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Thread: .25-20 low power load ?

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    .25-20 low power load ?

    Recently I picked up a Martini Cadet rechambered in .25-20 WCF. I want to make this rifle a small game and varmit rifle. Something I could use on mainly squirrels but also whistlepigs and raccoons without blowing them to pieces. I know a standard .22LR is a 40gr or 45gr bullet. I am trying to find something close to this grain weight for .25 caliber more importantly .258" diameter which is the bore of my rifle after slugging it. Anyone got any ideas ? Also I was thinking about using some trailboss powder about 8 grains of H110 and a 55gr or 60gr bullet.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Might try and see if any of the .25 air gun pellets might work ???? With a reduced load ??

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    MP Molds has a mold in the weight range that you are looking for under the name 257 Jack Rabbit, and he has a 25% off sale going on right now. I just ordered this mold to try out in my 256 Win. Contender barrel. I literally ordered it last night, so I can't speak from experience with it, but it does seem to check all the boxes.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I use a Lyman 75gr cast with 4.5 grs of W 231 for a low velocity 22lr replacement round. I use the same boolit with 13.5 grs of AA 1680 for 2010 fps. I don't know of any 55gr bullets available in .258. Hornady makes a 60gr but they are not easy to find.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    Ive seen it done with a .223 case...primer pocket reemed out to accept a std shotgun primer and an air rifle pellet lightly crimped into neck...worked rather well.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master uscra112's Avatar
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    How low do you want to go? I have loaded the original .25-20 (Stevens) with a 60 grain bullet and 2 grains of Red Dot for ~1000 fps. Approximately duplicates the old blackpowder .25 Stevens Rimfire. High trajectory makes it a poor hunting load beyond ~30 yards or so.
    Cognitive Dissident

  7. #7
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    Larry Gibson's Avatar
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    In my Savage 23B 25-20 I use a Lyman 257420 PB bullet cast soft [30-1 alloy]. left as cast and TL'd with a light coat of LLA. I load them over 2.7 gr of Bullseye for 1100 fps. I also cast a Lyman 257285 HP of 40-1 alloy, leave as cast and lube lightly with LLA loaded over the same 2.7 gr Bullseye for the 1100 fps. Loads not much, if any, louder than 22LR that thumps squirrels, rabbits and rock chucks a lot better than even HV 22LRs.

    A #4 buckshot sized .259, lightly lubed with LLA and loaded over 1.5 gr of Bullseye for 1100 fps does ok out to 25 - 30 yards but is not as accurate as the above mentioned cast bullets nor as terminally effective.
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    For a low noise subsonic load in my Savage Sporter I use a 55 grain cast lead hollow point and 2.3 grains of Trailboss.

    Velocity with that load runs right at 1035 fps and it is fairly deadly on jackrabbits and cottontails inside 100 yards.







    Never had to shoot anything with that load more than once.

    I cannot say the same thing for 22LR HV hollow points.
    Last edited by ATCDoktor; 11-20-2022 at 10:01 AM.

  9. #9
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    garandsrus's Avatar
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    This thread has the most 25-20 info I have found: https://www.marlinowners.com/threads...loaders.26002/

  10. #10
    Boolit Mold
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    Update to the thread, my uncle had some .25-20 WCF brass and he gave it to me to use to reload for it. I chambered the empty brass to make sure it doesnt need to be trimmed and it doesnt fit. Found out today the seller was wrong and the rifle is chambered in .25-20 Single Shot (.25-20 Stevens). Seller gave me my money back and let me keep the rifle as he said no one would want to buy it. Apparently brass is hard to find. Anyone got any ideas where to find brass ? Also anywhere I can find some load data ? I found a guy on gunbroker selling .25-20 SS but its blackpowder loads from 1907 still in the box. The cases say the can only be primed with a Winchester 2.5" primer. As of now I have to re evaluate my plana with this rifle as thing just got complicated lol. Still want to make it a nice varmit rifle. Are these rifles easy to convert to .25-20 WCF and are there any well known competent gunsmiths or companies that can do this ?

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master


    Larry Gibson's Avatar
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    I would suggest having the barrel set back .350" +/- to where the iron sights come back up dead top center [if the rifle has iron sights?] and rechambered to 25-20. It should then be an excellent small game rifle. While the barrel work was being done, I would scrounge up 25-20 cases as they are hard to come by these days. I would think one of the cartridge factories would make a run in the future but who knows when.
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
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  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Brass HAS become hard to find, but it's there. Buy .22 Lovell cases if they come up, anneal and expand back to .25-20 Stevens. I got into Lovells before Jamison/Captech (now defunct) came out with good .25-20 brass, so I worked out a way to make it from .223. A brutal process that a few guys are resurrecting. I have a tutorial on how to do it. Rocky Mountain Cartridge will make you lathe-turned brass, but it's expensive. The Bertram company in Australia makes it, but it's generally considered low quality.

    To convert to .25-20 WCF you have to set the barrel back, because the WCF is shorter. Being a devotee of the old Stevens version, I'd rather you left it alone and scrounged up some brass. There can't be many Martinis chambered for it.

    Sidebar: The Stevens cartridge is commonly called .25-20 Single Shot today. In the days before the WCF round was born, Winchester commonly sold both High Walls and Low Walls chambered for the Stevens version, marked simply .25-20. When the WCF came out, serious shooters still preferred the Stevens, because it was more accurate. (It was). So Winchester had to continue selling 1885 chambered for it, but they would be damned if they'd mark the barrels .25-20 Stevens. Hence the "single shot" moniker was borne.
    Cognitive Dissident

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Buying a double handful of RMC brass will still be cheaper than setting the barrel back, unless you can do the work yourself.
    Cognitive Dissident

  14. #14
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    uscra112 is right. Nowadays, .25-20 WCF brass is no harder to find than the Single Shot version (or any easier, either, or less expensive), so there’s no particular savings advantage in setting the barrel back and rechambering. A WTB ad here, or on the ASSRA Site, ought to get you enough cases to play with, especially with a single shot rifle.

    C-H/4D has loading dies, and the old tong-type loading tools are very common in that caliber if the shells you get fit your chamber.

    Where are these people who tell you, “I guess nobody wants this gun, so you can have it.”? I need to re-evaluate my social circle, I guess.

  15. #15
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    A splash of PB powder and a 31108 bullet bullet was my favorite for decades. Very quiet probably 6-700 fps and very very little blood shot meat. I could even bark squirrels with the load.

    CW
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  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master uscra112's Avatar
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    You can neck-size and load .25-20 Stevens with WCF dies. Tong tool Stevens dies seem to be pretty rare, but it's not too hard to make a neck-sizer and a seater if you have a lathe. FL sizer is another matter, but with low pressure loads you won't need one for a while. #4 tong tool handles labeled .32 S&W are a good find, but anything larger can be bushed. Then look for at least one universal decapping die. On your lathe you will make inserts for that which will do the business.
    Cognitive Dissident

  17. #17
    Boolit Grand Master
    Mk42gunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bent Ramrod View Post
    uscra112 is right. Nowadays, .25-20 WCF brass is no harder to find than the Single Shot version (or any easier, either, or less expensive), so there’s no particular savings advantage in setting the barrel back and rechambering. A WTB ad here, or on the ASSRA Site, ought to get you enough cases to play with, especially with a single shot rifle.

    C-H/4D has loading dies, and the old tong-type loading tools are very common in that caliber if the shells you get fit your chamber.

    Where are these people who tell you, “I guess nobody wants this gun, so you can have it.”? I need to re-evaluate my social circle, I guess.
    You and me both want to know.

    At least the .25 WCF/.25-20 repeater can be made from .32-20 IF you can find that. Maybe from .218 Bee also.

    Robert

  18. #18
    Boolit Mold
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    How much are on of these Martini rifles worth in .25-20 Stevens ? There is one in my local shop I have been thinking on picking up but dont know how much I should pay for it. The rifle is listed for $800 but the price is neogtiable. Anyone got an idea ? I am following this thread closely to see what kinda loads get developed here.

  19. #19
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spencer_Murphy View Post
    How much are on of these Martini rifles worth in .25-20 Stevens ? There is one in my local shop I have been thinking on picking up but dont know how much I should pay for it. The rifle is listed for $800 but the price is neogtiable. Anyone got an idea ? I am following this thread closely to see what kinda loads get developed here.
    I originally paid $395.00 for mine before I got my money back but mine didnt have iron sights or a buttplate nor any sling swivels and its been sporterized. I will correct all of these issues. Other members might know more but $850 sounds high but apparently these things are rare.

  20. #20
    Boolit Mold
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    Has anyone here ever hunted squirrel with a .25-20 Stevens round ? Does it blow them apart or is it viable option to .22 Hornet, .218 Bee and .22 Mag. I like the idea of a centerfire reloadable small game gun.

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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