The C3 Sniper Rifle was Canada’s sniper rifle from the mid-1970s until it was replaced by the C3A1 in 1988.
The C3 was a conventional bolt-action rifle in 7.62x51mm (NATO version of the .308″ Winchester) made by Parker-Hale in England. It was fitted with a 6-power Austrian Kahles ZF 69 scope which was called the C2 sniper scope in Canadian service, though it was not marked as such. The rifle had an internal magazine of 4-rounds. Back-up iron sights were carried in the scope case and could be fitted if the scope was removed. The rear sight was the Parker-Hale PH5E with a special base to fit onto the rear scope base. A half-inch high block was permanently fitted onto the front of the barrel and a Parker Hale front sight could be attached to that when the scope was not used. The barrel was a heavy barrel that was free-floating and the action was bedded into the wooden stock. No bipod was provided, though I have heard that some snipers fitted bipods, such as a Harris, on their own.
Some C3 rifles without scopes were issued for Cadet target shooting. The Australians, New Zealanders also used this model and theirs was designated the M82.
HOW MANY WERE MADE?
I do not know. Reports of purchases say 334 but also say that 500 were later “refurbished” to C3A1 rifles.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE C3 RIFLES?
When the decision was made to upgrade to the C3A1, the military called it a “refurbishment.” Basically everything was new except for the bolt. It is a bit like telling your spouse that rather than buying a new car, you are upgrading the old car, but the only part that was reused was the steering wheel. It was a way of getting funding approved as they were then not buying a “new” weapons system but simply a “refurbishment .
SURVIVING C3 RIFLES & CLONES
Most so-called C3 rifles today are clones made using Parker-Hale 1200TX rifles, which were a single shot rifle. The most common error is putting a removable magazine on the clone. The C3 had an internal magazine whereas the C3A1 had a removable magazine.
Building a clone of a C3 usually begins with a Parker-Hale 1200TX barrel and action. Obtaining a C3 or M82 stock with the internal magazine and spacers to control the length of the butt. The Kahles ZF 69 (i.e. introduced in 1969) scope is difficult to find and some people use other Kahles such as the similar looking ZF 84 or a different brand of scope.