Book Review: The Ross Rifle Story

“The Ross Rifle Story” is the Bible of Ross rifle collecting – it is the only substantial reference work on the subject and it has a tremendous amount of information about the development of the Ross. However, it is also one of the worst-edited firearms reference books I am aware of. It has a second Table of Contents on page 85 – need I say more than that?

Well, I will. The photographs are black and white and often too dark or too light. Beyond it really being two separate manuscripts printed back to back, the organization is really lacking. Finding information in the book is sometimes very difficult, as the subject matter jumps around a lot. The story of the Ross – especially separating the civilian and military development – is a pretty complicated one, and even a well-edited book on the subject might be a bit difficult to parse. This book is really bad at times.

But for all that, it *does* have the information (with only a few errors), and it’s the only book that does. If you are interested in the Ross, this is a must-have book despite its problems.

A second printing was run in 2002, and not much effort was put into marketing it. Despite the online prices all being $300+, the seller still has a couple dozen copies remaining as of this writing. To order one (for $100 plus shipping, via PayPal) email him at ross.rifle.story@sympatico.ca .

 

7 Comments

  1. I bought one of these right when they were first re-printed. Since I lived near Toronto at the time, I was able to arrange to meet the publisher in person to pick up my copy, so I saved the shipping.

    The first bit in the book about Sir Charles himself is also quite fascinating, but I totally agree that the organization of the book is terrible. On the other hand, there are little gems of info, like about the match ammunition developed for it etc. There is also a good bit of info on the Huot.

    I don’t for a minute regret buying this book, even though I still don’t actually have a Ross rifle in my collection.

    • The Lindsay reprint booklet is well worth the money, if you can find a copy.

      I think I paid several times that figure for my copy, a dozen years ago or more.

      C.H.A.F.L. Ross (just burden your child with all of those names in the hope that all of the uncles and friends with those names will leave him lots of lands and money), does seem to have been a dilettante arms designer.

      I’ll grant that Gabett Fairfax’ patents are frequently even more outlandish than C.H.A.F.L.’s,

      And, C.H.A.F.L.’s creations did have excellent success on the target shooting range, were very influential in inspiring the first 7mm short magnum on the .404 Jeffery headsize (about 70 years before winchester and remmington brought the same idea out), and inspired the abysmal P13 rifle.

      With over a century of hindsight, The Ross story is an incredibly interesting story of exactly how not to go about selecting a service rifle

      And how not to correct the mistake when you have found out that you have made a big mistake.

  2. Just heard back from from Michael and he is out of books:

    Hi,

    Ian McCollum indicated that there were limited quantities of “The Ross Rifle Story” by Phillips, Dupuis & Chadwick available. The book was a 2002 reprint of the original 1984 publication. Unfortunately, the reprints have now sold out!

    I am in the process of sourcing a printer to reprint the book and hope to have stock in the near future. I will keep your information on file and let you know when the book is available.

    Thanks for your interest…and I will try to accommodate your order as soon as possible.

    Michael

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