Operation and care of

Browning Side by Side (BSS) Shotgun

Browning Side by Side (BSS) Shotgun

Browning Side by Side Cover Image
Browning Side by Side Cover Image

Thank you for choosing a Browning Side by Side shotgun.

Thank you for choosing a Browning Side by Side shotgun.

We are proud that you have chosen a Browning. In its manufacture, we have endeavored to incorporate the very finest in materials and craftsmanship, and with just reasonable care, this gun should provide you with many years of pleasure and dependable service. If, by chance you have any observations to make regarding its performance or appearance, we hope you will write us immediately.

We would also like to know more about you as a Browning owner and would be grateful if you could take but a moment to complete and return the market survey card found on the inside back cover.

Thank you. 

You Are Responsible for Firearms Safety

Please let us remind you that, as a gun owner, you accept a set of responsibilities of the most demanding nature. How seriously you carry out these responsibilities can be the difference between life and death. Mistakes made with guns are final and cannot be paid for with money or regret. PLEASE READ AND UNDERSTAND THE PROPER HANDLING AND INSTRUCTION PROCEDURES OUTLINED IN THlS BOOKLET BEFORE USING YOUR NEW FIREARM.

There is no excuse for careless or abusive handling of any firearm. At all times handle this shotgun with intense respect for its force and power.

Please read and practice the following cautions:



1 - ALWAYS KEEP THE MUZZLE OF YOUR FIREARM POINTED IN A SAFE DIRECTION even though you are certain the shotgun is un­loaded and '' on safe.'' Never point any firearm at anything you do not intend to shoot. Be extremely alert and aware of all persons and property within range of your ammunition.


The word, “safety,” describes a gun’s trigger block mechanism, sear block mechanism, hammer block mechanism or firing pin block mechanism. These are mechanical devices that place your gun in a SAFER status. No guarantee can be made that the gun will not fire even if the “safety” is in the “on safe” position.

Like any mechanical device, a safety can sometimes fail; it can be jarred or inadvertently manipulated into an unsafe condition. Mechanical “safeties” merely aid safe gun handling and are no excuse for pointing your shotgun’s muzzle in an unsafe direction. While it is a good idea to “test” your shotgun’s mechanical “safety” periodically for proper function, NEVER test it while your shotgun is loaded or pointed in an unsafe direction.

Safe gun handling does not stop with your gun’s mechanical “safety” device. It starts there. Always treat this shotgun with the respect due a loaded, ready-to-fire firearm.

3 - ALWAYS VISUALLY CHECK YOUR SHOT-GUN to be certain that it does not inadvertently contain any ammunition. Keep the safety in the “on safe” position.

4 - GLANCE  THROUGH  EACH  BARREL  EVERY TIME YOU LOAD for the safety of both your gun and yourself. Mud, snow, and an infinite variety of other objects may inadvertently lodge in a barrel bore. It takes only one small obstruction to ruin (swell or rupture) the finest of shotgun barrels.

5 - ALWAYS UNLOAD YOUR SHOTGUN WHEN NOT IN USE. As a safety precaution it is preferable to disassemble your gun for stor-age. Store your gun and ammunition sepa-rately-beyond the reach of children.

6 - DO NOT PUT A 20 GAUGE SHELL IN A 12 GAUGE GUN. We strongly recommend that all shells of different gauges be stored in completely separate and well-marked con-tainers. NEVER store shells of mixed gauges in a common container or in your pockets. EXAMINE EVERY SHELL YOU PUT IN YOUR GUN! The most certain way to bulge or rupture a barrel is to drop a 20 gauge shell into a 12 gauge chamber. The 20 gauge shell, unfortunately, will not fall completely through the barrel; its rim is caught by the front of a 12 gauge chamber. Your gun will misfire, and under conditions of carelessness made lethal by haste, a 12 gauge shell can be loaded behind the 20. You could not delib-erately have created a more serious hazard to your gun and yourself.

7 - DO NOT SNAP THE HAMMER ON A EMPTY CHAMBER - THE CHAMBER MAY NOT BE EMPTY! Treat every gun with the respect due a loaded gun-even though you are certain the gun is unloaded.


9 - BE SURE OF YOUR BACKSTOP. Know the range of your shotshells and be certain there is no chance of damage or accident. Never shoot at water or hard objects. Handle your shotgun, at all times with deep respect and alert consideration to all within its range.

10 - DO NOT CARRY YOUR SHOTGUN WITH A ROUND IN THE CHAMBER. We recommend you do not chamber a round until immediately before it is to be fired.

11 - ALWAYS UNLOAD ANY GUN’S CHAMBER AND MAGAZINE BEFORE CROSSING A FENCE, CLIMBING A TREE, JUMPING A DITCH or negotiating other obstacles. Never lean a loaded gun against a fence, tree, car or other similar object.

12 - BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET AND BACKSTOP - Be sure no persons, livestock, buildings or other objects are behind or near your target. Be absolutely sure of your target particularly during low light periods.

13 - WEAR EYE AND EAR PROTECTION WHEN SHOOTING. Unprotected, repeated exposure to gunfire can cause hearing damage. Wear ear protectors (shoot­ing ear plugs or muffs) to guard against such damage. Wear shooting glasses to protect your eyes from flying particles. Allow proper distance (eye relief) between the scope and your eye when firing a scoped rifle or shotgun. Always keep a safe distance between the muzzle of your firearm and any persons nearby, as muzzle blast, debris and ejecting shells could inflict serious injury. Also, wear eye protection when disassembling and cleaning your shotgun to prevent the possibility of springs, spring-tensioned parts, solvents or other agents from contacting your eyes. 

14 - BE DEFENSIVE. BE ON GUARD AGAINST UNSAFE GUN HANDLING around you and others. Don’t be timid when it comes to gun safety. If you observe other shooters violating the above safety precautions, politely suggest safer handling practices.

15 - EDUCATE AND SUPERVISE. Stress firearms safety to all members of your family, espe-cially to children and non-shooters. Closely supervise newcomers to the shooting sports. Encourage enrollment in hunting-shooting safety courses.



Browning Side by Side (BSS) Shotgun

Browning Side by Side (BSS) Shotgun



In conventional gun terminology, the position and movement of shotgun parts are described as the occur with the shotgun horizontal and in normal firing position; i.e. the muzzle is forward or front the butt stock is rearward or rear; the trigger is downward or underneath; the sight is upward or on top.



The current production Side-by-Side 12 Gauge Model is chambered to accept all standard factory 12 gauge 2 3/4" 2 3/4" Magnum and 3” Magnum shotshells Current production 20 Gauge Models also accept 2 3/4" 2 3/4" Magnum and 3” Magnum shotshells.

General Operation

General Operation

This shotgun is a two-barreled shotgun with the bar- aligned side by side. It is designed primarily as a field gun with two separately choked barrels that allow a rapid second shot when needed. The trigger is a single mechanical trigger.

Barrel Selector

Barrel Selector

All current BSS models offer you the advantage of barrel selection. The barrel selector button is located in the rear of the trigger guard, convenient and easy to manipulate even while wearing gloves. Both the left and right surfaces of the selector are checkered to assure positive shifting. To fire the more openly choked, right barrel first, shift the barrel selector to the right; to fire the tighter choked left barrel first, shift the selector to the left.

Highly skilled techniques of hand-fitting and polishing have been used to accomplish the hairline fitting of metal parts on this gun. These painstaking operations are necessary to prevent looseness, even after long use. You may consider your new gun to be slightly stiff. This close fitting, however, assures you of long lasting dependability.

Automatic Safety

Automatic Safety

The Browning Side-by-Side is equipped with an automatic safety. Whenever the breech is opened, to insert a shell or for any other reason, the safety automatically moves to the “on safe” position. An “S” will appear above the sliding safety lever. Once the safety has been put off safe to fire a shell, it remains off safe until it is manually returned to the “on safe” position or until the breech is again opened. Despite this automatic safety precaution, always be certain that your gun is pointed in a safe direction, and check the safety manually or visually to avoid any chance of accidental discharge. ALWAYS KEEP YOUR SAFETY IN THE “ON SAFE’ POSITION UNLESS YOU INTEND TO IMMEDIATELY FIRE THE SHOTGUN.

BSS Shotgun Schematics Page
BSS Shotgun Parts List
BSS Shotgun Parts List 2



A. BEFORE USING, clean anti-rust compound from all metal parts, paying close attention to the barrel interior and the breech area. The various exposed metal parts of your new Browning Side-By-Side gun are coated with a rust preventative compound for protection. Browning Gun Oil is especially suited to remove this compound and give your new gun its first lubrication; however, any quality gun oil may be used.

B. PRIOR TO ASSEMBLY, always make certain there is no shell in the chamber. After cleaning exposed metal areas carefully, place one or two drops of gun oil at surfaces (A) hinge pin recess of forward barrel lug; (B-C) sides of both barrel lugs; three drops on forearm bracket (one each at D, E, F), (Figure 1).

C. To attach the barrels to the action, grasp the stock’s pistol grip with your right hand and anchor the butt stock between your right forearm and right side. With the thumb of your right hand, move the top lever sideways to extreme right (Figure 2).

D. Grasping the barrels in the left hand, engage the barrel lug’s circular hinge pin recess (A) with the action’s hinge pin (G) (Figure 2). Keeping pressure on the barrel to keep the hinge pin aligned in the barrel lug’s circular recess rotate the barrels upward, fully closing the action. Release the top lever should snap back to its central position.

BSS Shotgun Areas to Oil Figure 1
BSS Shotgun Assembly Figure 2

E. Now place the butt of the gun’s stock against the upper leg and engage the rear portion of the forearm with the action as in (Figure 3). Pivot the forearm up to the barrel tightly. This will cause the takedown lever latch to engage onto the barrel. It may be necessary to depress the takedown lever latch. It should be flush with the wood on the underside of the forearm. If the takedown lever latch offers resistance, tap the forearm’s widest part sharply toward the barrel with the heel of your hand. The takedown lever latch should then lock into position.

CAUTION-In assembling your Side-By-Side, do not use undue force in closing the action. If the action and barrels are not properly aligned, undue force will only cause them to grind together and score or mar the finely fitted surfaces. If there appears to be interference, start over at Step C, being careful to mate and align the barrel lug’s hinge pin recess and the receiver hinge pin properly.

BSS Shotgun Assembly Figure 3

Loading and Firing

Loading and Firing

To load your Side-By-Side, move the top lever to the right and break open the shotgun. Insert a shell in each chamber and close the action. Visually check your safety to be certain it is in the “on safe” position. To fire the shotgun, push the safety forward with your thumb to the off safe position; the gun is now ready to fire on the pull of the trigger.

TOP LEVER. The top lever operates the locking bolt, which is very closely hand-fitted to the barrel lugs. Provision is made for the gradual wear of locking surfaces by allowing a slight excess of metal This exacting metal allowance keeps the breech of the gun tight for many years.

Upon closing your gun, let the top lever snap into position-do not retard its action with your thumb If closed in this manner, the top lever spring will return the top lever mechanism to locked position It is not necessary that the top lever return to a completely central position; in fact, it usually will not dc so in a new gun.

Many experienced shooters cultivate the habit of lightly pushing the top lever to the left after the gur is closed. This habit is no trouble; it becomes automatic and is a quick method of assuring yourself that foreign matter has not interfered with the complete closure of the breech. The breech is so tightly hand-fitted that accumulated debris, sand, etc. may prohibit complete closing. If this should occur, the action will not close and the safety will be locked in the “on safe” position making it impossible to fire the gun. Open the gun and unload it. Carefully examine the action surfaces and remove the foreign matter.

AUTOMATIC EJECTORS. The ejectors of your Side-By-Side gun are fully automatic That is, fired shells will be thrown completely out of the gun upon opening the action; unfired shells will be conveniently elevated above chamber level so they can be easily lifted out by hand for unloading.



A. After having made certain there is no shell in either chamber and with the action closed, anchor the gun’s butt stock against the upper leg and pull the takedown lever latch outward. At the same time, grasp the forearm and with the help of the left hand pivot the forearm away from the barrels, (Figure 4).

B. Break the gun in the usual manner. Carefully disengage the barrel lug from the hinge pin and lift the barrel upward out of the action. The forearm can now be reattached to the barrels for storage.

BSS Shotgun Disassembly Figure 4

DO NOT TAKE YOUR GUN APART beyond dismounting the barrels and forearm from the action This is a specialized, finely fitted mechanism. You may hopelessly mar it, and more complete disassembly of the gun is not required for normal maintenance.

Cleaning and Oiling

Cleaning and Oiling

The broad, polished, finely-fitted surfaces at the breech must always have a film of oil. Put one drop on the ejector slides. Put another drop on each side of the barrel receiver walls. We strongly recommend a high quality oil, not pure silicone or lanolin.

After use, run a lightly-oiled cloth over all exposed metal surfaces. Do not squirt large quantities of oil inside the action. Oil will only run down into the wood which becomes soft when soaked with oil Although modern powders are noncorrosive, it is wise to occasionally run an oil patch through the barrel bore, starting the cleaning rod from the breech end. If leading develops, use a cleaning solvent and a brass brush in the barrel bore from time to time followed by one or two oil patches. Any good furniture polish or wax gives suitable protection to the stock and forearm.

It is VERY IMPORTANT that the chambers of your shotgun be cleaned thoroughly and promptly after shooting plastic shotshells. Cleaning with a good powder solvent, followed by an oiled patch is recommended.

Choke Markings

Choke Markings

A neat, clearly-defined mark indicates the choke of your gun The coding is as follows:

   * Full Choke       * Improved Cylinder   
   * Improved Modified       * Cylinder
   * Modified  



Gauge 12 Gauge or 20 Gauge
Barrel Lengths 26", 28" or 30"
Overall Length 43" to 47" (depending on barrel length)
Weight 6 lbs. 12 ozs. to 7 lbs. 7 ozs.
  Choke Combinations   Full / Full, Modified / Full or Imp. Cyl. / Modified
Stock Options    Standard Style (pistol grip) or Sporter (Straight grip)   
Length of Pull 14 1/4" (12 gauge), 14 1/4" (20 gauge)
Drop at Comb 5/8" (12 gauge), 1  1/2" (20 gauge)
         Drop at Heel            1/2" (12 gauge), 2 3/8" (20 gauge)



If your B-SS should require service or repairs we suggest you first. contact a local authorized Browning Firearms Service Center. Your Browning Sporting Goods dealer can tell you the address of the Service Center nearest you.

If you have any questions about this manual or about any other Browning products, call or write our Consumer Information Department: 

Browning Consumer Information

Morgan, Utah 84050 

Phone: (801) 876-2711

Otherwise you may return your B-SS to our own repair facility for servicing. The address is:

When returning your firearm for servicing, you must do the following: 

  • Be sure it is completely unloaded.
  • Package it securely in a strong cardboard container, and insure the shipment.
  • Enclose a letter with your firearm that clearly describes the trouble experienced and the repairs or alterations desired.
  • If convenient, send a copy of the letter to us separately
  • Never return ammunition with your firearm. It is against postal and most commerce regulations.

United States customers contact:

Browning Service Department

Route 4, Box 624-B Tenbrook Road

Arnold, Missouri 63010

(314) 287-6800 

Canadian customers contact:

Browning Canada Sports Ltd/ Ltee

5350 Ferrier Street

Montreal, Quebec H4P 1L9

Phone: (518) 298-8130


Read and heed all warnings in your owner’s manual, on ammunition boxes and with all accessories that you install on your firearm. It is your responsibility to secure the most up-to-date information on the safe handling procedures for your Browning gun. Browning assumes no liability for incidents which occur when unsafe or improper gun accessories or ammunition combinations are used. 

Do not, under any circumstance, alter the trigger, safety or parts of the firing mechanism of this or any other firearm. Failure to obey this warning may result in injury or death to yourself or others.