The .280 Ross is a rifle round developed in Canada in the early 1900s as a military cartridge to replace the .303 British in Canadian military service.

History[edit | edit source]

The .280 Ross was the first practical cartridge to reach the edge of 3,000 ft/s (910 m/s). Sir Charles Ross, 9th Baronet, made many attempts to reach this velocity figure while in the process of creating the "perfect cartridge", one of them leading to the creation of the .28-1906 in November of 1906.

Ross had also tried to convince the British War Department to adopt the .280 Ross (and the Ross rifle) as the new service cartridge, but the first World War came along, dashing Ross' hopes.

The .280 had also lead to the introduction of Sir Charles' newly-designed bullets, such as "Full Metal Patch" and "Metal Covered Hollow Point". The Ross Mk III rifle was developed to fire the .280 Ross cartridge. The rifle and the cartridge were used to win the famous Bisley international matches in 1908, 1912, and 1913 (King's Prize), as well as many other prizes in different shooting competitions on both sides of the Atlantic.

Although originally a military design, the .280 Ross, following World War I, proved to be very popular with hunters as a plains game cartridge due to its high velocities, relatively flat trajectories, and stopping power.

Commercially, it was popular for stalkers in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth nations such as New Zealand and Canada, chambered in sporting models of the Ross rifle.

The cartridge fell into disuse due to the negative reputation gained by the Ross rifle for a design flaw in the action of its bolt. Once the Ross Rifle Company went out of business after WWI, the .280 Ross cartridge was orphaned, due to no other company manufacturing rifles chambered for it.

Design Details[edit | edit source]

The .280 Ross is a semi-rimmed, bottlenecked centerfire cartridge using a .289 inch bullet.

With its ability to fire a 140-grain (9.1 g) bullet at a muzzle velocity of 2,900 feet per second (880 meters per second), it qualified for the contemporary "magnum" designation. It is also referred to as a "Nitro Express" cartridge because of this performance figure.

But, the case's large capacity meant that it could move a bullet of the time much faster than what would be desirable for reliable expansion, making it fragment rather than to properly penetrate.

The .280 Ross was found to be excellent on red deer with a terminal performance comparable to the modern .270 Winchester or .280 Remington.

Compared to contemporary cartridges of the period such as the 6.5×54mm Mannlicher, 7×57mm Mauser, and .303 British, all with the slower loadings of the time, its performance was notably superior.

In terms of ballistic performance, the .280 Ross is comparable to the .280 Remington and 7×64mm.

It works effectively on all North American game when used with the right projectile. As a commercially manufactured item, it has been obsolete for some years, because of the unsuited bullets that were often used in it originally, as well as issues that were associated with the Ross rifle that it was normally chambered in.

Handloaders continue to successfully load for it, either by removing the belt from 7mm Remington Magnum or .300 Holland & Holland before resizing, or by utilizing swaged and necked down .300 Remington Ultra Magnum cases with bullets that are more suited for its high muzzle velocity.

The German-made .280 Halger HV Magnum cartridge was based on the casing of the .280 Ross.

External Links[edit | edit source]

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