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Thread: Winchester 1885 Low Wall .25-20 single shot

  1. #1
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    Winchester 1885 Low Wall .25-20 single shot

    I ran across a Winchester 1885 Low Wall today, early gun made in 1889 and it appears it had a different barrel put on it. Whoever had it before took excellent care of the gun, but the barrel has no factory markings on it but it the caliber it was apparently redone in was .25-20 single shot. I did some searching and found that Buffalo Arms sells loaded ammo and brass (out of stock at the moment) and the dies. Does anyone know of anyplace else that makes or offers that round. It would be a heck of a gun to shoot.
    Whatever cannot be remedied, must be endured.

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    NoZombies's Avatar
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    Jamison was making brass, and is no longer doing so. As such, the brass supply is pretty limited with no current manufacture I'm aware of.
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    Boolit Master gandydancer's Avatar
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    Re: 32/40----25/20 Brass

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaPell View Post
    I ran across a Winchester 1885 Low Wall today, early gun made in 1889 and it appears it had a different barrel put on it. Whoever had it before took excellent care of the gun, but the barrel has no factory markings on it but it the caliber it was apparently redone in was .25-20 single shot. I did some searching and found that Buffalo Arms sells loaded ammo and brass (out of stock at the moment) and the dies. Does anyone know of anyplace else that makes or offers that round. It would be a heck of a gun to shoot.
    32-20 Brass (Small Pistol primer) Mfg by Starline Brass.
    32-20 Win, 32-20 Winchester, 32-20 WCF, 32-20 Marlin
    1.280 - 1.286 O.A.L.

    Designed for use in rifles and single action revolvers, this cartridge is making a strong comeback with the advent of cowboy action shooting. This cartridge can also be formed by experienced cartridge converters into .25-20* and .218 Bee*. And with special forming dies available from RCBS and Lee, you can form a shortened version of the 7.62 Nagant cartridge.

    *The SAAMI spec for .25-20 & .218 Bee is smaller at the base than the .32-20 which can cause clearance issues on some rifles.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by gandydancer View Post
    32-20 Brass (Small Pistol primer) Mfg by Starline Brass.
    32-20 Win, 32-20 Winchester, 32-20 WCF, 32-20 Marlin
    1.280 - 1.286 O.A.L.

    Designed for use in rifles and single action revolvers, this cartridge is making a strong comeback with the advent of cowboy action shooting. This cartridge can also be formed by experienced cartridge converters into .25-20* and .218 Bee*. And with special forming dies available from RCBS and Lee, you can form a shortened version of the 7.62 Nagant cartridge.

    *The SAAMI spec for .25-20 & .218 Bee is smaller at the base than the .32-20 which can cause clearance issues on some rifles.
    The 25-20 WCF and the 25-20 Single shot are different cartridges, and are not interchangeable.
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  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Assuming it's a .25-20 Single Shot and not a .25-20 WCF you should be able to find some Bertram brass. It's not cheap and not always the best quality, but it'll do when you have no choice .

    I used that brass in a .25-20 SS in a Stevens 44. One day I'd like to find a nice 1885 in .25-20 SS.

    Chris.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gunlaker View Post
    Assuming it's a .25-20 Single Shot and not a .25-20 WCF you should be able to find some Bertram brass. It's not cheap and not always the best quality, but it'll do when you have no choice .

    I used that brass in a .25-20 SS in a Stevens 44. One day I'd like to find a nice 1885 in .25-20 SS.

    Chris.
    If you saw this one you would call it nice. The case coloring is gorgeous, it appears the wood was special order from Winchester since it's got extra figure, the gun was made in 1889. The barrel I don't think is original, the forearm is but I know that you saw a lot of these have barrels swapped out. It looks like it could be a #4 or #5 barrel, it has no sights but the older mounts for the long Winchester scope. It's a real beauty. I don't know what the gun shop is selling it for yet, they just got it in.
    Whatever cannot be remedied, must be endured.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    Rocky Mountain Cartridge Co. also makes .25-20SS brass. It is lathe turned brass and very high quality. If you buy Bertram be sure to anneal them prior to loading, and even then you might still have some failures. I lost half of my Bertram brass on the first firing, using the same load I'd been using with original UMC brass that was 100 years old.
    I tried years ago to make brass from .223 Rem., but it was so time consuming I quit. Just too much tedious lathe work to turn the brass down above the rim and size them.

  8. #8
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    I always thought of the LO-Wall as a perfect rifle for the Hornet, Bee, 25/20 and 32/20.

    I don't have a 25/20SS I do have some brass and bullets! I group it with the other Kangaroo cartridges.

    I have a High Wall in 45/70 that I don't shoot enough.

    I was just sizing some 65G Lyman boolits I cast last weekend for my Savage, Winchester & Marlin 25/20's.



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    Last edited by cwlongshot; 02-27-2019 at 11:46 AM. Reason: Added a PIC
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  9. #9
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    RMC is no longer in business, AFAIK. And Bertram is, as mentioned, poor quality most of the time.

    Easiest source now is: https://www.rccbrass.com/ Expensive, but gotta be better than Bertram.

    Occasionally Griffin & Howe brass for the Lovell .22-3000 wildcat turns up on Gunbroker. This was of very good quality, having been made by Winchester. This can be opened up to .25 caliber and reformed to .25-20 Stevens. Anneal it first, or you'll get a high percentage of mouth splits. Best to use a Lee-type expander, for its' long slow taper.

    Ultimate fallback is to make it from .223 Remington, but you don't want to know how much work that is. I have a little tutorial of how I did it 15 years ago. Occasionally some brave soul asks me for a copy.

    Dies are available from several sources. In a pinch, .25-20 WCF dies can be used for neck sizing and bullet seating.

    The canonical bullet was 86 grains, and several sources have it, since it's used by some cowboy action shooters. 65 grains was a popular small game bullet back in the day.

    Trivia: The Winchester company was chambering their 1885 falling-block for the .25-20 Stevens, but marking the barrels just ".25-20". Then they introduced the .25 WCF for the lever-action repeater. Now they had to differentiate the very popular Stevens cartridge, as it was still being chambered in the falling-blocks, but they weren't about to mark the barrels with a competitor's name. So they marked them ".25-20 SS". And that's how it became known as .25-20 Single Shot to this day.
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  10. #10
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    I was told that Marlin came out with the 25-20 before Winchester. Just relined a Marlin that was marked 25-20 M.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Taylor View Post
    I was told that Marlin came out with the 25-20 before Winchester. Just relined a Marlin that was marked 25-20 M.
    That's correct John. Marlin offered the .25-20 Marlin before Winchester ever offered the same cartridge with WCF at the end of there version. Same thing happened with the .25-36 M and the .25-35 Win. Marlin's was first, and Win. stole it.
    The late John Kort covered this quite well in a old post at the M.O. site:
    https://www.marlinowners.com/forum/3...se-marlin.html
    But then there are numerous people today who call the .38-55 Ballard and .32-40 Ballard, Winchester cartridges. But Winchester didn't even have a gun chambered for either cartridge when Marlin introduced the .38-55 and .32-40 in their Ballard rifles.
    Then there's the .40-60 Marlin introduced by Marlin in 1881 for the model 1881 Marlin. Winchester came along and brought out there version in the 1886 and called it .40-65 Win.
    It's a tactic Winchester got away with because they were so big nobody wanted to sue them in court.
    Last edited by marlinman93; 03-08-2019 at 04:28 PM.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    And RMC is still in business and making brass. They are for sale, and have been for some time now. But they did not cease making brass once they announced they want to sell the company.

    https://www.rockymountaincartridge.com/

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    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marlinman93 View Post
    And RMC is still in business and making brass. They are for sale, and have been for some time now. But they did not cease making brass once they announced they want to sell the company.

    https://www.rockymountaincartridge.com/
    Ah, once again I am misinformed. I'm on a roll!

    Thanks.
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  14. #14
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    Thanks John and Val. I did not know that about the .25-20. It sure seems that Winchester stole a lot of other people's work.

    Chris.

  15. #15
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    Winchester had an ammunition making division back then; Marlin did not. Easy to sneak your own name onto the headstamp if you draw your own brass. The business model back in those days was strictly Darwinian; survival of the fittest.

    The .25-20 was originally chambered in the Maynard rifle; Stevens took it up afterwards. Lots of renaming went on back then.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    Marlin had a close relationship with UMC back in the late 1800's and early 1900's, so UMC provided all the ammunition sold under JM Marlin marked boxes. Eventually Marlin stopped having UMC make ammo with the JM Marlin markings on the box, and just supplied regular REM-UMC ammo instead.
    I have some very early JM Marlin marked ammo and boxes, plus some paper patched bullets in boxes marked JM Marlin.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marlinman93 View Post
    Marlin had a close relationship with UMC back in the late 1800's and early 1900's, so UMC provided all the ammunition sold under JM Marlin marked boxes. Eventually Marlin stopped having UMC make ammo with the JM Marlin markings on the box, and just supplied regular REM-UMC ammo instead.
    I have some very early JM Marlin marked ammo and boxes, plus some paper patched bullets in boxes marked JM Marlin.
    Ditto Stevens, to judge by their catalogs. When did UMC become Rem-UMC?

    Never mind, I looked it up. per Wiki

    On March 7, 1888, ownership of E. Remington & Sons was sold by the Remington family to new owners, Marcellus Hartley and Partners. This consisted of Hartley and Graham of New York, New York, a major sporting goods chain who also owned the Union Metallic Cartridge Company in Bridgeport and the Winchester Repeating Arms Company of New Haven, both in Connecticut. At this time the name was formally changed to the Remington Arms Company.[6] The Bridgeport site became the home of Remington's ammunition plant.

    In 1912, Remington and Union Metallic Cartridge Company were combined into a single entity, called Remington UMC. In the early 21st century, Remington still produces U.M.C. brand ammunition.
    Last edited by uscra112; 03-09-2019 at 12:47 PM.
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  18. #18
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    Just one addendum to the Wiki article. Winchester's part in owning Remington was only for Remington, and not Rem-UMC. Marcellus Hartley owned UMC independently of Hartley & Graham, and bought Remington as a partner with Winchester after they filed bankruptcy in 1886. By 1888 Hartley grew tired of Winchester's repeated requests to shut the doors at Remington's firearms plant, and bought Winchester out of his shares.
    After 1888 Rem-UMC was solely owned by Marcellus Hartley.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    So, was the UMC connection what Bent Ramrod had in mind when he said that Winchester had its' own ammunition plant?
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  20. #20
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    No, Winchester indeed had their own ammunition manufacturing. UMC was not their source.

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