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Revised by Ben and Abbey.


The Ross Rifle


What:

  • The Ross rifle was a bolt-action rifle produced in Canada from 1903 until the middle of the First World War
  • Although it was an awesome marksman rifle, it jammed easy and wasn’t suited for trench warfareStill favored by snipers.
    • The Ross rifle weighted 9 lbs was about 60 inches long with the bayonet attached made it unwieldy and unsuited for trench warfare. In the summer of 1916 the rifle was withdrawn from service and
    • by mid-Sept Canadians were rearmed with the British-made Lee-Enfield.
    • Ross rifles were used once again in the Second World War


The History:

The origins of the Ross rifle lie in the late-1890s patents of the noble Canadian Sir Charles Ross, who developed his own pattern of the straight pull rifles. It was broadly based on the Austrian Mannlicher M1890 / 1895 system. British and Canadian forces tested Ross rifles circa 1900-1901, but these rifles, while being quite fast in action, completely failed the reliability tests they were put through. The only fact that Britain refused to supply Canada with enough Lee-Enfield rifles during the second Boer war resulted in adoption of the .303 caliber Ross Mark I rifle in 1902. First rifles were delivered to Canadian military and Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1905. These rifles were manufactured in Quebec at the Ross Rifle Co. In 1907, Ross introduced a slightly improved Mark II rifle. Between 1907 and 1912, Ross turned out several star-marked modifications of the basic mark II pattern, which differed in barrel lengths, safety arrangements and other such minor modifications. In the summer of 1911 Canadian army introduced the Mark III Ross rifle, also known as Model 1910. The overly complicated bolt system of all Marks of the rifle did not helped the proper maintenance n the field, which also compromised reliability. The worst thing about the Ross system, however, was that its bolt could be eventually assembled in the wrong order, and in this case rifle could be assembled and then fired with the bolt not locked to the receiver which lead to disastrous results to both shooter and rifle. On the other hand, most Ross rifles were inherently accurate and served well as a sporter and even match rifles. After the end of First World War, most military Ross rifles were replaced in Canadian service with famous SMLE Mark III rifles of British origins, but made in Canada.

The Flaws:

At the Second Battle of Ypres in April 1915, the Ross Rifle’s flaws were shown.
The bayonet had a tendency to fly off when the rifle shot. The bayonet was not assembled sterdy by the makers which also made it easier to become dislodged when attacking an opponent.
The bolt could also be taken apart for cleaning and would unintentionally be reassembled so that the bolt was not locked but a round could still be fired, sending the bolt straight back in to the shooters face, often causing serious injury or death.
In the summer of 1916 the rifle was withdrawn from service and
by mid-Sept Canadians were rearmed with the British-made Lee-Enfield.
The Mark 3 Ross rifle was supplied to the Royal Canadian Navy, the Veteran's Guard of Canada, coastal defenseunits,
training depots, the British Home Guard London Fire Brigade, Port of London Authority Police and the Soviets.

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Facts:

  • There were 420 000 Ross Rifles made.
  • The first 1000 rifles were given to the Royal Northwest Mounted Police for testing. Routine inspection before operational testing found 113 defects bad enough to warrant rejection.
  • The inventor of the Ross Rifle was a man by the name of Sir Charles Henry Augustus Frederick Lockhart Ross.

Historical Significance

Soldiers were left defenceless, and therefore took Lee-Enfield rifles from the dead British soldiers.

New guns were issued to Canadian troops in 1916.

His recommendation of the defective weapon being one of his failures, Sam Hughes was later fired by Prime Minister Robert Borden.


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The above video shows actual footage of the Ross Rifle in use during WWII.

http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0006943
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ross_rifle