- Following the introduction of the ‘1812 Edition’ in 2021, the world’s first ambidextrous over and under shotgun, Boss & Co now unveils its latest innovation in gunmaking
- The ‘1812 Edition’ family grows with the introduction of a new world-first ambidextrous side-by-side side-lever gun, bringing something new to something old
- The new shotgun is introduced first in a 20-gauge bespoke action, entirely developed within Boss & Co’s London factory and delivered with a lever for the left side of the action, and a lever for the right side of the action
- Boss & Co’s strapline for over two centuries has been ‘Builders of Best Guns Only’, and is focused on producing only the highest standard of shotguns and double rifles by hand
- The company has been known for its innovations, perfecting the ‘Boss Single Trigger’, the ‘Boss Hammerless Ejector’, the first round-body side-by-side, and for producing what has been widely recognised as the most beautiful O/U gun in the world
1 May, 2022: Boss & Co, London’s oldest gunmaker, has revealed its latest innovation in gunmaking, just a year on from unveiling its world-first ambidextrous over-and-under ‘1812 Edition’. Now, the ‘1812 Edition’ family grows with a reinvention of the side-by-side, featuring a world-first purpose-built ambidextrous side-lever action. Introduced first as a 20-bore, it brings outstanding levels of functionality and ease-of-use in the field to Boss & Co’s historic side-by-side layout.
In the 210 years since Boss & Co was founded, the company has established a rich history of side-lever side-by-side guns, but no gunmaker – not even Boss – has ever created a side-by-side with a lever for the left side of the action 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.
Importantly, both levers are filed and shaped by the same actioner and engraved by the same engraver at the same time foregoing the need for a new owner – who may need their gun adapted for their dominant hand sometime in the future – to trace the original craftsmen many years after the gun was first created. The engraver and actioner will likely have retired or passed on, meaning any adaptions to the gun would be unoriginal.
Since no gunmaker has ever created an ambidextrous side-by-side side-lever gun, the expert craftsmen at Boss & Co were challenged with creating a bespoke action that maintains the slim, elegant shape of a Boss while accommodating the complex side lever design. Traditionally all previous Boss & Co side lever guns – with few exceptions – have had the lever mounted on the right side of the gun, creating a seamless side-by-side ambidextrous action would require new innovations not seen before in the company’s history.
Lessons learned during the creation of the initial Boss & Co ‘1812 Edition’, the world’s first ambidextrous over-and-under gun, informed the delicate process of manufacture with this new side-by-side. The Boss & Co team created a completely bespoke purpose-built action for this latest gun, tirelessly working on an action that is precise, innovative and beautiful – everything you would expect of a Boss & Co shotgun.
Arthur DeMoulas, Boss & Co Owner, said: “Having owned and shot a pair of side-lever side-by-side vintage Boss guns, I know first-hand that the side-lever layout has many benefits: its practicality in the field and its functionality are outstanding, complemented by the unique beauty of the side-lever and an elegant top strap.
“The side-lever has always been an integral part of Boss history, with hundreds built in the 1800s and early 1900s. But through our research we discovered that all of these guns – with one or two exceptions – were 12-bores. Side-by-side aficionados now have a chance to not only buy a Boss & Co 20-bore side-lever, but also one with a world-first ambidextrous action, with other gauges also in development.
“What we’ve created here is a truly timeless generational gun, able to be passed down through families for centuries without ever a worry about if the next owner is left or right-handed. What’s more, this layout is incredibly easy to use, allowing shooters to use the strongest part of their thumb to push down the lever and eject the spent cartridges, all without needing to awkwardly turn the gun as many shooters do – especially women or shooters with small hands. It’s a practical gun for everyone.”
As with every Boss & Co gun, the new ambidextrous side-by-side is a thing of beauty. Its timeless shape draws inspiration from 210 years of gunmaking excellence at Boss; a choice of the finest walnut stock blanks, of its traditional rose and scroll or any other type of engraving, a seamless finish without any visible joins and completely crafted by hand.
Arguably the highlight of the new gun is the elegant side lever adorning the action. Inspired by early Boss & Co side-lever guns, including the graceful curving levers of early hammer guns, the new side lever bends gracefully around the action. The chequered thumb push at the top is angled slightly forwards so that when depressed it is parallel with the action to stop the thumb slipping off.
A great deal of design also went into the vacant top strap now devoid of top lever. Not a single part of it 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.
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.
The reveal of the new gun comes a little over a year since Boss & Co’s last world-first innovation was revealed; the ‘1812 Edition’. Never before have such drastic advancements in the craft of guns come in such close succession, heralding a new golden era of gunmaking. Although first revealed here as a 20-bore, Boss & Co is already building a 12-bore action, and has begun development on 28-bore side-lever side-by-side actions with, 16-bore and .410 calibre actions to follow.
These innovations are very much in the spirit of Boss & Co, a company that was also responsible for a number of great leaps in new technology in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. The Boss Single Trigger, introduced in 1893 by John Robertson, was the first truly reliable single trigger mechanism, showcased to the public and press with a special side-by-side-by-side three-barrel shotgun operated from one single trigger.
In 1897, Robertson then invented the Boss Hammerless Ejector, which has been in continuous production, virtually unaltered, since that day. And in 1909, Robertson invented Boss & Co’s over-and-under – the first British O/U – creating a gun that is regularly described as the most beautiful O/U in the world, or sometimes referred to as the racehorse of Best Guns for its wonderful lines.