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Thread: 25-20 Anyone?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master Good Cheer's Avatar
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    25-20 Anyone?

    While plotting out ideas on black powder loads for the 9.3x74R and .41 Mag rifles I remembered the 25-20.
    Any you guys shooting black in your 25-20's?

    The .41...
    Is going to be interesting. This evening it looks like one grain of powder for 0.028" of cartridge internal length. The loadings won't be 38-40 deer knockers but probably great for those feral tomato cans sneaking around the front yard.

    The 9.3...
    Can ol' #35809 be paper patched to work with black? Reckon I'll find out.

    The 25-20...
    How in the world do you make a lube cookie that small? And aint no way I'm patching them. What do yall do?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Good Cheer's Avatar
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    Oh, and to the bottom of the 9.3 case neck I got 72 grains of powder.

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master
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    No BP work with 25/20 WCF. For BP performance levels, I use Ross Seyfried's formula--take the nominal BP weight (20 grains) and multiply it by 0.4--product is 8.0 grains. Use IMR 4198 powder at that weight for about 1375-1400 FPS with the 85 grain RCBS plain base Cowboy bullet. It does fine work on small game and varmints to the size of coyotes. It tracks pretty closely with the 22 LR HV loads to 100 yards, and hits with twice their energy. With aperture irons on my Marlin 1894CL, it groups into 1.5" to 1.75" at 100 yards. I size to .258", and lube with 50/50 BW/Alox.
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

  4. #4
    Years ago did some work with black powder in the 25-20Win and didn't have a great deal of success. There are at least a few reasons for this I've learned in the meantime and will revisit it one day soon.
    Issues included too hard alloy of wheel weight when it should have been 20-1 or softer, an alox based lube that seriously gums up with black powder residue and a barrel in poor shape.
    Might have to try some of the substitute black powders to see if there's less fouling build up in such a small bore too.

    I didn't know 4198 was an option in the 25-20. I'll have to experiment with that also!

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    Chill Wills's Avatar
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    I load BP in a lot of the old cartridges but I won't be loading that one with black powder.

    Not that it is a bad idea or you shouldn't do it, it is just that my only 25WCF rifles are 1892 Winchesters. That little bottleneck brass and a singleshot rifle might be fun loaded with BP but in my 1892 a pinch of smokeless and a well cast bullet go so well together, I may-not ever know the pleasure of shooting it the way it was first loaded.

    Please let us know what you think when you do it.
    Chill Wills

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    I used to when I owned one. Strangely, 1.5 fg shoot quite a bit better than 3 f in it. It was the 25-20 SS. Not Win.
    Last edited by BrentD; 12-19-2019 at 09:27 AM.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Lead pot's Avatar
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    I had a marlin .25-20 and I used sifted out blasting powder we had in the machine shop for splitting logs and the only hard part was the time consuming time it took to clean the cases.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy hockeynick39's Avatar
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    Find a small hole punch and you should be able to make your grease cookies with that. I load for a Stevens 25-20 Single Shot, not the 25-20 Winchester. Also don't use BP.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master Lead pot's Avatar
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    Click image for larger version. 

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  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I have seen many 25WCF guns for sale and always passed on them but ... older I get ... the more attractive they seem.

    Sooooo ... am watching this with interest.
    WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE...MORE WILL BE SAID THEN DONE

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Lead pot's Avatar
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    Another great .25 caliber that was short lived was the .256 Win Mag chambered in the Mod. 57 Marlin's Levermatic. The 57 was a Box magazine short throw lever action that you could flip the lever without taking your hand off the grip. The little shell was very accurate. I don't know if brass is still available but it can be made from .357 mag cases.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master




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    lead POT no brass is not made any more by winchester, also the .256 win mag was in marlin model 62 same as was the 30 carbine. you can get the reforming dies to make brass from .357 mag brass
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  13. #13
    Boolit Master Lead pot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shdwlkr View Post
    lead POT no brass is not made any more by winchester, also the .256 win mag was in marlin model 62 same as was the 30 carbine. you can get the reforming dies to make brass from .357 mag brass
    Your right the 57 was my .22 and the 62 was my .256. It's been a while. I might still have the .256 dies.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master Good Cheer's Avatar
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    Can .357 Max cases be used to create a case with a longer neck?
    Might be some kinda nice in a single shot.

  15. #15
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    Well I've had great fun with APP and black mz in cartridges and I think that would work in 25-20. I haven't got to reloading 25-20 yet but when I do I will start with whatever phil sharpe listed for unique and bullseye. I use the 40% rule with 4227 so that would be 8 grains of 4227. I do the same with 38-40 and 44-40 and wouldn't you know the old original loads of 4227 for those rounds is 16 grains (40x.4 for you math phobes). How about powder coating bullets? You don't use lube or bullet lube with black mz.
    Last edited by tucumcari_kid; 12-28-2019 at 12:29 PM.
    -Mike

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy



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    I need some 25-20 brass to begin with, or make some. Thanks goodness I have a gross of 32-20 to mess with.
    -Mike

  17. #17
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hockeynick39 View Post
    Find a small hole punch and you should be able to make your grease cookies with that. I load for a Stevens 25-20 Single Shot, not the 25-20 Winchester. Also don't use BP.
    The old Stevens .25-20 was originally a black powder round. Appeared in the 1880s.

    Another Stevens black powder .25 was the straight case .25-21.

    Both were considered extremely accurate with plain base bullets of 65 to 90 grains. 3F powder was/is the usual fuel. (I admit I too am only using smokeless in mine.)

    Brass for either is not cheap now, and as it has a unique base diameter it's hard to form from any common modern brass. I've made .25-20 from .223, but it's a brutal process. Best route for most folks is to watch for Griffin & Howe .22 Lovell cases on Gunbroker. Anneal and expand the necks to .25 caliber. The Lovell was a hot wildcat formed from .25-20, and they used it all up, so it's poetic justice in a way to convert Lovell back to it's parent.

    There is lathe turned brass available, but it's $4 a case. You can get by with only a few, because only single-shots were ever made for either of them.

    There is a guy in the ASSRA who has built a fast twist .25-20 WCF single shot bench gun, and is regularly shooting phenomenal 200 yard targets with it, using 120+ grain plain base bullets and smokeless.
    Last edited by uscra112; 01-03-2020 at 06:44 PM.
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  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
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    Back in August RayO was selling 95 of the cases. You can find them. Starline might start making them soon, who knows!

    Its a fun cartridge. Ive been looking for one in a Win 1873 to go with my 32-20 and 44-40.
    So many toys........so little time.

  19. #19
    Boolit Bub
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    Cool

    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 didnít 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.


    .

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    I loaded up a bunch of 32-20 Black Powder, but have not tried them yet. No Rifle for these, I only have a Revolver.

    Will load some 9.3 x 62 in BP, just for fun sometime soon also, see what that is like...have the old IDEAL Mold for it, and will be getting fifty of those Cast up this week...should be respectable I'd think...I'll chrono them and see what they do.

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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