Ross Stalking Telescope Write Up

Dear All,

I have been collecting Ross telescopes and doing some research on them. Having found some useful posts on these boards I thought it might be helpful to share my writings through a short booklet that can be viewed through this Google Drive link.

All the sources used can be found on Internet Archive: Digital Library of Free & Borrowable Books, Movies, Music & Wayback Machine if you search for the author and title, but if you want a copy of the British Army 1947 Sniper's manual then PM me. ;)

If I have made any mistakes or there is something that you think I should include, please let me know. I do not cover the principles of observing deer in the field, such as aging on the hoof etc. this is simply advice on the telescope in context of stalking.

I hope you enjoy it, please feel free to download and share if you do.

Best Regards.
 

TomDeer

Well-Known Member
Thanks Caberslash.

It's an interesting read on a subject about which I knew nothing. I wasn't even aware of Ross telescopes. They actually look like proper kit and I can see how they could become a passion. Far nicer than a utilitarian rubberised pair of 'bins'!
 

Redneck

Well-Known Member
Great for long distance spotting,Gender identification and planning stalks. But not so easy to use quickly during approaching and following moving animals.
We make use of a Grays regularly which can be a real boon . and timesaver preventing stalking Out of season Roe.
 

Fosbery Holster

Well-Known Member
A Big Thank you caberslash

What a great pleasure finding your post, as soon as I finished speed reading, taking nothing in, I couldn’t wait to fish out my ‘A Ross’ 3 draw pre 1900 stalking scope, I’ve often wondered about it but unlike you I never got round to doing any research.
Always wondered about the holes in the lens cover and leather case, thanks to you I now know what is their purpose, I wasn’t sure it was pre 1900 but because of your brilliant information I could date it.
It’s only inscribed on the focussing draw ‘A Ross London’ no other marks that I can find.

Absolutely great post thank you!!

(I’ll now go back and read time and time again until it sinks in)
 

caberslash

Well-Known Member
A Big Thank you caberslash

What a great pleasure finding your post, as soon as I finished speed reading, taking nothing in, I couldn’t wait to fish out my ‘A Ross’ 3 draw pre 1900 stalking scope, I’ve often wondered about it but unlike you I never got round to doing any research.
Always wondered about the holes in the lens cover and leather case, thanks to you I now know what is their purpose, I wasn’t sure it was pre 1900 but because of your brilliant information I could date it.
It’s only inscribed on the focussing draw ‘A Ross London’ no other marks that I can find.

Absolutely great post thank you!!

(I’ll now go back and read time and time again until it sinks in)

Hi Fosbery,

I would be really interested if you could post some pictures on here.

The whole serial number issue on them is a bit of a mystery but they were all relatively uniform in features and design which changed gradually, so some age estimation is possible. A good indication of regular use by a stalker is a name or set of initials inscribed somewhere on the telescope, along with a faint 'focus mark' scratched into the first draw.

It is quite rare to have both the case and objective lens cap as most went on their own walkies.
 

caberslash

Well-Known Member
Great for long distance spotting,Gender identification and planning stalks. But not so easy to use quickly during approaching and following moving animals.
We make use of a Grays regularly which can be a real boon . and timesaver preventing stalking Out of season Roe.

Agreed, always wanted a Grays, tried a couple and talked to them at Grahams.

Apparently the case itself costs almost the same amount to produce as the telescope itself! Always thought the design could do with incorporating an objective lens cover and eyepiece shutter, but maybe they were omitted to save costs or streamline the design.
 

Fosbery Holster

Well-Known Member
Hi Fosbery,

I would be really interested if you could post some pictures on here.

The whole serial number issue on them is a bit of a mystery but they were all relatively uniform in features and design which changed gradually, so some age estimation is possible. A good indication of regular use by a stalker is a name or set of initials inscribed somewhere on the telescope, along with a faint 'focus mark' scratched into the first draw.

It is quite rare to have both the case and objective lens cap as most went on their own walkies.
Hi caberslash,

You are now corresponding with a total Luddite, ‘photos’, now you must be joking !
I purchased it directly from a stalker who had been given it by, if I remember correctly, an uncle another stalker both using it on the “Hill”.
Goodness only knows if it was purchased originally new and just passed down through the family.
No initials on it, definite faint ‘focus marks’ on the first draw, my personal feelings about these marks I would suggest they were there from new, but no distance numbers.
In your “photos” mine looks the same as one of your early ones with the black leather covering, with the guillotine eye slide.
Without photos I hope my description helps somewhat, let me know if I can be of anymore help. (without photos you must be joking)
 

caberslash

Well-Known Member
Hi caberslash,

You are now corresponding with a total Luddite, ‘photos’, now you must be joking !
I purchased it directly from a stalker who had been given it by, if I remember correctly, an uncle another stalker both using it on the “Hill”.
Goodness only knows if it was purchased originally new and just passed down through the family.
No initials on it, definite faint ‘focus marks’ on the first draw, my personal feelings about these marks I would suggest they were there from new, but no distance numbers.
In your “photos” mine looks the same as one of your early ones with the black leather covering, with the guillotine eye slide.
Without photos I hope my description helps somewhat, let me know if I can be of anymore help. (without photos you must be joking)


If it is that old there may be a possibility that some of the engraving has worn off the first draw, have seen it on a similar Ross passed down through generations.
 

caberslash

Well-Known Member
Thanks Caberslash.

It's an interesting read on a subject about which I knew nothing. I wasn't even aware of Ross telescopes. They actually look like proper kit and I can see how they could become a passion. Far nicer than a utilitarian rubberised pair of 'bins'!

Well, sadly the quantity and quality of European and Japanese optics killed off the British firms. Russian, Japanese and German companies made draw telescopes at one point, some better than others. If you look at the price list from the Ross advert they were asking 20 pounds for the top of the range model in the late 1880's (that's around 7-8 thousand pounds equivalent in today's money!), so I doubt they were cheap in the inter and post war years.

To be honest the average person would be much better off buying a pair of bino's as telescopes are not easy to use, but it says something that most of the stalkers in Scotland still carry one, some of the 'old school' don't even bother with bino's but I suspect there are not may of them left unfortunately!

Another fact is that the British Army used stalking telescopes from both world wars well into the 1990's, with rumors that some are still being kept in stores somewhere for god knows what reason. They come up for sale occasionally can a really mint one can fetch around 500 pounds due to Enfield nuts wanting to complete their sniper chests. I bought one out of curiosity and they do not even come close to a Ross, but have a neat eyepiece shutter with tinted glass. Apparently the stalkers from the Lovat Scouts were not impressed by the government issue telescopes but that is another story.
 

Fosbery Holster

Well-Known Member
If it is that old there may be a possibility that some of the engraving has worn off the first draw, have seen it on a similar Ross passed down through generations.

Now a few more details for you to ponder on!
The main tube with the objective lens and sunshade, (brass sunshade, brass showing through the rubbed black covering colour), original leather present, is straight sided, all three draws still coloured black, I’m presuming all the draws are brass but this is not evident beneath the black colour, absolute minimal damage to all draws just the odd tiny ding.
Overall great condition, it has been well used but certainly not abused!
All engraving sharp and clean no evidence of any been worn away.
The brown leather case is red velvet lined.
One question, why has my scope a capital ‘A’ before ‘Ross’.

By the way I have another but that one is a J H Steward “ Lord Bury” in it’s original leather case with objective lens cap.
 

caberslash

Well-Known Member
Now a few more details for you to ponder on!
The main tube with the objective lens and sunshade, (brass sunshade, brass showing through the rubbed black covering colour), original leather present, is straight sided, all three draws still coloured black, I’m presuming all the draws are brass but this is not evident beneath the black colour, absolute minimal damage to all draws just the odd tiny ding.
Overall great condition, it has been well used but certainly not abused!
All engraving sharp and clean no evidence of any been worn away.
The brown leather case is red velvet lined.
One question, why has my scope a capital ‘A’ before ‘Ross’.

By the way I have another but that one is a J H Steward “ Lord Bury” in it’s original leather case with objective lens cap.

A. Ross stands for Andrew Ross, founder of the company. Yours could be a very early example, and sounds like it is in good condition, so definitely worth hanging on to it!

I have a J.H Stewart telescope tripod, they were very famous back in the day. Does yours have an engraved plate on it that says 'Strand, London' ?
 

Fosbery Holster

Well-Known Member
A. Ross stands for Andrew Ross, founder of the company. Yours could be a very early example, and sounds like it is in good condition, so definitely worth hanging on to it!

I have a J.H Stewart telescope tripod, they were very famous back in the day. Does yours have an engraved plate on it that says 'Strand, London' ?

Yes it does, brass plaque two screws, engraved;
The Lord Bury Telescope
J H STEWARD
406 & 457 Strand
No 4545. London.

I must say that at some stage in the summer I’m meeting someone who may want both scopes as a trade for very early rifle scopes (possible WW1 sniper scopes) plus other items I have that he wants, but nothing certain as yet, as I have yet to put a value on the stalking scopes!
 

Mossypaw

Well-Known Member
Nice write up Caberslash, thank you.
I know a few on here, myself included, use stalking scopes by ‘Macpherson of Inverness’. My own is very similar to a post 1915 Ross. Have you come across them ? I have searched but never found out anything about who actually made them. Would love to know, mine was originally my grandfathers.
 

caberslash

Well-Known Member
Nice write up Caberslash, thank you.
I know a few on here, myself included, use stalking scopes by ‘Macpherson of Inverness’. My own is very similar to a post 1915 Ross. Have you come across them ? I have searched but never found out anything about who actually made them. Would love to know, mine was originally my grandfathers.

Hi Mossypaw,

Unfortunately I have not come across one, but then again I have not been in the Highlands for that long, but I know that the owner of the old gunshop which is now Gunsmiths Bar in Inverness was the inventor of a telescope. I have a friend in his 80's who was shown a prototype there sometime in the 1950's. Will ask him and see what he says.

If yours is older then I suspect it could possibly be a re-branded Ross? There are certain features to look for such as the cylindrical leather case and their eyepiece shutter design. Then again a photo would really help!
 

caberslash

Well-Known Member
Yes it does, brass plaque two screws, engraved;
The Lord Bury Telescope
J H STEWARD
406 & 457 Strand
No 4545. London.

I must say that at some stage in the summer I’m meeting someone who may want both scopes as a trade for very early rifle scopes (possible WW1 sniper scopes) plus other items I have that he wants, but nothing certain as yet, as I have yet to put a value on the stalking scopes!

If you drop me a private message I could give you some advice and contact details of someone who specialises in telescopes.
 

bogtrotter

Well-Known Member
Nice write up Caberslash, thank you.
I know a few on here, myself included, use stalking scopes by ‘Macpherson of Inverness’. My own is very similar to a post 1915 Ross. Have you come across them ? I have searched but never found out anything about who actually made them. Would love to know, mine was originally my grandfathers.
Ross made scopes for Macpherson mine is named the "Watcher" only a trace of blacking left on the draws ,does have
focusing mark on first draw, also has sunshade and shutter.
Still in use.
 

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