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Thread: Primer 014: Ross Rifle Mark III (by C&Rsenal)

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    Arrow Primer 014: Ross Rifle Mark III (by C&Rsenal)




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    29:15 Ross did not supply chamber cleaning sticks. He offered and they were refused.

    30:12 "The Lee Enfield ate it up". No, but the ammo was blamed, not the rifle and the SMLE chambers enlarged also. No mention of poor quality US production ammo.

    30:16 "Sam Hughes and Charles Ross wanted a target rifle, not a military rifle". Sam Hughes and his Small Arms Committee refused the short rifle offered by Ross.

    30:50 "Pinching"? Very, very doubtful IMO. The barrel is massive: 1.07" dia at the thread roots, chamber walls .0304" thick at the chamber mouth. OD over the chamber past the threads: 1.31" Chrome Vanadium steel IRRC. "Pinching" sounds more like a euphemism for a QC problem, or under-sized chamber reamers, perhaps used by mistake or out of necessity?

    To be completed.
    Last edited by Surpmil; 11-26-2016 at 01:41 AM. Reason: correction
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    I agree, not really possible to pinch the chamber.
    Regards, Jim

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    Glad to see you guys are enjoying it. As for the concerns, I'm only as good as my sources and I relied heavily on The Ross Rifle Story as it's the only detailed book I could turn up.

    1st Issue, you're right he did just recommend it. The book didn't make mention of a refusal so I misspoke.

    2nd: The Lee-Enfield did have some issues with poor ammo but on the whole, without going into a separate discussion (that we'll reserve for the LE episode) the LE had an easier time with out of spec ammo from the start. Basically I didn't want to tell the same story twice and I'm holding it.

    3rd: I'm not sure I understand, I mentioned that fact at 26:20. I even threw up a quote.

    4th: I'm afraid that's my best interpretation from the book

    "At the Ross factory he found that faulty manufacture was causing the "closing in" of chambers during the breeching-up"

    "The July investigation was followed right through to the breeching-up operation... This suspicion was confirmed when it was found.... excessive pressure being applied by vice grips used to tighten barrels in receivers. The resulting "nipping" or closing in of the chamberes went undetected..."

    "...ordered the Mark III chamber enlarged... and the gauging of all chambers AFTER breaching-up"

    This book is a bit... nebulous and sort of repeats itself oddly. If I misinterpreted the passages above please let me know.

    Also in the future please to comment on the videos so everyone can see any concerns. I don't think anyone can claim to have been completely correct on any old rifle topic but we'll keep doing our best.

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    Contributing Member boltaction's Avatar
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    The Ross was a great example of what happens when politics is involved, and also again proves that generals fight the last war, not the current one. The Ross was the product of the Boer War, fought over longer distances and in dry conditions. The rifle Sir Charles wanted to present (the .280 Military Match) featured among other things the enclosed magazine, but it was the committee that wanted that bizarre monstrosity that hangs underneath. The Ross was made to fine tolerances, and did not do well with dirt or crappy ammunition which had been rejected as unfit for even Lee Enfields. There has been a lot of misinformation about the Ross over the years, most of it promoted initially by the Britishicon government that wanted to discredit it and by the Canadianicon government that wanted to discredit Sam Hughes, but the fact is it WAS unpopular with the troops and even though chamber reaming and strengthening the bolt stop did solve its feeding issues at the front, Canadian soldiers were fed up with it and I think would have had a hard time trusting it. So, in reality, it likely did have to go. How it went was unfortunate, with the factory being seized, etc, and the peep sights on the Mk IIIB ("War Office Pattern") really were ahead of their time. What is amusing to the cynics among us (I'm one) is that although the British publicly trashed it, that didn't stop them from reissuing the Ross to the Royal Marines, the white Russians, etc etc.........also, if you ever take a look at an SMLE Mk V from 1923-1924 and compare the rearsight to that of the Ross MkIIIB, you will see an amazing similarity.

    The Ross Rifle Story is unfortunately the only book which has been published on the Ross, and may well be unless a group of us get together to try and do a better job. How it is laid out is odd, and much of the information and assumptions in it have been proven to be incorrect. The chamber pinching was debunked, and one must remember was the conclusion of the investigating committee, which was hardly impartial. If you think about the amount of pressure which would be required to "pinch" a cylinder of the strength and construction of a Ross barrel, it becomes obvious it would be most unlikely.

    I have a large collection of Ross rifles, including several examples of the predecessor to the Mk III, the Mk II** target rifles (which were originally called the Mk III!). Many years ago, I shot a few of the early ones using some surplus .303 ball ammo, and found that they jammed after about 4 fast shots. Not all did, but some did. They couldn't be opened again until they had cooled down.

    Ed

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    The most serious problems with the Ross mkiii(1910) are related to the small bolt stop which bore only against the segmented part of the bolt head. and the segmented bolt head itself, great swept lug area, but is it really necessary?
    In addition, there is very limited support for the bolt body by the receiver.

    Both of these issues were exasperated by improper heat treatment (soft) of the bolt heads followed by the emergency program to Re harden (cyanide quench) the existing bolt heads in the UKicon by dragoon ed troops, resulting in brittle bolts...

    Close examination of most 1910 bolt lugs will show deformation or cracking on the left rear lug where it impacts the bolt stop.

    I have 2 Ross 1910s, one which is smooth as snot, the other is "sticky" and the bolt has slight deformation, swapping bolts between the 2 guns moves the stickiness problem to the other gun.

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    Contributing Member Ax.303's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Othais View Post
    2nd: The Lee-Enfield did have some issues with poor ammo but on the whole, without going into a separate discussion (that we'll reserve for the LE episode) the LE had an easier time with out of spec ammo from the start. Basically I didn't want to tell the same story twice and I'm holding it.
    First I`d like to say I did enjoy this for the most part. Far better than most attempts I`ve seen so far.

    To give you an idea of how bad the ammo was that was giving the Ross trouble. While the Ross had a far tighter chamber at the time and does have less primary extraction than the Lee Enfield.

    Here are part of a report on LEE Enfield Riflesicon in II corps dated April 6th 1915 (the first gas attack was on April 22nd 1915) with the same ammo.

    "with the majority of rifles it is impossible to fire rapid".
    "the extractor does not work when the bolt lever has been raised".
    "the breach not fitted to Mk. VII S.A.A.
    "The extractor is too week and fails to grip the rim of the cartridge."......

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    Contributing Member Ax.303's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boltaction View Post
    I have a large collection of Ross rifles, including several examples of the predecessor to the Mk III, the Mk II** target rifles (which were originally called the Mk III!). Many years ago, I shot a few of the early ones using some surplus .303 ball ammo, and found that they jammed after about 4 fast shots. Not all did, but some did. They couldn't be opened again until they had cooled down.

    Ed
    Don`t forget unless they were hogged out, lots of the early Rosses had tight chambers as well as tight bores (.300 as apposed to .303)

    I also have a number of Ross rifles. And although I haven`t tried it with the MkII s, I have ripped through 30 or so rounds with a couple of different MKIII sporters a few times without a hitch.
    Last edited by Ax.303; 04-19-2016 at 03:06 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Enfield View Post
    The most serious problems with the Ross mkiii(1910) are related to the small bolt stop which bore only against the segmented part of the bolt head. and the segmented bolt head itself, great swept lug area, but is it really necessary?
    In addition, there is very limited support for the bolt body by the receiver.

    Both of these issues were exasperated by improper heat treatment (soft) of the bolt heads followed by the emergency program to Re harden (cyanide quench) the existing bolt heads in the UKicon by dragoon ed troops, resulting in brittle bolts...

    Close examination of most 1910 bolt lugs will show deformation or cracking on the left rear lug where it impacts the bolt stop.

    I have 2 Ross 1910s, one which is smooth as snot, the other is "sticky" and the bolt has slight deformation, swapping bolts between the 2 guns moves the stickiness problem to the other gun.
    You might want to check a few more than two bolts before you come to this conclusion.

    Most bolts you will see are fine.

    I`m not saying it does not happen. I have seen a few over the years, but most I`ve checked are in great shape and I have checked a pile of them including commercial M-10s and even a Home Guard which have the small bolt stop.
    It is one of the first things I look for.

    The problem they had 100 years ago was the bolt heads were soft because they had the wrong carbon content. The fix made them brittle.

    I would think most of those are long gone.

    Sometimes the bolt will be sticky because it is dirty or worn internally.
    Last edited by Ax.303; 04-19-2016 at 03:08 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by boltaction View Post
    The Ross Rifle Story is unfortunately the only book which has been published on the Ross, and may well be unless a group of us get together to try and do a better job.
    Could it be done?
    I would like to be involved in a project like that in any way I could. I do not have much knowledge to contribute on the topic but could surely manage what ever was assigned to me.

    I am quite serious if someone wants to take the lead.
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