Ross rifle good?

Discussion in 'World War I' started by The Basket, Mar 18, 2017.

  1. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    I am looking at the Ross with interest. Good rifle badly built in a war that didn't suit it?
    The Ross was a heavy long rifle designed for ultra long range target shooting fired prone. Like the P13, Ross believed the Boer war favoured such rifles. However poor metallurgy and poor ammo and the fact the Ross was too high class for its own good meant that mud and rain and trenches did it no favours.
    So...The Ross is either the best rifle in ww1 or the worst. And both have proof of argument.
    How strange is life.
     
  2. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    .... some turned up in the Yugoslav-breakup wars, IIRC.
     
  3. yulzari

    yulzari Active Member

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    Ironically they dealt with all the problems just as it was being swapped out for Lee Enfields.

    The Latvians were very happy with it as their standard rifle. The Yugoslav ones were probably ex Canadian, ex Latvian, ex Soviet Union given to Yugoslavia. Target rifle standards of accuracy.
     
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  4. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    A target rifle a good battle rifle ain't.
    But it was up and running and finally working and then gets pulled which is ironic because it was on the front line when it wasn't working.
    The straight pull rifle certainly gets my interest and the Ross was said to have had the sweetest.
    Although the British bought more than Canada but was not use in large numbers but was used as a sniping rifle.
    Even saw use in Ww2 as a home guard rifle with the British. So long lived for a failed weapon.
     
  5. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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  6. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    Looks as though 4 or 5 Huots were built.
    Although a very interesting design for sure
     
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  7. Torch

    Torch Well-Known Member

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    Just saw a show comparing the Ross to the Enfield, they were saying that ammo type was an issue plus there was a problem with the bolt that kept the popularity of the Ross down.
     
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  8. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    The ammo was of poor quality than what normally fed the Ross and the metallurgy was poor so it wasn't necessarily the Ross fault but the SMLE was just a better rifle.
    Popularity of the Ross was poor because it wouldnt work! Almost the only advantage the Ross had was range and that wasn't much of an advantage in the trenches.
     
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  9. Elvis

    Elvis Member

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    I read somewhere the lineage of the Lee-Enfield goes back to the Krag-Jorgenson rifle, via the Lee Navy rifle.
    True?
     
  10. dogsbody

    dogsbody Active Member

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    Actually, no. Lee–Metford - Wikipedia
     
  11. Elvis

    Elvis Member

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    Ah ha!....but.....

    ....so maybe I'm half right? (TBH, I did call it "The Lee Navy Rifle" which is different. Apologies for the mis-quote)
     
  12. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    All I can add to this is in WW1 the Canadian troops were initially equipped with the Ross rifle but it proved unreliable and they were reequipped with the Lee Enfield as quickly as they could,
    It was one of the scandles of the war that such a poor front line weapon was produced in such numbers and the front line troops paid in blood for the fortunes that the designers made.
     
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  13. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    The design of the Ross wasn't that bad just it's manufacturing and the fact it turned up in a mudbath. It wasn't the ideal weapon as it was long and heavy for trenches but it was designed for the Veldt and not the Somme. Horses for courses. It was a target rifle and not suited to ww1.
    The Krag is not the Lee and vice versa although in Navy service the Lee design was no where near as success in American service as British.
    Mauser was considered the gold standard and the Americans and Japanese had Mauser type rifles. The British were going to replace the Lee with the Mauser inspired P13 but couldn't because war started.
     
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  14. Elvis

    Elvis Member

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    Thank you Basket, I never addressed that.
    I do understand now that the Krag rifle has nothing to do with the Lee-Enfield, thanks to the link that Dogsbody left in his response to my question.
    I was thinking of the Lee-Remington rifle and know it was used in Naval service, but I called it "The Lee Navy Rifle" and that was wrong.


    Elvis
     
  15. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    M1895 Lee Navy rifle is certainly acceptable name unless you're talking about another rifle. The M1895 was 6mm and straight pull so was certainly different from the Lee Enfield. 6mm was the smallest calibre of a major nation until NATO 5.56mm and also rare for an American rifle was in metric. The M1885 was more similar to the British Lees and was purchase by the USN in 45-70 calibre. To my knowledge wasn't called Lee Navy as the M1895 was.
     
  16. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    My understanding was that the design was seriously floored when used in any combat situation. Almost as soon as it entered service the Canadian troops wanted it replaced. Its certainly true that the Ross was very suseptable to jamming due to dirt but dirt is a factor that applies to any combat zone not just the Western Front. The screw system in the bolt was a major problem area.

    Lieutenant Colonel Ironside (later Field Marshal) was with the Canadian troops and in his memoirs stated that he had seen Canadian troops going out into no mans land to retrieve Lee Enfields at night to replace the Ross Rifle. That alone says it all
     
  17. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    The Ross was a hunting sporting rifle designed for ultra long range target shooting. Throw in Canadian nationalism and poor metallurgy and poor quality ammo and mud and it becomes a mess. Also the Ross was relatively new which didn't help and the gun making industry in Canada was also new. The whole thing was a perfect storm of poop. The design and mud are only part of a bigger puzzle.
     
  18. Elvis

    Elvis Member

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    I was thinking of the '85 Remington-Lee Rifle. I quoted a segment from Wiki's page on that gun in an earlier post.

    Elvis
     
  19. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    Ah the M1885. You had me confused when you wrote Lee Navy. But good show as it made me think.
    As a British person, the Lee action is certainly dear to my heart.
    It would have made far more sense if the Canadians licence built either a Lee action or Mauser action for thier rifle. But plenty of politics and national pride and good old bloody mindedness gets in the way. Not sure why the SMLE was not allowed to be licensed to Canada. Any one know why?
     
  20. Elvis

    Elvis Member

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    According to the World of Guns, Britain refused to issue a sufficient supply of Lee-Enfield rifles to the Canadians during the second Boer war. Why, they didn't say, but it was the reason why Canada adopted the Ross Rifle into Military service, even though it had already failed preliminary testing.
    Simply put, they had no other choice.

     
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