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Small Arms of WWI Primer 014: Canadian Ross Rifle Mark III


On the bloody fields and trenches of Ypres,
Canadian soldiers gave a heroic display of courage and strength. They overcame not only the Hun, but also their
own rifles. Terrible, finicky things, propped up by national
pride and hubris. [music] Hi, I’m Othais, and this, oh, good lord,
is the Ross Mk3 rifle. Let’s see if we can squeeze this thing in
the lightbox. At 50.6” long and weighing at 9.9lbs, this
is a big boy rifle. It chambers the .303 cartridge, feeding 5
from a single-stack magazine fed from a stripper clip. We’ll get around to the .303 cartridge in
more detail when we get around to the Lee-Enfield. Yes, we’ll get around to the Lee-Enfield. The story of this rifle starts with its namesake,
Charles Henry Augustus Frederick Lockhart Ross. If you’re having trouble with all that, just
remember: CHAFLR. Anyway, Charles Ross is a bit of a character
in History. Perhaps it comes from his Scottish nobleman
ancestors, one of which just as a little aside, happened to be entrusted with a church plate
during the Reformation. He quickly sold it, and bought a cannon which
he used to blow up his neighbor’s house. They are a breed all unto themselves. Now, Charles Ross isn’t far behind, and a
comprehensive biography of him is a bit much. We recommend The Ross Rifle Story if you want some good entertaining reading in the first two chapters. But, anyway, Charles Ross was an inventor, an
innovator, a nobleman, a philandering d-bag. He had three marriages at a time when a single
divorce was really looked down upon, and he sort of traveled the world entertaining actresses
and other partners in affairs and… really just an early jet-set globally-minded person. But, for all his faults, he still had people
that sung his praises. As a matter of fact, the best sort of summary
we have for Charles Ross is “lovable son-of-a-bitch”. Anyway, we’re not gonna get into all of that. Instead we need to focus on one key instance
before this rifle really becomes popular, which is that Charles Ross really did serve
at the rank of captain in the Boer War, alongside a colonel by the name of Sam Hughes. Hughes would become Ross’ fast friend, and
his involvement would ultimately be what would have Canada adopting Ross’ sort of oddball
rifle. Let’s get some quick details about Hughes
out of the way because he’s gonna be a major character here. He was as we said a colonel in the Boer War. He would through great zeal and charisma become
a character strongly associated with Canadian nationalism and pride. Unfortunately, he was almost narcissist in
his decision-making and refused to see evidence of anything contradicting his worst possible
choices. He would still rise to the position of Minister
of Militia and Defense. During the war, he would bully his will into
action, which might work for him, but ignored proper training and equipment for Canadian
soldiers. Insisting on Canadian-made equipment, he pushed
things like the Ross Rifle, MacAdam’s Shield-Shovels, which served poorly as shovels, and even worse
as shields, poor boots and webbing, and the Colt 1895 machine gun. He would inevitably resign his position in
humility in 1916. We’ll get to that in a moment. Back over to Charles Ross, he had as early
as 1893, patented a straight-pull action rifle. Now, it didn’t look much like this at all. As a matter of fact, it looked almost identical
to an Austrian Steyr-Mannlicher 1890. He borrowed heavily from the design, let’s
be fair. That means internal helical cut, straight-pull
action, and the first version had a Mauser 1889 style magazine, but the second was already
displaying a return to the Mannlicher magazine system. This is all on paper and a few examples built
by hand, but he hadn’t done anything quite magnificent with it yet because he has a short
attention span and he keeps running all over the planet. But as early as 1897, he did set up shop in
Hartford Connecticut, which is a familiar name to do a lot of you. There he employed a man by the name of Joseph
A. Bennett to be his engineer in a small shop, and Bennett would ultimately be responsible
for a lot of the early changes to the Ross patents, because Ross himself went off to
play in the Boer War just like we said, and knowing Charles Ross I do mean play. Now, when he got back in 1900 it was time
for business. Now, Charles Ross was an avid marksman. He maintained a 1000 yard range at home and
sponsored annual shooting competitions with big prizes. He really really really was a rifleman. He loved target shooting. So you would think that his rifle would be
sold commercially and that would be the market he would want to corner, but you’d be wrong. In his original patents he was already using
terms like “soldier”, and that’s because he had his eye on the very lucrative military
contract field. Around this same time, Canada has a problem:
you see, in the Boer War, a lot of Canadians were being issued sort of obsolete Martini-Enfields
instead of the new Lee-Enfields, and the Canadian government was desperately trying to procure
modern rifles for their defense needs. Now, they would ask for 15,000 of what we
know as the Lee-Enfield mk1 and be denied because Britain was still rearming in South
Africa after the fight. This sort of started to upset people at home. Sir Frederick Borden, then Minister of Militia
and Defense, was getting pretty fed up. He asked BSA if they would go ahead and produce
rifles in Canada. Set up a factory in Canada. That way Canada didn’t have to, you know,
cross the ocean in order to get a new rifle. BSA refused. Now, Borden is completely done with this whole
thing. He wants domestic rifle production now. And so, he goes to his friend Sam Hughes for
advice. Sam Hughes introduces Charles Ross, Charles
Ross offers to finance a privately owned factory in Quebec and produce the Ross Rifle for Canada’s
military. Borden’s excited. This is everything solution he wants, all
from the private sector, all wrapped up in a neat package. And he makes probably one of the worst deals
you could ever make. He goes ahead and signs a tentative agreement
for 62,000 Ross Rifles at $30 a pop, without ever seeing the thing. Anyway, he’s not a complete idiot, so he sets
up a trial board. It’s got 5 members headed by W.D. Otter, and they’re going to review whether
or not the Ross Rifle is a serviceable military weapon, and if it fails, he can get out of
his contract. Thank God he that did. We’re safe now, right? Except that 5 members are really a token group
with limited experience in firearms and they count in its members, you guessed it, Sam
Hughes. So, while they do not some problems comparing
the Ross to the Lee-Enfield, it’s going to be full sail ahead. But, even with that wonderful stacked deck,
they did notice some issues in that comparison. The Ross Rifle began to suffer with over-pressured
rounds, whereas the Lee-Enfield did not. The Ross became stiff and had misfires on
the 1000 round test. And, once it heated up pretty well, that soldered
front sight sort of melted right off. Well, obviously they just weren’t gonna go
ahead with a soldered sight, and Ross explained the rest away on shoddy military ammo, and
the production line could be modified easily to fix the issue by rechambering. They did take note of some real advantages
of the Ross though, which is that it was lighter than the than Mk.I rifle. The straight-pull was faster. The locking strength was higher overall, in
theory. And it could be disassembled with a pocket
knife. Word of the Ross Rifle gets back to Great
Britain, and they rush to try it against the Enfield, and find numerous lengthy problems
with the Ross by comparison. They send the report back to Canada, with
tons of exclamation marks and probably red ink, and it arrives just after the Canadian
authorities sign a contract in March of 1902 for the Ross Rifle production, making it official. Now, the Empire wanted uniformity. This is the number one problem with adopting
the Ross: it’s that it doesn’t interchange with every other troop that’s being fielded. The Canadians would argue that it chambers
the .303 cartridge so that’s good enough. And Ross would go a step further and argue
that the obvious solution is that the Empire should adopt the Ross Rifle. He is a majestic, majestic creature in History. Now, by 1902, in the Fall of 1902, we go ahead
and see Ross moving his factory up from the United States into Quebec and expanding rapidly. Now this is where I have to get really generic. You see, there are so many sub-variations
of the Ross Rifle, it’s unbelievable. But I want to talk about 3 big varieties right
now just so that we can get sort of the path cleared for the Mk.III. That being said, we will take the time to
do a Mk.II episode later. There’s a lot, a lot of confusion between
the Mk.II and the Mk3, because both are called the “Ross Rifle” and both have very unique
features, and both turn up in different places. Everything about this video that is important
for WW1 is going to be about the Mk.III. However, let’s go back in time just a bit. First up is the Mk.I. Coming off the adoption committee, a few changes
were made that would create this little model. The model was cock-on-close with a push-button
safety. It used the Harris “dump” magazine, where
the rifleman could depress a large button on the right side of the rifle. This lowered the follower, allowing the shooter
to roughly deposit 5 rounds at once into the action. The magazine cutoff switch was set in the
right side of the stock, just above the front of the trigger guard. Assembly began May of 1904. Right away there would be trouble. Weak firing pin springs broke. Actions became tight when firing. Only two caming lugs created binding in the
action. Lacked proper caming for extraction. Overtight chamber. Bolt stops failed and bolts clattered to the
ground when drilling. Feeding was… difficult due to the lugs being
vertical when withdrawn in the unlocked position. At least one rifle exploded, blinding the
shooter in one eye and injuring the next man over. That really should have been a deal-breaker
for this rifle, but Borden still wanted his Canadian rifle. He still had friends in Sam Hughes and Charles
Ross. So, he went ahead and set up another committee. This time it was called the Standing Small
Arms Committee. It was designed to improve and refine any,
uh, currently issued weapons that the Canadians might have… which is the Ross Rifle. That’s pretty much its whole mission. Anyway, so you’re setting up a committee to
chase Charles Ross around and make sure that he gets this crud done. So you would pick small arms experts with
lots of experience and sort of hard-assed opinions who aren’t going to take any guff,
right? Well I bet you can guess who Borden picked. This leads us to the Mk.II. You see, the Standing Small Arms Committee,
or SSAC, would have Ross make some necessary changes. Now we have fitted to provide some caming
action to aid in primary extraction. Receiver’s been reinforced. We have 4 helical lugs to smooth the internal
operation of the bolt, instead of those two. We have a magazine cutoff that has now been
moved to a small lever which is set in front of the trigger guard. It’s less likely to snag and cut your hand
than the previous Mk.I. A two-piece hardguard to fit the new sight. The Mk.II would easily experience the most
change of any Ross. There’s somewhere around 80 alterations in
this gun. Each time a big change occurred, a star was
added right after that designation. This would get up to quintuple star. We won’t go into detail on this yet, it’s
really another episode entirely though. We should go ahead and mention that Ross’
first attempt at a perfected model was in the Mk.II series. He was intent in calling it the Mk.III and
it may have had more of the features of the actual Mk.III to come while it was in his
head. What actually emerged was what many consider
to be the best Ross Rifle variation, the Mk.II**. Its 30.5” long heavy barrel, improved two-stage
trigger and the fact that it was often fitted with a receiver mounted aperture sight added
up to a very powerful package. This gun would go on to dominate military
shooting competitions to the point that officials had basically claimed it was a target rifle
masquerading as a military one. Hughes himself had to present details proving
it was a standard issue rifle. You’d think the Mk.II** would be a salvation
for the Ross, but no. It still wasn’t enough, because despite how
good it was at the range, it’s still not a good military rifle. Hughes and Ross are really obsessed with marksmanry
and they’re not paying attention to actual ground conditions. This may have something to do with that Boer
War, honestly, with all those long ranges. But anyway, that aside, the Mk.II just isn’t
cutting it, and it’s getting into the papers. It’s getting into the government. People are arguing about it. It’s becoming a debacle. On one side, you have people that are even
rudimentally informed about the situation calling for it to be pulled back or completely
overhauled or just… just saying it’s a disaster really. On the other side, you have Sam Hughes, who
is unwavering in his support of the Ross Rifle, going so far as to say “[The Ross Rifle] is
the most perfect and complete in the world.” I can’t make that up. He also went on to say that if you found a
Lee-Enfield that didn’t jam when he fired it, he would eat it. I wish somebody had handed him a Lee-Enfield. Anyway, uh, public concern is split for a
while,but it’s starting to gain against the Ross Rifle. People are starting to see more and more problems
with this thing and there’s a whole big political battle going on anyway just because, politics,
hey! Well, in 1911 they have an election, and Frederick’s
cousin, Robert, wins. Now, they need a new Minister of Militia,
and you’ll never guess who gets the job. I… Canada why? Anyway, now the Ross is completely safe, and
at the same time thereabouts, Charlie Ross has come up with another set of improvements. A big set of improvements to do the perfected
military rifle in the Mk.III. That one’s this’un. Alright, let’s take a closer look at this
rifle as it was intended to function. We’ll get to the problems in a moment. Uh, instead of using the line drawings, obviously,
we’ll just take it over to the other camera. First thing first, this is a straight-pull
action rifle. So I pull back, bolt goes back. I push forward, bolt goes forward and locks. Alright, when we pop her open, we’re gonna
see that it has a serrated lug set up. This is different from the Mk.I and Mk.II. They were solid all the way through. In theory this adds to the locking surface
and acts sorts of like the interrupted screw on an artillery piece. It’s a very, very strong action. I mean, it’s radically strong. Unfortunately, the execution of all the other
parts in the gun meant that it’s sort of a moot point. Also, do you really need all that when you’re
firing .303? Eh, that might be because this rifle is really
designed for .280 Ross. Now, this cartridge was worked up by F.W.
Jones for Charles Ross, which he lovingly named after himself. And both the Mk.III and that earlier Mk.II**
rifle, they were built for .280 Ross, above being able to chamber .303. Ross really believed that this was a superior
cartridge, and that the entire British Empire would obviously adopt it. And in his defense, it’s a great round. Almost what we’d consider a magnum today. It closes in on 3000 fps. Small bore, very flat trajectory. That means we get a really long point-blank
range, so soldiers aren’t having to adjust their sights. It works pretty well, except at that time,
the bullet technology lagged behind and so it had a tendency to fragment, which made
it a little unreliable. Anyway, the Brits were already looking at
a different cartridge which we’ll cover when we get to the P14. Alright, so, aside from that, and she will
turn when I push her forward, we have: our adjustable aperture rear sight, with a leaf
when folded down. As a matter of fact we can show an image of
that. And that. Alright. We have our safety set right here at the bolt
handle. Very easy to access, pretty easy to use and
read. Terrific safety. If I flip her around, we’re going to see,
like the Springfield 1903, we have a 3 position switch for magazine on, magazine off and to
remove the bolt. So, the way this works – and I’m going to
have to point this down the camera a little bit, and line her up, sorry folks, just a
moment – the way this works – if I can get her to show – is that if I pop this back,
she’s gonna go all the way rearward in that position on the bolt stop. If I switch the bolt stop over – and I’m sorry
I’m in front of the camera – she will no longer go as far back, therefore not picking up the
next round. That’s it. That’s as simple as you can get for a magazine
cutoff. It just controls the position of the bolt. Pretty simple. In third position, she’ll go ahead and let
the bolt out. I’m gonna get this rifle out of the way for
a moment. Now, if we look at the bolt itself, you can
tell it’s a lot like that old Austria 1895. It wants to collapse on you if you’re familiar
with those. Lovely hobby. For disassembly on this one, it’s no longer
as easy as the Mk.II. As a matter of fact, you need to take some
wire or a pin and get a hold of that rear of the firing pin. I’m using a little Allen wrench just to kind
of get in there. Lift her out, right. So, and this is going to be tricky to show
you on camera, but I’m going to lift it out, and apply the safety, which is ridiculously
hard to do while pointing at a camera. There we go. I’ve applied the safety. Now, all I have to do is drift out a pin in
the action – sorry one second, I’ll reach for a makeshift punch. The pin’s not set to hard so I can actually
just take another Allen key and pop her out really quick. That released the firing pin and the cocking
piece. Cocking piece is here. Firing pin is now down here. All I have to do is release that extractor,
and I’m gonna have to take it to the side, I’m sorry folks for the boring bland screen. But what I’m going to do is to pry out the
extractor. So I’ve pried out the extractor. Pull it away. Now she’s free to come out, and you can see
quite clearly our helical cuts. That aside, the Ross Rifle also has a massive,
massive heavy barrel. As a matter of fact, let me get back to this
camera for just a second. Look at that thick wall. It’s a heavy sucker. It’s hard to convey it on camera, but let
me tell you, this is a hefty rifle. Other than that, I think we can take care
of this in the rest of the animation. I just want to make one mention here, is that
Britain opted for a different version with a sort of simplified rear sight. This is called the Mk.IIIb. Now, a British inspector would show up to
make sure these were usable for Britain to release other rifles, namely Lee-Enfields,
for the front while using these as reserve arms. That inspector would be responsible for sort
of shaking things up enough that they started finding some of the problems with this gun
that we’re gonna talk about later on. Alright, let’s get it over to an animation
and see how this thing really works. You know, thankfully we turned up a drill
purpose rifle so we even could do this animation. Those are pressed together magazines. Alright, so, looking at it, disregarding the
straight pull, simple rifle. We’ve got a cock-on-close action. We’ve got a beautiful two-stage trigger, and
we’ve got sort of a single-spring follower-and-arm setup. It’s single stacked, there’s nothing fancy
going on there. If we look at the safety, it simply blocks
the cocking piece and therefore disengages it from firing. It will also cork-screw into the receiver
so that the bolt is now locked shut. Alright, onto that straight-pull. Now, we have two pieces. We have the bolt shroud and the bolt body. The shroud is going to press forward, allowing
the bolt body to spiral into position, twisting it 90 degrees in to lock. And the same on the reverse. Okay, let’s get this thing over to Mae. We’ll strip out 5 rounds in. Bolt forward. The safety’s easy to read, but a bit small. Oof, that was heavy. Nice hits though. Hey, Mae didn’t blow up! I guess that means I put it back together
the right way after all. Awesome. Alright, so, uh, getting back into this gun
just a bit. Service life for the Ross Rifle is going to
be, in one word, nightmarish. Right from the get-go, when the Canadian troops
were mustering in Canada still, for training. These guns started moving into their hands,
and problems rose immediately. Jams we’ll get to in a moment, but right away,
Canada’s trying to save any pointed modern rounds that it can use, so it’s taken the
old round noses and put them back into service for training. Now, the Ross was not designed, especially
not this one, not the Mk.III, it was not designed for the old round nosed ammunition, and so
immediately there were all sorts of misfeeds. So Ross engineers had to come out and readjust
the feed lips. Then, when we get back to the spitzer rounds,
we’re gonna have to readjust them again. That aside, the magazine themselves were proving
to be pretty weak. They’re thin-walled steel and they dent easily
at that time. This would cause production to go ahead and
adjust to thicker walled steel, but, in the interim, a lot of the early magazines, you’ll
find them with holes drilled into them, so that soldiers could push the follower back
up into position if it got dented or jammed, and they could also kinda get in there with
a pocket knife and pop the dents back out. This is looking real good for a military rifle. It’s worth noting that the Lee-Enfield gets
around this problem by having a dimpled mag, with grooves running vertically so that those
dimples are what’s interacting with the cartridge, that way any dent that’s not as deep as those
dimples doesn’t interrupt the feed. I should also point out that there’s going
to be lots of minor issues, like broken extractors, swollen stocks. There’s going to be all sorts of problems
with procurement, just at the factory. In addition, the rear aperture holes are going
to be a little bit too small, they’re going to get drilled out in the field. Just little fit and finish things. None of them platform-killers, but they’re
problems. Especially for untested rifles. Now, Charles Ross, to give him credit, sees
this coming. He understands just from the training period,
whoa whoa whoa, we need more field armorers. We need something halfway between the British
and the American system, because there’s just… there’s not enough out there to service a
gun like this, especially so new. So he starts to roll out all these programs
for training. He wants to get them into the factory. He’s really willing to work with the government
on this and have these guns sort of hand-held out into the action. All those plans just sort of get dropped in
the rush to get to the war, unfortunately. Once on the battlefield, it got a lot worse. The rifles were long and heavy, not well suited
to running, climbing, jumping and moving through trench lines. They made soldiers clumsy and awkward. Interestingly, Ross had offered a short rifle,
but Sam Hughes boasted that “[he had carried his Long Lee] for thousands of miles in the
saddle… without any trouble.” And with that declaration, the Canadian soldiers
were told to suck it up. Alright, we’ve got some gremlins, we’re a
little bulky… what’s the worst that can happen? Well, let’s get to the very worst, which is
not a likely scenario but it can happen. The bolt body on this rifle can be inserted
incorrectly, which means that when we drive our bolt handle forward, it picks up a round
and places it in the chamber, and we pull the trigger and fire, that the bolt head has
not turned. It has not locked the action. And that means when it goes bang, it goes
right back out the back. Now, our friend Ian over at Forgotten Weapons
has put a lot of detail on this exact issue, and he has even live-fired an unlocked Ross
Rifle. We recommend that video highly. So go take a look after you’re done with this. That’s all we really need to say about that
one, because, thankfully, it was a minor issue. It was fixed quickly by putting a rivet as
you’ll see in Ian’s video. But, even without that rivet, you sort of
gotta assemble it wrong and ram it in there, and training would have taken care of that
problem pretty quickly. Now, for the real problems with the rifle. You see, the Ross Mk.III went into battle
in March of 1915 with the Canadians. They drew on their enemies, fired, reached
for their bolts, and many of them found them stuck. And they would continue to find them stuck
for the next year. This would happen for various reasons, but,
whatever the cause, the Canadians quickly became sick of this gun. They would drop it in favor of a Lee-Enfield
found on some dead comrade, and they would keep that rifle hugged to their chest through
the night. Now, the problem became so acute that they
Canadian officials ordered that all of the Canadians in possession of a Lee-Enfield would
be subject to court martial. This did not deter them, and eventually with
what would explain to be all the problems with the Ross piling up, in 1916 during the
summer, the Ross was finally dropped from the battlefield. At that time, it is said that many of the
Canadian soldiers cheered openly, and on the announcement that they would be allowed to
use Lee-Enfields, suddenly, quite a number of them turned up from every nook and cranny
in their dugouts. Now, a lot of people’ll say that mud was the
big killer of the Ross, that it couldn’t handle it. And yeah, it’s a little open on the side,
and you can kinda get it in there and pile it in if you aren’t paying attention, but
it’s not that much worse that any other rifle of the day. Mud is something that Charles Ross himself
would blame, and he would issue cleaning sticks for the chambers and things like that, trying
to keep the mud out, but that’s not really the problem. We’re gonna get to those in just a moment. It’s just kind of funny though that that notion
has persisted to this day, even though, realistically, we’ve got much bigger problems with this. Let’s get into those right now, starting with
1: the ammunition and the chamber. You see, the Ross Rifle had been designed
around Canadian ammunition, which, in credit to the Canadians, was a very good quality. It was tight to the military tolerances and
specifications. It was made of good metal. It fed and fired reliably. It was hard in the sense that when you fired
it, it would expand and then minutely contract, which made it easy to extract. British ammunition, especially going into
WW1… eh… We’ve got some real loose tolerances. Like, the amount of stuff that was accepted
for military use that shouldn’t have been was pretty high, but the Lee-Enfield ate it
up. The Ross, with its tight chamber, a chamber
tight because Sam Hughes and Charles Ross wanted a target rifle instead of a military
rifle, well… it caused sealing issues. That soft British brass would add up to 30
extra pounds of force necessary for extraction, and on a straight-pull rifle, that’s getting
real rough. Okay. In addition, in that chamber we’ve got another
problem coming straight from the factory, and that is, pinching. So the rifle factory is told “hey, open up
those chambers”, and in the field, they’re opening up the chambers, and it’s working,
okay? It’s going well. Except, some of the new production rifles,
they’re still getting stuck. It’s still seizing. And that’s when they hit upon, what we said,
pinching. You see, at the factory, they would, you know,
they would attach the barrel, screw ’em in, set ’em up, true ’em. When they did this, the barrel was mounted
in a clamp and spun into the receiver. They were over-tightening the clamps, to the
point that there was a slight pinch on the inside of the receiver. That means that it’s out of square, well,
out of round, really. And so, there was no inspection after the
fact. They did all the measurements for the chamber
before attaching it to the barrel. Well, the problem became simple to fix: you
just had to re-check the chamber after attachment, and if it did have a pinch, give it a quick
re-ream. But it took months to find this issue. And, so now, we have proper chambers, they
can handle the soft British ammo, we’re extracting pretty clean. The Ross Mk.III should have no more problems
from this point out, correct? Eh… Within a couple weeks we have another issue
that’s cropping up, and that is soft bolt heads. You see, the Canadian third division had made
it to war with their factory new rifles, well, better than the ones that had not been reamed
properly. And they get into battle, and… jam. What’s going on now? Well, in the field, they managed to figure
out that the bolt heads were too soft, and so, this developped into what’s called the
Harkam method, because they thought, at the time, that they hadn’t been properly hardened
at the factory. And so you have rather inexperienced men,
because remember, we’re short on field armorers, heating up the bolt heads with a torch and
quenching them and treating them with other chemicals. At best it’s doing nothing because that’s
not the real problem, and at worst, it’s making them even more brittle and causing even more
problems. What really had happened is that a batch of
inferior steel had managed to get into the Ross production lines. Specifically, the bolt heads were made out
of softer steel than they should have been. It’s hard to say whether Ross was at fault
or if the steel supplier was. It could have really been either because nobody
in Canada was practiced at doing this sort of stuff. Regardless, the soft heads were deforming
pretty easily, especially with all the shooting, and with all the problem with British ammo,
and the hot and light loads and that sort of thing… It’s a nightmare. But on their own, they shouldn’t have been
completely dire except for that they pair with the last problem, which is the bolt stop. Alright so we have our soft bolt heads. We need to kick the dang thing open as it
is, or we’ve gotten into the habit of it. When we force this thing open, that left side
lug strikes the bolt stop. Now, because of the way the serrations are
set up, if the bolt stop doesn’t go all the way to the root of the lug, it’s going to
deform that serration. And if it deforms the serration, like it does
on the early Rosses before they found this problem, it’s going to cause the rifle to
jam up even more. So you just have these two problems feeding
into each other. You whip her back, it deforms the lug, we
shove her forward, now it’s stuck, we whip her back even harder, it deforms the lug even
more. Rinse and repeat. This is finally discovered and solved by 1916. It’s a thicker bolt stop, it’s a harder bolt
head. The gun is ready to rock and roll. There are no further known problems with the
Ross at that point. It is finally ready to be a reliable military
rifle. And it’s pulled from combat. Because, as we’ve been going through this
you might have noticed, we have maybe four big problems, but we’ve had like six, seven
answers to the problems, and it’s taking months to figure this stuff out. Nobody believes this is the final problem. It’s the boy who cried wolf. We can’t possibly know that the Ross rifle
is gonna work at this point because every other solution has not gotten us anywhere. So, the Ross Rifle falls, and Sam Hughes falls
with it. And, Charles Ross kinda goes with it too. As a matter of fact, in 1917 they’re gonna
expropriate his factory and take it over on the auspices of producing the P14, or Lee-Enfield. They don’t end up doing either. It just get shuttered. Nobody wants to remember this horrible event
in Canadian history. Don’t feel too bad for Charles Ross, because
he would get a 2 million dollar settlement out of it in 1920. Alright, so, the Ross Rifle is pulled from
the battlefield. It’s going into training roles. It’s going into, you know, naval roles. And then, it’s sort of gathered up and sent
to Britain, who then hands it off to Latvia as a check against Russia during the interwar
period. And then when Russia rolls through Latvia,
it gathers up the Rosses and puts them in storage, and during the German invasion of
Russia during WW2, some of them actually get brought back out into service then. So, it did make it all the way to the end
of WW2, in small numbers. As a matter of fact, I actually have a Latvian
manual that makes reference to the Ross by name, and that thing was dated 1939. Anyway, back over to our heroes Sam Hughes
and Charles Ross, their obsession over marksmanship, of target shooting, of long range, would really
be what ultimately set this rifle up for failure. In addition though, when Borden set up that
small arms committee, SSAC, he didn’t do anybody any favors. Putting two eclectic buddies in the same group
and asking them to watch over each other… it’s not gonna work well. What Ross needed was a hard sounding board. He needed somebody to kinda… be on his ass. And that was not Hughes. Hughes was defend his every mistake. That’s an enabler. So, you know, if he would just had someone
with a bit more grit pushing against the Ross, this might have evolved into one of the best
military rifles of the time. It certainly won target shooting matches. It certainly has potential there. It’s just… unexecuted. [Sigh] Anyway, ultimately the Ross dies of a thousand
cuts. It falls apart in many different ways and
it’s kinda sad, because if they had just pushed a little bit further, by 1916, there was a
short rifle that could have really saved its named. Colonel Gregille Harston, in a repair depot,
took the final updated version of the Mk.III and shortened it to a 26” barrel, altering
the stock to match. He made only a few examples but apparently
they were extremely well received. They were better balanced, and finally reliable. But it was too late. If only someone had pushed back on Sam Hughes
sooner. Getting back to Charles Ross, look, he obviously
wasn’t the man for the job. He kept piddling and poking, he had a short
attention span, he was all over the place… but, honestly I think his heart was in the
right place. The man was a genius. He knew certain things very well. His .280 cartridge was a good idea with some
poor execution. His rifle was a good idea with some poor execution. His business practices: good ideas, poor execution. And it’s mostly just his unwillingness to
commit and follow up on something in detail. You see it in his marriages. You see it in his adventures across the world. He just… he can’t settle down and get something
done. He’s like an 80%-er. Anyway, Ross himself, did have some good points. He did see that the war was going to be bigger
than anybody expected. He radically expanded his production. He was all over trying to get resources for
Canada, and a lot of the faults in the Ross Rifle production line, just all those hang-ups,
those mostly come from the fact that he just can’t import anything. Britain’s not sending anything over because
of the war. The United-States starts gobbling up everything
because of the war. He’s in competition with all these other arms
manufacturers that are providing contracts before the US even enters the war. He’s got to fight for every little piece of
metal. Anyway, after his factory was expropriated,
and he got his paycheck, he sort of went back to globetrotting and mild inventing. A lot of it went on to big game hunting. Again, I recommend, you know, checking out
his biography. But, sort to sort of wrap things up nicely
for him. He did retire in Florida, St. Petersburg,
where he was known for wandering around with pajama bottoms and a Pith helmet, and recklessly
driving a Chrysler Imperial. He would die in 1942, and his last words to
his nurse were “get the Hell out of here.” Alright, with that happy wind-up, let’s get
this gun over to Mae and see her opinion on firing the Ross Rifle. Alright we’ve made room for Mae. We’ve made almost enough room for the Ross
Rifle. Let’s get one’s opinion on the other. Mae, why don’t you tell us about this Canadian
Beast. Okay, so, starting out with the ergonomics
of this gun, I could instantly tell it was going to be a little bit off. Like, look at the balance on this thing, and
this isn’t me leveraging it in any sort of way. I have to hold my hand far out towards the
barrel band up here, and you can actually see on the video, every time I’m using the
action and firing the gun, I’m fighting the weight. I’m trying to keep it down to keep my precision
up. It was actually a really difficult gun to
shoot as a result of that weight. Yeah, the Ross is barrel-heavy. Here, let me borrow that for just a second
and we’ll show… Look at… look at the balance. You know, most guns, we’re gonna see a balance
point near the magazine, that’s what we want. That’s why we got rid of tube-loading. But on the Ross, because, again, Sam Hughes
and Charles Ross want to be marksmen at all times. They want to win target shooting competitions
with this thing. The barrel’s gotten heavier and heavier until
our point of balance is somewhere about there, right where the handguard starts. That’s not super great. And by the way, it’s still a 10 pound rifle,
so you’ve got to get your hand forward, and you’ve got to kind of keep that muzzle up. You’re putting more and more weight into that
left arm, unless you’re prone. Then, okay, those problems go away, but in
WW1, yeah you gotta live in the trench a lot, but you also had to shoot and move from time
to time. Alright, giving this thing back, uh, what
do you feel about that straight-pull bolt, because that’s really where the fascination
is for everybody. You know, I’ve actually got a collection of
Swiss straight-pull rifles on the wall behind me, and I thought the K31 was gonna be the
smoothest action I’ve handled. Until I met the Ross Rifle. This thing is absolute glass. I mean, one finger I can pull the bolt back,
and ram it home. It’s completely smooth. And because it’s cock-on-close, by the way,
there’s no real difference between fired and unfired on this gun. The only difference is, if there’s an actual
cartridge in there, and it might stick. With good ammunition, it worked out pretty
well on the videos. But for bad ammunition… might be a little
bit of a different story. Yeah, the Ross lacks primary extraction, to
a degree. The Mk.III obviously is improved, like we
said. It gives us a little oomph. But, you can see how in a straight-pull, how
much stick you have in that spent casing is gonna matter a lot. But, we had modern ammo. Both of us shot this gun. I have to say, you know, like she said, we
have K31s, we have Steyr-Mannlichers that were hand-fitted like they were supposed to
be, they’re not the refurbs; we’ll get to that in another episode. The Ross is the smoothest straight-pull bolt
action I’ve ever handled. It’s terrific. It’s hard to express over the air just how
easy it is to flick that bolt back and forth, and still have it positively lock up. Yeah the only thing that was giving me the
problem was just the weight. Like you mentioned before it was just coming
up and down on me, the butt of the gun. Yeah, I would say, standing, the Lee-Enfield
is the faster gun to shoot. Everyone thinks of the mad minute. But if I’m prone? I guarantee you I’ll get more shots off with
the Ross. And more accurate, like, precision shots with
the Ross too, because that, especially in a prone position, that bolt doesn’t interrupt
your line of sight. Speaking of sights, how did you feel about
them on this rifle? The sight picture on this is actually really
clear. It’s got this rounded rear notch sight for
the battle sight, but I loved the aperture sight on here. It’s got a range knob here for me to twist
that’s easy to manipulate. There’s a windage cylinder in here that I
can use. It’s a little bit stiff but it’s not that
big of a deal. As far as the sight radius goes, it’s one
of the longest rifles in WW1 for that. As far as using this, like, for a marksman,
this is probably one of the best marksman rifles in WW1 that they had available to them. Yeah, you’ve got a really long sight radius. You have really finely manipulable sights. You have a clear sight picture. You have a nice sight hood. You have a heavy barrel. You have a target rifle. That does not lend well to maneuverability. They could have shortened it up like we talked
about with that 26”, and it would have been a lot nicer and still had some really good
features. By the way, receiver mounted rear aperture
sight. That’s not something you hear a lot in WW1. As a matter of fact I think I know what pair
of guns everybody’s thinking of right now, and yes there will be an episode soon. But, the longer your sight radius on a rifle,
generally the more accurate your shot. It’s just much cleaner, more accurate to read. So, this is terrific for that role. It’s just terrible at other ones. So sights-wise we’re good. Okay, let’s see. We have handling, we have sights, we have
the action. The magazine’s sort of unremarkable, we talked
about it. It feeds. There’s just a handful of other little fiddly
bits I think you know about. Walk us through the last little knobs and
whistles. Fiddly bits, right? No but seriously. The safety on here being one of them. It was a little bit stiff to manipulate, but
I think I’d actually probably prefer a stiff safety. It was kind of middle of the road. At least I know that it’s definitely gonna
stay in the safe position when I want to. I’m not going to accidentally flip it into
unsafe. Other fiddly bits… Magazine cutoff. Now, I do have to… It’s a little more fiddly I would say than
the safety. I’ve gotta flip up the aperture sight in order
to actually move it down, but I can put the aperture sight back down in order to flip
it back up. My only concern is that I maybe accidentally
might up catching it, or, I don’t know how, but it might get flipped into the center position
when I’m not expecting it. And the bolt comes out when that happens,
so, that’s my only concern. Not a really big one but I can see it maybe
happening on the off chance. Only other fiddly bit I can think of to add
is, I don’t know it’s was ’cause of we had a British stripper clip or if there’s a difference
with that and the Canadian one, but, it just didn’t seat right, and when I was trying to
push the rounds in, it still wanted to unseat itself. So I don’t know if there’s a difference or
not, but it was a little too fiddly in my opinion. Yeah, I’m not sure where they took the measurements
from, but regular British .303 clips were not fitting in the bridge of this gun very
well. They sort of slopped around and almost popped
out whenever you fed. It was almost easier to single load if you
were trying to go fast. Now if you took your time, ok, yes, the clip
was kind of handy, but, I don’t know if this receiver bridge on this rifle got bent. I don’t know if there’s some sort of model
I’m missing. I’m just not that well versed in stripper
clips. If anybody has an idea, let me… you know,
gimme an email. But, overall, kind of middle of the road on
stuff. The safety’s okay. The bridge is terrible. That cutoff, we’re gonna see it again in the
Springfield 1903, so I’m not gonna go into too much detail there. I guess that kinda puts us to that final question:
what do you do with the Ross on the battlefield? Do you take it? That’s a little bit tough. If I’m on defense and I’m able to like, prone
with this, or able to prop it up on something, it’s easy to manipulate and I can see myself
defending well with it. As far as attack goes, it’s like I’m trying
to row a boat. Like, I can’t see myself attacking with this
well at all and still being precise with my shots. So, 50/50? Maybe I should say, uh, okay let’s rephrase
this. You’re saying that if you have a chance to
set up a position, and hold it, that you feel confidence as this… using this as a marksman. Yeah, exactly. Okay, so, you have high ground, you’re secure. You don’t have to move. This is… is it one of the higher guns you’d
go for? Like, is it really high regard, or is it just
okay for that? I would actually put it in really high regard. This would be the top so far. By the way, we are assuming all of the improvements
that we talked about earlier in the episode have been made. Exactly yeah. Not 1914 Ross Rifle. No. Nobody wants that. I’m not even asking that question. Okay, so… but if you’re on the attack, it’s
not quite good enough for on the attack? Like, not even on the attack, but just…
you’re told you’re going to have to move and shoot, you don’t take this thing with you? No, of course not. Like I before, it’s like rowing a boat. Like, I’m having to actually realign the barrel
with every single shot because it’s so weighted forward that it’s just not easy to handle
on the run. I cannot see myself running, having to line
up a shot and accurately fire this thing. It just… it’s… I don’t see it as doable for me. Now, we have other rifles, like the Gewehr
98. You’ve already said that you wouldn’t prefer
to have to run around with that gun, but you would if you had to. Is this one of those ones where you’d drop
it in favor of another one though? Like, in other words, you could make do with
the Gewehr 98 but you don’t feel like you could make do with the Ross? It all just comes down to the balance. It’s… this is not a comfortable move and
shoot gun in my opinion. It just can’t do it. You know, I’d agree. As a matter of fact, the more we’ve been doing
this episode, the more curious I’ve been about that 26” barrel, so, just if anybody’s watching,
I know a few years ago I passed up on a Ross that had been shortened. It had been sporterized. And they had sporterized the barrel as well. They had turned it down and shortened it. Now that we’ve been doing the episode, I kind
of wish I had bought it on the cheap side, and just gone ahead and played with it. So if anybody knows of one that’s sort of
in rough condition and it has a shorter barrel and would like to loan it to us, I’d really
like to get an opinion on the Ross Rifle that never really was, and see, you know, see if
it kinda lives up to a better role with just a few inches off that length and just a little
improved balance. You wanna see if you can move and shoot with
it? I… I suspect that with the gremlins resolved
and with the balance fixed, the Ross could have been an excellent weapon. It’s just that old… it’s the boy who cried
wolf. We don’t know that the Ross is fixed by the
time the Ross is fixed. We can’t possibly… no reasonable person
is going to believe the Canadian government the 4th and 5th time around. So it’s fair that it got pulled, but it is
a better rifle than History serves. Fair enough. Okay, so, I think that resolves the Ross. We’re gonna have our updates after the credits. Thank you all. Don’t forget to check the updates because
we do have that poster project going on for 2015, unless this is the future and you guys
don’t care anyway. Alright, thanks again for watching, we love
you all. Thanks guys! [music] Alright, final word. You might have noticed, unlike usual, I’m
still wearing the same clothes. That’s because I just finished recording the
Mae-versation, and I haven’t even edited the episode yet, and it is Monday night. So you guys are probably the early responders
to this are commenting and I’m probably asleep. This episode, as you probably noticed, ran
pretty long. I’m estimating… good Lord it must be reaching
nearly 40 minutes. But, that’s just our commitment. We really want to make the episode as good
as possible for the gun in question. Now the reason I’m so backed up on this one
is because we had so many .32s in a row, I wanted to go ahead and get a rifle in because
everybody was screaming for another rifle. There’s gonna be more small pistols after
this and then there’s gonna be more surprises. So, let me play catch-up for a bit after this
one. But, nice big one to hopefully cheer you guys
up, and a well-known rifle. I’m putting some extra work in to add all
sorts of glittery things that you’ve already seen now. In addition to that, Great War has worked
out with us that we’re gonna post the repeats of the live shows. So you’ve seen the edited French rifles and
pistols. Well, starting next week, I’m going to start
dropping the unediteds. So, French rifles and pistols will appear,
and then we worked out an agreement to sort of space things out. So, once they release the edited German pistols,
a little time will go by and I’ll release the live show. And then we’ve already filmed the Austria-Hungary
episode. A lot of you are asking about it. We got a little while to wait, but it will
eventually be available on this channel. Let’s see, what else? Oh, Patreon is at $936 as of this moment. That’s closing in on that $1000 mark. That is hugely helpful. We do take a paycheck yet. We are still consuming the entire budget for various things. We still haven’t made all the upgrades we wanna make for the show, so you could pour about $2k
a month on us for 6 months, and after that we might start to take home some money, but
until then, I gotta lot of things I wanna do for you guys, to just improve the show. Let’s see… Next thing after that. Oh, posters,
posters of course! This is the last show before the poster project of 2015 wraps up. Hopefully
we’ll have another one next year. Not the same poster though. Hopefully I should be able to make those available.
Just not for this screaming deal. We’ve really lowered the margin. So, that means we’ve taken
in a little over $7000 now. We’ll get to keep about… not quite a third of that, because
I really didn’t… I went light on what we take home because I wanted you guys to be
able to have a piece of the show *snap* right away, without a lot out of your pocket. We don’t want to break anybody’s bank going into Christmas time. So… But that’s going great and thanks a lot for
your support both on Patreon and Indiegogo. Don’t forget: if you want them, get ’em now.
As a matter half of you are probably watching this episode after, so, sorry, you’ll have
to pay a little bit more. Let’s see, what else? Oh, oh, I must confess,
while we’re talking about the posters, I did lie a little bit. But I got confirmation so
I can open my mouth just a bit. We did not arrange for 4 machine guns. We arranged for
3. The 4th firearm is actually a single shot rifle, and that’s all I want to say about
it until we actually get out there and shoot the thing. But I think some of you might know
what I’m talking about now. Alright, well, that’s it. Thank you all one
more time. I know I say it a lot. I don’t want you to think I don’t mean it. It’s very
important to me when I get those messages, those comments. It really keeps this moving
that you’re out there. And those who have become donors and patrons, you are definitely
fueling the project. We literally could not do this without that Patreon coming in. Okay. Thank you all, we really appreciate
it, and goodnight/morning/whatever time it is, and I hope you’re wearing pants. Cut it. Yeah.

100 thoughts on “Small Arms of WWI Primer 014: Canadian Ross Rifle Mark III

  1. SMLE MK3: lol no one can rip me off
    (punches Sturmgewehr 44)
    Gewehr 98: Really bruh
    door opens)
    Sten: wut
    Ross MK3: hey guys
    SMLE MK3: wha.. wha…
    (silence)
    5 days later…
    Ross Burning)
    SMLE MK3: I'm not gonna regret this.
    Ross MK3 Ghost: Rapidly Bayonet Charging SMLE
    THE END

  2. Yo missed a important part of the Ross story that it was loved by snipers in ww1 was much more accurate than the lee enfield and allot keeped in service till then end of war with many in theatre modification . And optical sights .

  3. Canada-gave the world hockey and maple syrup, but it also gave the world Justin Bieber and the Ross Rifle.

  4. There actually was one kind of soldier in the trenches that would use a Ross over an Enfield: the sniper.

    For all of it's flaws, the Ross remained a good sniping rifle. Francis Pegahmagabow, the most successful sniper of WWI, used a Ross Rifle.

  5. On the note of chargers. I note you guys are using charger clips with holes on the rear, which implies they're mark 3 or 4s (most likely 4s) The mark 4 clip was approved in 1917, and it was the perfected clip used from then on out. It was perfected in pretty much every way a piece of stamped sheet metal can be, in that it was the lightest, strongest, and cheapest to make.

    The mark 3 was another clip used for about a year approved in 1916. They're very rare, and very similar to mark 4s except it has 5 holes on the side, instead of the mark 4s slot kinda hole. If you see one, hold on to it, most where used up and rusted somewhere in a trench in Europe.

    I can't tell what specific clip you are using, i thought it was a mark 3 initially but i can't count all 5 round holes. Either way. In ww1 the clips being used where mark 1 and 2s, until 1916 and onward. The mk1 has 4 long square slots on the rear of the clip, and on each side 3 slots, 2 of equal size and 1 slightly shorter. The mk2 is like a mk1, but has 3 strengthening ribs on the back between and above the square slots to add strength to the clip. They also have 5 holes on the sides, but with 3 slot shaped holes and 2 round holes.

    The mk1 was issued form 1903, and it was prone to bending, so the new mk2 was issued from 1906 to 1916 when the mk3 came out.

    Just for nerdiness sake. There was a Modified Russian 7.62x54r type charger clip tested in 1918, but it proved too inferior to accept into service. As a mosin owner i'm glad it was.

    The Ross would have been designed around the mk1 or mk2 so it could maybe have a charger bridge of different measurements. I think that's about all i know, some other nerds might know other things about clips.

  6. LOL After I watch this video , I was at a friends camp for the weekend and he had a Ross in the closet. I took it out side and shot it off and hip shot it. He said " What are you doing?" I told him about this Video and said "I'm not getting a bolt in the face!".  I not sure what MK it was so I just shot from the hip.

  7. I notice May  puts most of the bolt actions down by her hip to re-chamber , but with the Ross she keeps in up in firing position when re-chambering. That's a good sign of it's bolt smoothness I take it?

  8. Came over from Indy's recommendation! You got a new sub here! Great content.

    I've used a modernized version of the MKIII, and it's great for hunting, but I could see how it wouldn't be great in the field. You gotta baby it. Always keep it clean. Virtually impossible on the Western front.

    Good rifle for the wrong job.

  9. Oh I didn't know Latvians had them as well. I thought they had Russian Winchesters. And prior WW2 they had a rearmament program involving 6,5mm Arisakas , which they newer ended due to Soviet occupation. Thanks for this info 🙂

  10. i have a mk3 ross rifle that I suspect has been sporterized. They got the accuracy down just right on this rifle! Feels good having such a unique part of history in my arsenal, even though it wasnt the most glorified and successful tool its interesting to know its story played out.

  11. Many Canadian snipers in WWI kept their Ross rifles till the end of the war as it was much preferred and performed better than the Lee-Enfield in this application . Canadian snipers generally got higher quality Canadian manufacture ammunition, and the rifles were not subjected to the same environmental conditions or abuse as with the average soldiers in the trenches. So the snipers for the most part did not encounter the same issues with the rifle as the front line troops.
    The Ross Story in Canadian service did not end in WWI. When the Canadian Arctic Rangers Corp was formed after WWII they were out fitted with Ross rifles from reserve stock, these rifles had cut down barrels and stocks, flip up aperture sights and a new front sight and sling swivel.
    The Rangers put emphasis on accuracy, (one shot one kill) , long distance shooting, and shoot and scoot tactics. So the inherent accuracy of the Ross and the enhanced mobility of their cut down versions made it an ideal rifle in that service. Then Ross stayed in service with the rangers till the late 50's early 60's when it was replaced with the Lee-Enfield No.4
    The Rangers today still practice these tactics and their latest battle rife is the SAKO T3 CTR (Compact Tactical Rifle) bolt action in .308 caliber.
    The Rifle that Ian had over at Forgotten Weapons was one on these rather rare Canadian Ross Ranger rifles. Unfortunately he was not aware of this before firing it with an unlocked bolt and damaging the rifle.

  12. I have a Ross MkIII R-10 carbine, they're not kidding, the bolt can be cycled with your index finger. The sporting carbine models aren't barrel heavy, though the single stack mag holds a meager 6-rounds. Given the rate of fire of this straight pull, I question why Ross opted for single stack. That said, if you're used to "mad minute" speed shooting on an Enfield, the speed advantage of the Ross is marginal at best. Either way, the R-10 is a cool rifle, it is the star of my collection.

  13. What a fantastic story to go along with this great production. Really well done. I enjoyed that immensely. I find it funny our military procurement is still so hilariously bad even today.

  14. Really liked the video, one of many quality videos you have done. They are very scarce here in Canukistan, saw one sporterized in Winnipeg 30 years ago. Didn't have the coin.

  15. I have always liked the idea of a strait pull bolt gun. On paper, that gun looks really good. With the improvements to the MK.III, (26" barrel included) that looks like a great gun. Too bad the manufacturing side of things was so bad that this gun ended up DOA. Really a shame.

  16. I'm a Canadian, I have the Ross Mk III, it's the civilian sporting carbine variant (Ross Mk II, Model of 1910, R-10, ".303 Ross") with a shorter lighter barrel and stock with a 6-round single stack magazine. Fast firing and smooth, basically addresses everything they didn't like about it. I'd be happy to lend it to Othais and Mae.

  17. Othais and Mae, another great video, as always! Quick question though. I know that you occasionally mention books, to which you refer, for the data and information presented in the videos. But, could you possibly, at some point in the future, create a reading list for those of us who want to dig deep on some of these weapons/topics? I realize that it probably would not be as easy as making an amazon store, as I'm sure that at least some of your reference materials are obscure and out-of-print. However I, and certainly others as well, would really appreciate a title and author list of some of your major sources. Perhaps it could be something that is an exclusive to Patreon supporters? Anyway, thank you again for consistently producing such great content.

  18. I'm getting to this 3yrs too late. The Ross proved to be an excellent sporting rifle once cut back and a sporter barrel fitted. Took a lot of game up to Elk size.

  19. This is a really well designed rifle which I’m sure would do well in the hands of an experienced shooter, but it’s just not a good military rifle and that’s a shame. Seems like it wasn’t tested well and they just threw it into the war. I would love to see how this rifle would perform if it had been fixed upon entry into the war. I think it would be one of the best weapons on the battlefield.

  20. Interesting video. I had had absolutely no idea that Canadian Arsenals Limited, at their Long Branch plant near Toronto, were working on an indigenously-designed and made semi-automatic service rifle just a few years before the adoption of the Fabrique Nationale FAL (which later became the FN C1). The Canadian-designed rifle shown in the video looks almost like a cross between the FN49 rifle, the Swedish Ljungmann semi-auto that entered service in 1942 and the US M1 Garand.

  21. Canada if it’s one thing they have in common with America it’s there propaganda over dosing

  22. This thing reminds me of the history behind the British SA80 family of rifles a century later: produced at home, fundamentally flawed, kept around owing to national pride and financial investment, served proudly for a long time in spite of itself.

  23. Excellent video. The animation was fantastic. By the way, the Canadian government still works like that. Nothing has changed.

  24. Man, until this episode I'd actually come to believe that you were sitting in front of a digitally constructed flat image background because of the lighting and how flat the edge of the table seemed relative to the rifles in the background, it wasn't until this episode that I realised it was a real background.

  25. From the sound of it Charles Ross made a good rifle, with some issues that should have been caught early on, but the hubris of Sam Hughes prevented the Canadians from having a better rifle.

  26. I keep re watching this video, as a proud Canadian you did this rifle well keep it up

    Ps: do you know if any marksmanship accounts? Snipers in trenches and such?

  27. Canada still works this way. Create a committee, populate it with people totally oblivious to what they're studying and adopt their recommendations. Later another committee is formed to study why the first committee was so wrong and on and on…..

  28. Being Canadian, I have a particular fondness for this rifle. More of a love/hate relationship, actually. Love because it was an accurate and Canadian made implement of war. Hate because of the bad reputation it received (thus making me think that other countries view Canadians as inept weapons designers/manufacturers). Granted, a fair bit of the criticism is deserved. Outside of that, is it just me, or did I miss Mae discussing the trigger on this one?

  29. SO… (fumbles hands) He used a cannon, to blow up his neighbours house… This meme could probably replace the "they did surgery on a grape"

  30. I am an Asian who has no talent in engineering, learning engineering. The story of the Ross rifle looks very similar to the story of my life…

  31. "In charge of a church plate during the Reformation. He quickly sold it, and bought a cannon, which he used to blow up his neighbor's house." That sounds like some Peter Griffin shit right there.

  32. This thing was probably a good weapon in ww2 as squad marksmen were a more common place thing and by the time the Ross was probably worked out

  33. So the Canadians could've used the Enfield as the main issued rifle and the Ross for a designated marksman

  34. The Hughes Ross rifle story is one I read about in a great book about all of Canada's wars.

    This rifle sucked bad

  35. Don't forget that adding a bayonet will add the the uneven balance problem.
    Also not ALL of us Scots are nuts you know.

  36. Considering this crappy rifle, it's quite amazing to think that the Canadian infantry proved to be the finest Allied assault troops on the Western Front!

  37. What was the name of the guy who blew up his neighbors house with a cannon? I want to know more about that one

  38. Those Scottish blue bloods can be real bastards at times, they are related by blood to the British royals.

  39. Crap rifle in the trenches, but a darling in the hands of a sniper.

    Had those issues (imbalance, pinching, tight chambers, length, weak bolt head, etc) been seen before the rifle was fielded it would probably have been the best rifle of the Great War.

  40. I've shot a Ross and they're damned fine rifles. It's a bit of a shame it came at that time and the faults weren't ironed out, something that obvious wouldn't happen during the war.

  41. We (Canada) still suck at acquisitions and negotiating apparently. You should see our current coast guard and navy ships produced by Irving.

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