Royal NW Mounted Police Ross MkI Carbine & MkII Rifle

One of the very early clients of the Ross Rifle Company was the Royal North West Mounted Police (later merged with the Dominion Police to form the RCMP). The Mounties purchased 500 Ross MkI carbines, which were actually the only factory-made Ross carbines ever produced. The guns were made in 1904 and delivered in 1905 – and quickly began to show problems. In particular, the bolt stops were unreliable and many springs had poor temper and lost strength. The RNWMP complained to Ross, who agreed to replace the carbines with new MkII Ross rifles.

Those new rifles did not arrive until 1909, and in the intervening years the police went back to issuing their old Lee Metford carbines. When they did finally get new rifles, the police commissioner was leery of their quality, and chose to hold them in storage at Regina headquarters and used for training and marksmanship competition only until he was confident that they were suitable for issue to his troopers. Before that confidence could be gained, however, a fire in the Regina warehouse destroyed all but 34 of them. Ultimately, the force was able to purchase Lee Enfield carbines form the British government in 1914, and never did successfully issue a Ross.

Many thanks to the collector who provided these original RNWMP guns for me to show you!

9 Comments

  1. I believe that, at the very beginning, they were the North West Mounted Rifles. A bit more paramilitary, and with the mandate to guard Canada against the occasional territorial ambitions of U.S. politicians.

  2. Before a rifle can succeed or fail, it has to get to the end user. The Ross carbine didn’t last long enough to work the bugs out and the replacement Ross rifle wasn’t issued. Production issues?

    This isn’t confined to firearms. Back in the 1930’s there was a Seversky product called the P-35.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seversky_P-35
    Read the article–196 built. Slow delivery was the big problem. Major Seversky had a bone to pick with the Curtiss company and he aired part of it in his 1942 book “Victory Through Air Power,” but not enough to be sued for libel. That book became the 1943 Disney film “Victory Through Air Power.” Seversky’s P-35 was featured in several scenes. However, Seversky was ousted from his company during a palace coup while Seversky was in Europe trying to sell aircraft to the French–that company became Republic Aviation and a descendant of the P-35, the famed P-47 Thunderbolt, was built by the thousands and delivered. DELIVERED is the word.

    Not many Ross carbines were used by Canadian police–and no rifles–and the main problem seems to have been delivering the rifles on time. If you want your gun to succeed, make sure it gets delivered to the customer on time!

    • You’re right about that. Nobody likes having their purchased goods arrive really late. If only Ross and his staff had done test-firing and adjusted the operating parts before marketing the weapons… and yet nobody likes the idea of trial and error.

      • “(…)Nobody likes having their purchased goods arrive really late. If only Ross and his staff had done test-firing and adjusted the operating parts before marketing the weapons…(…)”
        Well but doing that would require time. Some flaws are far from obvious and keep in mind that metallurgy in 1904 was less advanced than in 2020, thus it was harder to predict what might go wrong.

    • “(…)Republic Aviation and a descendant of the P-35, the famed P-47 Thunderbolt, was built by the thousands and delivered. DELIVERED is the word. (…)”
      Wait… was not descendant of P-35 called P-40 KITTYHAWK?

        • To be more precise on the matter, the Curtiss P-36 series eventually resulted in the Curtiss P-40 series. The Seversky P-35 became the basis for the P-43 Lancer, which then led to the P-47 Thunderbolt.

  3. I am from Saskatchewan and watching that was surreal. It was exactly what happened with Ross and WW1 and is a great example of foreshadowing in real life. Ross would have been a great small boutique rifle company but they were cursed with too much political juice. I bet the list the RCMP commander had to choose rifles from had one name on it.

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