Boxlock Vs Sidelock


A simple little question, Please? Could you explain the difference between a Boxlock and a Sidelock shotgun, and any advantages of each design? Or refer me to a book or magazine article?


Dear Bob,

The basic, dirt simple, difference between the sidelock and the boxlock is that the side lock mounts the “locks” (firing mechanism consisting of springs, sears, hammers) on sideplates attached to each side of the gun, while the boxlock puts those parts inside the body of the action. The Anson and Deeley boxlock action is the best known of the type. Current O/Us, mostly copying Browning, are really more “trigger plate actions” than true boxlocks.

Entire reams of barnyard effluent have been written of the advantages of one over the other. I don’t really have time to get into all of it, but here are a few of the points. I am sure that our gimlet-eyed readers will have many other suggestions that I have omitted.

better trigger pulls
slimmer action
better safety
more room for engraving
better balance
ease of maintenance

lower cost
fewer parts
more reliable
easier stock fittment

Geoffrey Boothroyd’s book “Sidelocks and Boxlocks” is pretty good if you want to limit yourself to the English guns. “Lock, Stock and Barrel” by Adams and Braden gives a pretty good run down of how sidelocks are made, but they think that boxlocks are good only for holding up liquor stores. should have both books. The Adams/Braden works has a marvelous bibliography if you are really serious about these action types.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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