In 1886, Winchester introduced a lever-action rifle intended to be stronger and more accurate than any previous lever-action rifle. While earlier designs tipped the scales in favor of a lone frontiersman facing long odds, they were not as robust as less famous military rifles. The rifles also chambered relatively underpowered pistol cartridges.
The 1886 chambered the .45-70 Springfield cartridge. The rifle was also offered in .45-90, .40-82, and the 50-110. The 50-110 is a .50-caliber cartridge using 110 grains of black powder. Later, the rifle was strengthened to handle smokeless rifle cartridges.
An extensive upgrade of the 1886 rifle was undertaken in the 1930s. The Model 71 rifle features modern steel. The leaf mainspring was modified to a coil spring that not only made the hammer easier to cock, but also allowed for a smoother trigger action.
The Model 1871 is chambered for the powerful .348 Winchester cartridge. The rifle is manufactured from the strongest steel. The action features strong sliding lugs in the receiver raceway. The 1871 rifle is first class in every way.
As for hard use, there is no rifle more reliable for rough and ready use. Every shortcoming of the lever-action rifle was addressed and overcome. This lever-action rifle (and the later 1892, 1894, and 1895 rifles) are reliable and easy to handle. The rifles, even large ones such as the Model 71, are flat and easily handled in quick fashion.
Lever-action rifles and pump-action shotguns are at the top of the list for reliability. Many rifles of the past have been reintroduced. Some of the clones are meant to sell cheaply, and some are meant to best the original in fit and finish. A very few offer superior sights and modern strong calibers.
The Davide Pedersoli Boarbuster is among the best of the modern rifles. The rifle is beautifully fitted and finished with a combination of amazing wood, case hardened parts, and blued finish. Some calibers are no longer practical, as production is practically nonexistent.
Pedersoli Boarbuster Features
The Pedersoli Boarbuster is chambered for the .45-70 Springfield cartridge. This cartridge offers excellent effectiveness on game animals. With the right load, the .45-70 will cleanly take any game animal in North America. With standard loads, the cartridge is fine for deer and boar. The Pedersoli rifle was designed to be a fast-handling rifle that is suitable for boar hunting. The bolt rides smoothly in its double rail, and the lever-action is smooth.
The Boarbuster features an optics rail. It may easily be called a big bore scout rifle. The sights are all ahead of the receiver with an adjustable rear sight and fiber optic front sight. With a properly mounted red dot sight, the rifle would be deadly efficient on hogs and deer at moderate range.
With a high eye relief scout-style scope, the range would be extended. As for the exact model, there are a number from which you may choose. The MKII is a modern rifle with a corrosion-resistant finish. It just may be the best bet for hunting and outdoor use. The synthetic stock will never warp or lose shape in wet or humid environments. There are rifles truer to the original from Pedersoli — including a classic stock and forend design with superior sights to the original.
The .45-70 Government
As for the cartridge, my experience with the .45-70 includes loads of 250–505-grain bullet weights. Factory loads are loaded to a pressure level that is safe in all .45-70- rifles, including the Trap Door Springfield. 405-grain loads usually break about 1,200 fps in most .45-70 rifles but can be as low as 1,080 fps in the 19-inch barrel Pedersoli rifle.
The 300-grain hollow point — loaded by most of the major manufacturers — exhibits 1,600 to 1,800 fps. These loads are suitable for deer and boar at modest range. Such loads are effective on boar at close quarters. The Hornady 250-grain MonoFlex bullet is the most advanced of the modern 300-grain class.
Between this load and the 325-grain Hornady FTX, I think the one that shoots most accurately would be my choice. The 250-grain load is the most accurate at extended range. Then again, there are the heavyweight 405-grain loads. Most of these will average 1,100 fps in the 19-inch barreled Boarbuster. They are most useful, in my opinion, for taking on big hogs at close range.
If you are offered a raking shot, penetration is sufficient to break heavy bones and completely penetrate the animal. As for accuracy, firing a short-barrel lever-action rifle off the benchrest isn’t an exercise in precision. The rifle demonstrated an average group of two inches at 50 yards with most loads. The forward sights are very fast to use and offer real speed. Optics would improve accuracy, but a 50-yard shot on boar is average in my hunting camps, so I do not see the need.
Barrel length: 19 inches
Barrel twist: 1 in 18
Overall length: 37.8 inches
Weight: 8.2 pounds
Magazine capacity: 5
Trigger compression: 6.0 pounds, as tested
Recoil is modest. With most loadings, the Boarbuster kicks less than a 12 gauge shotgun but more than a .30-30 WCF rifle. It is pleasant to fire. Likewise, it is an unlikely ‘fun gun.’ I fired a solid 40 rounds of ammunition in one evening and did not bruise my shoulder — only my bank account. There are heavy loads for the rifle, and I have not fired them.
While I appreciate the dedication needed to stalk large game and take them with a heavy lever-action rifle, my rifle will be confined to busting boar at modest range — as designed. The rifle is reliable, rugged, and a first-class dragon slayer, if need be. Pride of ownership is the primary attraction.