Ross Rifle

Discussions on all aspects of the The United Kingdom & its Empire and Commonwealth during the Inter-War era and Second World War. Hosted by Andy H
User avatar
phylo_roadking
Member
Posts: 17487
Joined: 30 Apr 2006 23:31
Location: Belfast

Re: Ross Rifle

Post by phylo_roadking » 06 Sep 2008 13:48

Is that why they were reissued for the Second World War?


I would not regard the BRITISH giving them to the IRISH for their Home Guards at a time when the British had equiped their OWN Home Guard with a mishmash of types...as "reissue" :lol: More likely a cross between "Oh good, now we have somewhere to store those removeable mule shoes and stockpiled trench duckboards" and "it's only the IRISH...bloody Neutrals". Pretty much along the same lines as when the British supplied the Irish with Bren Gun Carriers with shagged-out tracks, and Beaverettes - and WELL towards the end of the war a literal handful of Churchill tanks...

I.E. "Nothing they could possibly turn against US with any real success if WE have to invade..." :lol: :lol: :lol:

Armeiro
Member
Posts: 611
Joined: 11 Oct 2006 23:47
Location: ...

Re: Ross Rifle

Post by Armeiro » 17 Oct 2008 12:35

Image

Armeiro
Member
Posts: 611
Joined: 11 Oct 2006 23:47
Location: ...

Re: Ross Rifle

Post by Armeiro » 08 Dec 2008 23:42

Can someone post images of the Ross rifle straight pull mechanism?

Thank you.

User avatar
phylo_roadking
Member
Posts: 17487
Joined: 30 Apr 2006 23:31
Location: Belfast

Re: Ross Rifle

Post by phylo_roadking » 08 Dec 2008 23:53


Armeiro
Member
Posts: 611
Joined: 11 Oct 2006 23:47
Location: ...

Re: Ross Rifle

Post by Armeiro » 09 Dec 2008 16:55

Armeiro wrote:Can someone post images of the Ross rifle straight pull mechanism?

Thank you.


...images of a real Ross rifle straight pull mechanism desasembled. :oops: :D

Thank you.


Armeiro
Member
Posts: 611
Joined: 11 Oct 2006 23:47
Location: ...

Re: Ross Rifle

Post by Armeiro » 16 Feb 2009 13:57

You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Armeiro
Member
Posts: 611
Joined: 11 Oct 2006 23:47
Location: ...

Re: Ross Rifle

Post by Armeiro » 16 Feb 2009 14:37

146.jpg
8g_000.jpg
8f_000.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Armeiro
Member
Posts: 611
Joined: 11 Oct 2006 23:47
Location: ...

Re: Ross Rifle

Post by Armeiro » 16 Feb 2009 14:40

ba_1.JPG
7a_1.JPG
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Armeiro
Member
Posts: 611
Joined: 11 Oct 2006 23:47
Location: ...

Re: Ross Rifle

Post by Armeiro » 30 Oct 2009 02:24

The Ross Rifle Scandal

"During the South African War of 1899-1902, the Canadian government had experienced serious problems in obtaining weapons from Britain, on whom it relied for its supplies. In particular the .303 Lee-Enfield rifle was unavailable, and efforts to persuade Birmingham Small Arms Company to set up a branch factory in Canada to manufacture the rifle were unsuccessful. Sir Wilfred Laurier, then the Prime Minister, was persuaded by his Militia Minister, Sir Frederick Borden, that Canada would have to make its own rifle. A new rifle, developed by Sir Charles Ross, had recently appeared on the market. It was a fine target and sporting weapon. Ross came to Ottawa and met with a committee set up to evaluate his rifle. One of the committee members was Sam Hughes, who immediately liked the weapon. It was put through a series of tests, including comparison tests with the Lee-Enfield. In spite of the fact that the Ross jammed and often misfired, the committee recommended its adoption and manufacture in Canada. What "small problems" there were, Sir Charles Ross assured them, could be eliminated with the appropriate modifications. Sam Hughes steadfastly defended the Ross rifle in the House of Commons and was opposed to replacing it. Events were to show that he was tragically In trench conditions, surrounded by mud and filth, and when it was essential to have a reliable weapon, the Ross was definitely out of place. It had a long barrel and was difficult to use in the trench's confined spaces, and it frequently jammed. It was indeed a fine weapon - on a firing range under controlled conditions. But the First Division's stand at Ypres in the face of a gas attack, Canadian soldiers threw away their Ross rifles in despair and frustration, and picked up Lee-Enfields from dead British soldiers on the battlefield.

In spite of this, the Second Division went to France with Ross rifles and again the results were much the same, with solders throwing away jammed weapons. By July 1916 Sir Douglas Haig, the new Commander-in-Chief, had ordered the replacement of all Ross rifles by the Lee-Enfield, then becoming widely available. To the end, Hughes refused to accept that there were problems with the Ross, and it took the intervention of many influential people to persuade him otherwise. In November 1916, Hughes resigned, after Sir Robert Borden's decision to appoint a Minister of Overseas Forces. He died in 1921 at the age of 69."

...from...http://www.mysteriesofcanada.com/Milita ... candal.htm

Godson
Member
Posts: 22
Joined: 21 Aug 2009 17:14

Re: Ross Rifle

Post by Godson » 30 Apr 2010 07:11

With all due respect to Michael, I'm afraid there is quite a lot of misinformation about the Ross Rifle. The issues in WWI can be distilled down to these I think:

1. The rifle was longer than the Lee Enfield, but not much longer than the German Gew98.
2. Many of the soldiers in the CEF of 1914/15 were ex-British regulars or Territorials. They were used to the Lee Enfield and naturally preferred it.
3. The Ross MkIII used in WWI had very close chamber dimensions. This was not a problem with close-tolerance ammunition of good materials such as was made in Canada. Unfortunately, some US and British private contractors often made their cartridge cases out of poor materials and made them oversize. This problem was well known at the time. Machine gunners in WWI habitually avoided certain brands of ammo for the same reason: poor quality, oversize cases that would expand too much, not 'spring back' and jam in the breech. The Lee Enfield had an oversize chamber making it more tolerant of dirty or oversized ammunition. Later Ross chambers were reamed to similar oversize dimensions.
4. There are numerous first hand accounts from frontline Canadian infantry soldiers who served at 2nd Ypres and elsewhere who strongly favoured the Ross. These men actually used them in combat and during the first German gas attack. Many of the online accounts that denigrate the Ross seem to be from men who were not actually in the infantry at all. A very detailed WWI diary has recently been published that strongly favours the Ross. The diarist was a scout and sniper who fought from 1915 to 1918.
5. IMO there was a definite agenda against the Ross in British official circles: the War Office, the British gunmakers etc. The latter had refused to manufacture in Canada and naturally did not want overseas competitors. They had been humiliated by the Rosses many successes at Bisley before WWI. There was a generally patronising attitude to "colonials" and their products that continued into WWII. Despite the fact that some of the equipment designed and produced was shown to be better than UK designs it was ignored, depreciated and specifications repeatedly changed to prevent it being considered for UK service. This is documented in government records. As an example, in WWII a Canadian designed telescope for snipers was produced that was superior to the then antiquated(!) model in UK service. That pre-WWI telescope remains in UK service today, sixty years after a superior design was rejected, apparently because it was "not invented here". Not for nothing did Maj. Gen. Fuller say, "there are two conservative institutions in the world: the Catholic Church and the British army."
6. Against Sir Charles Ross' recommendations, the Department of Militia and Defence (or perhaps Gen. Alderson) decided not to purchase and issue chamber cleaning sticks or brushes for the Ross rifle. Why is a mystery as these were very inexpensive to make.
7. The Liberal Party in Canada strongly opposed the Ross Rifle for no other reason than that its main backers, Sam Hughes and Sir Robert Borden were Conservatives. This is patently obvious from reading the Canadian newspapers before WWI. The vociferous and partisan nature of this campaign is really quite surprising even today. The Liberals particularly relished this role as it enabled them to portray themselves as being for Imperial unity and standardization, when in fact their traditional policy was much more against Canada's Imperial connections.

The Lee Enfield was a compromise between the long Lee Enfield of Boer War fame (or infamy!) and the Lee Enfield carbine. It was strongly opposed by many at the time of its introduction for this reason. It's famous long bayonet was an attempt to give it back the 'reach' that it lost by being shortened. Its length proved a happy coincidence in WWI, but it was only a coincidence.

The Ross had its defects: it was overly long for the trenches; not that anyone had forseen trench warfare in 1913/4!
It's straight pull design is very fast, but lacks the primary extraction of turnbolt rifles such as the Mauser or Lee Enfield. This is a weakness of all straight pull designs, however the Austro-Hungarians used a straight pull rifle and do not seem to have suffered unduly as a result. With oversize or very dirty ammunition, or ammunition made of soft, poorly annealed metals, the sticking of cartridge cases makes this an issue. Presumably the Austro-Hungarians were more careful about their ammunition quality.

The Ross bolt could also be misassembled with considerable difficulty and would in certain circumstances 'blow back' if fired in that condition. There are no definite accounts of this happening in WWI that I am aware of.

Events are rarely as simple as they are portrayed and in the end, it did come to "a question of confidence" as the book on this matter was titled.

Incidentally, tests have shown the Ross to be one of the strongest bolt actions ever made, containing chamber pressures more than twice that which destroyed Lee Enfield actions.

The Ross action was made into a very successful experimental light machine gun called the Huot, which would probably have been adopted by the Canadian Expeditionary Force had the war continued into 1919. After seeing the reports of trials held in France in 1918, General Currie, GOC of the CEF had recommended 5000 Huots be issued as soon as possible.

Armeiro
Member
Posts: 611
Joined: 11 Oct 2006 23:47
Location: ...

Re: Ross Rifle

Post by Armeiro » 12 Jun 2010 14:27


Armeiro
Member
Posts: 611
Joined: 11 Oct 2006 23:47
Location: ...

Re: Ross Rifle

Post by Armeiro » 17 Jun 2010 00:13

Image

Godson
Member
Posts: 22
Joined: 21 Aug 2009 17:14

Re: Ross Rifle

Post by Godson » 04 Aug 2010 16:39

Interesting photos. The "old and bold" in the last one especially. We can guess what they're thinking!

Return to “The United Kingdom & its Empire and Commonwealth 1919-45”