Canadian Rangers' new rifles to be made by Colt Canada

The federal government has asked Colt Canada to find a designer for a new rifle for the Canadian Rangers, the Minister of National Defence announced Tuesday.

New rifles will be tested next summer during Operation Nanook

Prime Minister Stephen Harper shoots a .303 Lee Enfield rifle while taking part in a demonstration by the Canadian Rangers at a camp near Gjoa Haven, Nunavut, in 2013. The federal government has asked Colt Canada to find a designer for a new rifle for the Canadian Rangers, to replace the Lee-Enfields purchased in 1947. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

The federal government has asked Colt Canada to find a designer for a new rifle for the Canadian Rangers, the Minister of National Defence announced Tuesday.

In a news release, Rob Nicholson said Colt Canada, based in Kitchener, Ont., will build the winning design.

The Rangers currently use Lee-Enfield rifles purchased in 1947. The government is looking for a replacement similar to the Lee-Enfield, which shoots well in Arctic conditions. Replacement parts for the aging Lee-Enfield rifles are becoming scarce. 

Colt Canada will provide 125 of the new rifles for testing during Operation Nanook next summer.

The company will produce more than 6,500 rifles. They'll be distributed to the Canadian Rangers between mid-2015 and late-2019.

The release didn't say how much the new rifles will cost.