Ross MkII: Sorry, We’ll Get it Right This Time

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The many significant problems with the Model 1903 / MkI Ross rifle had quickly led to the development of the improved MkII design. This strengthened many parts, including the sights, nosecap, bolt latch, and more. The receiver was made thicker, and an extra set of cams added to make the bolt throw smoother. Primary extraction was added by way of angling the locking lugs. Mk II rifles began to come off the Ross Rifle Company production line in December of 1905.

Between its introduction and its replacement by the MkIII in 1912, the MkII Ross would undergo 5 changes in type, mostly involving different rear sights. However, a distinct “long” pattern was also made, designated the MkII**. This model had a longer barrel and some mechanical changes, and was also fitted with a rear aperture sight and stripper clip guide. These would be very successful in competition shooting at the time, and helped salvage the reputation of the Ross after the problems of the MkI.

Overall, 13,700 “long” MkII Rosses were made along with 124,000 of the “short” type. They did see use in World War One, as armament for Canadian artillery units. They were also used as training rifles by the military, and the US government also purchased 20,000 of the MkII3* pattern for use training the multitudes of new US soldiers joining up to fight in Europe.

Many thanks to the private collectors who allowed me access to their rifles to make this video!

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