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Old 09-11-2013, 10:52 PM
Jcordell Jcordell is offline
Formerly "Checkman"
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Idaho
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Default Help with the Ross Rifle - Where you at Nyles?

Okay I started the page. I've always been interested in the Canadian Ross Rifle. It's bugged me that we never had a page for it. I know of just one movie that it appears in. "Joe Kidd" with Clint Eastwood. But Clint uses it and it's appearance is memorable. So now the page exists. I'm more of a revolver guy so those of you who are big fans of the older rifles please help. Right now it's very basic info. Nyles I'm thinking of you in particular.
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Old 10-01-2013, 01:56 AM
Nyles Nyles is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 920

Sorry, I've been away travelling, both with the army (Shilo. Ugh.) and Cabelas (Regina. Ugh.).

What can I say that you missed? Not alot that'd make it onto the site, really. Their adoption by Canada really has it's roots in the Boer War. Canada finally chose to replace the woefully obsolete Snider-Enfield while the Boer War was going on, and the British, due to their wartime needs, refused to sell us Lee-Enfields. Canada started looking at setting up domestic production of a rifle, and Sir Charles Ross, a Scottish nobleman, showed up with a design for a rifle and the willingness to build a factory in Montreal with his own money. It's a good deal, and the government went for it.

The Canadian Militia (not the Canadian Army until 1940!) only ever used the Mk.II and Mk.III models. The Mk.I was actually a developmental model only ever issued to the RCMP. The Mk.II was introduced to the militia in 1905 and had all sorts of problems, with dozens of minor variations attempting to solve them, until the Mk.III was adopted in 1912. This was the model that was actually used by the CEF in France until 1916 (except by the PPCLI, who fought under British command in1914-1915 and were issued SMLEs). The Mk.II WAS used in England for training in 1914-1916, and in 1917 10,000 were sold to the US army as training rifles. My Mk.II is both Canadian and US marked.

They're long, heavy rifles, with complicated sights better suited to a target rifle than a battle rifle, and therefore particularly unsuited to trench warfare. They jammed alot in service, espescially when dirty or using British ammunition, which was built to looser tolerences than Canadian. The Mk.III can also be incorrectly assembled so the bolt blows back in your face - although it takes alot of force to do, and to be fair, so can a Mannlicher, Lebel, Berthier - pretty much anything with a detachable bolt head. Most were modified with a rivet in the bolt to prevent incorrect assembly.

By 1916 a government commission finally forced the Minister of Militia, Sam Hughes (a controversial figure even today) to replace the Ross with the Lee-Enfield, although snipers continued using Rosses into the 30s, mounted mainly with American Warner & Swasey M1913 prismatic riflescopes. Many Canadian troops on the front lines had at the point already picked up a Lee-Enfield from a dead Brit.

After WW1 they were largely retired, though some were given both to the Russians and British Home Guard as war aid in WW2. The British did buy some in 1916/1917 (I think), called the Mk.IIIB, which had sights similar to the P14 rifle. think they were primarily used by the Royal Navy, to replace the .44-40 Remington and Winchester rifles they'd been given in 1915 to replace the SMLEs which had been diverted to the army.

The Ross was also sold commercially from the beginning of production, in various grades of sporter, primarily in .303. Commercially the Mk.1 is known as the Model 1903, the Mk.II the Model 1905, and the Mk.III the 1910 - although military Mk.IIIs are marked M10. The 1910 action was substantially beefed up, using 7 locking lugs (as opposed to the 2 of the 1903 and 1905 models) in order to handle the .280 Ross cartridge, which falls just short of 7mm Magnum power. This was considered for the new Canadian service round, although (rightly) rejected. Ross sporters were doomed commercially by the thousands of surplus military rifles being sold off after WW1 - they were competing with their own second hand goods, and at bargain basement prices. To this day sporterised Rosses (mainly Mk.IIIs) are a pretty common sight at Canadian gun shows, and ones remaining in military condition are very, very rare.

Ian at has done a few great videos on the Ross:
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