Boss & Co Introduces World-First Side-Lever Over-and-Under Rising Third Bite Shotgun

Boss & Co, London’s oldest gunmaker, has revealed one of the most complex and beautiful guns ever created, featuring entirely new innovations to the gunmaking industry. For the first time ever, a rising third bite action has been paired with a side-lever over-and-under format – the most challenging possible configuration. 

The new gun – produced first in a trio of 16-bores for a European customer – joins Boss & Co’s ‘1812 Edition’ family of guns, utilising a purpose-built bespoke ambidextrous side-lever action with a lever for the left side of the gun and a lever for the right side of the action. This unique set-up allows the gun to be easily adapted for a right or left-handed shooter by switching which side of the action the lever is affixed to.

Boss trio

Combining this complex side-lever action with a rising third bite was initially deemed by Boss & Co gunmakers to be impossible. Traditionally a Boss & Co rising third bite action relies on the top lever to push the bite down to open the gun, but with no such lever on the ‘1812 Edition’ side-lever arrangement there would have to be a new solution built in the vein of Boss & Co; beautiful, effective and precise. Over the course of three and a half years, the ‘impossible’ O/U side-lever rising third bite action was brought to life.

Even before contemplating the addition of the third bite, Boss & Co gunmakers had already discovered a vast array of difficulties in creating the ‘1812 Edition’ side-lever over-and-under configuration. 


The Boss O/U was patented in 1909, long after the first era of side-levers, so many of its working parts would obstruct the block on the trigger plate where the pivot pin for the side-lever fits. Boss gunmakers had to split the back-cocking slide and make an interrupted dovetail on the cocking arm of the single trigger – known by Boss as a Barclay. The gunmakers also changed the design and position of the sidelever spring to allow more wood in the head of the stock, making it more difficult to build but curing a problem of old side-lever designs, which created a weak point in the stock.

After perfecting the side-lever action, the challenges of incorporating the third bite had to be overcome. Without the top lever to push the bite down to release it, the gunmakers’ early technical drawings relied on a coil spring on a vertical post that would create the tension needed to release the bite. However, with external screws and cover plates necessary to make the new addition fit, the gunmakers weren’t prepared to compromise the beauty and elegance of a Boss gun to incorporate it.

Having gone back to the drawing board, the team then redesigned the action with a single leaf spring; a seemingly simple solution that would fit under the strap and provide the tension necessary without complex linkages. But the solution would turn out to be far from simple. The space inside the action is so constrained – so as to maintain the beautiful lines of a Boss gun – that any small change has a number of knock-on effects. 

Incorporating the new spring, while also maximising the thickness of the stock, was incredibly important to retain the strength of the gun. So, the team recessed the spring into the underneath of the strap into a meticulously cut oblong section, which not only kept more wood in the head of the stock, but also stopped the spring moving sideways and affecting the functioning of the gun. In a Boss & Co gun, there can be no compromises; the right solution is always the best one, not the easiest. 

Rising bite

The design changes, despite being beautifully engineered, 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 when you peer into the action of the gun you only see the top of the bite, rather than the spring itself. 

Now, after three and a half years of development, Boss has delivered another gun elegant in design, mechanically innovative and constructed to last through many generations – no matter if the shooter is left or right-handed. 

In the ‘1812 Edition’ 16-bore rising third bite, Boss & Co has once again introduced world-first innovations to the gunmaking world. In early 2021, the first member of the ‘1812 Edition’ family, an over-and-under 12-bore debuted the unique purpose-built ambidextrous side-lever action. Just over a year later, Boss applied a new bespoke version of the ‘1812 Edition’ purpose-built action to a side-by-side 20-bore gun; the first time such a development had ever been made. 

The ‘1812 Edition’ family, now with three members, will continue to grow as Boss & Co develops further bores and configurations for customers throughout the world. It’s a rate of innovation rarely seen in the gunmaking world, even in the 210-year history of Boss & Co. 

Arthur DeMoulas, Boss & Co Owner, said: “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.

“With the reveal of this latest member of the ‘1812 Edition’ family we have our third world-first innovation within two years. We have recaptured the spirit of our forefathers to advance the world of gunmaking in a way that is appropriate to Boss & Co; with beauty, perfection and precision in every gun.”

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 O/U introduced by Boss’ John Robertson in 1909. Described as the racehorse of guns for its elegant, rakish silhouette, arguably no other gun has matched its beauty. 

With no top lever, Boss & Co gunmakers lengthened the lockplates by 1/16th of an inch at the top and 1/32nd at the back to make sure the wood line of the stock wasn’t affected by the steeper angle of the side-lever strap. They were careful to ensure the now-vacant top strap curves beautifully, with not a single flat spot, tapering gently into a fully chequered beetle-back safety thumbpiece. 

The side lever itself echoes early Boss & Co designs on hammer guns and hammerless gun actions with a graceful curve and a chequered thumb push angled slightly forwards to give users a reliable platform to operate the action. The chequered engraving isn’t so deep that it could prove too harsh with regular use, and not too shallow that it wouldn’t provide enough grip. 

As with any Boss & Co order, the new gun can be built bespoke to any customer’s desire with bespoke engraving and different shapes and styles unparalleled in the gunmaking industry. And it will always be fitted exactly to an owner’s dimensions, finished with ultimate balance and precision.



PR Contact
Luke Madden – Influence Associates
t: 0207 287 9610 e:


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