Firearms

Boarbuster — A Classic Lever Gun Updated

Pedersoli Boarbuster lever-action rifle topped with a mount and rifle scope

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.

Pedersoli lever-action Boarbuster .45-70 rifle with orange camo furniture
Pedersoli’s rifles are beautiful examples of the maker’s art.

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.

Close up of the Pedersoli Boarbuster lever action showing rain water on the stock and shooter's jacket
Pedersoli offers several stock options well suited to outdoor use.

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.

operating the action of the Pedersoli Boarbuster rifle
The action may be the smoothest of all lever-action rifles.

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.

Box of Hornady Leverevolution .45-70 ammunition with two loose cartridges
Hornady offers high-quality ammunition from 250 to 405 grains in .45-70.

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.

Boarbuster Specifications

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

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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.

How would you rate the Pedersoli Boarbuster as a hunting rifle? What is your favorite lever-action gun? Share your answers in the comment section.

  • Pedersoli lever-action rifle with wood furniture, right, profile
  • Pedersoli lever-action Boarbuster .45-70 rifle with orange camo furniture
  • Close up of the Pedersoli 1886-/1871-type heavy loading gate.
  • Box of Hornady Leverevolution .45-70 ammunition with two loose cartridges
  • close up of the checkering on a Pedersoli lever-action rifle
  • classic blue steel and walnut lever-action rifle on a deer pelt
  • operating the action of the Pedersoli Boarbuster rifle
  • Pedersoli Boarbuster lever-action rifle topped with a mount and rifle scope
  • Close up of the Pedersoli Boarbuster lever action showing rain water on the stock and shooter's jacket
  • Clad in green and orange rain gear holding a Pedersoli Boarbuster lever-action rifle

About the Author:

Wilburn Roberts

When Wilburn Roberts was a young peace officer, he adopted his present pen name at the suggestion of his chief, as some of the brass was leery of what he might write. This was also adopted out of respect for families of both victims and criminals. The pen name is the same and the man remains an outspoken proponent of using enough gun for the job.

He has been on the hit list of a well-known hate group, traveled in a dozen countries and written on many subjects, including investigating hate crimes and adopting the patrol carbine. He graduated second in his class with a degree in Police Science. It took him 20 years to work himself from Lieutenant to Sergeant and he calls it as he sees it.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (15)

  1. Marlins are better because you can mount a scope over the bore. I have the model 336 in .35 Remington for over 40 years. I get 1″ groups with a 3×9 scope @ 100 yards& have killed dozens of deer with ita a few bears

  2. Yes Grumpy 49, The short barreled Winchester 45-70 I had built did serve well as a patrol rifle. It totally out preformed the short 12 gage shotguns with slugs, safer than spray and pray buckshot and you actually had some range (if you practiced). I also worked summers as a special officer for the Sturgis Police Dept for the Rally week. One year in the late 90s I worked with Peter Pie’s (owner of Corbon ammunition) son, who was a reserve officer. When he saw what is was putting in my trunk, the next day he gave me 2 boxes of their high end Corbon 45-70. I believe they were 300grain jacketed hollow point and were about 150 foot pounds under the 458 Win Mag, rated for dangerous game up to 2500 lbs. This is a very righteous round and extremely accurate, but not exactly made for plinking. A few years later in Colorado I took an elk with that Corbon 45-70 round at 300 yards shooting a Browning 1886 with the 26 inch octagonal barrel and iron sights. (I have witnesses LOL)

  3. I have been a fan of the .45-70 cartridges since the 1970’s.
    My rifle at the time was an H&R shikari
    rifle ( .45-70 ) very accurate! I hand loaded ( worked up loads that were very close to .458 WinMag. One day, I was out at my brothers farm, plinking😃. I was in an old dilapidated barn on his property. I kept hearing scratching sounds somewhere in the rafters. The sounds were caused by a very large rat. I thought I should take care of this situation. I fired and the rat disappeared in a red mist, all that was left was the tail!

  4. I like lever gun they are the only weapon I have hunted deer with.I have shot a Marlin 444 for 30 years and love it. The best thing to come along is Hornady ammo. You can differentiatey extend the range of a lever gun with it.

  5. Karl Hoffman, a .45-70 in a patrol car? Holy smokes! That would settle most matters, for sure. I like how you think. The rifle in this article is a beautiful gun. I will say my Marlin ABL shoots significantly tighter groups at 100 yards than this one does at 50. But perhaps ammo was a factor. Regarding the Model 99s, my dad and all his brothers had them when I was growing up. One was the .300, the rest .308s. Then my brother got one. All these rifles killed a lot of whitetails. Nothing ever ran off, they all died quickly on the spot. Brother, like some of you, took a fancy to the Model 99s and now has a bunch of them. They truly are the rifle of the woodsman.

  6. While the Winchester style lever action rifles are nice, the Marlin (Henry) closed top receivers are better. However, the Savage 99 is far and away the true “Classic” lever action hunting rifle. The Savage (18)99 is an updated version of the (18)95 Savage. Gave my 99 to stepson, and now wish that the 99 would be brought back into production. I do like my Henry rifles, but the Savage 99 is not a “cowboy” rifle, but the “woodsman” rifle. Note that the .250 and .300 Savage cartridges are still effective woods/timber hunting rounds as well.

  7. My dad’s had a pivot scope mount (Weaver 4X). That was really neat. When he passed away my brother got the Sav99 & I got his Win24 SxS. And that’s fine with me as I shoot handguns & shotguns most of the time while he prefers shooting rifles. (No handguns to inherit as my dad didn’t thik much of handguns.)

    Lefty – Hold onto your 358 Win !! That’s a much harder one to come across.

  8. Sorry I sold my Savage 99F 308Win,but still have the 99F in 358 Win-which I’m keeping
    Wish Savage would come out with stainless/synthetic or laminated stock,FULLY ADJUSTABLE REAR SIGHT,PIVOT SCOPE MOUNT 99F in 9.3×62 or 45/70 or 30/06.THAT WOLD REALLY BE NEAT!

  9. Hi, I have about 10 Marlin’s & Win 94s & they’re fun to shoot but I’m more emotionally tied to my collection of Savage 99s 🙂 My dad used to bring home a lot of dear with his 99 (300 Sav) (his only rifle) & so as a kid I grew up believing it was the best gun in the world – and at 70 yrs now, I still do.

  10. This rifle shares the common design defect of all Winchester level-action rifles – an open top receiver which makes it a real hassle to mount optics. Scout rifle designs look good in pictures but until you have tried one reserve your comments. I have and I don’t like the front heaviness they impart to a rifle which feels very awkward compared to a more standard arrangement. I LOVE lever actions and this is a beautiful rifle but I’m sticking with Marlins.

  11. 45-70 is one of my favorite rounds. Many years ago before there were lots of short rifles on the market I bought a new Winchester Lightweight and had it cut down to 18.5 inches and had a Packmayr decelerator pad put on. This was my saddle gun in the rockies for many years and then faithful served me in my patrol car as my back up. I still have it today.

  12. I’ll stick with my Marlin 1895 GS[stainless] 45/70 with Williams WGRS receiver sight with twilight aperture/Wild West Guns of Alaska improved extractor/Limbsaver slip on recoil pad for necessary lengthened pull[re-attached retina requires 14.5″ l.o.p.],heavy weight[e.g.450gr]cast bullets].Sight in for +3″@ 50 yards.

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