Like many other nations, Canada was desperately short on Light Machine Guns in early WW1. In 1916, the failed Canadian Ross straight-pull bolt-action rifle had been taken out of service and there were now many surplus rifles. Straight-pull actions are suitable for automatic fire conversions, and the same year a Canadian engineer converted the Ross action into a fully automatic weapon with a gas pistol next to the barrel.
The weapon had a 25-round drum magazine and a cooling shroud over the barrel which was copied from the Lewis Gun. From late 1916, testing of the Huot Automatic Rifle began, and it proved surprisingly successful. It was extremely reliable and dirt-resistant and much cheaper to produce than the Lewis Gun. The Huots were field-tested in France, and it was well liked by soldiers. The former Ross rifle factory was ready to begin large-scale production and in late WW1 thousands of Huots were ordered, but the war ended before it entered service.