For a while now, some of the finest British shotguns in the world have been built by two German gunmakers. Hartmann & Weiss is located in Hamburg, and their guns are on par with, and maybe better than, the finest side-by-sides and over-unders being built in the UK today.
Gerhard Harmann & Otto Weiss learned gunmaking in Germany: In the ’50s, Otto trained in Suhl and Gerhard trained in Hamburg. Otto Weiss furthered his education in Switzerland and England (with James Purdey & Sons), and Gerhard Hartmann went to work in Austria. In ’65 they joined together to build firearms. Today, their company builds a range of rifles as well as side-by-side and over-under shotguns.
Their over-unders are built on Boss-style actions, and their side-by-sides are built on Boss , Holland & Holland and Purdey/Beesley systems. The one you see here is one of the very few self-opening, Boss-style Round Body side-by-sides Hartmann & Weiss built. It unfired, and it’s coming up in next month in Holt’s December 2015 Fine Modern & Antique Guns Auction.
Boss & Co introduced their Round-Body style actions in 1893, and so far they’ve built around 300 of them all together. The self-opening feature was introduced in 1932 and used on a small number of SxSs up to WW2 and then phased out after in the ’50s. Finding both these features on a real Boss is tough to do, its not impossible: Here’s a real 12g Boss & Co. Round Action Self Opener.
(BTW: Vic Venters published an excellent piece about Boss & Co. self openers in the Nov/Dec, 2o15, edition of Shooting Sportsman magazine. To find out more about these super rare guns, check it out.)
HARTMANN & WEISS: AN EXCEPTIONAL 12-BORE GULLERT-ENGRAVED BOSS-TYPE SINGLE-TRIGGER ROUNDED BAR SELF-OPENING SIDELOCK EJECTOR, serial no. 2403. 29in. nitro chopperlump barrels with finely matted rib with fine acanthus scroll detailing at the breech end, the tubes engraved ‘HARTMANN & WEISS. HAMBURG’, 2 3/4in. choke, bored approx. 1/4 and 3/4 choke, rounded bar action with Boss patent self-opening system, removable striker discs, manual safety with gold-inlaid ‘SAFE’ detail, gold-inlaid cocking-indicators, non-selective single trigger, rolled-edge triggerguard, best fine floral bouquet and acanthus scroll engraving, the triggerguard signed ‘F. GULLERT’, retaining virtually full original colour-hardening and finish, 14 3/4in. highly-figured stock, weight 6lb. 10oz., in its lightweight leather case with accessories. Estimate: £40,000 – 60,000.