Normally we’re hesitant to use the word ‘best’ to describe anything. With so much subjectivity around it, we like to hedge our bets at least a little. Fortunately, when it comes to shooting, ‘best guns’ is a definable term. It’s a gun that has a few key characteristics: a sidelock action with intercepting sears to prevent accidental firing; chopper lump barrels for the best strength-to-weight ratio; stocks that come right to the fences and barrel lumps hidden by the floorplate. Essentially, a gun of this type lives up to its name.
In theory, any gunmaker should be able to make a best gun; the reality is far more disappointing. You could search London’s numerous gunmakers many times over and still not find something that matches the quality of a ‘best’ gun. Or you could just go to Boss & Co., proud purveyors of ‘best’ guns only.
Established in 1812, Boss & Co. is the oldest of London’s big three gunmakers, beating out Holland & Holland by 23 years and Purdey by two. Yet while others have expanded into seasonal clothing lines and sporters, Boss has stuck to their guns in the most literal sense.
In fact, in all that time not a lot has changed. Granted Boss is no longer at its iconic St. James’s Street address, but their Kew Gardens home wouldn’t look out of place in the Victorian era – a workshop of wood, metal and handcrafted excellence. No mass production here.
It’s hard to express just what a Boss gun actually is for one simple reason: a Boss gun is different for every owner. When it comes to production, don’t even think of them as guns; think of them more as a Savile Row suit that just so happens to show its hidden lining in shooting season.
Aside from just choosing the type of gun you want – over and under or side by side, bore, etc – there are plenty of gunmakers that will engrave your gun with any flight of fancy you can come up with. That’s just the beginning for Boss.
The length and the grain of the stock, the type of ribs, the finishing on the action, the shape of the hammer, there’s not a single aspect of a Boss gun that is ‘as standard.’ It’s why no matter how many owners there are, each will have their own vision of what makes a Boss gun a Boss gun. It’s why there’s only one way to really describe Boss & Co. as a gunmaker: Best guns only; bossguns.com