For over 200 years, Boss & Co. has never faltered in its dedication to the company strapline: Builders of Best Guns Only. As a sales brochure in the early twentieth century read: “The owner of a Boss gun has the satisfaction of knowing that he has the best gun that money can buy, and that no one has one better.”
So consistent and so outstanding is its quality of work that Boss & Co. has a long-established reputation for building the most beautiful guns in the world, and for changing the course of gunmaking history with its innovations.
In 1893, the company reached the culmination of a three-year journey to create something that much of the industry thought impossible: a reliable single-trigger mechanism. Boss’ ingenious system was demonstrated through a unique triple-barrel shotgun, equipped with one single trigger, which repeatedly fired without fail. And with that, Boss established a single-trigger legacy that continues to this day.
In 1897, Boss then created a new type of ejector; more compact, more refined and lighter than any existing solution. It would slot seamlessly into the top of the gun, imbuing it with flowing, uninterrupted lines that had never before been possible in the gunmaking world. Just over a decade later, in 1909, Boss created the first British over-and-under gun. It was a lightweight, slender shape at a time when other gunmakers were building heavy, bulky iterations. It remains peerless and often copied, regarded as the racehorse of the world’s best guns.
Now, under the ownership of Arthur DeMoulas, Boss & Co. is building its latest legacy in the ‘1812 Edition’ family of guns. They are the world’s first truly ambidextrous shotguns, constructed around a purpose-built action and supplied with two individual side levers that can be attached to either the left- or the right-hand side of the gun. Ingeniously, that means it can be adapted for either left- or right-handed shooters in a way no gun has ever been before, making them genuinely multi-generational guns.
What you see here is the third and latest member of the ‘1812 Edition’ family, following a twelve-bore over-and-under and a twenty-bore side-by-side. This trio represents the most complex configuration of a shotgun, pairing Boss’ iconic over and under shape with an ambidextrous side-lever action and a rising third bite — a technique so difficult that many manufacturers have ceased making it altogether.
A rising third bite is a third locking point on a gun that provides additional reliability and longevity. But traditionally, it relies on a top lever to push down the bite to release it. In Boss & Co.’s ‘1812 Edition’, there is no top lever, so an entirely new –– and even more challenging — solution was needed. The team redesigned the gun’s action with a single leaf spring that would fit under the part of the gun where the top lever would traditionally sit and provide the tension necessary without complex linkages.
But incorporating the new spring while also maximising the thickness of the wood around the action was incredibly important to retain the strength of the gun. So, the team recessed the spring underneath the top strap into a meticulously cut oblong section, which not only kept more wood in the head of the stock but also stopped the spring from moving sideways and affecting the gun’s functionality. There can be no compromises in a Boss & Co. gun; the correct solution is always the best one, not the easiest.
Despite being beautifully engineered, the design changes were to be hidden from view to maintain the elegance of a Boss gun. A further cut-out within the rising third bite that the spring sits in was included to ensure that when one peers into the gun’s action, only the top of the bite is seen, rather than the spring itself.
As with all Boss & Co. guns, the new rising third bite side-lever is a thing of beauty. Its timeless shape draws inspiration from the first British over-and-under of 1909. A great deal of design prowess also went into the vacant top strap, which is devoid of a top lever. Not a single part is flat, creating a traditional Boss & Co. flowing shape as it tapers into a hand-engraved beetle-back safety — again a trademark design from London’s oldest gunmaker. Any Boss gun can be personalised to a customer’s desire.
The side lever itself is intricately designed, inspired by early Boss hammer and hammerless guns. The hand-engraved chequered thumb push at the top is angled slightly forwards so that when depressed, it is parallel with the action to stop the thumb from slipping off. The lever curves gracefully around the action, and such is the standard of Boss craftsmanship; if the gun is held up to the daylight, no light is visible between the lever and the action.
“Boss & Co.’s innovation has always been renowned for pushing the limits of gunmaking, whether it was the first reliable single trigger, the Boss Ejector or the first British over-and-under gun. But while those innovations now sit over a century in the past, we still maintain that pioneering spirit at our London headquarters, along with Boss’ traditional values of beauty and perfection in every detail,” says Arthur DeMoulas, Owner of Boss & Co.
To learn more about Boss & Co. and their range of guns, click here…