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Thread: 1905 Ross MkII w/MkIII sight

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  1. #11
    Contributing Member smle addict's Avatar
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    I think I might have narrowed the problem down.



    NORTHOF60: Your comments of the 303 Ross scared me, so I spent the rest of the day digging through my reference and reloading literature in regards the 303 Ross. I wanted to make sure I wasn't shooting the wrong ammunition in my rifle. I was able to find the 303 ross and 303 Britishicon are one in the same. "303 Ross" was Sir Charles method of self promotion (or at least that is what the general consensus seems to say). As I said, I had an old Mk IIIB that did the same thing to brass, but that chamber was clearly marked with a large L-C (large cone). I thought it odd that a 1908 MkII that was an apparent commercial purchase would have an LC chamber.

    I also stumbled on several threads that brought up this same phenomena of odd-looking brass. A common idea amongst these threads is that it aided in extraction.

    This was the most clearly written with pictures.

    .303 Ross Question - General Ammunition Discussion - International Ammunition Association Web Forum

    Interesting aspect of the Ross Rifles, and I learned a few more things that aren't printed in the Ross Rifle Story.

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  3. #12
    Contributing Member NORTHOF60's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting the link to the IAA Web Forum, smle addict. I am aware that the .303 Ross and .303 Britishicon are identical cartridges (I have an 1905 R Sporter marked .303 Ross) - I was just trying to establish a starting point for the chamber. There is a great deal of information and misinformation available on the Ross, much of it shaded by personal opinion. I am by no means an expert, but I have read that pre-WWI Ross .303 chambers were almost to target specifications. Your rifle is a Mk II, and the butt plate inscription places it no later than 1909, so I wouldn't expect any modification to the chamber to assist extraction, common to many of the Mk III's in service overseas - stamped "E". You have a conundrum - hopefully, some of the wiser heads will be able to assist you. I really have to get a copy of "The Ross Rifle Story"!
    Some do, some don't; some will, some won't; I might ...

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  6. #13
    Contributing Member smle addict's Avatar
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    Thanks for that, NORTHOF60. This is truly a slippery slope: I am pretty heavy into lee-enfields and lee-metfords. With this Ross purchase, I can feel the slow infection of Ross' starting to take hold!

    I've already seen other Mk II's for sale, and I'm fighting the temptation to buy more. They are truly a mechanical marvel, and a dream to shoot.
    Last edited by smle addict; 11-24-2019 at 12:41 PM.

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    Contributing Member NORTHOF60's Avatar
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    I was thinking that very thing (LOL), while I was taking my dog for a walk this morning: "This way leads to madness ....".
    Some do, some don't; some will, some won't; I might ...

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    Advisory Panel Surpmil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smle addict View Post
    I did manage to find five serial numbers!

    More pics...
    I'm not sure those are serial numbers despite appearing to be. Those numbers when seen, never seem to correspond to the rifle serial number, and Ross did not serial number bolts for some unknown reason.
    "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." W.L.S.C..

  9. #16
    Contributing Member smle addict's Avatar
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    Follow up on this Ross

    I did hear back from the IODE/Ontario. They have an excellent records-keeping department, and filled in the back story of Mr. Palmer and this Ross rifle. Very interesting reading:

    "I understand that IODE Canadaicon has been contacted by a gentleman asking for information about a Canadian manufactured rifle that he purchased at an estate sale in California.
    An inscription on the butt-plate reads, “Presented by the Alexandra Chapter, Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire, To Upper Canada College, Won by CDP Palmer, 1908”.

    Our student publication, College Times, includes the following reference in its Christmas 1908 issue page 6: Ross Rifle—Presented by the Alexandra Chapter of the Daughters of the Empire—C. D. B. Palmer.
    I can see in The Roll of Pupils of Upper Canada College, Toronto: January 1830 to June 1916 that Charles Douglas Brydon Palmer attended the College as a boarder from 1907 to 1911. More details can be seen here: The roll of pupils of Upper Canada College, Toronto : January 1830 to June 1916 : Young, A. H. (Archibald Hope), 1863-1936 : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

    I can see from the Tenth Annual Report of the national chapter of Canada and its allied Associations that the Alexandra Chapter decided to present a rifle to Upper Canada College to encourage rifle shooting among the boys. More information can be seen here: Tenth Annual Report of the national chapter of Canada and its allied Associations : Imperial order of the daughters of the empire and the children of the empire : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive. H. W. Auden, Principal of Upper Canada College at this time is also listed as a member of the Advisory Board here: Tenth Annual Report of the national chapter of Canada and its allied Associations : Imperial order of the daughters of the empire and the children of the empire : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

    (As a general FYI, further IODE publications can be seen here: Internet Archive Search: )

    Other references to the Alexandra Chapter in College Times may provide more information in relation to the award of the rifles.

    Easter issue 1908 page 7
    The Rifle Company is more than keeping up the standard which was set last year. This term, as last, the right half company drilled on Tuesday and the left half on Thursday, and a good deal of hard work was done. The new equipment which was expected at the beginning of the term did not arrive until some weeks later, and some of the time while waiting was utilized by Sergeant Major Utton, for lectures on the different formations. These lectures were very interesting, illustrated as they were by scenes from the experiences of Sergeant Major Utton in the South African War. On the arrival of the new rifles the Company commenced hard drill in the gymnasium but for the last week or two, the corps has been drilling outside and put in some splendid work, showing well the results of their hard work during the winter.

    The Company has entered a Physical Drill Squad in the coming Military Tournament. The squad will do the bayonet exercises, and although as yet there has not been much practice in this department they will no doubt be in very good shape. A range has been fitted up in the western basement, and we now have shooting with reduced ammunition without going down to the Armouries.
    During the coming session, the Ross Rifle presented by the Alexandra Chapter will be contested for. The competition will take place as soon after the inspection as possible."

    I did a simple genealogy check and found the family tree of Mr. Palmer. Interesting, in that family surname "Brydon" became "Bryson." Probably a spelling error...

    Sometime after his school attendance, he emigrated to Culvericon City (Los Angeles County) California.

    It seems Mr Palmer went by Douglas (with Bryson listed as a middle name), and I was able to find two Los Angeles, CA census records, listing "Douglas B. Palmer" as a Los Angeles resident. Both census' (1930 and 1940) list his place of birth as Ontario, Canada.

    I also found the death certificate of Mr Palmer, b. 1890 Ont. CA, d.1968 Los Angeles County. He lived to 77 years of age. His descendants still reside in Culver City today.

    A very gratifying investigation!

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  11. #17
    Senior Member Bluenoser's Avatar
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    Mk II (Mk II** excepted) and commercial 1905 rifles left the factory with chambers that were enlarged to aid extraction. I have a number of Mk IIs and commercial 1905s - all of which (other than the Mk II**) do the same thing to the brass. The neck appears to be the primary area where the chamber was enlarged. It is interesting that the very tip of the neck tends to step down slightly from the diameter of the rest of the neck. The over sized neck can make resizing a bit of a challenge.
    Last edited by Bluenoser; 01-19-2020 at 08:32 AM.

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    Strange that a prize rifle from 1908 would be reamed out like that, unless an owner had it done, perhaps on hearing all the jazz about jams etc.

    I think this is your man: Charles Douglas Bryden Palmer, born Galt, Ontario, Dec. 1, 1890. Father was born in USAicon and managed a saw making factory in Galt. Attended Upper Canadaicon College 1907-1911, (Canada's Eton so to speak), lost a limb at some point, but no WWI Canadian records found, working for Canada Porcelain Co, Hamilton, Ont. in 1917. Emigrated to CA in 1923, perhaps to be near his sister who lived in LA. Had a niece who died about 1989.

    smle_addict, I see on reading more that you've already covered it well!
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    Last edited by Surpmil; 01-20-2020 at 01:22 AM.
    "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." W.L.S.C..

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  15. #19
    Contributing Member smle addict's Avatar
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    Surpmil: thank you for the additional info on Mr. Palmer. It really is a thrill to attach an owner to a firearm. I imagine Mr. Palmer would have had a hard time locating 303 Britishicon in 1920's-1940's Los Angeles, which could explain it's immaculate bore and condition. Whatever the reason, he stored this rifle very well, and it's a beauty.

    Thanks to all for the additional info, interest, and comments.

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    Senior Member Bluenoser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Surpmil View Post
    Strange that a prize rifle from 1908 would be reamed out like that, unless an owner had it done, perhaps on hearing all the jazz about jams etc.
    Ross rifles do not have good primary extraction. As I understand it, the Mk II/1905 chambers were not reamed out. They were chambered with loose tolerances when built in order to aid primary extraction. The Mk II** are a different story. They are chambered to a tight tolerance. The Mk IIIs are the rifles that had their chambers enlarged as an after-thought.

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