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Thread: 25-20 Anyone?

  1. #21
    Boolit Master
    Chill Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PositiveCaster View Post
    As stated, the .25-20 WCF was always a smokeless cartridge. The straight walled .25 caliber BP cartridges were SS only and while accurate had disadvantages compared to the .28s and .32s.

    I actually tried holy black in my Marlin M1894CL with a 90-grain cast bullet, but I didn’t do much load development. Results were not encouraging. The original .25-20 WCF smokeless loads were highly corrosive and damaged many/most bores through pitting. I now use only smokeless in mine. .
    From memory, which I admit is only about an inch long these days, in Mike Venterino's book on lever rifles, I thought I read that the 25-20 WCF (Marlin chambered first) was a BP round. (?)
    I am not near the house this week so can't check until later.

    At first glance the 32-20 and the 25-20 seem to be occupying the same space in the need to shoot things. Kinda like the 44WCF and the 38-40. But I think the 25-20 is about right for small game. The 32-20 is really able to handle the next class game up to small deer at closer ranges that the 25 really would be a stretch for. (assuming the 32-20 is loaded right)
    I have two lever 25-20's and really enjoy them - so much so, I am starting to rebarrel a project low wall action to 25-20 WCF this winter.
    Last edited by Chill Wills; 01-07-2020 at 11:03 AM.
    Chill Wills

  2. #22
    Boolit Master
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    I had a .25-20 SS low wall. It was a little much for squirrels and tore them up pretty bad with black powder loads. Also launching that bullet skyward was a little disconcerting. I think it would be great for turkeys (where legal), javelina, coyotes, ext. But a bit much for the squirrel and rabbit dinner rifle, albeit, torn up heads are just messy, not damaging to the meat.

    The .25-20 was surprisingly noisy too. But it was a fun gun and a cool cartridge nonetheless.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrentD View Post
    I had a .25-20 SS low wall. Also launching that bullet skyward was a little disconcerting.
    Yes. I agree with that for sure. Around the homested we just use the very under powered 177 springer. But accuracy trumps power.
    In the wilderness, of which there is a lot near me, it is not near the problem. However, it is always best to keep in mind what is beyond anywhere you shoot.

    This class of size and power also is good for head shots on blue grouse but I have only used the 22 Hornet on then. Not the 25-20 - yet.
    Blue grouse are surprisingly good eating despite or rather, considering their diet.
    Chill Wills

  4. #24
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    FWIW Barnes says that Winchester was loading the .25-20 Marlin and the .25-20 WCF with black powder as well as smokeless as late as 1916.

    The introduction dates for both cartridges seem to be 1893 to 1895, a time when there was very, very little in the way of smokeless powder available in the USA. An NRA document I found states that the first maker was a company called Anglo-American Explosives, which started making a shotgun powder in 1890. DuPont's first smokeless plant wasn't opened until 1892.

    Which leaves me a bit skeptical of any statement to the effect that the WCF round was "always a smokeless powder round". Even if it was, I'd wager long odds that shooters reloading it used black.

    Some advanced cartridge collector may have ammo boxes of the 1893/95 period, I suppose.
    flectere si nequeo superos, acheronta movebo

  5. #25
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    I've looked at so many 25-20 wcf's with sewer pipe bores that i have always suspected black powder loadings. Then there are the corrosive primers
    Being human is not for sissies.

  6. #26
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    No .25-20 but I do have a .25-25 Stevens chambered original Ballard. Some time in distant past, this rifle was re-bored/chambered from .22 rimfire to .25-25 Stevens. Since it is a cast action, I have decided to only use real (HOLY) black. I have been shooting 3FG Swiss and bullets cast in original Ideal molds using 20-1 lead-tin alloy. lube is SPG. I was worried about fouling in this small bore..but using blow tube, I can keep all shots in an inch at 50yds. However, for match grade accuracy, I need to wipe after each shot...no big deal..1 barely damp patch thru, leaving bore damp, dry patch chamber & groups at 50yds. are 3/8"! During some hot dry weather, I had a patch of hard baked on fouling in throat. a .032" beeswax wad on powder with a 1/8" SPG grease wad on top of that and thin card wad under bullet took care of that. I did try du-plexing with smokeless...and while bore after 1 shot looked like a straight smokeless load had been fired, It still needed that barely damp patch thru for match accuracy..so I thought why bother? This little .25 is just about the most fun gun I have to shoot.

  7. #27
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    No experience with the .25-20 WCF, but I once owned a Stevens 44 in .25-20 SS. It was a neat little cartridge and I only shot it with BP. I didn't keep the rifle too long as the bore wasn't really good enough for accurate shooting. It sure fouled up easily. Much more so than even the .32-40. I think the small bores are way pickier with respect to fouling build up.

    I ended up selling it and getting a CPA. Before then I was thinking seriously about a really well kept Stevens Model 47 in .25-20 SS. That would have been a fun little rifle. My main concern was the difficulty in getting brass.

    Chris.

  8. #28
    Boolit Master Lead pot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by square butte View Post
    I've looked at so many 25-20 wcf's with sewer pipe bores that i have always suspected black powder loadings. Then there are the corrosive primers

    Most of those sewer pipe bores was caused more by the mercuric priming compound than the black powder.
    Alsoback in that time mercury as in common use for cleaning lead out of the bore.

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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