There are good marriages and there are bad marriages-and there is the Ross rifle and bayonet.
The Ross rifle (and variants) chambered in .303 British was a Canadian straight-pull, bolt-action rifle that saw service from 1905 to 1916, thanks to Canadian gun designer Sir Charles Ross.
Not all marriages and not all guns are created equal, and the Ross is a stellar example.
Yet the Ross was adopted by the Canadian military at the turn of the 20th century.
Whereas the German Mauser and the British (and U.S.-made) Enfield were superior battlefield rifles that earned their stripes in gritty wars and blood-soaked conflicts, the Sir Charles' gun did not.
Well, it was fielded during World War I by the Canadians, yet the Ross rifle fared poorly.
Alas, the Ross was a pedigree that fared well on pristine bench rests, but not in trench warfare.
Although snipers were said to have liked this gun, with its capacity for long-range shooting beyond 500 yards, the Ross was prone to fouling and was incompatible with British ammo. And it had its share of mechanical shortcomings, making this Canadian rifle less than desirable for infantry use.
At the end of its life, the Ross was used as a training rifle, not the scrap some would have liked.
Like most battlefield rifles of its time, it was mated with a bayonet-the Model 1905.
This knife bayonet enjoyed some success leading up to World War I, but it was never adopted by the U.S. military. Instead, American troops were (gratefully) issued the 1903 Springfield rifle, mated to the M1942 bayonet.
The Model 1905 bayonet and Ross rifle were adopted by the Canadians at the same time.
You might say they went to war on the buddy system.
The Ross M1905 bayonet had a wooden handle and a muzzle ring. It had a 10-inch, single-edged blade sans fuller. It had a square-shaped steel pommel, brown leather scabbard, and a push-button spring mounting mechanism. And about the time the lieutenant barked "Fix bayonets..."
Well, one of the reasons the Ross rifle and combo bayonet was disliked is that the bayonet was prone to falling off the rifle when the shooting system was used. "My bayonet, where's my bayonet?"
As far as knife bayonets go, the Ross rifle bayonet was alright. If it fell off your service rifle, you had one of two choices: Bop the charging Kraut with its heavy pommel or stick him in the ribs.
The Ross rifle and M1905 bayonet-a weapon's system that's easily forgettable.