The WWII vintage .303 No. 4 Lee Enfield rifles used by the part-time soldiers of the Canadian Rangers will be given to their users, converted to drill rifles or released to the public.
The more than 5,000 Rangers, who specialize in arctic search and rescue and are organized in 200 often remote communities in Canada’s far north are paid for up to 12 days of service per year as they keep up their patrols. Their rifles are primary for protection against large predators.
The guns currently in use by the Rangers are Canadian-made Long Branch Arsenal No. 4 MK. I* and EAL models in .303 though they are being withdrawn from the field to be replaced by the recently selected Sako/Colt Canada T3 CTR (Compact Tactical Rifle) rifle in .308.
With speculation as to what was to become of the old war baby Enfields, the Ottawa Citizen has confirmed with the Canadian Department of National Defence that the guns will live on.
In a nutshell, some 5,000 rifles will be offered to serving Canadian Rangers as a donation/gift to preserve the heritage of the unit. In many Patrols, rifles were handed down from father to son over the years.
Speaking of heritage, 50 will go to military and history museums to go on public display. After all, these guns served through both a world war and a Cold War.
Another 9,500 rifles will be transferred to the Canadian Armed Forces Cadet units, “mostly as non-functional rifles, to complement their entitlement of drill and training rifles.”
Sure, it sucks that they are going to be demilled, but its better than the scrapper, and, even in their drill rifle form, they will help train thousands in safe firearm handling and basic marksmanship for at least another generation.
Finally, an undetermined number may be made available to the average polite Canuck– or sold to dealers that will accomplish the same thing.
“As mandated by Treasury Board, all saleable surplus assets are sold through Public Services and Procurement Canada,” notes Ashley Lemire, a DND spokeswoman.