Sir Charles Ross, an advisor on small arms to the Canadian Government and a rich landowner in Britain, designed the Ross rifle and offered it to the Canadian government. The design was accepted and the rifle went into production in Ross’s own factory.
There were many problems with the rifle and variations on the design were implemented to correct them. By the start of the Great War, a Mark III (1910) version was in service with the Canadian forces. However, the problems persisted.
The rifle would sometimes misfire if the bolt had been reassembled wrongly after cleaning, leading to disaster and sometimes death for the operator. The weapon was not nearly so tolerant of quality variations in the ammunition available at the time. At one stage in its sorry career, one officer serving in the Great War commented it sometimes took five people just to keep one rifle firing.
The defects resulted in political infighting back in Canada between its supporters and detractors. By 1916 the supreme commander at the Western Front, Sir Douglas Haig, ordered that the Lee-Enfield rifle replace the Ross in all three Canadian divisions.