I joined the Association this year and am new to the forum. I live in the UK and collect amongst others Ross rifle sporters. I recently acquired a Charles Lancaster DWM Mauser actioned oval bore rifle. The calibre marked on the rifle is Eley 280 Rimless. I have some Kynoch 280 Rimless (Ross Pattern) factory ammunition. When I took the rifle to the range it immediately became obvious that the rim of Kynoch ammo (.556) was too large for the bolt on the rifle. The bolt/extractor is actually a perfect fit for an 8x57. The possibilties arrising from this finding are i) there is an Eley 280 Rimless cartridge with a rim diameter similar to a 8x57 or b) someone replaced the bolt with something unsuitable. Does anyone have a Eley 280 Rimless cartridge they can post a picture/dimensions of? Your help in resolving this mystery is very much appreciated.
Thanks 999ACP. Problem is that the round does not chime with the designtion on the rifle. Does the Eley 280 Rimless have a rebated rim? Did Eley have their own proprietary 280 rimless and did that differ from the Ross?
As far as I know there are ony three variations of this cartridge, and they only differ in the construction of the rim:
.280 Flanged or Lancaster (with a rim, as the name suggests)
.280 Ross (which is sometimes called semi-rimmed)
.280 Westley Richards (with rebated rim, and it seems the unwanted part of the rim of the .280 Ross is machined off - the letters of the headstamp are touching the edge of the rim on theee specimens) This one is a hard-to-find item.
I do not think the Westley Richards version was ever called rimless. I would say the .280 Rimless is nothing more than the .280 Ross, and maybe your rifle in question was modified later on for the .280 W R. But let’s wait for the experts to help us out!
There is also a .280 Jeffery Rimless Nitro Express (HS Kynoch J. 280 Nitro).
My (inerted) example has a case length of: 62.77mm
999ACP - What you write is what I am thinking. I was just reading the chapter on Ross in Terry Wieland’s book Great Hunting Rifles: Victorian to the Present. On page 288 he writes about the introduction of 280 Ross Eley, page 289 has a picture of the Kynoch ammo I am trying to use. A quote “After the 1908 Bisley triumph, gunmakers began chambering hunting rifles for it, as well as developing proprietary cartridges to compete with it. In Germany, Mauser’s new magnum action suited the .280 Ross perfectly, and it became a standard Mauser chambering. Ross’s friends at Charles Lancaster & Co. chambered the .280 Ross in their bolt rifles, and also developed a flanged (rimmed) version for use in double rifles and single-shots.”
There’s also a .28 Ross [.280 Roosevelt ] listed in Bill Flemings book .
it has a slimmer profile with a base of only .466" compared to the .280 Westley Richards and the .280 ross’s .530"
Dimensions are case length 2.58 - 2.61"
rim dia .484 - .487"
rim thickness .057" ,
base ,466 - .467 ,
shoulder .415 ,
case mouth .312 " - .315"
,bullet dia. .284 - .286" ,
O.A.L. 3.280 - 3.400"
Do not ignore the fact that the bolt may not have been replaced, but instead the chamber may have been re-chambered to a cartridge that was more readily available, perhaps for someone who was not a hand loader.
It would be a good idea to have a chamber cast made in order to be certain of the actual caliber, and at the same time have the bore slugged, so you will know for certain.
Over the last 40+ years I have seen quite a few rifles that have been re-chambered without any viisible markings as to the “new” cartridge/caliber.
I agree Jack. This has happened to me previously with another rifle. There two things though:
i) In the UK the law dictates that firearms must have valid proof if they are to be traded. A change in calibre, pressure bearing parts, etc. requires the gun to be re-proofed by either the London or Birmingham Proofhouse. Such a re-proof would eb evidenced by markings on the gun. These are abscent.
ii) The gun left Lancaster in a .280 Rimless. In the family of .280 cartridges we have discussed in this thread, the .280 Rimless/Ross is the most readily available choice. This cartridge was manufactured until the mid to late 60’s in the UK.
Perhaps someone re-chambered the gun for a modern .280? Of of the top of my head I can’t think of any cartridges that could be a candidate. Suggestions appreciated…
A possibilty - I shall have a look and report back.
I have no suggestions, but, and this is a perhaps scenario, perhaps a re-chamber was not done by a gunsmith in the UK- It could have come into the country in personal belongings before restrictive laws were in place…
Again, just a thought, and reinforces the need to verify the correct chamber and bore dimensions.