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Thread: Bullet mold choice for a Winchester1892 in 25-20 WCF

  1. #1

    Bullet mold choice for a Winchester1892 in 25-20 WCF

    Dear experts,

    In a previous post, I received a lot of precious and valuable advises from the casting community about the choice for a 25-35 bullet mold. I am now looking for tips and advice to purchase a bullet mold for the 25-20 WCF. I like the N.O.E. molds, but they have three options for a .260" bullet in the 80 to 90 grains range, and I wouldn't know which one works best. I am more interested in accuracy as I don't hunt with that rifle.

    Thanks in advance for sharing your experience and expertise.


  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    Rcmaveric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Jacksonville, FL
    I would try a load work up with bullet you all ready have for the 25-35. Since your after accuracy look for something with a point and higher BC. Heavier bullets will help with wind and increased velocity retention.
    "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far."
    ~Theodore Roosevelt~

  3. #3
    Boolit Man
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Phenix City, Alabama
    I have several rifles in that caliber a and I would suggest you stick with original 86-87gr flat point. Unless you have a faster twist than the original 1:14 you normally see you can't go much heavier especially with that case capacity. There are lighter 60ge bullets for higher velocity. To be honest I don't cast for that small a bullet as you can buy a whole bunch of them ready to shoot for $50. Rather spend my time shooting. Neat little cartridge. Bullets are plentiful, brass not so much. Enjoy.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    East TN
    IIRC your '92 will have a 1:20 rate of twist. With that in mind you may find best accuracy and group size with the shorter boolits rather than longer, that translates as lighter rather than heavier. That has been my experience in 2 quarter bores I have.

    The first is a Savage Sporter 25-20 that groups best with the 65-70 weight boolit (based on the alloy mix of the day) from a Lyman mold 257420 GC pattern. Heavier (75 and 80) grain boolits do not group as well in this rifle. Can't recall the powder and charge weight (my log books are outside in the cold 23* shop) so no help on that until the weather warms up a bit.

    Next is a Winchester model 70 Carbine from the 1980's in .250 Savage caliber, bought it new. Tried to get groups with 100 grain jacketed bullets and got only softball size patterns at 100 yards. After many experiments and frustrations I took time to stare at the shipping carton's end label where it read "rate of twist 1:14 inches." The scream I let out could be heard 2 zip codes away! This was the reason my 100 grain bullets would not group. (They also would not group for Charles Newton, who created the caliber for Savage. The company wanted a true 3K bullet speed for publicity with a 100 grain pill. In order to get respectable groups Newton had the lighter 87 grain bullets created, and then he found his tight groups. Later yet, he changed the twist rate to a faster spin and got groups with 100 grain bullets, but not the 3K speed for Savage. So much for the history lesson.) My Winchester had the slower 1:14 twist so I found the Nosler 85 grain Ballistic Tip bullet was the shortest 85 grain bullet I could find. Groups with this bullet immediately went 1 1/4 inches and have taken deer for me. And your Winchester should have a 1:20 twist....

    The more I think about it, I am certain that IMR4227 was my final go-to powder for the 25-20. Wish I could advise you on the charge weight I settled with at the end of my testing. The Lyman #45 manual tells us to start at 10.0 grains, with a ceiling of 12.0 grains. Perhaps other readers will chime in with their favorite powder for your caliber, but this one makes me smile.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

    Bent Ramrod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Southern Arizona
    If your .25-20 WCF is the normal lever, pump or bolt action with 14” twist, iron sights, and you only want one boolit design, I would first look for a 75-77 gr flat point. Failing that, I would go for the Ideal 257420.

    For all-around use, these boolits will shoot flatter and seem to be just as accurate as the heavier designs out to the maximum practical range of the .25-20s; 100 meters or so. I have two 25 WCFs and three .25-20 Single Shots, and for all-around field shooting, that’s what they do best with.

    The .25-20 SS was originally made for a 77-gr bullet, but the ammunition companies inexplicably loaded it with the 87-gr bullet. As A.C. Gould sighed, “They turned a superior hunting cartridge into an indifferent target cartridge.” The .25 WCF was made to copy the same ballistics in a repeater, with the same strengths, weaknesses and preferences.

    Of course, if you have a specialty 10” twist rifle made up for Quarter-Bore Corps target shooting, weights up to 120 gr (for the 200-yd range) would be the way to go.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Prineville, Oregon
    Arsenal mould for 68 grains feeds my 25/20's (and a few other quarter-bores). I do like this mould a lot. My 25/20's never shot great with the Lyman 257312 which throws about a 90 grain boolit for me, though the other rifles do well with this heavier boolit.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master enfield's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Nova Scotia
    I have the NOE 80gr RF and it works well in my 92 and marlin 1894 but it will not feed from the mag ( in the 92 anyway ) just a little too long. I just load them single. I just got the NOE 63 gr but have not shot any yet. stay tuned.

    hey, watch where ya point that thing!

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    SE Ks
    My Marlin has been relined with a faster twist liner so my results may not match yours.
    I have a Lee group buy mold that is very similar to the NOE 260-80-RF that is probably the most accurate bullet I've tried in my rifle. It's fairly short, closer to the 257420 I used to use than the 88gr I currently use.
    I bought a NOE 260283 as a plain base mold for general use so I wouldn't have to use gas checks. This one really works well in the 112 year old rifle, but I keep velocities down in the 12-1300 fps range for a plinking load and help save on brass and wear on the old rifle. It's about all I use anymore for this one.

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    South Jersey
    Name:  257020-25720_46g-56g-67g-77g-86g-96g.gif
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    25720. This is the regular old standard .25-20 Stevens series. Any of these weights are correct for the .25-20 Stevens and Winchester single shot, .25-20 Marlin and Winchester repeating rifles, .25-25 and .25-21 Stevens Straight. They may be seated in any chamber that is correct for any of the above cartridges. The light weights are also fine for short range. Being short pointed they make well balanced short range bullets for any of the heavier .25 caliber rifles. 77 and 86 grain bullets were regular list. (PB, FN, 46, 56, 67, 77, 86, 96 Also Perfection – TP is 420)

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    tropical southern vermont
    It'll be tough to find a 257-20 in any weight.
    Being human is not for sissies.

  11. #11
    I want to thank everyone here for sharing their experience. I have opted for a light bullet and bought a Lyman 257420 mould. I like gas check bullets better, it seems to help in old barrels. I might also consider a NOE in the future if I need heavier bullets.
    The rifle is a 1909 production all original Winchester model 1892 with a 24'' barrel. Twist rate is 1:14. I use the original Iron sight with a Marble tang sight.

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Red Deer Alberta
    The shortest ogive 100gr bullet for the .250-3000 is Speer .......not the BT version.I had good luck with IMR 3031 in Savage 99 with 1-14 twist.They should have listened to Newton and went 1-10 in the first place.I bought a 99A with the aluminum spool that was supposed to be 1-10 but it was a 1-14.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Perryville, Ky,USA
    The 257420 is the way to go with that 1:14 twist. I re-barreled a M1894 and it handles stuff up to 100 grains. The 257312 works very well in it but key holed in the 1:14./beagle
    diplomacy is being able to say, "nice doggie" until you find a big rock.....

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy georgewxxx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    South Dakota
    I am more interested in accuracy as I don't hunt with that rifle.

    If you're not planning on hunting with your 25-20, don't forget about the Lyman Lovern 257463 if you can find one, or even a plain based RCBS .25-85 CM offering. Shooting single shot from the bench or just plinking gives you a lot of options. I've got a clone of your 92 and also a bolt action model 43 Winchester. The 92 with open sights will keep up with the 43 with aperture sights and surpass it on occasion.
    N.R.A. Life Member

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check