A Street-Legal Shorty Double Barrel? The Pedersoli Howdah .45/.410 – Full Review.

Tearing a page from the past, Pedersoli recreates the legendary Ithaca-style double barrel pistol of the 1920s. Chambered in .45/.410, the rifled barreled Pedersoli Howdah delivers classic style and modern defensive performance.

The new Pedersoli Howdah double pistol from the Italian Firearms Group is an historic design with a lineage that dates back to late 19th century Europe and development of the first Howdah-style double barrel pistols for big game hunters. In America the handful of Howdah-style percussion pistols and later cartridge pistols, both side-by-side and superposed versions that found their way to our shores, were quickly copied by gunsmiths, as well as those with little more than a hacksaw and an idea. A real Howdah Pistol, however, was a far more elegant sidearm, as is this new Pedersoli 45/410.

SPECS

  • Chambering: .45 Colt/.410 ga.
  • Barrel: 10.25 inches
  • Action: Single non selective trigger, internal hammers
  • OA Length: 17 inches
  • Weight: 4.1 pounds
  • Stock: Walnut
  • Sights: Silver bead front, folding leaf rear
  • Finish: Blued barrels, color casehardened steel furniture
  • Capacity: 2
  • Price: $1,250

With an overall length of 17 inches, the Pedersoli Howdah .45/.410 has the heft and balance to handle modern high velocity personal defense rounds. The optional single, non-selective trigger on the test gun had a light 4.2 pound average pull.

The design is based on the 10-inch barrel length Flues Model of the break-open, double barrel pistol introduced by Ithaca in 1922 and manufactured through 1925. The most important difference is that the Pedersoli has rifled barrels and is chambered for 3-inch .45/.410 shells. The grip shape is nearly identical to the early Ithaca models, including the integrated spur to stabilize the gun in the hand during recoil, a design seen on many European Howdah pistols. The Pedersoli also uses a sliding thumb operated safety and break-open lever like a shotgun, but the pistol has a slightly longer wrist than the original Ithaca, thus increasing the length of reach to the trigger. It was also decided to offer both traditional double triggers or an optional (special order) non-selective trigger for the Pedersoli, firing the barrels sequentially right and left. Another change is the addition of a folding rear leaf sight to allow better accuracy with .45 caliber cartridges and .410 slugs. The vast majority of original smoothbore Ithaca models were chambered in 20 ga. although other gauges were produced, including approximately 20 in .410 ga. like the Pedersoli.

The 10.25 inch double barreled pistol has rifled barrels to accurately fire .45 caliber defensive ammo, like Hornady’s Critical Defense 185 gr. FTX, as well as all modern 2½-inch defensive .410 ga. shotshells.

The shotgun-style lever opens the action for a quick, efficient reload. The Pedersoli’s elegant early 20th century lines evoke a look of the past combined with modern construction and durability.

Ithaca built 4,500 of the double barrel smoothbores under the name Auto & Burglar in two models, the elegantly-styled first version, also referred to as the Model A, and the c.1925 – 1934 New Improved Double (NID) or Model B with a revised pistol grip design, longer 12.2 inch barrels and chambered for 2¾-inch shells. The Model A was chambered for 2½-inch shells, as is the Pedersoli. Around 1,500 of the NID versions were sold through 1934, the year the National Firearms Act (NFA) was implemented, which brought an abrupt end to Ithaca’s production of the Auto & Burglar.

As a defensive weapon for person protection in close quarters, the Howdah pistol fulfills the same role in the 21st century it served nearly a century ago.

Modern vs. Original

The Pedersoli Howdah .45/410 has rifled barrels and is thus not subject to NFA restrictions; it is actually more akin to the late 19th century Howdah pistols made famous by Holland & Holland and James Purdey & Sons, Ltd., among others. The Pedersoli’s hammerless integrated boxlock action is based on the Anson and Deeley design developed in 1875 for the Westley-Richards Company. The silver welded barrels use a monoblock with two lugs, and a horizontal wedge inserted on the frame that fits inside the lugs when the action is closed. The Pedersoli Howdah has a handsomely hand checkered splinter forend and hand checkered pistol grip with spur, a color casehardened receiver and tang, high polish blued barrels, triggerguard, trigger, lever, and checkered sliding manual safety. The 10.25-inch barrels have a broad center rib to allow the folding rear leaf sight and a ramped silver dot front sight.

From a 1920’s point of view, being on the wrong end of a double barreled pistol was one place a criminal did not want to be. An old Ithaca advertisement about the Auto & Burglar’s use stated that, “…[Chicago policeman and] Detective Harry J. Loose … first induced the banks in and around Chicago to use it, then its use spread to sheriffs, police departments, paymasters, watchmen, express messengers, and it’s a wonderful home protector.” Indeed, with today’s excellent .45 caliber personal defense rounds like Hornady Critical Defense 185 gr. FTX pistol cartridges, and the option of loading one of many .410 ga. 000 buckshot and personal defense loads like Winchester’s PDX1 410 Defender, (combining a dozen plated BBs with a trio of plated “defense discs”) the concept of the Howdah and old Ithaca double pistols still works in the 21st century.

For shotshells the rear folding leaf sight can be left down for traditional shotgun-style sighting down the barrels.

The Howdah is chambered for the .45 Colt (left) and .410 (right).

Doubling Downrange 

In terms of handling, the Pedersoli is about as basic as it gets, think double barrel shotgun scaled down to pistol size, but with the same manual of operation, one lever to open it, load two rounds, close it, and the action is ready. The gun also has a manual tang safety, just like a shotgun. As a .45/.410 the Pedersoli is a lot easier to shoot than an old Ithaca 20 ga. and with modern .410 ga. buckshot nearly as effective at close range. Drop in two hard-hitting 185 gr. FTX .45 Colt rounds or Hornady Triple Defense with a .41 caliber FTX slug backed by a pair of .36 caliber lead shot, and this is a double barrel version of your favorite .45/410 Deringer or revolver, only with a 10.25 inch set of barrels.

The cardboard backstop from all five B-27 test targets speaks for itself. The vast majority of hits are within a 7-inch circumference equal to the 9, 10 and X rings.

For the range test I ran everything previously listed through the Pedersoli plus Remington HD Ultimate Home Defense 000 buckshot and Federal Premium Personal Defense 000 buckshot. The 000 2-½ inch shot shells deliver four .36 caliber lead pellets. This was a close-quarters evaluation with the test targets, B-27 “center sections” set out at 7 yards (21 feet) for buckshot and 15 yards (45 feet) for the .45 FTX cartridges. With 10.25 inch barrels and a weight of 4.1 pounds (empty) recoil with the .45 caliber rounds was moderate, as was Federal Premium Personal Defense 000 buckshot. The heavier hitting combo loads, Critical Defense Triple Defense and PDX1 require a strong support hand hold with fingers wrapped over the edge of the barrels. Recoil, as expected, is heavy but still manageable, and the Pedersoli does not ride back in the hand due to the grip angle and grip spur, which keeps the pistol centered in the web of the shooting hand. The best hold on the gun is with the strong side arm extended (a Weaver stance works well) with the support hand firmly grasping the forearm.

The Howdah can fire either of the chambered rounds, interchangeably.

Trigger pull for the optional single, non-selective trigger on the test gun averaged 4.2 pounds firing the right and then left barrels. Average velocity for the .45 caliber Hornady Critical Defense 185 gr. FTX was 1,070 fps. Velocity with Remington HD Ultimate Home Defense 000 buckshot, Federal Premium Personal Defense 000 buckshot, and Winchester’s PDX1 410 Defender averaged 1,025; 1,050; 1,075 fps, respectively. Hornady Triple Defense sent its .41 caliber FTX slug and paired.36 caliber lead balls downrange at a hefty 1,458 fps.

I shot two sets of rounds with each brand of ammo with average shot groups measuring 2.5 inches to 3.25 inches with Hornady 185 gr. FTX .45 Colt, all in the 9 and 10 ring center body mass. Barrel regulation was very close at this range with the left and right barrels splitting the distance from POA. With the 000 buckshot, Remington HD clustered its four lead balls at 2.5 inches and Federal Premium, the easiest (lightest recoil) of the 000 buckshot grouping at 1.5 to 2.0 inches. The Triple Defense slammed into the target with the FTX slug and lead balls bunching at 2.0 to 2.25 inches, and PDX1 was simply the most devastating with its trio of plated defense discs bunching at 1.75 inches surrounded by a full pattern of plated BBs.

The pistol grip angle and spur keep the Pedersoli centered in the web of the shooting hand with heavy recoiling rounds.

The Takeaway

The Pedersoli is a near century-old design from the 1920’s, an era when personal protection was just as compelling as it is today. For modern day lawmen, the gun is relatively antiquated by 21st century standards but not impractical; as a home and personal defense gun, for carry in a vehicle, or encountering uninvited things that go bump in the night, a high-power .410 ga. double barrel pistol with very straightforward operation and handling is just as relevant today as it was in the 1920’s. In that one respect the Pedersoli Howdah .45/.410 is much the same as it’s legendary (and very expensive and hard to acquire) predecessor; a practical, effective, and accurate means of defending one’s self in close quarters. For an individual seeking a simply handled and, dare we say, menacing looking handgun sure to turn most individuals on their heels, you could do a whole lost worse! The Pedersoli .45/410 Howdah is imported by IFG (Italian Firearms Group) and has a suggested retail price of $1,250.

For more information visit http://www.italianfirearmsgroup.com/.

To purchase a Pedersoli firearm on GunsAmerica.com, click this link: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?Keyword=pedersoli.

{ 47 comments… add one }
  • Dave August 22, 2017, 6:28 am

    Great guns, I have had several sell quickly -and have more on the way.
    They are very well made-and yes its cost $$ to build and regulate a rifled double barrel !

    Don’t knock them to you see and hold one in your hands,and if you can get to shoot it you will see what a nice well priced for the quality gun this is.

  • ejharb August 19, 2017, 9:23 pm

    10 inch barrels give 410 ooo x4 better velocity than the judge type revolver.
    Speed kills

  • F August 16, 2017, 8:25 pm

    To all you poor people that complain about not having enough money for anything… who cares? Rich people don’t need mansions, mercedes, or Rolexes either but if they can afford it, why not?

    • Daniel Braatz August 18, 2017, 5:12 pm

      Funny; I was just thinking how unfair it seems that, because I don’t have enough money, I can’t have a “sawed off” double shot gun.. I bought an 18″ double .410 but in order to shorten the barrel & stock I would need to pay almost as much as the piece cost for the Federal tax stamp. Firearms restrictions only apply to the poor. *gets off soap box*

  • BILLYBOB August 16, 2017, 7:50 am

    SURE BETTER THAN A YEAR PLUS WAIT FOR A FORM 4 / ITHACA AUTO & BURGLAR ( SALE FOR $5000) LOOKS IDENTICAL ! OR 3 SHOCKWAVES

  • Bu Wammi August 15, 2017, 12:48 pm

    Nice gun..Too expensive for me..This is for those with too much money and don’t know what to spend it on…

    • Frank August 16, 2017, 8:31 pm

      People with high income can buy whatever they want… Mercedes, Rolex, mansions, etc. Nobody cares if you’re poor.

  • MAURILIO August 15, 2017, 7:25 am

    TAURUS JUDGE/SMITH&WESSON GOVERNOR COMPETITOR?? I DON’TTHINK SO…

    • ejharb August 19, 2017, 9:27 pm

      On the contrary if you leave the cost out.
      What a lot of people don’t understand is short barrels make the 410 less powerful. The howdah
      Has 10 inch barrels making 700-750fps become 1000-1100 fps.
      Speed kills

  • Marc F. August 14, 2017, 11:37 pm

    For $399 you can get a Remington 12G Mossberg Shock Wave or Asylum Arms. AND THEY WILL SHOOT BETTER with the Grip Angle

  • Fred August 14, 2017, 9:46 pm

    I looked over your above announcement on the new Pedersoli Howdah double pistol. I am confused about your new gun being legal at all in the U.S.
    I have been told that previous shotgun pistols (410 single shot) smooth bore are considered illegal. Can you shed any light on this. I find it strangle that your two row 410 pistol can be street legal or legal at all..
    Thanks, Fred

    • JS August 15, 2017, 3:03 pm

      You must have missed the key word \”rifled barrels\”…..making it a large pistol.

      • Fred August 30, 2017, 11:26 am

        Thanks for the reply but I still don’t understand why one is legal and the other is not. They both shoot a .410 except one is rifled and the other is a smooth bore. Why would that make a difference? Calling one a pistol and the other a shotgun as a qualifier for a legal street gun makes no sense.
        Feedback is welcomed…

        Fred

  • Campbell King August 14, 2017, 2:40 pm

    Me likes this beast !

  • Allen Lawson August 14, 2017, 1:41 pm

    They must be targeting the NFL as customers. .$500 would be to much but probably would have already tried to get one at that price . Maybe! After the first boat load is sold the manufacturer can buy the boat then really show a good profit

  • John Bibb August 14, 2017, 1:31 pm

    ***
    How ’bout a couple of Texas or pirate style improvements? Add on a bayonet stud for a WW1 Springfield blade? And a big iron knob on the end of the grip for beating multiple attackers to death if the 2 rounds, heavy barrels, and the short sword fail to do the jobs?
    ***
    This should be an ideal concealed carry gun! (NOT!) Another expensive solution looking for a non existent problem!
    ***
    John Bibb
    ***

  • Ronald Renken August 14, 2017, 1:05 pm

    TO THINK RANDY WEAVERS WIFE WAS SHOT AND KILLED OVER A SAWED OFF SINGLE SHOT 12 GAUGE BY AN AGENT OF BILL CLINTONS ADMINISTRATION

    • MIKE August 14, 2017, 3:13 pm

      HER….AND HOW MANY MORE???

    • BILLYBOB August 16, 2017, 7:44 am

      A 17 AND 7/8 BARREL ! BUT RANDY SAID THEY CUT SHORTER THAN HE DID ! P.S. HIS WIFE WAS ARMED WITH A BABY IN HER ARMS

  • CaptMidnight August 14, 2017, 12:27 pm

    ~ In the early ’70’s I knew a NYPD detective than had an original Ithaca Auto & Burglar.
    Stakeouts used a Stevens 311 Double bbl Shotgun. He used this gun several times to good effect in grocery store robberies in Brooklyn. Only carried two Colt Detective Specials, and a Colt Model “N” .25acp auto for backup. Word got out fast, and the perps met their Waterloo……….

  • Pete Escallier August 14, 2017, 11:27 am

    Looks cool. About as practical as the Rossi Ranch Hand I bought a while back. For a while I put day and night lasers and a light on the Ranch Hand and kept it close for home defense. I would probably do the same with this. I ended up selling the Ranch Hand after a few years. Since I can’t buy this in California I’ll probably pass. However, being impractical is no reason not to buy a gun. In fact, I can’t think of a reason not to buy a gun. I leave that job for my wife!

  • Lowell Schrader August 14, 2017, 11:12 am

    If money was no object…Yes?

  • siftet August 14, 2017, 11:08 am

    Great concept! Now just cut the MSRP in half.

  • Rick August 14, 2017, 10:38 am

    It’s for everybody except Californians 🙁

  • Mr Shifter August 14, 2017, 10:07 am

    No thanks, I’ll stick with my Judge……Really, suggested retail 1.2k……that’s preposterous!

  • Retrocon August 14, 2017, 10:06 am

    The linked web site has this as a double trigger, much nicer IMHO. Looks like they changed the design.

  • Rinaldo Jonass August 14, 2017, 9:55 am

    Now comes the REAL question … Will a 45/70 fit and shoot in this pistol?
    That would make it more in keeping with the oomph of a true Howdah.

    • ejharb August 19, 2017, 9:36 pm

      45/70 runs a bullet diameter of .458 so I bet you could bore it up from .452 and run a chambering
      Reamer. I’d try to find the same style rifling button. Keep them loads in the 15000psi old school range. No ruger number 1 loads unless you want gun parts implanted in your body 😀

  • Norm Fishler August 14, 2017, 9:44 am

    YES! I want one. The original Pedersoli release they showed it with double triggers which is what I’d want. A bit impractical? Is this a trick question? Of course it is! But I still want one. Carry it concealed? Buy a Rossi ‘Ranch Hand’. Expensive? Yeah, a bit, but I still want one. It is truly a modern symphony of wood & steel. My current .45/,410 work-horse is is a Contender that I wouldn’t trade for a wheel-borrow full of Judges & Governors. I dunno if it is chambered for 2.5 or 3″ shells, but trap & skeet shooters have long known that the 2.5″ .410s will pattern better. 2.5s are what I usually use for pest control around my place.

    • Retrocon August 14, 2017, 10:07 am

      Still shows double trigger on their web site, which I will take to be more accurate.

  • Dennis August 14, 2017, 8:21 am

    The article starts out in the first paragraph after the specs saying “Pedersoli has rifled barrels and is chambered for 3-inch .45/.410 shells” , then later states “chambered for 2 1/2”. Did I misunderstand something?

  • srsquidizen August 14, 2017, 7:27 am

    “For an individual seeking a…menacing looking handgun sure to turn most individuals on their heels” the 20-gauge muzzle-loader Howdah (also made by Pedersoli) is a mere $700. And it has cool external hammers which can, of course, be fired selectively. With the money saved you can have a Taurus Judge in your belt (5 rounds of .410) in case the hellish fire and smoke belching from 20 gauge black powder loads doesn’t scare them off.

  • Ruger1 August 14, 2017, 7:21 am

    I wonder if Crossbreed is going to make a Supertuck for it? Lol…

  • Cyrus August 14, 2017, 7:07 am

    I need this like I need Root Canal!

  • Lloyd Dumas August 14, 2017, 6:38 am

    My mind says yes, yes my wallet says no, no. I must agree with all it’s a cute little fella. On the back burner.

  • Joe August 14, 2017, 4:34 am

    Try to conceal carry that thing in your pocket and you will get some smiles from the women folk around the local watering holes…

  • roger August 14, 2017, 4:32 am

    Agree as is too much for a novelty pistol in 410/45. Cobre/Daniel/Leinad 45/410 makes a ugly one for under $200. It would be nice in 12GA for that price however. Then I’d buy it.

    • Retrocon August 14, 2017, 10:01 am

      My thoughts exactly… was thinking a 12 gauge version, less angle on the pistol grip, and a strap down leg holster… then I just need a collar sheath for my knife and a funny hat.

      • Chester Dow III August 14, 2017, 5:12 pm

        The you’d be in search of El Dorado, right?

  • fritz bousigschouer August 14, 2017, 4:00 am

    we need a economic china made version of that classic!

  • Andrew August 14, 2017, 2:01 am

    It seems to me like with the popularity of .45/.410 handguns, someone should create a .500 equivalent shotgun round

    • Larry Dunn August 15, 2017, 12:08 am

      Somebody help me on european shotgun cartridges as somewhere in the world there is one very close to .50 cal.

  • Will Drider August 14, 2017, 12:16 am

    I went on your Site to buy one per your Link. Only one listed @ $245.00 above the $1250.00 MSRP. I’ll pass on that one.

  • adverse4 August 13, 2017, 10:24 pm

    If only I had money I didn’t really need.

  • John R Pyles 111 August 11, 2017, 7:33 pm

    pricey that’s for damn sure it is a cute little fellar though.

  • Gary Huffman August 11, 2017, 4:24 pm

    No way they can cost that much!!!! I really want one but way too much money!!!!

  • Mike D. August 11, 2017, 9:07 am

    Looks like a lot of fun, and useful as well. I wish it was about 1/2 price.

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