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Over-and-under, when one barrel sits on top of another, is by far the most popular choice of shotgun among today’s game shooters.
We tend to think of the over-and-under shotgun as a modern design and it wasn’t until hammers were moved inside the frame that it was possible to develop a good over-and-under. It took until just before World War I for a marketable over-and-under to be developed by which time London and Birmingham gunmakers were experimenting with the design.
In 1909 the famous gunmakers founded by Thomas Boss was under the management of John Robertson, the first to devise an over-and-under that would survive in its original form to the present day. The Woodward followed in 1913 as did Frederick Beesley’s ‘shotover’ which involved turning the lock to fire upside down to achieve best possible angle of strike. In America, it is John Browning’s ‘superimposed’ design which enabled the gun to be produced en masse.