View Full Version : .280 Ross

Rick Solomon
June 27, 2000, 08:00 AM
This is a rifle my father picked up in 1951, and it apparently dates back to around 1900. It is a straight pull bolt action rifle.

Can you tell me anything about the rifle or the manufacturer?

June 27, 2000, 08:17 AM
The Ross rifle was designed in 1896 by Sir Charles Ross and manufactured in a variety of styles. Due to problems with the bolt design, it never proved popular and was discontinued in 1915.
Mark 1 - Barrel length 28", .303 caliber with a "Harris Controlled Platform Magazine" that can be depressed by an external lever to facilitate loading.
Mark 1 Carbine - as above with a 22" barrel
Mark 2 - as above with a modified rear sight
Mark 3 - Introduced in 1910 with improved lockwork and stripper clip guides.
Mark 3B as above with a magazine cut-off.
Sporting Rifle - a .280 Ross or .303 Brit caliber straight pull sporting rifle with a 24" barrel having open sights. Blued with a checkered walnut stock.

IIRC these were Canadian military issue for a while before and during WWI.

Rick Solomon
June 27, 2000, 08:35 AM
Is there still any ammunition around for it?

Rick Solomon
June 27, 2000, 08:36 AM
Way cool!! A comprehensive reply on an obscure rifle in less that an hour.

Thank you

June 28, 2000, 07:56 AM
Actually that was a rather concise reply, but thanks anyway. :) I wasn't about to type out a full page (too lazy by far). If you want a more complete picture of the variations and sub-variations check out a copy of Military Small Arms of the 20th Century by Ian Hogg or most any military small arms book should have some info.

As for ammo, your best bet would probably be gunshows or possibly Old Western Scrounger. Don't have the link anymore but use a search engine and you should be able to find his website. I imagine the pricing will be rather expensive though.

Rick Solomon
June 28, 2000, 08:38 AM
THanks again. I believe it's a sporting rifle. I'll have to rescue it from my mother's basement in Canada before the end of the year. I don't really care how expensive the ammunition is, since I don't plan to fire it much. First I'll have to make sure it fires safely. In the 50 years it's been in my family, I don't think it's ever been fired. It's a beatiful weapon, though, and deserves better than to be hidden in a basement or seized by the Canadian Government.

As far as links go, www.hornady.com (http://www.hornady.com) has a great links page, including Old Western Scrounger.

Paul B.
June 28, 2000, 02:41 PM
One important thing about the Ross straight pull rifle. If the bolt was taken apart for cleaning, and reassemble wrong, the bolt WILL NOT LOCK IN THE LUGS, AND WILL HIT THE SHOOTER IN THE FACE POSSIBLY CAUSING DEATH.
Sorry about the "caps", but it was just for emphasis as a rifle bolt in the teeth ain't my idea of "Are we having fun yet?"
From the "Rifle in America" by Phil Sharpe, copywrited 1938. "The Model 1910 Ross with its interrupted screw type lugs was however a horse of a different color. There are mayn recorded accidents in which shooter were either killed or badly injured by these bolts blowing open and this contributed to the demise of the Ross rifle. Today this author would not under any condition shoot the sporting Ross rifle with interrupt screw-type lugs and the .280 Ross cartridge, although he would not hesitate in the slightest to run a case of standard British service cartridges through the military model." He stated earlier that the military model had solid locking lugs. There was also a later model E10 that had the interrupted lugs, and I would also doubt the safety of that version as well.
Be safe, hang it on the wall and don't shoot it. If you want to shoot it, tie it up in an old tire a use a long string. Beats hell out of tooth extraction by rifle bolt.
Paul B.

[This message has been edited by Paul B. (edited June 28, 2000).]

Rick Solomon
June 28, 2000, 03:25 PM
SO I've heard. I've been doing some web research of my own and found a specialty ammo loader who won't make the 280 for that reason.

How do I tell the difference between the interrupted and solid lugs?

Were all the sporting models the interrupted lug type?

June 28, 2000, 07:33 PM

How to tell the interrupted thread type locking-

Pull the bolt out of the rifle and look at the lugs, if there are one on each side, its OK

If there looks like about five smaller lugs on each side, it is the "Thread" type.

Ammo, Bertram Brass Co ( Australia) makes the brass, loading dies will be hard to find, but a custom maker like 4-D Co. in Mt Vernon OH will fix you up at reasonable cost.

Load data, you are on your own with this one, Cartriges of the World lists three loads using modern powders.

The 280 was one of the first "high intensity" sporting rounds but nothing too wild by todays standards.

Factory ammo got 2900 fps with 140 grain bullets and 2700 with a 160 grain.

Regular 7 mm slugs are the proper size if you intend to load for it.

If the thought of the bolt being closed but not locked makes you nervous, try this.

After putting the bolt back in, get a steel cleaning rod that will fit down the bore, pass the rod down the barrel and against the face of the bolt. Push on the rod *hard* if the bolt is incorrectly assembled you will be able to push it open with the cleaning rod


Lay up some blackpowder and flints
The rest we can build, if need be

Rick Solomon
June 29, 2000, 08:18 AM
Thanks for the info.

It looks like I'll be able to fire this gun after all, but I may do it with sandbags first:=)

June 29, 2000, 08:56 PM

Here is a trick that is easier than sandbags.

Got any old tires? take two old tires to your shooting area, lay one tire flat on the ground, put the butt of the gun inside the tire body and twist the rifle butt into the upright position. The bead of the tire will grip the top and bottom of the rifle butt and hold it, lay the rifle across the tire and place the other tire on top to hold everything down. Fire the piece using string on the trigger. If anything flies off the gun, it should be stopped by the tire casing. The tires being somewhat resilient, will not damage anything on the gun.

This is a bit hard to visualize, but older Dixie Gunworks catalogs show a picture of an old percussion shotgun being "proofed" in this manner.



Rick Solomon
June 30, 2000, 01:32 PM
I actually can picture it. Thanks. I'll try it out.