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Thread: 25 Hornet varmint rifle

  1. #1
    Boolit Grand Master Nobade's Avatar
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    25 Hornet varmint rifle

    For a while now I've been thinking I want a short range, low powered varmint rifle. Probably a 25 hornet, shooting the RCBS cowboy bullet over black powder. A CPA Stevens would make a nice action to build it on, though they are quite a bit of money. A Stevens 44 would likely hold it fine, with BP loads. Maybe one of those Uberti Remington #2 rolling block actions. Something small and light. The groundhogs are waiting. Any good ideas out there?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Jedman's Avatar
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    I like your idea ! I wanted a smaller 25 cal. rifle for a while and a few years ago bought a small framed Zeller Schuetzen rifle that someone made up in 22 K hornet with a take off barrel that looked bad and was the wrong profile and the action had a broken firing pin so I got it cheap. I already had a set of dies for a 25-20 and 2 sets of dies for the 256 WM but no rifles in either caliber. I decided to make the martini a 256 and it took forever to find a reasonable priced barrel blank to start with. Meanwhile I did pick up a used 256 reamer and fell into a couple of 25 cal. 1-10 twist take off barrels on eBay at a good price. I had a 20 ga. Shotgun barrel for a topper so I turned one of the take off barrels as a liner and made the ejector from a 22 Hornet ejector and have really fallen with the 256.
    I have a set of shortened dies for the 300 black out that I make rimmed brass for another rifle I built and it forms 357 mag brass perfectly with one pass. Using this brass one pass thru the 256 sizer comes out 100% no crushed casings even with nickel plated brass ! I built the handi rifle barrel just to see if I liked the 256 and it shoots 75, 87, and 100 gr. jacketed bullets great with sub MOA accuracy. Now I have to get back to finish building the martini Schuetzen rifle. The blank I finally found for it is a Green Mountain with 1- 14 twist and should be a good cast boolit twist. The rifle has a one piece stock, double set triggers, and a unique martini action with a fancy cocking lever.
    I think the 25 hornet would be cool but the cases don’t last long but if you already have brass and dies it may be the way to go.
    On other wildcat rounds that I have made, I usually go the cheapest route like taking a standard hornet size die annealing the top and reaming to the outside neck diameter of what I want the brass sized to and make the neck sizing stem myself. With the 256 I was lucky I found 2 sets of dies, RCBS & CH at a gun show for $ 10 each and the reamer for next to nothing so I went that route.

    Jedman

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedman View Post
    I like your idea ! I wanted a smaller 25 cal. rifle for a while and a few years ago bought a small framed Zeller Schuetzen rifle that someone made up in 22 K hornet with a take off barrel that looked bad and was the wrong profile and the action had a broken firing pin so I got it cheap. I already had a set of dies for a 25-20 and 2 sets of dies for the 256 WM but no rifles in either caliber. I decided to make the martini a 256 and it took forever to find a reasonable priced barrel blank to start with. Meanwhile I did pick up a used 256 reamer and fell into a couple of 25 cal. 1-10 twist take off barrels on eBay at a good price. I had a 20 ga. Shotgun barrel for a topper so I turned one of the take off barrels as a liner and made the ejector from a 22 Hornet ejector and have really fallen with the 256.
    I have a set of shortened dies for the 300 black out that I make rimmed brass for another rifle I built and it forms 357 mag brass perfectly with one pass. Using this brass one pass thru the 256 sizer comes out 100% no crushed casings even with nickel plated brass ! I built the handi rifle barrel just to see if I liked the 256 and it shoots 75, 87, and 100 gr. jacketed bullets great with sub MOA accuracy. Now I have to get back to finish building the martini Schuetzen rifle. The blank I finally found for it is a Green Mountain with 1- 14 twist and should be a good cast boolit twist. The rifle has a one piece stock, double set triggers, and a unique martini action with a fancy cocking lever.
    I think the 25 hornet would be cool but the cases donít last long but if you already have brass and dies it may be the way to go.
    On other wildcat rounds that I have made, I usually go the cheapest route like taking a standard hornet size die annealing the top and reaming to the outside neck diameter of what I want the brass sized to and make the neck sizing stem myself. With the 256 I was lucky I found 2 sets of dies, RCBS & CH at a gun show for $ 10 each and the reamer for next to nothing so I went that route.

    Jedman
    What Handi barrel did you make a 256 wm out of?!? Iíve wanted to do this.


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  4. #4
    Boolit Master Jedman's Avatar
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    sukivel, I didn’t make it from a handi barrel I made it from a H&R topper 20 ga. barrel that has the slimmer profile than the Pardner does. The rifle barrel was a Rem. 25-06 barrel that I had to cut down to about 20” because the chamber was to large ID to use then turned it to a close fit to the ID of the 20 ga. and epoxied it in.
    I have made over 2 dozen barrels by lining a shotgun barrel and about a dozen by the stub method. I find the liner is twice as fast to do and if your careful you don’t even need to refinish the barrel when done, something you always have to do after stubbing. Hope this helps !

    Jedman
    Last edited by Jedman; 06-12-2021 at 03:52 PM.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    Thatís exactly how I have been wanting to do one but hadnít heard if it would work! Now Iíll just do it.

    You used a 30-06 barrel for the 256?!


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  6. #6
    He used a 25-06 barrel. 25cal thus he cut and rechambered to accept the 256 win mag using the original rifle ings

    A 30-06 is 30 cal and would be too big of a bore diameter.




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    Why not a .25-20?

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trophy Tom View Post
    He used a 25-06 barrel. 25cal thus he cut and rechambered to accept the 256 win mag using the original rifle ings

    A 30-06 is 30 cal and would be too big of a bore diameter.




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    Yep, you are correct. Jedman originally wrote 30-06, and I was wondering which barrel he actually used.

    I had read that the twist rate was a little too fast since the 256 wm is half the weight of the 25-06, but again I hadnít read where anyone had actual experience rechambering frim 25-06 to 256. So now I have heard of someone doing just this, with success.


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    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    He's talking low powered, guys......

    A .25 Hornet loaded with cast bullets would be perfectly fine in a Stevens 44. In fact my bolt thrust calculations suggest that 1800 fps would be possible without straining the rifle. Personally I'd rather tell you to do a .25-20, but brass is so hard to find for either version.

    What have you got for moulds? I've been working with the same concept, based originally on the NOE 260-65 bullet. Guy who was supplying me has dried up. Mould is out of stock everywhere, not accepting backorders. Best I have been able to do is a 60 grain mould from Arsenal, six weeks lead time, if they didn't lie to me. Meanwhile I'm loading bullets from my 257420 mould, which is 74 grains GC. Heavier than I want.

    My project is a really light .25 rifle based on a Stevens 101 action. The cartridge is a centerfire version of the .25 Stevens Rimfire. (Brass made by swaging down Hornet.) Strength limitations will hold the MV down to 1400 fps with the 60 grain plain base bullet. I've actually got a test-bed working;; combined the front half of a Model 12 Marksman with the back half of a Model 101, (44 shot centerfire). Shoots, but not too well owing to the Marksman's poor bore. Got a blank in hand, and I'll custom-order a reamer from Manson. Probably not a woodchuck killer except at very close range, but that's not the point. Allyn Tedmon was lobbying for a 1400 fps, "High Velocity" .25 Stevens just before WW2. The war killed the concept, but I can honor it today.

    A 1915 Favorite action converted to centerfire would be easier to put a small scope on. Might try that, too. If spared.
    Last edited by uscra112; 06-13-2021 at 06:29 AM.
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    Boolit Grand Master Nobade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uscra112 View Post
    He's talking low powered, guys......

    A .25 Hornet loaded with cast bullets would be perfectly fine in a Stevens 44. In fact my bolt thrust calculations suggest that 1800 fps would be possible without straining the rifle. Personally I'd rather tell you to do a .25-20, but brass is so hard to find for either version.

    What have you got for moulds? I've been working with the same concept, based originally on the NOE 260-65 bullet. Guy who was supplying me has dried up. Mould is out of stock everywhere, not accepting backorders. Best I have been able to do is a 60 grain mould from Arsenal, six weeks lead time, if they didn't lie to me. Meanwhile I'm loading bullets from my 257420 mould, which is 74 grains GC. Heavier than I want.

    My project is a really light .25 rifle based on a Stevens 101 action. The cartridge is a centerfire version of the .25 Stevens Rimfire. (Brass made by swaging down Hornet.) Strength limitations will hold the MV down to 1400 fps with the 60 grain plain base bullet. I've actually got a test-bed working;; combined the front half of a Model 12 Marksman with the back half of a Model 101, (44 shot centerfire). Shoots, but not too well owing to the Marksman's poor bore. Got a blank in hand, and I'll custom-order a reamer from Manson. Probably not a woodchuck killer except at very close range, but that's not the point. Allyn Tedmon was lobbying for a 1400 fps, "High Velocity" .25 Stevens just before WW2. The war killed the concept, but I can honor it today.

    A 1915 Favorite action converted to centerfire would be easier to put a small scope on. Might try that, too. If spared.
    Thank you for your reply. You certainly know a lot more about these actions than I do, and it's good to get confirmation that I may be on the right track. Currently I have a small Ideal mold, don't remember which one, but I think it is the 60 grain one. And a Ranch Dog 75 plain base which is great for smokeless powder but not enough lube for black. I have thousands of hornet cases from my days shooting IHMSA and as you mentioned, the 25-20 repeater cartridge is bigger than I want to use. Hopefully I can find a good donor rifle and a barrel to make this happen.

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy Jim22's Avatar
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    It seems to me that a .25 hornet is not a straight-wall case. Has a slight taper. What caliber would it be if straight? Saami specs say it would hold a 6.5mm boolit. I don't guess that would increas performance and .25 boolits are more common than .26 boolits.

    I'd vote for the little Pedersoli rolling block. I have a thing for rolling blocks.

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy

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    I have a contender barrel chambered by Gary Reeder in 240 Banshee. It is basically a 22 k- hornet necked up to .243. He also has a 257 Banshee and has Hornady dies for all his cartridges.

    Also how about the 270 Ren. That would be a straight walled case based on the 22 Hornet. 90 grain varmint bullet would make a good 100 yard ground hog buster.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Not. it's not a straight wall case. The .25 Stevens RF is a true straight wall .25 caliber case, .277" nominal O.D. Hornet brass is .278" at the shoulder, but the base has to be swaged down from .298" to make it mimic a .25 Stevens case.

    Assuming you went the other way, and expanded the Hornet to a straight wall case O.D. of .298", then subtract, say .015" for neck wall thickness, you'd have room for a .283" bullet. A scant 7mm. Any reason to do so? Not that I can see.

    Many, many, many years ago J. Francis Rabbeth was looking to create a viable small game cartridge. (This is in 1880-1881 - black powder era.) He started with what is now a very obscure case, the .32 Wesson. Without necking it down, he could use a 7mm bullet. He didn't like it - too destructive of small game. So he necked the case down a bit and created the legendary cartridge that we know today as the .25-20 Single Shot. He originally loaded it with a 60 grain bullet, and was very satisfied, but when Stevens got the ammo companies to pick it up they specified an 86 grain bullet, as being more accurate for target competition. Which it was, but it never was the small game getter that the 60 grain bullet was. When Winchester introduced the .25-20 WCF, they didn't make the mistake that Stevens did. The 60 grain bullet is the standard load for the WCF version to this day.
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    Boolit Grand Master Nobade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim22 View Post
    It seems to me that a .25 hornet is not a straight-wall case. Has a slight taper. What caliber would it be if straight? Saami specs say it would hold a 6.5mm boolit. I don't guess that would increas performance and .25 boolits are more common than .26 boolits.

    I'd vote for the little Pedersoli rolling block. I have a thing for rolling blocks.
    A straight hornet case is a 27 hornet or trimmed back some is a 270 Ren. I built my wife a 27 hornet on a little Sako hornet rifle some years ago for cast bullet silhouette shooting. That is one neat little rig, and surprisingly powerful being able to hit 2200fps with a 90 grain paper patched bullet. We usually kept it down around 1600 fps and it would knock down the 1/2 scale silhouettes out to 200M with no trouble and very little recoil.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    A Martini Cadet would be tailor made for a .25 Hornet. I'm fixing to sell one.....

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    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by gnoahhh View Post
    A Martini Cadet would be tailor made for a .25 Hornet. I'm fixing to sell one.....
    Please don't bubba an original Cadet. They are getting harder and harder to find as issued.

  17. #17
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    It's not original. It's been re-chambered to .32-20. Besides, I refuse to put old milsurps up on pedestals and make icons out of them. I'll always consider every Cadet and Mauser 98 I stumble upon as fodder for a custom rifle.

  18. #18
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    A Remington #2 is my favorite (apologies to Stevens) single shot rifle. If you can find one, I seem to recall that Uberti made a few in .22 Hornet, which would make for an easy barrel change to the new caliber.

    Trick would be finding one, especially in .22 Hornet.

    I wouldn't build it on an original Remington action, IIRC Frank DeHass didn't think they were up to high speed .32-20 loads.

    Robert

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    Boolit Buddy Landy88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mk42gunner View Post
    If you can find one, I seem to recall that Uberti made a few in .22 Hornet, which would make for an easy barrel change to the new caliber.

    Trick would be finding one, especially in .22 Hornet.

    Robert
    Those tiny Uberti 1871 rollers were sweet, and current steels and methods allowing them in Hornet and 30WCF made them damned useful. As you note finding one to use is the BIG problem. One would, as you wrote, be a great fit for this fattened up Hornet project.

    I've been looking for a 30WCF one for years.
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  20. #20
    Boolit Grand Master Nobade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mk42gunner View Post
    A Remington #2 is my favorite (apologies to Stevens) single shot rifle. If you can find one, I seem to recall that Uberti made a few in .22 Hornet, which would make for an easy barrel change to the new caliber.

    Trick would be finding one, especially in .22 Hornet.

    I wouldn't build it on an original Remington action, IIRC Frank DeHass didn't think they were up to high speed .32-20 loads.

    Robert
    You're right there, one of those originally in 22 hornet would be perfect for this project. Really any of the centerfires, just might have to make an extractor as well.

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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
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HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
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GC Gas Check