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. Steve Engleson and Mr. Gordon Hanlan for making the following information available.

ROSS RIFLE COMPANY Models

.303 Brit. cal., bolt action rifle, known as the "hammer model" because the bolt cocked the hammer as it traveled over it, 26 in. barrel, 5 round magazine, clip loaded Mannlicher type magazine, two leaf rear sight (Hartford, CT version), V-notch rear sight and tang mounted peep sight (Lancaster version), checkered walnut straight stock (Hartford, CT version) or checkered walnut pistol grip stock (Lancaster version), bolt head design of solid opposing locking lugs with vertical travel and horizontal locking, known as the "hammer model" because the bolt cocked the hammer as it traveled over it. Mfg. 1897-1900.
similar to the Model 1897, except has no hammer and a coil mainspring and internal bolt striker. Mfg. 1900-01.
a modification of the Model 1900, "Patented 1903" on left side of receiver, slide button safety, slimmed and completely knurled bolt cocking-piece and thumbpiece mag. lifter, enclosed mag.
.303 Brit. cal., 28 in. barrel, walnut stock, OAL 45 5/8th inches, H-type hinged rear sight adjustable to 2,200 yards with adjustments for windage and elevation. These will normally be found with a modified Ross MkI sight, referred to as the MkI* sight. The original sights are extremely scarce.
.303 British (most common), .256 Mannlicher, or .370 Express cal., 26 or 28 in. barrel, walnut checkered stock, two leaf English style rear sight, 5 round mag. Long thought to be mfg. in Hartford, CT USA and Quebec City, Canada. Recent information that has come to light indicate mfg. by Lancaster in England (under Ross patents).
"1905 Patented" on left side of receiver, action is cocked on opening, bolt action camming to initiate cartridge extraction, did not have bolt knurled thumbpiece, improved extractor added to later Model 1905 variations. Mfg. beginning 1906.
.303 Brit. cal., Ross MKII or MKIII sight, early model with flat buttplate and "stepped" nosecap (similar to MKI rifles), fitted with the Ross MkII sight (aka "ski-jump" sight). Mfg. 1906.
.303 Brit. cal., 30 1/2 in. heavy barrel, military issue, but primarily a target rifle. Hindsight determined that this was likely the best Military rifle that Ross had ever produced. Scarce variation and seldom seen today. There are four basic variants: (1) Sutherland sight on barrel, no receiver base or sight, and extended sword bar to fit the MkII bayo (2) Sutherland sight on barrel, stamped receiver base and full-length wood so the new MkII bayonet now fits (3) Sutherland sight on barrel, milled base on receiver with MkIII Battlesight and (4) One-piece top wood (no barrel sight) and milled base on receiver with MkIII Battlesight.
.303 Brit. cal., 28 in. barrel, most commonly encountered example, includes 20,000 sold to U.S. with flaming bomb proofmark added, found with the Canada Tool barrel sight, U.S. contract rifles were fitted with a "Kerr NOBUCKL" sling in the U.S.
.303 Brit. cal., 28 in. barrel, similar to MKII 3*, except that reportedly, it was initially fitted with the earlier Ross MKIII sight (flat-top) then later were converted to MkII 3* condition, using the Canada Tool ladder sight.
.303 Brit. cal., 28 in. barrel. A relatively seldom encountered variant that has the Sutherland "H" type sight variation fitted. Several of these, as well as MkII 4*'s converted back to MkII 3* status have surfaced with US acceptance marks.
.303 Brit. cal., 28 in. barrel, illustrated in 1906 catalog only, Enfield barrel sight. Very few known.
.303 Brit. cal., 26 or 28 in. barrel, no checkering on stock, originally fitted with Winchester semi-buckhorn sight. The Military short MkII barrel with the coarse LH threads were used.
.303 Brit. or .35 WCF cal., 22, 24, 26 or 28 in. barrel, built up on MKII** receiver, fine-thread heavy barrel, checkered pistol grip wood, found with or without the Harris lever, several different multi-leaf "express" sights found on this model. Can almost be considered a "Factory Custom" model.
.303 Brit. cal., 30 1/2 in. barrel, identical to the Military 2* rifle but typically found with commercial finish on wood and no sling swivels, target sight on bridge over receiver and serial number on barrel.
between the MkII (1905) and the MkIII (1910), two important and scarce rifles were built and sold on a modified MkII action with threaded, not solid, locking lugs.
.280 Ross cal., 26 or 28 in. barrel, 4 shot mag., walnut pistol grip checkered stock, finely finished for Canadian/U.S. market, usually fitted with steel buttplate. For the British and Colonial market, it appears that major components were supplied by Ross "in the white" to British gunmakers for completion, usually found U.K. proofed, finer finish on steel and wood with checkered walnut butt.
.280 Ross cal., single-shot with 30 1/2 in. barrel, tangent rear sight on heel of butt and optical hooded front sight, free floated barrel, can be found in early (tapered forend) and later (deep forend with finger grooves) versions. Very scarce and none found blued (left in the white). If found with barrel-weight marked in grains on the barrel, this is usually an indication of Bisley use. Prices below assume no target sights.
replaced the previously used solid lugs which traveled vertically, has the "triple thread, interrupted-screw, double-bearing cam bolt" with the bolt head traveling horizontally.
.303 Brit. cal., 30 1/2 in. barrel, slight changes only through the production run, early models had stamped sheet metal nosecaps, later ones were forged. Models found with British proofs were likely in the trenches in France and later used by WWII British Homeguard. For the MkIII B, the only change from Canadian issue is the front and rear sights, plus the lack of expected identification and acceptance marks stamped in the buttstock.
.280 Ross cal., 26 in. barrel, box mag. (same as M-10 Sporter with flat floorplate), light walnut stocks with a commercial finish and a Ross MkIII battle sight, recalibrated for .280 Ross cal. Mfg. circa 1913. Extremely scarce.
.303 Brit. cal., 26 or 28 in. barrel, no checkering, Winchester semi-buckhorn rear sight, military five shot box mag., plain steel uncheckered rifle buttplate.
.303 Brit. or .35 WCF cal., 26 or 28 in. barrel, checkered straight grain walnut stock, M-10 pattern checkering on bottom of pistol grip, military box mag., several different express sights can be found on this model. Scarce.
.280 Ross cal., 24, 26 or 28 in. barrel, enclosed four shot double row mag., beautifully finished, checkered walnut pistol grip stock, grip cap screwed to pistol grip, flat floorplate, 0 to 500 yard sight on barrel, some are equipped with Porter "pop up" sight on the rear receiver bridge.
.303 Brit. cal., identical to the Canadian issued Mk III Military Model but appears to have superior finish and fit on wood and metal, serial number will be found on the barrel just ahead of the receiver, issue stamps may (or may not) be stamped in the stock, considered to be commercial, not military. Less than 1,000 mfg. The serial number always shows a prefix of "HG".
serial number on the left side of the barrel, ahead of the receiver, usually found stocked with fine-grain light walnut, with a semi-gloss finish very similar to the commercial centerfire Sporters, as opposed to the open-grain dark walnut of the Military Cadets.
serial number stamped in stock over year of acceptance, preceeded by a letter, usually multiple "CC" (Cadet Corps) stamps also.
This unique Cadet Model first appeared in the commercial catalog issued in early 1913. The same catalog, destined for the U.S. market, serviced by Post & Floto in New York City was essentially the same catalog, but all prices were manually over-stamped with red ink. The page illustrating and describing this new half-stock Cadet addition shows "For Canada Trade Only". For many years, it was considered that this Model wasn't produced, but was only "floated" in the catalogs to gauge the potential market. Over the last few years, extensive searches and correspondence with other collectors found that currently, at least four identical specimens survived in advanced Ross Collections. For whatever reason, Ross offered it with a unique forged buttplate, rather than the early MkIII Military buttplate with the brass trap-door used for all the other Cadets. The stocks on all four examples seen to date appear to have used the same grade of light straight-grain walnut used for the Commercial MkII** Target rifles and finished similarly as well.