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I Have This Old Gun: Ross Rifle

In this “I Have This Old Gun” segment from a recent episode of American Rifleman TV, the experts take an in-depth look at the history of the Canadian-made Ross Rifle. With origins in a 1905 sporting rifle, chambered in .280 Ross, the 1910 military variant of the Ross fired the .303 British, and proved as problematic as it was accurate.

Conceived by Charles Ross, and adapted for military service following a disagreement with the British over licensing for the Lee-Enfield, the Ross Rifle featured a straight-pull bolt unique from many of its turn-bolt counterparts. This distinctive feature proved to be its downfall however, as the tolerances were far too tight for the rigors of trench warfare. The least bit of dirt or dust caused the action to seize up, and after cleaning, the bolt was very easy to replace in an improper fashion. This latter error, if committed, would cause the bolt to explode out the back of the rifle upon release of the next shot. The gun eventually did find its niche as a sniper rifle, where its high accuracy made its finicky nature wholly worthwhile. For more on this firearm, check out this segment from American Rifleman TV.

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