Canadian Army Buys Colt Canada C20 by Matthew Moss

Colt Canada C20 in its natural northern habitat – the snow (Canadian Army)

The Canadian Army have ordered just under 300 new semi-automatic precision rifles from Colt Canada. The initial order for the new 7.62x51mm C20 is worth a reported CA$8.5 million. We at TFB got our first look at Colt Canada’s new C20 rifle last summer at DSEI 2019, when Colt Canada were kind enough to talk us through the new rifle. Check out that earlier article about the rifle here.

At DSEI 2019 Colt Canada told us that the C20 had successfully gone through extensive Canadian Armed Forces testing, to meet relevant NATO standards, including extreme conditions and endurance tests – during which it fired 8,000 rounds without stoppages. The new rifle is destined to replace the 5.56x45mm C8s currently in use with Canadian sniper sections.

Colt Canada C20 at DSEI 2020 (Matthew Moss/TFB)

The Canadian government initially awarded a CA$2 million contract to establish production and deliver 10 rifles for further testing. This has been followed up by a CA$6.5 million contract for a further 262 rifles and a package including maintenance support, spares and accessories for the rifles. This package includes a OSS HX-QD 7.62mm suppressor and a Manta Defense suppressor cover. The exact optic to be used with the rifle has not been confirmed. When on display at DSEI 2019, the rifle was paired with a Schmidt & Bender optic.

C20 right side (Colt Canada)

C20 left side (Colt Canada)

THE C20’S SPECIFICATIONS (AS PER COLT CANADA):

CALIBRE – 7.62 x 51 mm NATO
WEIGHT [UNLOADED/NO OPTIC/NO SUPPRESSOR] – 4.1 kg (9.1 lbs)
OVERALL LENGTH [NO SUPPRESSOR] – 96.2 cm (38 in)
BARREL LENGTH – 44.7 cm (18 in)
RIFLING [TO DESIGNATED AMMUNITION] – 1 turn in 10 in – 4 groove
PRECISION – 0.66 MOA
MUZZLE VELOCITY – 2400 fps (C181 Ammunition)
CYCLING – SEMI-AUTOMATIC (Expansion Bleed Off)

The rifle has an FDE finish and MLOK forend, it feeds from 20 round polymer magazines and has a Geissele SSA Dual-Stage Trigger, an LMT DMR adjustable buttstock and an American Defence bipod. The first rifles are expected to begin being delivered by Colt Canada in the fall of 2020 and a Canadian Defense spokesperson confirmed the last deliveries are expected in March 2021.

Colt Canada’s C20 – left side (Matthew Moss/TFB)

Colt Canada’s C20 – right side (Matthew Moss/TFB)

It has also been reported that the Canadian Army is about to launch another new procurement program to evaluate and select a bolt action sniper rifle, likely in a calibre like .338 Lapua Magnum. This new bolt action rifle will be designated the C21 and it is expected that up to 229 new sniper rifles will eventually be purchased. This will augment the .338 Lapua Magnum C14 Timberwolf MRSWS (Medium Range Sniper Weapon System) and .50 BMG C15 Long Range Sniper Weapon (LRSW) currently in service.

Matthew Moss

Matthew Moss – Assistant Editor.

Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written for a variety of publications in both the US and UK he also runs www.historicalfirearms.info, a blog that explores the history, development and use of firearms. Matt is also co-founder of www.armourersbench.com, a new video series on historically significant small arms.

Reach Matt at: matt@thefirearmblog.com