Bosis’ Challenger has been in the conceptual stage for the past few years, with reports of this dramatic shotgun dribbling out here and there. However, the company is now taking orders for it: a 12-gauge pinless sidelock over/under that weighs a tad under six pounds – or about one pound lighter than the normal 20-gauge Michelangelo in a comparable configuration.
The price of the Challenger is still being determined. For the sake of comparison, though, a standard Bosis Michelangelo over/under starts at approximately $140,000 without engraving. Looking beyond Bosis, in 2010 Connecticut Shotgun Manufacturing Co. was asking $220,000 for a 20-gauge Fabbri over/under made of titanium alloy.
Manufactured in 2006, Fabbri had built the shotgun for a fundraising auction held by Safari Club International at the organization’s 2007 annual convention where it sold for $180,000. The shotgun featured stainless steel barrels and engraving by the illustrious Creative Arts of Italy.
What we can expect from the Bosis Challenger is a receiver and action comprised of the titanium alloy Ti-6Al-4V. It has a chemical composition roughly of 6% aluminum, 4% vanadium, 0.25% (maximum) iron, 0.2% (maximum) oxygen, and the remainder titanium. The alloy is more robust than commercially available pure titanium, while providing better qualities for manufacturing such as welding and fabrication. Widely used in aerospace and medical applications, Ti-6Al-4V is known for its extreme resistance to corrosion.
The Ti-6Al-4V ingots delivered to Mr. Bosis have undergone a double-melt VAR/Vacuum Arc Remelting process in compliance with USA AMS 4928-N aeronautic standards. VAR metals are frequently utilized for so-called high-integrity applications that demand extraordinary resistance to fatigue and fractures. The toughness and homogeneity of Ti-6Al-4V is achieved through a secondary melting process that helps control the quality of the final materials. In terms of weight reduction for the Challenger’s receiver, Ti-6Al-4V facilitates a very thin wall thickness capable of withstanding high pressure. Engraving on the receiver will be performed by the brilliant Gianfranco Pedersoli.
The Challenger’s barrels, meanwhile, also push the metallurgical envelope for shotguns. These barrels are unique to the Challenger across the entire Bosis portfolio. They are manufactured from high-strength aerospace Maraging steel that also employs the VAR process. Maraging alloy steels are recognized for their extraordinary strength and malleability. The term Maraging in part refers to the aging or prolonged heat treatment to an amalgamate steel of carbon, nickel, cobalt, molybdenum and titanium. Chromium is often added as an anti-corrosive. Look at the skin of a rocket and chances are you’ll see Maranging steel.
Barrel length is 29 inches, choked to Modified and Full constrictions. The weight of the barrels is some 2½ pounds – or roughly one-half pound lighter than the 20-gauge barrels of the standard Michelangelo. Bosis describes the Challenger as not having a rib, but photos showed a solid rib of sorts that elevates toward the muzzles. We’ve seen it with and without a brass front bead.
As with his other shotguns, Mr. Bosis will outsource the CNC machining of the Challenger while adhering to his exacting standards of hand finishing in his workshop.
Now in his seventies, Mr. Bosis started his firearms career in 1954 as a 12-year-old apprentice to Galesi. He worked at shotgun maker Perazzi from 1971 to 1976, eventually managing the fitting and proofing department. While at Perazzi, Mr. Bosis converted a small building behind his house into a workshop where he started his independent operation by repairing guns. By 1977, he was making his own 12-gauge shotguns sold from a store in front of the house – not very much different from the Bosis of today.
Nearly six decades after the 12-year-old apprentice first set foot in a shotgun workshop, the Challenger represents Mr. Bosis’ relentless pursuit for perfection.
Noe Roland is a contributor writer to Shotgun Life. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Bosis web site