The C3a1 Sniper Rifle

The C3A1 sniper rifle is a weapon of the Canadian Armed Forces. It is a single shot, magazine fed assault rifle with bolt action and shoulder control. The C3A1 is used by specially trained personnel in various missions including:

  • combat
  • internal security operations
  • sniper targets.

The Canadian Armed Forces have also chosen this sniper rifle for use in formal competitions at many levels including:

  • advanced regional
  • national
  • sniper.

History of the Canadian C3A1

The C3A1 is an updated version of the C3 rifle, built by Parker Hale Ltd. in the United Kingdom. The C3 was made from a Parker Hale Model 82 and a Kahles Helios ZF69 scope. The Canadian Armed Forces began using the C3 rifle in the 1970s.

After about a decade, the Canadian Armed Forces decided to upgrade their sniper rifle. The new Parker Hale weapon was named the C3A1 sniper rifle. The stock, scope and magazine were upgraded, creating a truly new rifle. New features of the C3A1 included:

  • adjustable saddle-type cheek piece with glass bedding
  • McMillan synthetic stock
  • six-inch round detachable magazine
  • Unertl 10x scope.

Features of the C3A1 Sniper Rifle

The C3A1 was designed for accuracy. It can hit point targets up to 800 meters away during the daylight, and 300 meters away at night. This makes it ideal in military situations which call for sniper attacks. The C3A1 performs well in extreme weather conditions and is reliable in climates worldwide. It uses 7.62×51 mm NATO ammunition, with a magazine capacity of five rounds.

The butt of the C3A1 can be adjusted by inserting butt increments called “shims. ” Shims are available in lengths of 7 mm or 12 mm which enable the butt to be adjusted from 300 mm to 348 mm. The synthetic stock is designed in almost a straight line, and has the pistol grip, forestock and a built-in cheek piece.

Other specifications of the C3A1 include:

  • 26-inch heavy, hammer forged free-floating barrel
  • modified Mauser 98 bolt action
  • single stage trigger, adjustable for weight, backlash and creep.

Canadian Snipers in Action

The importance of an effective sniper rifle in the hands of an outstanding soldier can be seen in the brave performance of Canadian snipers in Afghanistan during operation Anaconda. Canadian Department of National Defense confirmed that a team of Canadian snipers killed many Taliban and Al-Qaeda members in addition to neutralizing machine gun nests and mortar positions at long range. During this mission, an American battalion was battling al-Qaeda fighters. Mortars were being fired at the Americans. Canadian snipers were able to take out many of the al-Qaeda men at long range, saving American lives.

The Future of the C3A1

After 115 years in business, Parker Hale Ltd. was purchased by John Rothery Wholesale Ltd. in 2000. At that time the company stopped making firearms and it is unclear whether or not they plan to resume production in the future. The Canadian Armed Forces are still using the C3A1 sniper rifle, but active trials are currently being done to find an updated replacement.