Canadian Rangers Bidding Farewell to the Lee-Enfield

Canadian Rangers Bidding Farewell to the Lee-Enfield
The Canadian Rangers will start to phase out the Lee-Enfield No. 4 Mk I this summer.
The Canadian Rangers will start to phase out the Lee-Enfield No. 4 Mk I this summer.

General Douglas McArthur made famous an U.S. Army balled when he quoted the refrain, “Old Soldiers never die, they just fade away.” That certainly seems to hold true in regards to the Lee-Enfield.

For some time now, it has been known the venerable British bolt-action rifle was going to take another step in disappearing from military service completely. Canada has been discussing switching its Rangers over from the No. 4 Mk1 since 2011, but things have picked up in recent months.

Colt Canada was selected to design the new rifle last fall for the force and will have a batch of 125 ready to be tested at the 2015 Operation Nanook training exercises. After which, the new platform will be phased in from over the next few years. Here are the specifics about the move from The Globe and Mail:

After testing and tweaks, Colt Canada will then make more than 6,500 rifles, along with spare parts and accessories, which the Canadian Rangers will gradually start to use between the middle of next year (2015) and the end of 2019.

The new rifle is expected to be similar to the Lee-Enfield, especially in one particular design feature – it is reported to be a bolt-action. This is important, given the Rangers usual area of operation.

The Rangers are a Canadian Forces reserve whose main duties are sovereignty patrols and surveillance in the country’s sparsely populated northern regions. These volunteers – many Inuit – operate in and around the Artic Circle.

Bolt-action rifles provide the Rangers with a robust platform that functions no matter what in the sub-zero conditions. That’s a piece of mind for the reservists, whether the they have to face down potential invaders or a rogue polar bear.

The switch is being made from the Lee-Enfield, mainly due to the lack of replace parts and rifles. The .303 British chambered rifles were purchased in 1947, according to the Metro News, a few years after the Rangers were formed.

Amazingly, Rangers, up to this day, were outfitted from this batch. For any gun enthusiasts, the thought of pristine, unfired Lee-Enfields, in their original boxes is enough to send the mind reeling.

There is no word if there will be any surplus Lee-Enfield rifles available, but here's to hoping.


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  1. With the current anti-gun government I seriously doubt they would release any Enfields and even if they did I doubt if there are any still left in unfired condition in the arsenals. Lets hope I am wrong on both counts.

    I think too the rifle that will replace the Enfield will be a modern cheapy as the original high quality Enfield would cost them a few pennies more to make today.

    It never ceases to amaze me that Governments around the world spend millions and billions on jet fighter planes but to spend a few more pennies and make a decent modern battle field rifle out of something other than stamped sheet mental and a plasticky receiver and stock is simply out of the question.

    I was just out to the range today firing a 1943 BSA .303 with a knock out tiger striped stock and grooved hand guard (a gun I always wanted to own and finally got last October.) I did a trigger job on it reducing the trigger pull from a horrid 8 lbs to 3 lbs. I used 150 grain NEI cast bullet sized to .314 with 50/50 alox lube and a gas check and the bullet was made of pure linotype. The powder was 22 grains of IMR 4198 at approximately 1800 fps and target was at 100 yards.

    Here is a pic of the groups I shot. Notice 4 shot group in the upper right with all 4 shots touching (3/4 inch). Even the group to the left of this is not bad with 4 shots into 1 1/8th inches


    Cast bullet loads do not annihilate the bore like corrosive ammo does and they are even cheaper to shoot. As long as the bullet is oversize it will not lead the bore even if the bore has been previously damaged by corrosive ammo. Recoil is very light and muzzle blast low which leads to much better shooting than with full power blaster loads and barrel life is at least 3 times as long. What more could you want.

  2. 68 years of use from the same batch purchase! What an awesome piece of foresight (no pun intended) by whoever made that purchasing decision back in 1947.

    Testament to one of the greatest rifles of all time.


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