Why are the Rangers’ new rifles so expensive?

So finally the Rangers are getting new firearms to replace their ancient Lee-Enfield, .303 rifles that are roughly 75 years old.

So finally the Rangers are getting new firearms to replace their ancient Lee-Enfield, .303 rifles that are roughly 75 years old. That’s a smart move as the Rangers do fulfill a needed function as a military presence in Canada’s vast Arctic and sub-Arctic regions. They deserve good equipment. I am 100 per cent in support of replacing their antique but dependable rifles.

This new rifle is a Tikka T3 with some minor upgrades on the commercially available hunting model. The barrel and action (the metal parts) of the new gun will be manufactured in Canada, so it is good to have the money stay in the country.

But the “preliminary cost estimate” of $28 million for about 7,000 of these rifles works out to around $4,100 per rifle. Other media reports suggest a cost as high as $7,000 per rifle. The price includes both a hard and a soft case, a cleaning kit and trigger lock. The current hunting model of the Tikka T3 can be purchased at Hougen’s Sportslodge or any other gun dealer in Canada for around $1,100.

Why are the taxpayers of Canada paying at least three times the cost of the over-the-counter model? It is certainly not the taxpayers or Canadian Rangers getting any benefit from the price difference.

If Ottawa insists on spending that amount per Ranger, then paying the retail price for these rifles would leave enough money to completely equip every Canadian Ranger head to toe with Arctic-quality winter clothing.

Larry Leigh,

Whitehorse

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