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Ross Rifle


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Author Topic: Ross Rifle  (Read 5127 times)
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« on: April 17, 2009, 04:20:57 pm »

Not good enough for the mounties in peacetime yet ok for the lads going to the War to end Wars

Service History

The first 1,000 rifles were given to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) for testing. Routine inspection before operational testing found 113 defects bad enough to warrant rejection. One of these was a poorly designed bolt lock that enabled the bolt to fall right out of the rifle. Another was poorly tempered component springs that were described as being as "soft as copper". In 1906, the RCMP reverted to their Model 1894 Winchesters and Lee-Metfords.

The Ross rifle was modified to correct these faults and became the Mark II Ross (Model 05 (1905)). In 1907, the Mk II was modified to handle the higher pressure of newly designed .280 Ross, this variant was called Mk II**. The Model 10 (1910) was a completely new design, made to correct the shortcomings of the 1905. None of the major parts are interchangeable between the 1905 and the 1910 Models. The Model 10 was the standard infantry weapon of the First Canadian Contingent of the Canadian Expeditionary Force when it first arrived in France in February 1915.

The shortcomings of the rifle were made apparent during the Second Battle of Ypres in April 1915. The rifle showed poor tolerance of dirt when used in field conditions, particularly the screw threads operating the bolt lugs, jamming the weapon open or closed. Another part of the jamming problem came from the bolt's outer face hitting the bolt stop, then deforming the thread shape. The bolt could also be disassembled for routine cleaning and inadvertently reassembled in a manner that would fail to lock but still allow a round to be fired, leading to serious injury or death of the operator as the bolt flew back into his face. "Thankfully such incidents were minor."[3] Another well-known deficiency was the tendency for the bayonet to fall off the rifle when the weapon was fired.[4] Many Canadians of the First Contingent (now renamed the First Canadian Division) at Ypres retrieved Lee Enfields from British casualties to replace their Ross rifles.[5] Lieutenant Chris Scriven of the Tenth Battalion commented that it sometimes took five men just to keep one rifle firing. [6]

Complaints rapidly reached the rifle's chief sponsor, the Canadian Minister of Militia and Defence Sam Hughes. He nevertheless continued to believe in its strengths, following professional advice from Sir Edwin Alderson. In particular, the Ross was more accurate at long range than the SMLE, and this potentially overcame the serious problem British and Canadian troops had faced during the Boer War, with the accurate long-range fire from the 7 mm Mauser.

In all, approximately 420,000 Ross service rifles were produced, 342,040 of which were purchased by the British. [7]
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