As someone with the utmost admiration for companies that task themselves with recreating the old and also providing products that give new flair to the old, I have to say I was stoked to be able to handle and get to know a Howdah Pistol. The specific one I acquired for review happened to be the Howdah Alaskan. The Howdah Alaskan is a more utilitarian take on the classic Auto & Burglar pistol produced by Ithaca in the 1920s. It is sleek, reliable, and easier to use than it looks. Let’s hop down the rabbit hole with a review of the Pedersoli Howdah Alaskan!
This review first debuted on TFB’s sister site AllOutdoor.com.
- CALIBER – 410 Bore/45 Colt
- CHAMBER– 3 Inch
- ACTION– Break Open
- TRIGGER – Double
- BARREL – 10.25 Inch
- BARREL GROOVE – 6-Groove
- TWIST –1:48 Right Hand
- WEIGHT– Roughly 4.23 Ibs
- OVERALL LENGTH – 17 Inches
- FRONT SIGHT– Ramp and Bead
- REAR SIGHT– Folding Rear Leaf
- METAL FINISH – Hard Chromed
- STOCK – Rubber Overmold Wood
- MSRP – $1,395
The test and evaluate sample of the Howdah Alaskan I received was very obviously reviewed by someone before me because the gun itself had a pretty dirty bore, which is not all that challenging to produce and it also was lacking anything that comes in the hard case with the gun. The Howdah Alaskan normally comes with a manual and gun lock in the above pictured hard case.
The MSRP for the Pedersoli Howdah Alaskan sits at $1,395. There is quite the air of craftsmanship and quality around this gun and without shaming it I do think that the price point is a little high. Pedersoli offers a few different variants on the Howdah and each of them is more aesthetically appealing in my old soul opinion. Fantastic looking woods and bluing of all sorts. Do not get me wrong this gun is worthy of a high price but after getting to know it I feel like it would be more comfortable slightly lower. The Howdah Alaskan and other Howdah variants can be found here.
It may be surprising to know that the Howdah itself has a backstory and that it explains the what and why. In short, the Howdah or the idea of it portrayed by Pedersoli is derived from Ithica’s Auto & Burglar Pistol. Back in the day, you could order what essentially was a sawed-off shotgun from a catalog that marketed “anti-burglary” firearms or by today’s standard: home defense guns. These guns would be chambered in a few different gauges and were much meaner looking and probably a tad bit more wieldy. Pedersoli gives a good overview of mixing the old with the new!
“Pedersoli’s Howdah 45/410 is a double triggered, breech loading, extractor pistol reproduction of the famous Auto & Burglar pistol produced by Ithaca in the 1920’s. Pedersoli’s model introduces completely different characteristics making it legal for importation and purchase in the US. The main difference is that Pedersoli’s Howdah 45/410 is chambered in 45 Colt, having 10.25 inch, 6-groove rifled barrels with a 1:48 right hand twist and equipped with lengthened chambers to support use of 3 inch 410 shotshells. The pistol is furnished with a ramp front sight and folding rear leaf sight. The rear grip fits snugly in the hand allowing easily controlled use. The Alaskan Variant of the Howdah 45/410 has been hard chromed with rubber overmold wood to resist the elements.”
The first time I opened the case for the Howdah Alaskan I have to admit that I was not entirely impressed with it in terms of its looks. It is not a beautiful gun as much as it is practical in its looks if that makes sense. The gun is made to be durable in all of its ways but it just feels like someone pushed really hard for it to look “cool” and I think it fell in a weird in-between. Weight-wise it’s a dense and solid feeling gun that makes you think it is much heavier than it really is. A lot of the weight is shifted to the front and under recoil I later found makes it very gentle. The handle is not as odd to hold as it looks. Even though it is comfy, reaching that far trigger really makes it a struggle, even for me with my big hands.
This was a challenging gun to wrap my head around. I was extremely excited to get a chance to play with it and see how it did in terms of accuracy. Operation-wise this gun functioned flawlessly under loads of different miscellaneous 410 shells and some 45 Colt I had on hand. The recoil was very gentle as I previously mentioned given its weight shifted forward. The ease of extraction was excellent and I have to tell you this gun was a ton of fun in the heat of the moment. It is so very easy to shoot and exhilarating to wield around.
At the range itself I did attempt to see how she shot on paper and 15 yards these were my results. Aiming at the bullseye shots one and two shot high and you can make out which barrel was which and even what eye seems to be the dominant one! After this, I adjusted my point of aim slightly lower and we have shots three and four. Again after adjusting we get to number five and you can guess where six would have landed if I had some more ammo on hand. I got caught up in the fun of shooting this gun on a previous range day and depleted my 45 Colt.
It did not seem fair to just show off the 45 Colt target. I shot the same target four times with some old 3 inch Winchester 8 shot .410. Aiming at the bullseye once again you can see at 15 yards the spread is pretty extensive. The large hole left by a wad is very impressive though. All in all besides its multiple impracticalities in comparison to other guns on the market, this gun would not be too awful at being a home defense gun. Why not spice up the defense guns around the house with a little Howdah action?
This hunk of Howdah did not command too much of my positive attention when I was first acquainted with it but in the end, it gained my respect. I am happy it exists for anyone who wants to have a unique backpack or home defense gun. I am glad that it is another fun gun out in the world able to give a positive range experience. The price could use some lessening but I think this is a quality firearm that does its job very well and is perfectly fine with being different. I would actually recommend this gun to someone if they asked me about it cause even though this particular Howdah is not to my taste I acknowledge that it just is a good gun.
In closing, I want to say thank you to IFG and Pedersoli for allowing AllOutdoor and myself the opportunity to try out the Howdah Alaskan! That is greatly appreciated. Also, we would like to know what all of you guys and gals think? Do you believe that this durable homage to vintage catalog guns is something worth spending your money on? Would you run to the range with this lovable hunk of Howdah? Would this be your go-to fun gun at the range? Let us know all of your thoughts in the Comments below! We always appreciate your feedback.