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Huot Automatic Rifle: The Ross Goes Full Auto

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During World War One, Joseph Alphonse Huot, a Canadian machinist and blacksmith living in Quebec, designed a conversion of the Ross MkIII rifle to become an automatic rifle. The Ross was the standard issue Canadian rifle at the beginning of the war, and Huopt wanted to find a way to economically provide Canadian forces with an automatic weapon. His conversion functioned by mounting a gas piston onto the side of the Ross barrel, adding a large action cover and 25-round drum magazine, and a Lewis-style cooling shroud over the barrel.

In initial testing with Canadian forces, the Huot performed well. It was seriously considered for adoption, but had to undergo British testing and approval before that could happen. In British testing (by now near the end of the war), it was found to run well enough and have some positive attributes, but not sufficient to justify replacement of the Lewis Gun. It was rejected, and Canadian forces finished the war with the Lewis instead. Huot had spent several years privately developing the weapon and two more working on salary for the Canadian military, and had gone into considerable personal debt for the project. He had secured a deal to receive royalties on production, but that of course came to naught when the design was rejected. Ultimately, he was compensated $25,000 in 1936 (of the $36,000 he claimed to have spent).

Only five of the guns were made in total, with four known to still exist. Two of them are in Ottawa at the Canadian War Museum and one in the Seaforth Highlanders Museum in Vancouver and one in the Army Museum in Halifax.

Thanks to the Canadian War Museum for providing me access to film this Huot for you!

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