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25-20 Win #16046765 05/01/21
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go_bears Offline OP
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So I just inherited a 25-20 Winchester. It's in great condition and I definitely would like like to put down some animals in honor of my uncle who passed it down. Does anyone here have experience with this? Would love some insight on what's possible with this chambering. I'm thinking pigs and deer working 100-150 yards and plinking.

BP-B2

Re: 25-20 Win [Re: go_bears] #16046846 05/01/21
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Mule Deer Offline
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The .25-20 is a nifty little cartridge, and has been used on deer a lot. My father killed his first deer, a forkhorn muley buck, with a .25-20 Winchester 92 in 1938, with a neck shot as the buck ran toward him at close range--pushed by one of my dad's high school buddies. The long time B&C record whitetail, the Jordan buck, was also taken with a .25-20--though it didn't die nearly quickly or easily as my father's little mule deer.

I have owned three .25-20's, two Savage 23s and an 1892 Winchester. Probably the best load for "big" game is an 86-grain flatnose softpoint--if you can find any. They can be safely pushed to around 2000 fps.

What model did you inherit?


“Montana seems to me to be what a small boy would think Texas is like from hearing Texans.”
John Steinbeck
Re: 25-20 Win [Re: go_bears] #16046867 05/01/21
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Mesa Offline
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I've had various .25-20s since 1952 and I'd say your game aspirations are a bit optimistic. You CAN kill both pigs and deer with a .25-20. BUT there are many "buts" involved.

The deer I killed with mine were Columbian Blacktails in the thick coastal brush of Northern California. None weighed more than about 100# with the guts and blood out. Ranges were under 100 yards, 'way under in most cases.

Only one of them was running and I spent three hours looking for him in the manzanita/ticks/rattlers and only found him because some ravens couldn't keep their traps shut. Hit him back in the liver and he took his time bleeding out.

The only pig I shot was just under 180#s field dressed. Range was about 20 feet--I was trying to kill him before he killed our two dogs who were visegrip locked onto his leg and nose. It only took 11 shots (two were misses because I was trying to also miss my beagle....).

Old timers I knew who used .25-20s for subsistence hunting lived right with the animals they shot and ate. They could wait for a perfect shot because they knew they'd see the buck or pig manana if the shot wasn't great today. Most of us don't live like that any more. They could also REALLY SHOOT those quarter bores because that's all they'd ever shot. And they uniformly used 86gr LEAD bullets since the jacketed bullets were a little more expensive.

Of course we now have better bullets, if you handload, especially for a single shot or any rifle that doesn't have a tubular magazine (I use a Savage Model 23B bolt action and a Savage Model 219 Single shot and have used a Winchester Model 43 bolt and an 1885 Lowall single shot, and a '92 with a 24" round full magazine barrel.).

I'd keep the ranges more modest and the game less big, say coyotes, jackrabbits and snowshoe hares, and turkeys where legal. Fun enough and little risk of having the critter run off and end up as coyote chow....

Others may well have more optimistic ideas! BUT DO ENJOY YOUR CLASSIC! I love mine.


Was Mike Armstrong. Got logged off; couldn't log back on. RE-registered my old call sign, Mesa.
FNG. Again.
Mike Armstrong
Re: 25-20 Win [Re: go_bears] #16047093 05/01/21
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go_bears Offline OP
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MD,
It’s a Winchester 1982. My uncle had many rifles he passed down and this one caught my eye. We hunt mostly coastal blacktail and many shots are 50-120 yards. I have plenty of other rifles but I’d love to shoot a buck this year in his honor with his rifle.

It’s funny as I’ve run the gamut of methods of taking big game. From hand me down r700 270, archery, custom long range rifles, and now, to old school lever action rifles. I’m very lucky to hunt exclusive private ranches and many opportunities at legal bucks. I find myself (at 35yr) going more for traditional/old school ways of getting it done. I think I’ll have more admiration shooting a fork’in horn with a family heirloom over a “trophy” with modern technology (high BC, fast twist barrel, nightforce scopes).

Would love to hear stories of fellow members getting it done with an old school cartridge.

Re: 25-20 Win [Re: Mesa] #16047095 05/01/21
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Mesa,
I appreciate your input. It sounds like a great nostalgia cartridge and if shots are kept within reason it can get it done. I’ll keep it in the truck throughout the season and if the opportunity arises I’ll take the old girl out.

Thank you for the response

IC-A

Re: 25-20 Win [Re: go_bears] #16047142 05/02/21
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I've used it on small game, turkey and one mule deer doe. I have a Winchester 1892 rifle with 24 inch octagon and a 1892 Saddle ring carbine. Im also shooting it in a Savage 23 bolt action. All are accurate, the Savage and 1892 Rifle are better shooters than my carbine overall.

As Mule Deer said, the 86 grain cast flat point does very well. You can get the bullet from several online sources or cast them yourself. Factory loads are out there but expensive. I also shoot the now discontinued, but still found from time to time, Speer 75 grain jacketed flat point. This was what I took my doe with. Incredibly accurate out of that little Savage, I kept it in the truck for a doe tag. For awhile during the wasting disease years, here in Colorado, I could get 3 tags a year. It allowed me to take my time and wait for the right opportunity. I still plan on getting into some javelina with a 25-20 in the future too.

I got started in cowboy action shooting in my teens, shooting with all my friends that were 30 years older than me. I had been borrowing a Rifle from an uncle, when one of the other guys offered me my 1892 for $400. It's a grayed out ole rat but still shoots. After shooting a bunch of cast bullets the pitting is so bad I use the old outers foul out to cleaning system to electrically pull the fouling out. It's pretty funny when globs of lead come out, but it still shoots well.

Shoot your uncles gun with pleasure, reload for it and you'll never have to worry about ammo. Brass lasts forever if you take care of it. Good luck! Sorry so long, couldn't sleep tonight.

Re: 25-20 Win [Re: go_bears] #16047310 05/02/21
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I am hoping the new Marlin (Ruger) will make 25-20 and the 25-35 again.
GreggH

Re: 25-20 Win [Re: go_bears] #16047336 05/02/21
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Pappy348 Offline
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Lucky you. Larry Koller shot his first with one (probably the SS version, but who’s counting?). Be careful, and don’t let your nice idea turn into a schitt show.

Might try it with my Hornet someday if I can find some 45gr TSXs.


What fresh Hell is this?
Re: 25-20 Win [Re: Bushwacker] #16047667 05/02/21
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Mule Deer Offline
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Bushwhacker,

Dyna Bore Coat also helps with pitted bores. I applied it to the bore in my old 1892 .25-20, made in 1913, and it made a noticeable difference in accuracy with cast bullets.

One thing I've noticed about .25-20s is the Savage Model 23s tend to have nice bores, probably because the 23 wasn't introduced until non-corrosive primers appeared.


“Montana seems to me to be what a small boy would think Texas is like from hearing Texans.”
John Steinbeck
Re: 25-20 Win [Re: go_bears] #16047711 05/02/21
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cra1948 Offline
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I’m a fan of the 25-20, been intrigued by it since I first saw a cartridge when I was 10 or 11 years old. The one I have is an 1894 Marlin. It’s currently residing with my son and he’s a big fan too. When I was out there last fall we spent some time making.25-20 cases from .32-20 brass which is much easier to come by.

I would concur with the idea that the 86 grain flat nose is the way to go. It’s always been easier to get accuracy with it in my experience. I’ve used the 75 grain Speer with some success but, at least in my rifle, as soon as you try to push it accuracy deteriorates fast. The 60 grain Hornadys I tried were a lost cause.

As far as on-game performance, the 75 grain Speers have proven deadly on such as coons, porcupines (a lot of porcupines) and beaver. I didn’t pay much mind to terminal performance, but all the critters died quite handily. In one case, I did “autopsy “ a beaver. He’d been up on the bank at sundown and I shot him at 150 yards or a little better. At the shot, he rolled over, kicked around a little, and expired. I saw my entrance hole when I got to him and, curious, I ran a stick of willow in at the shoulder to discover a bullet path straight through on the diagonal, exiting the rear, offside hip...a distance of around 14 inches of skin, muscle, bone and guts. This was with the 75 grain Speer started at about 1500 FPS.

I wouldn’t hesitate to use a .25-20 for any deer. I would say, however, I was killing deer with a .222 before it became trendy and have killed them with a.22 WMR as well. I’ve killed a lot of deer, including a number of wallhangers and, no matter what I’m using or how big (or small) the deer, I don’t get all shook up over it and I don’t shoot at running deer or take other Hail Mary shots.

Given the current state of affairs in.25-20 land, I would recommend laying in a supply of.32-20 brass and a mold to cast 85 grain flat points.

Have fun.



Mathew 22: 37-39

Happy escapee from NY

IC-B

Re: 25-20 Win [Re: go_bears] #16049016 05/02/21
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I have (3) Winchester 92s in 25-20, made in 1900, 1907, and 1910.

One with a Winchester made replacement barrel sold to gunsmiths... too much headspace
One with a Winchester made replacement barrel sold to gunsmiths... too little headspace
One with an original Winchester made barrel with just the right headspace... but eroded breech face

I had to take apart the gun and clean a pound of dirt out of it.
I had to make a low pressure load so the primer would not pop in the bad breech face.
I had to use a magnum primer to get a thicker primer cup.
I had to find a bullet short enough that would stabilize in the slow twist barrel.
I had to figure out how to neck down 32-20 brass without crushing.
I had to make a non invasive clamp on pistol scope mount.

[Linked Image]

2013:


12 gr Lil'Gun 75 gr Sierra hollow point .257 bullets #1600, 1.9" OAL [barely touching the lands] must be loaded single shot into the 1900 vintage Winchester 1892 rifle with 2X Leupold pistol scope. At 12.3 gr it looks like the old black powder firing pin and enlarged firing pin hole are about to bust the CCI 450 small rifle magnum primer bubble, so I backed off 0.3 gr and loaded some. I would like to run it at 40 kpsi, but bushing the firing pin would be work.


[Linked Image]

25-20 at 100 yards


There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self. -Ernest Hemingway
The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.-- Edward John Phelps
Re: 25-20 Win [Re: go_bears] #16049133 05/02/21
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I’d love to reload for this rifle but I doubt I’ll shot more than 50 rounds over the next 5-10 years. I reload for quite a few other rifles but I feel the investment vs actually shooting will be very small. Looking at factory ammo it’s like trying to find gold in Florida. If anybody has any leads please let me know. Not looking to hoard, just a box or two for the next 10 years.

Also please report animals taken and distance. I really hope to take a blacktail come August.

Re: 25-20 Win [Re: go_bears] #16049620 05/02/21
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Mule deer,

I will take a look at that bore coating. The rifle shoots really well, just a pain to get the lead out. I've threatened to put a liner in the barrel, as collectibility is not a factor, but can't bring myself to do it yet. During a cowboy shoot the stage required us to shoot a logging chain that was simulating the hangman noose. After the third shot the guys yelled at me to move on, the bullets were going through the large links with barely a wiggle of the chain, I couldn't see it. They did the same stage the following year and I borrowed a .45 for that stage.

Re: 25-20 Win [Re: go_bears] #16049829 05/03/21
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Safe queens should be taken out and shot!
Re: 25-20 Win [Re: go_bears] #16050989 05/03/21
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I'd sure want a heavier blood trail than what I saw in that excellent video. I loaned my 1892 .25-20 to a guy who wanted to hunt the outskirts of the city limits and while he didn't shoot anything, I did get an extra box of cartridges out of the deal and a standing offer to buy my rifle. While a .25-20 would probably work under ideal conditions, my opportunities are often less than ideal and I want more than a minimalist cartridge. A fun gun to shoot, but I haven't found exactly what that is where I hunt.


My other auto is a .45

The bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of low price has faded from memory
Re: 25-20 Win [Re: go_bears] #16051032 05/03/21
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OGB Offline
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Sounds like a fun gun! Be a good excuse to go chase Javelina!

Re: 25-20 Win [Re: go_bears] #16051247 05/03/21
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davet Offline
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I've had fun with my 25-20, a Remington m25r. Neat little 4lb carbine that looks like: [Linked Image from cdn.rockislandauction.com]

25-20 can take deer, but also won't mutilate a rabbit. I have loaded the 75 grain Speer and the 70 grain Sierra Blitzking.

Re: 25-20 Win [Re: go_bears] #16053651 05/04/21
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I shoot two .25-20's: a 1910-vintage Winchester Low Wall in .25-20 Single Shot (with a Lyman 5A scope), and a Savage 219 in .25-20WCF. Cast bullets only in both of them: a plain base for sub-1400fps loads and a gas checked design for stiffer loads, both 85 grains. The Low Wall barrel was lined with a 1-10" twist tube so I hold high hopes for it to perform ok with a 100 grain bullet for which I have a mold also.

Deer hunting? If I absolutely had to, but not by choice.

If you think .25-20WCF brass is hard to find, you haven't lived until you start feeding a .25-20 Single Shot. Hence the mostly low vel loads in order to not stress the brass. Next step: breech seating bullets ahead of the case, and merely re-charging a single piece of brass repeatedly at the range (no re-sizing) which is a formula for nigh infinite case life (and greatly increased accuracy).


"You can lead a man to logic, but you cannot make him think." Joe Harz
"Always certain, often right." Keith McCafferty
Re: 25-20 Win [Re: go_bears] #16053676 05/04/21
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Have an ancient Marlin levermatic .25-20 Win originally chambered for the .25-20 Marlin and a Stevens 44 in .25-20 SS. Both shoot an Ideal 257283 quite well. Something around 200 rds loaded for the Marlin and another 600 empty cases. Pretty much do what Gnoahhh said and neither would be a first choice for deer.

That said, I know a fella that whacked a magnificent bull elk with a Colt Woodsman. No tracking required.


I am..........disturbed.

Concerning the difference between man and the jackass: some observers hold that there isn't any. But this wrongs the jackass. -Twain


Re: 25-20 Win [Re: go_bears] #16053954 05/04/21
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A bull African elephant has been taken with a 22LR.
We use the best rifle we can carry and then justify it.


There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self. -Ernest Hemingway
The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.-- Edward John Phelps
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