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Thread: New to me S&W 25-5

  1. #21
    Boolit Master
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    I wouldn't run real heavy loads thru a mod 25 45 Colt cylinder walls are thin and the cut for lock up are in the middle fo the chamber which means even less support.
    I had a 25 in 45 Colt at one time and ran warm loads in the 1000fps department. Any hotter than that get a Blackhawk,Redhawk,Super Redhawk or Freedom Arms.

  2. #22
    Boolit Bub
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    Linebaugh states
    "It may surprise many but the cylinder on the S&W .45 Colt is the same diameter as the Ruger Blackhawk. The webs (between chambers) and outside chamber
    wall are also the same. So basically the Ruger and S&W cylinders are identical in strength and dimension." His biggest issue with the s&w is the frame strength and small parts in the mechanism

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk

  3. #23
    Boolit Master Dan Cash's Avatar
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    Where can I safely load to as upper limits? ===========

    Do not exceed standard .45 Colt load for the 25-5. You will bend your gun. An inadvertent "Ruger" load surely fixed mine.
    To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, the trouble with many shooting experts is not that they're ignorant; its just that they know so much that isn't so.

  4. #24
    I've loaded thousands of rounds, almost all cast bullets, for my M-25-5 with pretty consistent accuracy. By that I mean 2.0 - 2.5 inches at 25 yards offhand. For me the best loads with 250 - 255 LRN or SWC were 6.0 - 6.5 of Red Dot, 7.0 - 7.5 PB (burned very clean; unfortunately Porous Base is no longer being made), +- 18.5 gr of H-4227 (now the same as IMR-4227, check info for that) and bringing up the rear, about 11.0 of HS-6 or AA #5. These are all pretty much standard pressure loads. I've generally preferred the big SWC bullets.
    It seemed to help accuracy if I ran the brass into a 45 ACP die (after normal resizing) just enough to squeeze the cases down to grip the smaller bullets (.452 or less) more firmly. Sometimes an unsightly bulge resulted, but unsightliness doesn't cause cancer.
    I've shot some 225 - 235 FP or LRN lead ACP bullets, with varying degrees of success (best was with 233 LRN over 6.6 gr Red Dot). A 240 gr AutoRim SWC over 18.5 gr 2400 showed some promise.
    I have never once loaded Unique or Bullseye for the .45 Colt, just because when I got my M 25, those were the only powders and loads (Unique 8.0-8.5 or Bullseye 5.4-6.0) all the gun hacks recommended, blah blah blah, ad nauseam (they continue to be recommended, so I will defer to those with experience of them). All this was years before CAS resulted in a new wave of popularity for the old Colt, and new loads and bullets.
    I'd say resist the impulse to push your M 25 too hard. They're great guns and mine is a real favorite I want to continue to be around to shoot for a long time to come.

  5. #25
    Boolit Mold
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    scatter hit the nail on the head first when he mentioned measuring your throats.

    blade type measurement may not be as accurate as plug (or pin depending where/who you talk to) gauges.

    i have a couple of s&w 45 colts but have no use for trying to push those guns..

    i've run the gamut from the keith-lyman 454429 mold thru the 270gr hunters supply bullet before finally finding my current "goldilocks" bullet, a rcbs 45 270saa slug that typically weighs in at 280 and is a dandy load when shot over 9gr of unique or a load of 11gr of longshot. both of these loads are over the 14k saami standard for the 45colt but well below the 21k psi saami standard for 45acp - the recent brian pearce article addresses this power range specifically. the bottom line is that this load/bullet driven 950-1000 fps is an outstanding balance of accuracy and power in my smiths without the concerns about how much they can take before the guy to my left or right picks pieces of steel out of his face....

  6. #26
    Boolit Master


    nicholst55's Avatar
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    Measuring chamber throats with calipers is bound to give you inaccurate readings. You would do best to either use pin gages, or slug them. Measure the slugs with a micrometer, not 'very-near' calipers.
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  7. #27
    Boolit Master murf205's Avatar
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    My 25-5 was born in 1988 and consequently it is one of the tighter throat guns at .451 and a .451 barrel, so I size .4505, thanks to a Lyman .450 die that is .0005 larger. I have not shot the 255 RF but my best load for that gun is a 252 SWC Lee. It is really good with 7grs of Green Dot, 11grs of HS-6 and 9grs of unique. My gun does not particularly like heavier boolits or Accurate #5 powder but for the way is shoots the normal velocity and boolit weight 45 loads, I will not try to force feed it. I do have a 253 gr mold by Accurate Molds that my 625-3 really took a shine to and I suspect that it will hit pretty hard judging by the meplat.Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by murf205; 04-28-2022 at 04:52 PM.
    IT AINT what ya shoot--its how ya shoot it. NONE of us are as smart as ALL of us!

  8. #28
    Boolit Master murf205's Avatar
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    You can pretty much count on the barrels of 25-5's being .451 but I would get some pin gages for the cylinders for sure. I was surprised at how handy they were/are and the Meyer Gage co sells individual pins for under $5 each. In fact I have the 2022 catalogue and the individual pins in class "Z" are $4.06 each for sizes under .505 and they have a tolerance of .0001. I bought .450 through .458 and that will pretty much cover 45's. A lot of people have great success pushing soft boolits through the throats and micing them but I am a tool junkie and just love knowing exactly what the measurement is. Good luck with that 25-5 and let us know the progress.
    IT AINT what ya shoot--its how ya shoot it. NONE of us are as smart as ALL of us!

  9. #29
    Boolit Master oldhenry's Avatar
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    At one time I owned 3 of the pinned bb. 25-5: 8 3/8", 6 1/2" & 4". I probably shot more of the 452374 Lyman 230 RN through those guns over 7.0 of PB. Now I use 7.0 HP-38 (I really miss the PB). I use the same powder charge with the Lyman 452488, H&G 068 & recently with the Accurate 45-200E.

    I only have the 4" now & heavy loads are not fun. With the 8 3/8" I used the Lyman 452424 over 8.5 of Unique for bowling pin matches only (the long bbl. tamed down the recoil). In the '90's I shot IPSC with the 4". At that time PB was available & 7.0 over the 230RN did the job & speed loaded perfectly.

    I'm of the opinion that moderate loads are best.

    Congratulation on acquiring a great handgun.

  10. #30
    Boolit Bub
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    I had a 25 mountain gun 20 years ago and ran some ruger loads through it from time to time. It handled them just fine. Mine was cursed with oversized throats and would give mediocre accuracy with anything but the fattest lead bullet I could find. At the time Remington sold the 250 grain pointed bullet like the factory load, the diameter was .455 and is shot great.

  11. #31
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocSavage View Post
    I wouldn't run real heavy loads thru a mod 25 45 Colt cylinder walls are thin and the cut for lock up are in the middle fo the chamber which means even less support.
    I had a 25 in 45 Colt at one time and ran warm loads in the 1000fps department. Any hotter than that get a Blackhawk,Redhawk,Super Redhawk or Freedom Arms.
    I concur, you don't want to push it hard with heavy loads. They're not that easy to find and parts are drying up. Get a Ruger for Linebaugh level loads.

    You may find some older 25-5's around with correct size throats. S&W offered a replacement cylinder option if you sent the gun in for the update. I didn't with mine, just loaded it accordingly. I would think S&W marked the cylinder if it was replaced, like they did on some 624's from years past.

  12. #32
    Boolit Buddy Ziptar's Avatar
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    Pinned barrel 25-5s with serial numbers starting with the letter "N" followed by six digits will have oversized throats unless they've been corrected after leaving the factory. A production change in 1982 deleted the pinned barrel and the throat size was corrected to .451 at that time. Beginning with that production serial numbers also changed and begin with the letter "A" followed by two more letters and 4 digits, ABCnnnn. Examples of each.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I have a 6" 25-9, it's basically a 25-5 that got the same "Endurance Package" the Model 29s received. deeper cylinder locking slots, improved bolt, improved/strengthened trigger & hammer (but not the MIM hammer and trigger). I have a Mihec clone of the RCBS 45-270-SAA I bought in a group by here a dozen years ago or so, it drops ~285 grains with range scrap. Sized to .452 with 9 grains of Unique it's perfection in the 25-9.

    Technically Model 25s will handle Ruger only loads and I've tried a few. I wouldn't feed it a steady diet of them over the long term, it's just not up for it. Don't beat a fine old S&W to death, get a Redhawk.

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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