.303 Ross Question

A while back I acquired a 1905 Ross Rifle that had been rechambered from .303 British to (supposedly) .303 Ross. I was wondering if anyone put there has an example of that cartridge they could part with or drawings that I could do a comparison with. Thanks, Bruce.

I thought they fired the same ammo.

The only .303" Ross connected, was this Ross Rifle Co., Canadian 1912 Match.

Other match loadings might be ia Swift Match (3.294” / 83.68mm OAL) or a Palma Match loading of the .303?
With all, the bullet was of a different weight than the MK VII and over all length is longer.

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On another forum I was told that some of the 1905 Ross Rifles had been rechambered after I had shown them the pictures of a .303 beside my fired brass. Both of the casings are HXP 70, but you can see that once it has been fired, there is a noticeable change in the shoulder. It doesn’t seem to affect the accuracy nor are there any pressure signs, but I’m at a loss to understand why the difference unless there was a different round as I was told.

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So, did Canadian Ross rifle fire .303 British ammo?

Yes, both the 1905 and 1910 Ross Rifles were chambered for .303 British.

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The Ross sporters were stamped 303 ROSS. Same ctg as 303 British and an example of Sir Charles Ross tooting his own horn. Similar to Colt refusing to put the name of a competitor’s ctg on their arms, ie calling the 38 S&W ctg 38 Colt New Police.
bacarnal the fired ctg in pic is typical of Ross MkII-3* military rifles.

Remember - the .303 headspaces on the cartridge-case rim, not on the shoulder like a .30-06, 7.9 x 57, 7.62 x 51, etc. While I have owned a couple of Ross rifles, I never shot one, but I have shot Lee Enfields plenty, and they have purposefully oversized chambers to compensate for the weak initial extraction of the rifle; that is, the cases over expand and then immediately contract somewhat, so they don’t stick in the chambers. Just one of several reasons with Lee Enfields are very fast to operate compared to some other BA rifles. The point is, past the rim, the chamber shape is not as critical, like in rounds that headspace on the shoulder, to the safe operation of the rifle.

John Moss.

Almost looks like an Ackley Improved round- did P.O. Ackley ever do that with the .303 Brit?
I have seen many cartridges fired in various .303 Brit rifles, but I have never seen one with as badly blown shoulder as that…

That shape is typical of a case fired in a Ross with the oversized chamber. Below you can see a section of the chamber of a Ross Mk. II** modified in England (receiver marked “L C”). From the book “A Historical Appraisal of the Ross Rifle” by Roger Phillips, 1984.


Fede, Thank you so very much. The visual really helps and explains a lot. Mine is a Mk. II*** U.S. marked. I tried my casing in another Ross 1905, which i think was a Mk. II or II* and it wouldn’t chamber. Thanks again, Bruce.

The Ross was of straight pull bolt design and was found to have insufficient primary extraction under adverse conditions, so opening the chamber up as seen here was employed as a short term answer. The ultimate answer was to remove them from service and replace them with Lee Enfields. This story was well known to U.S. shooters in the years (mostly the 1920s) when Rosses were available through the Director of Civilian Marksmanship. Jack

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