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.
Previous manufacturer located in Quebec City, Canada, circa 1900-1917.
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ROSS Firearms 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-...

Mark I Image

Mark I

.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 th...

Model 1903 Sporter Image

Model 1903 Sporter

.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 info...



"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. begin...

Mark II 2* Image

Mark II 2*

.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 ba...

Mark II 3* Image

Mark II 3*

.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" sli...

Mark II 4* Image

Mark II 4*

.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.

Mark II 5* Image

Mark II 5*

.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 accepta...

Model 1905 R Sporter Image

Model 1905 R Sporter

.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.

Model 1905 E Sporter Image

Model 1905 E Sporter

.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 foun...

Mark II** Commercial Target Model Image

Mark II** Commercial Target 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.

Model 1905/Model 1910 Match Target Model Image

Model 1905/Model 1910 Match Target Model

.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 sc...

MKIII/MKIII B Military Image


.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...

Military Match Target Model Image

Military Match Target Model

.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.

Model R-10 Image

Model R-10

.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.

Model E-10 Image

Model E-10

.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.

Model M-10 Image

Model M-10

.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 P...

Mark III Homeguard Model Image

Mark III Homeguard Model

.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 st...

Model 1912 Cadet Commercial Image

Model 1912 Cadet Commercial

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 o...

Model 1912 Cadet Carbine Image

Model 1912 Cadet Carbine

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 manua...