Full length rifle with ELCAN Optical Sight by Armament Technology. (Photo courtesy of Armament Technology)
By Warren Ferguson
THE NEW PLAYER
It’s the “bells and whistles” version of the popular M16A2 and the new century assault rifle to keep your eye on. Refined and tuned out of the box, the Diemaco C7 family of rifles are the non-American-made Black Rifles the free world’s soldiers are increasingly relying on to get the job done right. Has Canada managed to adapt the M16 design and possibly make it even better?
The M16 has gone from mistrusted to prolific after a number of well-known upgrades over the last few decades. But the work of product enhancement is not over, as evidenced by the design input from the Canadian firm of Diemaco, a division of Devtek. From assault rifles to survival rifles to grenade launchers, the Diemaco engineers have a lot to offer to the military community.
Diemaco is Canada’s center for small arms design, development and manufacture. The firm maintains a complete and autonomous capability to design, develop and test, as well as manufacture, small arms and related accessories for the Canadian Forces and the international market. Diemaco is also responsible for the repair and overhaul of the Canadian Forces in-service weapons and for the development of enhancement and life cycle extension programs on other small arms.
Diemaco operates from a 48,000 square foot combined engineering office and manufacturing facility located in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. It employs between 120 to 180 people depending on the number of contracts in house and works with some 90 Canadian sub contractors that provide materials and processing as well as manufacturing support. Diemaco also makes aircraft components for Boeing.
As the Canadian fourth line (factory) maintenance facility, Diemaco is regularly involved in the process of product enhancement through response to service requests and in the training of Weapons Technicians from Canada, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Denmark and Norway. Diemaco is a mobilization base supplier for small arms in North America.
Diemaco possesses a complete design facility including CAD/CAM system, prototype capability, instrumented engineering test facility including ranges; CNC manufacturing environment including gun barrel forge; and complete Quality Assurance facility including metallurgical lab and gauge calibration traceable to N.B.S. Standards. The work is completely qualified to ISO 9001 and NATO AQAP-1 level including S.P.C. (equivalent to MIL-Q-9858A) for Quality Assurance.
Diemaco has been commissioned to design or to perform extensive redesign work on programs for several customers including the Canadian Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Colt Firearms, Uzi Research and Development Associates, Voyageur Survival Systems and Special Forces groups in various NATO countries.
Diemaco has been serving the international military small arms community since 1976. After a series of trials in Canada and other NATO countries in the late 1970s, the 5.56mm round was adopted as NATO’s standard ammunition. Following this, the Canadian National Defence Headquarters (DND) initiated the Small Arms Replacement Program (SARP) to find the best 5.56mm weapon for the Canadian Armed Forces. By this time, the Belgian-pattern FN C1A1 7.62mm semi-automatic rifle and the Sterling-type 9mm SMGs were showing considerable wear.
The Canadian Forces selected the M16A2 and the FN Minimi as the basis for their new family of small arms. Diemaco was awarded the contract for the development and manufacturing of the Canadian Forces’ new rifle, the C7, in 1984. Colt receives a royalty on everything sold.
Diemaco completed exhaustive tolerance studies and reviews to produce the weapon configurations desired by the Canadian Forces. The initial family of weapons consists of the C7 rifle, the C8 carbine, and the C9 light machine gun. The earliest order was for 79,935 copies of the C7, 1,565 (also 800 for the navy) of the C8 and 6,750 of the C9. Both the C7 and the C8 are fitted with the M16A1 sights instead of those adjustable out to 800 meters on the M16A2 version. This A1 upper receiver sports, however, a forward assist plunger and a case deflector. The fire controls are S-R-F, “SAFE, REPETITIVE and FULL AUTO.” For the rifles, there are two butt lengths and a spacer is available which provides four different lengths to suit the user. The flash eliminator omits cuts on the bottom to keep the muzzle down. After proof firing, Diemaco roll stamps a proof mark (the Devtek “D” with “MP”) and the manufacturing batch number for traceability ahead of the front sight. The manufacturing batch number is laser engraved on the barrel extension and bolt so that all parts that see pressure during the firing cycle can be traced, all the way back to the material, heat treat and other processes and subsequent machining.
Diemaco was involved in extensive development work to specify an adequate barrel material which would meet all of the Canadian Forces requirements for a material suitable for use in rifles and machine-guns barrels of 5.56mm and 7.62mm calibers. The Diemaco family uses hammer-forged steel barrels with an integral chamber and chrome-lined bores, strictly a Canadian affair. Many firms hammer forge barrels but not with integral chambers because of the large diameter reductions required. But the trouble is well worth the effort and the reward is better performance and longer life. Some of the benefits of hammer-forged barrels with integral chambers: Stronger, cleaner material is required; Greatly improved concentricity chamber to bore and within the bore; Dimensional consistency in the bore, lead and chamber (barrel no. 10,000 is the same as barrel no. 1); Forged in choke, breech to muzzle promotes accuracy and longer life; Strength. The forging process refines and aligns and compresses the grain structure of the material in a way that provides a stronger barrel. The aim is to create a barrel with a service life of 30,000 rounds.
Since the initial contract, Diemaco has continued to offer new products upgrades. In 1992, a major follow-on contract was awarded for the C7A1 (optically sighted) rifle for the Canadian Forces. Over 50,000 C7s and C8s were converted to A1 configuration by adding a flat top upper receiver and the older upper receiver assemblies are placed in long term storage. Optional are clamp-on handles with A1 or A2-type rear sights and a clamp-on backup sight. DND needed more sighting capability and some magnification for target identification in order to make “shoot, don’t shoot” decisions during peacekeeping and other ops. So a modern optical sight was needed.
ELCAN Optical Sighting equipment and mounts are distributed in North America by Armament Technology, out of Halifax, Canada. This rugged sighting instrument comprises an optical telescope and mount assembly, designed specifically for enhancing the performance of tactical and combat weapons like the C7.
Developed by Ernst Leitz Canada, the ELCAN’s extra large exit pupil diameter allows fast target acquisition, while the brilliant light gathering characteristics of the ELCAN (also called the C79) turn dawn and dusk into day. Attached to firearms incorporating a MIL-STD-1913 flattop design, it significantly improves hit probability at extended ranges and in low light conditions.
The intensity of the ELCAN’s beta light source is designed to be bright enough to give definition of the reticle tip in near-dark conditions without compromising the users natural night vision or providing signature to opposing passive observation and sighting devices. The mount has recently had some new modifications (solid vertical shaft and tension spring to remove vertical backlash) which has greatly improved its performance. In 1992, the DND ordered 63,500 ELCANs and today, Diemaco’s NATO customers typically receive their Diemacos with C79s.
The Danes are also using the C79 sight on their 7.62mm GPMGs and the 6X ELCAN on the .50 Caliber HMG. They also have purchased the Blackcat in 3X and 6X Night Vision Sight for the machine gun application. The Dutch are currently conducting trials on the same sight for the same application. The same sight with the Torx nut base (XM146) beat other entries in a recent US military trial.
The primary concern with the C79 sight, like any piece of machinery, is recognizing when it is unserviceable and getting it fixed instead of continuing to put it on the rifle and complaining about its performance. This was recognized in Holland and they now have a check that the infantryman can do that quickly determines if the sight is serviceable and retains zero within reasonable limits. It would seem others could learn from that. Incidentally, when Denmark got their new C7A1 rifles with C79 sights they went to the annual competition with the German Army and won the competition by a large margin. This was the first time they had won since WWII. They said that during the field portion of the competition they were able to see and engage targets with the C7A1 and C79, long after they could no longer be seen by the naked eye or the Germans and their optical sights. For emergencies, though, Diemaco’s plastic backup rear “iron” sight is usually parked on the rail ahead of the C79 Optical Sight.
With such a set up, the C7A1s have been sold in large numbers internationally. The main difference evident is the receiver markings. Each country has its own logo, except Holland who deleted the words CANADIAN FORCES but kept the Maple Leaf. The serial number for each country is also different in that it is followed by a country identifier: Netherlands = NL, Denmark = DK, Great Britain = GB, Norway = N.
In March 1994 Diemaco was awarded a contract for more than 58,000 C7-type weapons for the Netherlands Armed Forces. In 1996 and 1999 Diemaco was awarded two large contracts to supply the Danish Army, Navy Special Forces and the Home Guard with C7 family weapons and M-203A1 Grenade Launchers. Diemaco is currently also producing Special Forces Weapons with M-203A1 Grenade Launchers for the Special Forces of both Norway and Britain. The firm has also kept busy upgrading the Canadian Forces’ .50 Caliber M2 machine-gun fleet and supplying light machine-guns to the New Zealand Armed Forces.
However, some European users have requested an EU-made optical sight. Delft Sensor Systems of Oudenaarde, Belgium, was awarded a contract for the supply of MUNOS WS4 Weapon Sights with new XD-4 Image Intensifier Tubes to the Royal Dutch Army in late 1998. A total of 445 MUNOS WS4 Weapon Sights were mounted on C7A1s.
MUNOS WS4 is a 4x magnifying, extremely compact and lightweight night vision weapon sight which incorporates the new XD-4 Image Intensifier Tubes developed by Delft Sensor Systems’ sister company Delft Electronic Products (DEP). XD-4 Tubes provide an excellent image quality, equivalent to Gen. III Omnibus IV tubes, and an even better battery consumption and protection against over-illumination. Since then, OIP (the Belgian division of Delft Sensor Systems) sold more that 1000 WS6 systems (renamed IRBIS 6x) to the Belgian Army.
By January 2000, Delft Sensor Systems was renamed OIP Sensor Systems. Together with the de-investment of the Dutch and Italian branches, OIP’s MUNOS Observation Sights were given a new name, LORIS. The first weeks of the year 2000 were characterized with a boost of orders for OIP, for a total value of 10 Million EURO. OIP was granted a substantial contract by the Belgian Army for a total of 1097 Weapon Sights with XD-4 Image Intensifier Tubes (part of the Belgian VISLIM program) to be mounted on Minimi, MAG and .50 caliber weapons. Deliveries are planned to start in August 2000. A contract for an optional batch of 394 systems is expected to be granted further this year. Other contracts include weapon sights, laser rangefinders and thermal imagers for an undisclosed South-American customer, weapon sights for the Chilean Navy and a total quantity of 326 LUNOS night vision systems for a North African customer.
Experience has shown that with either optical sight, there are great user advantages: It enhances effective aiming and fire in low light conditions of dusk, dawn and moonlit nights; It enables the shooter to detect tracer in bright light and to see bullet impact against soft soil; It provides a wider field of view to the eye compared to aperture sight; It permits detection and recognition of personnel targets as well as identification by day; And, it improves the overall standard of marksmanship in field units.
Back in 1984, the Canadian military ordered 471,570 magazines for the SARP weapons. The original magazines, developed by Thermold, were glass filled Dupont Zytel nylon. Naturally, they were rated for cold weather, but their feed lips were not that robust and they were used far too long before being discarded – a Canadian military trait. This writer personally witnessed a 30-round burst from one when it was accidentally dropped, but the newer magazines are excellent. Diemaco Engineering and Dupont Canada did extensive design changes to manufacture a reliable product.
Any magazine made since the improvements and mold changes of 1990 in the molds marked 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, and 106, and featuring a maple leaf, are the best and most reliable magazines made, and are all Canadian. They have much thicker feed lips. The US Army trialed and bought about 700,000 during the Gulf War period. Also the Netherlands Army, Denmark Army, and Norway Army Trials Units, chose these magazines over any metal or other plastic magazines trialed during their selection process prior to procurement. All of Diemaco’s current customers have purchased and use the plastic magazine. No fill limit has been established but during endurance tests they have had more than 400 fills with no problems or stoppages. The Canadian Army, however, now uses Teflon coated aluminum magazines using some imported and some Canadian parts, which are then assembled and tested in Canada.
SPECIAL FORCES WEAPON
Bolstered by good sales, Diemaco decided to further develop the C7 design and soon displayed the first Special Forces Weapons. This is a specially designed 5.56mm weapon that is neither rifle nor carbine but contains aspects of both to achieve specific goals. The SFW is 30mm longer than the C8 carbine and with the Diemaco heavy barrel it is a higher velocity, high accuracy weapon capable of sustained fire. This heavy-barrelled weapon can be mission tailored and zero varies only slightly no matter what attachments are employed. The Diemaco M203A1 underslung Grenade Launcher attaches to the weapon in less than 10 seconds and makes a formidable duo.
Diemaco equipped the Danish International Brigade and others in the Danish Armed Forces with C7A1 and Special barreled carbines that they have named the Gevær M/95 and Karabin M/96. The Danish M/96 Carbine was the forerunner to the Special Forces Weapon that Diemaco sold to the Special Forces of Norway and the United Kingdom.
Diemaco discussed with the various Combat Schools what they liked and did not like about the then-new Colt XM4 Carbine, and set about making improvements. They increased the outside barrel diameter between the receiver and front sight forging. This allowed sling shooting and attachment of accessories to the barrel with virtually no change in zero at all practical combat ranges. They also placed heavier weights in the buffer to eliminate carrier bounce and the resulting light strike malfunction that the M4 was experiencing. Also, some chamber dimensions were changed to enhance performance, as well as a highly controlled tolerance on the rifling.
This served to eliminate any sensitivity the gun might have to the altered firing dynamics that occur when the mass of the front of the gun is changed, with the addition of any accessories, such as grenade launchers. The ejector / extractor dynamics has been exclusively redesigned by Diemaco engineering. The strength of the extractor spring and extractor spring insert was also increased to ensure extraction at all higher rates of fire and with various countries ammunition of sometimes-dubious quality.
The SFW evolved from a British Special Forces requirement for hit probabilities of .95 at 300 meters and .75 at 500 meters that could not be met by a standard carbine. So the hammer forged barrel of the M/96 was grown to achieve a velocity of about 900m/s with C77 ammo. This in combination with a support sleeve at the muzzle behind the compensator to quick attach the M-203A1 40mm Grenade Launcher, resulted in a weapon that could achieve about 1 MOA and better, right out of the box. For a combat weapon production line this isn’t bad. In the UK trials it beat the other contenders such as the SIG 500 series and H&K G36 series weapons in the desert, jungle, and arctic trials.
During a recent course at the Jaeger Kommando School in Norway one of the students brought a target that he had just fired prone unsupported, at 200 meters. The ten round group could be covered with the base of a coke can. He won the Diemaco souvenir hat for that relay. This was fired with a Trijicon ACOG sight that presents a rather large aim mark (6.9 MOA), at that range. Although many other soldiers got close that day.
The M/96 Carbine barrel is standard carbine length but the SFW is just over 16 inches long. The SFW barrel contour differs from the C8 because it provides a stable platform for firing off hand as well as a greater heat sink when firing sustained rates. The front of the barrel is the C7A1 profile at the front sight and uses the larger diameter forging. Ahead of the front sight is the grenade launcher mounting sleeve, which is secured by the compensator. The pistol grip is rounded at the backstrap and houses a pullthrough based cleaning kit. The SFW is fit with Knights Armament RAS (Rail Adapter System) as standard equipment. The UK ordered their first SFWs with furniture in four colours: black, sand, olive drab, and white.
The ambidextrous selector lever is a development for the SFW and not issue to any Canadian weapon, it’s for the Norway Jaeger Kommando. The latest development for the SFW is a Plate Receiver with a sling loop on both sides. This offers two additional sling attachment points that are not on the butt-sliding element. There have been no 10-11.5 inch barrel versions of the C8 or SFW, but that will be about the barrel length of Diemaco’s PDW currently under development.
SPECIAL FORCES SUPPORT WEAPON
Few people know that the Colt LMG was designed, tooled, and from the lower receiver up made at Diemaco under contract for Colt. This includes the hydraulic buffer, open bolt firing mechanism, bipod and entire upper receiver barrel assembly. It is the Light Support Weapon (LSW) and is currently in service with the Royal Dutch Marines and others. Colt hired the Diemaco engineering team to design and bring to production most of the LMGs. Diemaco has produced the upper receiver barrel assemblies, and other components in the lower, for all the LMGs ever made. The LSW is also equipped with a hydraulic buffer that reduces the rate of fire to 500-700 rpm. This SAW uses the 100 round “C” magazine made by BETA or a 30-rounder. At 13 pounds loaded, it’s handy and portable.
From the LSW soon came forth the Special Forces Support Weapon (SFSW). Diemaco has developed a common mounting block for all accessories to fit the Knights RAS and Canadian A1 upper receiver. This common mounting will house the carrying handle, vertical grip, bipod and sling attachment. The SFSW features a rate-reducing buffer to decrease the rate of fire to below 700 rpm (from about 830 rpm for the SFW). The SFSW may also be fitted with an open bolt firing mechanism, which is an option. A standard SFW can be converted to the support role in minutes with a simple parts change and clamp-on accessories. Diemaco makes the bipod for the LSW but for the SFW a Parker Hale is used. A new Diemaco heavy-duty, lightweight bipod is currently under development.
Incidentally, Diemaco made all of the critical components for the C9 (Minimi) LMG and a great many parts for the US Army M240 first fleet procurement, as a sub contractor to FN. These include components such as the cover assembly, trigger mechanism housing and all of its parts and the buffer block assembly. Diemaco was the first to close the top vent on an M16A2 compensator for use on the Minimi. The top vent is closed so that the upward escape of gas does not interfere with the machine gunner’s view at night and when using night vision aiming devices
CUSTOM TACTICAL RIFLES
These days everyone is accurizing the AR-15 and Diemaco is no exception. The C7 Custom Tactical (C7CT) semi-auto incorporates a bipod, and an unchromed floating heavy barrel to enhance accuracy. Its barrel is 6 groove, 1 in 17.8, 21.6 or 22.9 centimetre. The scope sometimes used is a Leupold 3/4 mil-dot, Vari-X III 4.5x14x40 but the Bausch and Lomb Tactical 10X42 is the sight provided to the military for user trials. The C7CT reportedly can engage targets up to 600 metres. Both the Weaver and the M1913 sight rails accommodate any day and night sighting options.
The buttstock is fitted with a removable weight to counter balance the additional weight of the heavy barrel for optimal performance. Additionally, bipods and slings are attached to the handguard, and do not influence the barrel. The bolt carrier assembly has a titanium firing pin for faster locking time and compliments two stage trigger mechanism. The CT barrel accommodates a removable noise and flash suppressor, a Knights Armaments which is capable of 32db reduction and better than 0.7 MOA with suppressor. There is an optional Gas Port Cut-Off System to further reduce noise of the mechanism.
The C8CT Carbines incorporates a bipod and an extra heavy floating barrel to enhance accuracy. The barrel has the standard 11-degree crown and is available fluted. The buttstock of each rifle has a three position sliding buttstock and the buttplate can be adjusted to swivel, move up or down and also additional refinement for extending the length. The “Bull” barrel has a slower twist rate (1:21.6 cm, or 1:22.9 cm) to accommodate both the normal NATO 5.56 mm and heavier match grade .223 bullets.
Who’s buying the CT Rifles? Diemaco is “not at liberty to say without customer’s approval, only NATO country and which are External Affairs and CCC (Canadian Commercial Corporation) approved.” And no, American police cannot order them, due to license restrictions. But some bull barrel competition grade C7s have been made, but not for sale to the public. No 7.62mm “AR-10” type rifle in the works.
DIEMACO’S OTHER PROJECTS
What else do you call Diemaco’s vast array of other weapons like their grenade launcher, chain gun, UZI and sawed-off 30-06, to name a few?
The M-203A1, 40mm Grenade Launcher, is a new product for Diemaco. It was designed, prototyped, tested, and the first production units delivered within four months of project start in late February 1998. It was designed to overcome shortcomings observed in M203 produced by other manufacturers, and to meet some specific needs expressed in User Statements of Requirement. In the spring and summer of 1999 the first production units were sold to Norway and Denmark. Small numbers are currently under evaluation and trial in Canada, Holland and the United Kingdom.
The launcher’s sight was designed and made in Canada and has a fold up rear leaf and is adjustable for elevation and azimuth in 1.33 MOA clicks. The sight can be mounted on the left or right side of the launcher and is graduated from 100 to 400 metres. The receiver is in two pieces and is positioned lower to meet military rifle and carbine sustained firing temperature requirements. The launcher will fit any C7 family rifle, carbine, or SFW weapon and quickly detaches by pulling the ball lock pin at the front hoop. The receiver is designed to be stronger in the web and around the firing mechanism than any of the M203 variants available. The barrel latch is also moved forward so that the launcher will accept the longest baton rounds (145mm). It has been found that the ELCAN C79 can be used out to about 70 metres by using the bottom of the post instead of the tip. SNC in La Gardeur, Quebec makes the 40mm grenades for Canada.
“No gas, no brass, no jamming.” Chain Gun, 7.62 mm, is Diemaco’s vehicle mounted, 40 pound, disintegrating M13 link, 550-rpm devil. The Chain Gun features a quick-change barrel, feeder/receiver assembly with manual and electrical safeties. In both pintle ground mount and vehicle installations, barrels can be exchanged without removing the entire weapon. The Chain Gun ejects the fired cartridge cases forward (overboard) and with its long bolt/dwell time, minimizes any residual gas buildup in cupolas or turret installations. The toxic fume emission within the vehicle during firing has been tested to be less than one percent of that found with contemporary, self-powered coaxial machine guns. The electrically driven chain drive mechanism permits a simplified gun cycle, which operates safely from an open bolt without requirements for chargers, declutching feeders or other special devices.
Diemaco was retained by the Canadian Forces Air Command to design and develop a novel Air Crew Survival Weapon for air crews deployed to and operating in the far north and other remote regions. This weapon was required to protect the downed aircrew from predators (including Polar Bears) and to fit within the tight confines of the CF-18 pilots seat pack. The ACSW has a special quick change barrel and under-slung butt stock allowing the rifle to fit into the seat pack. Diemaco completed two parallel programs to offer two different solutions to this requirement. The Search and Rescue (SAR) rifle has been fielded with the Canadian Forces rifle developed and produced for use by SAR technicians when jumping into remote areas. This 30-06 Calibre rifle is now in service in the Canadian Forces.
This rifle is a modified M77 Mark 2 Ruger 30-06. To convert, they cut and crown the barrel to 14.5 inches, which reduces the MV about 300fps, but reduces the overall length folded to 26 inches. Then they make and attach an enlarged trigger guard to permit shooting with heavy arctic finger mitts. The barrel is drilled and tapped and new sight ramps and sights are attached. The stock is a McMillan Fiberglass special stock, which is then cut to fold and inlet to accept the action, new hinges, latches, and rotating butt plate which closes an ammunition storage area in the butt for six additional cartridges. This stock is an orange colour so the rifle can be easily seen in the snow or in the bush. The rifle is stowed in a carrying case which is fastened to the SAR Technicians jump pack.
A Canadian UZI? Mr. Uzi Gal (of URDA) contracted Diemaco to work with him in the design of his new submachine gun designated the 201, or as it is unofficially called, the NEWZI. The complete design was finished at Diemaco under his supervision and a final set of toleranced production drawings, tooling, and prototype test samples of the weapon were produced.
This was a 9mm or 10mm SMG that had a low ROF, was holsterable and could be fired off hand with good accuracy. Diemaco worked for about a year and a half on this project. Diemaco does not make or market weapons for sale to the public, and its entire product line is sold to military customers either in Canada or by country to country sales to other military customers. When military sales were not forthcoming for the UZI 201, the URDA sold the rights, tooling and technical data to Sturm Ruger which now produces the weapon.
. A familiar design is revisited with the Voyageur “Survivor” Survival Rifle. It is a survival rifle intended for use in the far north. It was completed based upon the design parameters laid down by the contractor, a company specializing in the supply of survival systems for aircrew and far north travellers. The design was completed and a set of toleranced production drawings were created. Look at the picture and see if you recognize it.
For high accuracy target work, the C11 and C12 Canadian Forces Target Rifles were developed to meet Canadian Forces and Cadet service needs for a precise target rifle for international competition and advanced marksmanship training. They had to shoot a five shot group better than 0.7 MOA before acceptance by the resident DND Quality Assurance Representative. Diemaco created a system of two weapons, in 5.56mm NATO and 7.62mm NATO calibers, to meet all of the service requirements and to date 450 have been produced. A follow on product update program is currently fitting British RPA actions, new barrels and reinletted Macmillan stocks to some of these rifles in a continuing pursuit of accuracy.
Speaking about cadet and training rifles, the C10 design was developed to satisfy a set of design parameters for a small bore (.22LR) training rifle accurately simulating the full bore C7 rifle. The C10 successfully completed pre-production testing prior to program cancellation due to a recent change in the law. The former Canadian Justice Minister said that only police and military personnel should have access to any firearm, so in this climate even supervised military cadets were suspect.
Early on, the training rifle was a standard C7 rifle with a .22LR kit in the form of an upper receiver barrel assembly, bolt assembly and magazine assembly. This kit was not in production. It was designed and trialed by the CF and led to development of the C10 Rifle.
The C10 is a totally different .22LR rifle that shares common drill and shooting characteristics with the C7 rifle. It has a plastic injected molded one piece lower receiver that houses the trigger mechanism in a stainless steel frame that prevents conversion to Full Auto and will not permit function of a C7 bolt carrier assembly. The upper receiver barrel assembly is .22 LR and houses a .22 bolt assembly. Parts like the front sight housing, slip ring and others have been converted to injection molded plastic as heat is not an issue.
The 10 round magazine is made from three injected molded plastic components that are a friction fit into the body of a standard plastic magazine. This rifle completed all of its DND engineering and user trials, was ready for production with acceptance of the 20 pre-production samples.
Meanwhile, some of the C10 developments are making their way into the C7 family, such as the all nylon butt trap door assembly, the smaller round front sight post which offers a better sight picture and does not obscure the target and others. However, there are no plans for synthetic lower C7s.
Finally, it’s not a real gun, but its interesting…the Diemaco Rubber Rifle. It is made in any color and configuration the customer requires. They come in black, but the Dutch ones are bronze. All have fully functional, metal bayonet lugs. They are primarily used for training where the real equipment would be at risk or can not be stored for security reasons, such as cadet unit drill. The original reason for developing this training device was because the salt water was too harsh on the real rifles during submarine exit training. Some other uses now are bayonet training, obstacle and confidence courses, swimming, para jump tower, basic recruit drill training and vehicle and mount fit trials. The Rubber Rifle, now made entirely in Canada, begins with a welded steel frame, with front sight, to provide strength and correct weight and balance. This frame is then placed in a mold and the urethane is injected around the frame. A compensator is then tack welded to the barrel.
At last, the Canadian Armed Forces are well equipped with modern weaponry. The old semi-auto only FALs just weren’t making the grade in any modern combat scenario. Now many of the major players are asking for the Canadian Black Rifles. With all the engineering and tactical upgrades made by Diemaco, who can blame them?
I would like to thank the following for permitting the reproduction in prints, drawings and photographs in their collections, for providing useful data, and for critique of this article: Ian Anderson, Kelly Stumpf, Andrew S. Webber and Francoise De Groote. You can visit Diemaco on the world wide web at: http://www.diemaco.com.
Warren Ferguson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please see the SAR Identification Guide to the Diemaco Models starting on the next page.
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V4N5 (February 2001)|