.
 

RackMaster

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Agreed.

If it had to be a bolt action, then a 7.62 version of the Lee Enfield would be hard to beat.
The Lee Enfield is a wonderful rifle, it's service history is testament to that.

I know a few have already been changed over to 7.62 but when they looked at the cost of new barrels for all of them would be to much. I think they are looking for a all new weapons system, more than likely bolt action due to the environment; otherwise because they also use it for personal use, any other option will have to be semi-auto.
 

pardus

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Just re-manufacture new Lee Enfields with a 7.62 barrel, the blueprints already exist, they are great rifles etc... Seems like a no brainer to me.
 

Diamondback 2/2

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I would think that they would go to a semi auto at this point, unless a simple deer rifle, there is no other reason for a bolt gun. I would not expect those dudes to be running all over the NW area with some bull barreled PR bolt gun, and the semi auto's at this point are just as accurate. The OBR would be another good option IMHO.

All that said, I don't know why they don't stick with the 303 (badass round) and the Lee Enfield has a bullet proof action, I tend to doubt that the barrels have been shot out on the ones they have, and all that without getting into the issues of having to retrain them all in operation and maintaining the new weapon. I have a Lee Enfield sitting in my safe and the damn thing is still working just fine.
 

pardus

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The .303 is a cool round, I like it personally and it has taken every type of game all over the world for a long time, however it was the one weakness of the Lee Enfield rifle. It was originally a black powder cartridge.
The Brits realized After the Boer war that the 7mm Mauser was superior in performance than the .303 and they started a program to change calibers.
Honestly, the best rifle overall was the P17. It was the most widely issued rifle to US troops during WWI which many don't know about.
 

Diamondback 2/2

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I agree 7mm Mouser is a good round; it was my first hunting rifle. 30.06 is a great round as well, but I really think the 303 is comparable. I think the 308 would be better in that it would offer more variable loads for different game and two legged critters, more data, ect. But I also think there comes a point where if you’re going to keep a bolt gun and a comparable round, that it's just spinning the wheel. Personally I would again say go M1A1 for the distance, accuracy and reliability in cold weather. That said there are thousands of options out there, including the newer mouser rifles that have interchangeable barrels/bolt face. Even Remington came out with an inexpensive SPS in 308 that is putting out ½ MOA groups, but again why go with a bolt when you have semi auto. If they were talking about extended range or some other factor (300WM/338L) then it would be very different, but the difference between 303, 30.06, 7mm, 8mm and 308 are not enough to argue a new platform IMHO. Hell there is plentiful replacement parts in the aftermarket to fix any of the old Lee Enfield’s. I would say this is an effort to update, and if it is, then they should get with the times and go semi auto. Doesn’t have to be a M1A1, there are plenty of AR10 variants that can be looked at as well, maybe a updated G3 or even the new SCAR/ACR types.
 

SpitfireV

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M1A1s are quite heavy and long compared to an Enfield, which is to be expected but I'd also imagine weight in the Arctic might be a consideration.
 

AWP

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M1A1s are quite heavy and long compared to an Enfield, which is to be expected but I'd also imagine weight in the Arctic might be a consideration.

The SEALS use M14s in the arctic without any issues. The M14 in stock configuration is about 2.5-3.0 lbs. heavier than the Lee-Enfield.
 

SpitfireV

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Is that right? I didn't realise that- I've held Enfields before and they were reasonably light for something made of hard wood and the steeliest steel that ever steeled so I figured M1s were heavier.
 

AWP

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Is that right? I didn't realise that- I've held Enfields before and they were reasonably light for something made of hard wood and the steeliest steel that ever steeled so I figured M1s were heavier.

Sources vary, but the jungle carbine is the lightest at a little over 7 lbs., all of the other variants weigh in around 9 pounds.
 
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