ROSS RIFLE COMPANY
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ROSS RIFLE COMPANY
Previous manufacturer located in Quebec City, Canada, circa 1900-1917.
The Ross rifle was the design of Sir Charles Henry Augustus Frederick Lockhart Ross (1872-1942), 9th Baronet of Balnagown, born in Scotland. He came to Canada in 1897, and left in 1917, following government expropriation of his plant.
While still a student at England's Eton College in 1893, Ross patented his first rifle design, which never left the drawing board. His patent of 1897 was more practical, and reached limited production first in Hartford, CT, then shortly after by the Chas. Lancaster firm in England. Ross worked with J.A. Bennett in Hartford until 1905, and apparently supplied components to Charles Lancaster in London, England until just before WWI began in 1914. By 1903, the new Ross Plant in Quebec City had begun production of early commercial rifles.
Ross was responsible for developing the first commercially available high velocity round in 1906, the .280 Ross, which developed a muzzle velocity in excess of 3,000 FPS, supplied initially as the 1907 Scotch Deerstalker Model. Patterns were sent to Eley in England, who produced the early ammunition for Ross.
While early Ross Commercial Sporting Rifles could almost be considered to be "custom" rifles with many available variations, it would appear the military rifle production was considered to be the "bread and butter" for the Ross Plant in Canada.
It must be recognized that while Ross provided the basic military designs for the MK I, MK II, and MK III variations, on-going military production was entirely at the mercy of a multitude of Canadian government inspectors, insisting upon almost daily alterations at several points. Overall lengths, weights, and even sights were decided by others. Politically, it was found expedient to lay all the blame for any and all faults real or imagined squarely upon Sir Charles himself.
Unfortunately, the Ross MK III was saddled with a Crown of Thorns similar to low-numbered Springfield 1903 receivers. The reality was (and still is) that with considerable difficulty, a MK III bolt can be reversed 180 degrees in its sleeve, then with added brute force and ignorance, can be partially inserted in its receiver and fired, with highly unpleasant results. A complete mechanical inspection by a competent gunsmith who is familiar with Ross rifles is urged before firing one of these guns, but verifying that the gas escape port in the bolt-head is visible with the bolt pulled back provides confirmation that all is as it should be.
The author wishes to express his thanks to Mr. Barry DeLong, Mr. Steve Engleson, and Mr. Gordon Hanlan for making the following information available.
Further information on Ross Rifle Co. products can now be found on the Internet at RossRifle.com. All new and/or unusual findings can be offered for review and discussion, and any questions regarding Ross can likely be intelligently answered.

From Blue Book Publications:


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