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1915 M10 Ross MkIII* Sniper Rifle

1915 M10 Ross MkIII* Sniper Rifle1915 M10 Ross MkIII* Sniper Rifle
1915 M10 Ross MkIII* Sniper Rifle 1915 M10 Ross MkIII* Sniper Rifle 1915 M10 Ross MkIII* Sniper Rifle 1915 M10 Ross MkIII* Sniper Rifle 1915 M10 Ross MkIII* Sniper Rifle 1915 M10 Ross MkIII* Sniper Rifle

1915 M10 Ross MkIII* Sniper Rifle Serial #223

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1915 M10 Ross MkIII* Sniper Rifle Serial #223
c/w Model 1913 Warner & Swasey Telescopic Musket Sights Serial # 18
Weight 2 lbs 3.3 oz. .... 5.2x power scope with 1 1/2" eye relief
c/w Leather Carrying Case (Mfg in 1915 by M.J. Wilson & Sons - Ottawa)

Caliber ........................ .303 in., Mk VII Ammo
Rifling & Twist: ............. 4 Groove, Enfield, Left Hand Twist
Barrel Length: .............. 30.5 in. (775mm)
Overall Length: ............. 50.5 in. (1283mm)
Overall Length: ............. 60.5 in. (1537mm) with bayonet attached
Weight: ....................... 8.6 ilbs. (3.9kg) (without scope)
Magazine Capacity: ........ 5 rounds, loaded with chargers


Copyrighted material reproduced here with the gracious written permission of Clive Law ....

(start of extract) ...... Canada was extremely receptive to the concept of snipers even before the World War. Shooting, as a social event, was one of the greatest incentives to joining the militia and most large communities could boast a rifle range nearby. The pre-war Militia had a long tradition of competitive rifle shooting and supported a large number of rifle associations and cadet corps. However, no vision for mounting a telescopic sight to the rifle had been envisioned by the Department of Militia and Defence, in fact the concept of a sniper was still relatively unknown within the armies of the British Empire. In a fashion typical for the Canadian Militia during the Great War, once the decision had been made by the Department of Militia and Defence to buy telescopic sights to be mated to the Ross rifle several purchases were made. These purchases were made based primarily on unsupported recommendations, and with no testing or reference to the War Office. In December 1914 the Militia Department asked the government for approval to purchase 832 Warner & Swasey telescopic sights and mounts. The government felt that this was too great a number and referred the request back to Colonel Sam Hughes, the Minister of Militia and Defence, for reconsideration. The paperwork was shuffled back and forth a second time before approval was finally obtained, in March 1915, to purchase an initial 250 W&S telescopic sights numbered 1 to 250, at a cost of $58.00 each. If it was found that these sights were useful, permission to purchase an additional quantity would be considered by the government.

These sights were the standard Model 1913 and included a range table applied to the top surface of the sight. This range table, unfortunately, was for the 30.06 calibre bullet and therefore useless when used with the .303 cailbre Ross. These were usually discarded by removing the six retaining screws. Inexplicably, the holes were not covered, thereby defeating the seal and risking interior fogging of the lens. The sights were delivered without a carrying case and a contract was let with M.J. Wilson Ltd., of Ottawa for a leather case. The case was numbered to both the rifle and the scope - the first 250 sights had the scope number stamped above rifle number while the markings on the second lot of cases was reversed. The Department of Militia and Defence also provided printed instructions on the care and maintenance of the sights which were then included with each case.

Delivery from Warner & Swasey was haphazard and the sights, once received, were forwarded to the Ross factory in Quebec city to be mounted on the rifles. It was at this point that the leather case was stamped with the relevant numbers. Once matched to a rifle the scope number was stamped on the butt, above the rifle's serial number. The first lot of rifles were from 1915 FK serial range. Ottawa then arranged for the completed rifles to be shipped overseas whenever they received sufficient quantities of sight-mounted rifles. Ottawa made six shipments as follows; 28 September 1915, 40; 1 October 1915, 40; 2 February 1916, 50; 26 February 1916, 10; 11 March 1916, 15; 5 June 1916, 58. This brought the total up to 213 complete rifles by mid-June which left little room for spares considering the scale of issue was four sights per Infantry Battalion called for a total of 208.

The telescopic sights initially proved so popular that several Brigade Commanders called for an increase in issues. A second purchase for 250 sights, was approved in November 1915. These sights were consecutively numbered to the first group. The rifles for this second lot are mostly (but not all) numbered in the 1917 LL range. Due to minor changes in the manufacture of the rifle, which included a thicker fore-end, fitting the dove-tail mount required shaving the wood from the left side of the fore-end. In many cases sniper rifles in the second lot are marked S.A.E.D. indicating Small Arms Experimental Department, located at the Ross factory in Quebec City.

Production of this second purchase proved difficult and the Master-General of Ordnance, Major-General MacDonald cabled the Quarter-Master General of the CEF, Major General Carson, advising of the "inability to obtain glass for 250 sights 'this side'. Can you arrange for supply in England?" The second lot of sights was finally procured from Warner & Swasey but in the meantime a search had been undertaken in Britain for additional telescopic sights. By December 1916 the second lot of sights had been received and Ottawa wanted to know if the CEF would need any more. On 29 December 1916 the Quartermaster General in Ottawa cabled Brigadier General Grenville Harston, Chief Inspector of Arms & Munitions "Is it probably any more telescopic sights Warner & Swasey pattern for the Ross rifle Mk.III will be required for the Canadian Contingents?" After consulting with Colonel Sclater, Officer Commanding the Sniper School, Harston replied "I am of the opinion that they (the snipers) do not require any more telescopic sights of the Warner & Swasey pattern." The decision was easily made for the staff at Canadian Headquarters, the Ross rifle had been drawn from the front and replaced with the Short Magazine Lee-Enfield, No.1 Mk.III*. However, many snipers at the front chose to retain their Ross rifles, most shooting with the W&S sight, others with different scopes or using rifles' iron sights.

Not everyone was enamoured of the W&S scope. Major Armstrong, Chief Instructor of the Canadian Corps Sniping School condemned it as being "most unreliable under active service conditions." The sight also refused to "hold its zero" and, due to its weight and the fact that it was off-set "it was necessary to use a rubber band 'round the sight and stock for steadying purposes. ....... (end of extract)

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