The Boss O/U is one of the world’s finest shotguns. It’s also one of the most revolutionary double barrels ever made. Patented in 1909, it was hardly the first shotgun made with stacked barrels. But Boss’s O/U was the first one able to compete with best-quality, London-made side by sides. To find out why, check out my post about the very first Boss O/U.
The Boss O/U you see here is from the 1930’s, a period when London gunmakers built some of the finest firearms ever made. It has superb 28″ barrels, top-notch Sumner engraving, beautifully detailing on the action, and the most desirable Boss-features — patent ejectors, patent single trigger AND an extremely rare rising-bite action.
Rigby & Co. was famous for using the Rigby-Bissell rising bite action on their finest rifles and shotguns. It’s an amazing piece of gunmaking and extremely difficult to build. In the late 1920s and into the ’30s, a version it made it onto a handful of Boss O/Us. No one is quite sure how (I have a theory).
Since 1909, Boss has made very few 20g O/Us — around 85. How many have rising bites? No one knows for certain – but 2 or 3 is a fair guess. The last 20g with a rising bite action to hit the open market sold at auction for $190,000. This one could do just as well.
SUBLIME “GOLDEN AGE” BOSS 20 BORE HEAVY PROOF SINGLE TRIGGER RISING BITE OVER-UNDER GAME GUN: SN 8482. (ca 1937) Cal. 20 ga. 2-3/4″ Chambers. 28″ Demi-bloc bbls with broad, flat, matted rib, fitted with two red beads, are engraved “Boss & Co, 41, Albemarle Street, Piccadilly, London. W.” and “Made in England” on either side of top bbl. Right side of top bbl and damascened bbl flat are stamped with London nitro proofs for 2-3/4″ chambers and 1 oz. of shot. Case hardened, uniquely Boss, O/U action is beautifully sculpted at breech ends of bbls, with well filed beads at bottom. Action features hidden rising bite third fastener, bushed strikers, automatic safety (SAFE inlaid in gold), gold band tumbler end cocking indicators, Chilton locks with intercepting sears, and Boss’s unique and excellent single trigger. Action is engraved with exceptionally well cut, small, shaded scroll with 14 rose bouquets, and additional roses front and rear of forend cut in bottom of action (by Sumner). “Boss & Co.” is on each lockplate. “Patent No 3307.1909” referring to the over – under system, is on each side of the action. “Boss’s Patent No 22894” is on trigger plate, referring to single trigger. Forend iron is engraved “Boss’s Patent No. 3308.1909″, referring to ejectors. Blued top lever and single beaded trigger guard, are also scroll engraved. SN is on trigger guard tang. Nicely streaked and well figured, dark, European walnut round knob, semi-pistol grip buttstock measures 14-1/2” over leather covered Silver pad, and features drop points, classic point pattern checkering with mullered borders, and a gold oval on toe line engraved “G. P.” Matching, small, one piece, Boss ejector forend has Anson type release. Bore diameter: top -.615, bottom -.615. Bore restrictions: top -.007 (IC), bottom -.013 (Mod). Wall thickness: top-.027, bottom -.029. Drop at heel: 2-3/8″, drop at comb: 1-7/16″. Weight: 6 lbs. 6 oz. LOP: 14-1/2″.
PROVENANCE: Abercrombie & Fitch green hang tag with specifications of this gun.
CONDITION: Excellent. Action retains 85 – 90% orig case hardening color, silvered on sharp edges and beads, thinning slightly around bottom, from normal carrying wear. Lockplates retain nearly all of their vivid orig color. Orig blue of forend iron/ ejector housings is at about 90%, thinned and browned around bottom. Top lever is silvered at thumbpiece. Trigger guard is silvered on bead. Tang has been re-darkened. Stocks retain most of what appears to be their orig rubbed oil finish, maintained over the years with some extra oil rubbed into butt, with a number of very light marks and scratches. Checkering is very fine, with slight wear, and is dark. Bores are excellent, bright and shiny throughout. Action is tight. Bbls are on face. Ejectors are excellent, and in time. Lock screws show some use. An exceptionally fine, and lightly used, svelte little gun, with barrels that measure perfectly. Twenty-gauge Boss O/Us with single triggers and rising-bite style actions are exceptionally rare and among the most desirable British shotguns ever made. Estimate: $50,000-$80,000