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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I recently obtained an old remington model 25 in 25-20 WCF. I have read that there are .257 vs .258 neck size differences in this caliber. I was told that I should be OK shooting the Winchester 25-20 86gr SP without any issues. I believe that these are .257. I have also read that most older 25-20's used .258. The rifle has been completely restored and the action is mechanically perfect.

My question is, will I be OK shooting the new winchester or remington 25-20 86gr SP in this rifle. Does this small neck size difference really matter?
 

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IF you had .257" and .258" bullets at hand, and loaded each over exactly the same powder charge, I seriously doubt you could ever tell the difference. Those 86gr. bullets are what is loaded in the factory rounds, and will do a good job in the 25/20.

Factory barrels, esp. back in the 25/20's time, would vary more than one would believe. Probably that bore is somewhere between .2565" and .2585". The idea being that the old rifling tools were made to cut large bore at first, then as they wore down and cut a bore a bit too small, they were replaced....so there is a max. and a min. acceptable. They were aiming at .258" but accepted things .001" on either side.
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The old hi-vel. loads are long gone...not impossible to find some of those old hot-loaded rounds, but you won't stumble into them by accident. New ammo will be safe in a good condition rifle.
 

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oldcompassman_ Do you have the rifle or the carbine? I used a 32-20 and after it was rebarreled a 25-20 Mod. 25 carbine when I was cougar hunting. Just the dandiest little light weight rifle, carried on a sling hung over my back, barrel down. Left your hands free for handling dogs, climbing etc..
I took about 50 cougar with it, about 1/2 in each caliber. Also a number of deer, 2 black bear, coons, coyotes and fox. A shot to the brain put everything down right now. When I got this rifle it had been used by a previous cougar hunter who had taken about 4 times as many cougar with it as I did over the 30 years he used it. The barrel was nearly gone then but I used it for a few years and then went to the 25-20 when I found a dealer who had a full case of the 60 gr. hollow point ammunition. All types of ammunition I tried in it shot quite well. Passed to my son to use now.
 

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Friend reminded me of one instance where you can get into trouble. many of the old single shots (rolling blocks, some Winchesters, etc.) were made in .25 RIM FIRE. Those barrels sometimes got re-used and rechambered on other rifles, and they often have smaller bores. He had a Wincester low wall in 25-20 single shot that turned out to have one of these re-chambered .25RF barrels attached (the lack of markings/proofs should have been a hint).

The other bit of confusion is that the 25-20 single shot is not the same round as the 25-20 WCF (AKA "repeater"). The 25-20 SS is an older and longer round, but some of those barrels were shortened and rechambered to 25-20WCF after the 25-20SS cases became impossible to find. Those barrels may have odd diameters.

Other than that, have at it.

Would take a look at the Speer 75gr. FN that was produced when Malin re-introduced the 25-20 (and then dropped it again). Some folks like the little Hornady 60gr., which is really more of a .256WCF bullet, but it may work for velocity seekers.
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I've never owned a 25-20, but did have the loan of a Colt Lightening pump in that caliber for about a year while its owner did his tour. I was careful with this old rifle, it was in great shape, but those Colts are not known for their strenght.

Usually it got loaded with a cast bullet and a lgight charge of powder in the 1000-1100fps range. Found that 25-20 cases may just be the thinnest cases still in production, that the case that exits the chamber often has little resembelance to the case that entered the chamber (the chambers tend to let that bottle neck blow forward a good bit), and that the 25-20 is more fun that its size would indicate.

Will have to rectify the 25-20 shortage in the gun locker soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
BCstocker - I have the rifle - model 25 pump. I was born and raised hunting in Utah. Dear, elk, moose, etc... never cougar - now I wish I had. I moved to Indiana about 6 years ago - wife is from here. Havn't been able to do a whole lot of big game shooting. I miss it!! I have enough property to do some small game plinking.

Every once and I while I do see someone auctioning off some old box of 60gr HP. I'll have to keep that in mind.

ribbonstone - again thanks for the heads up on the 25-20ss concerns. Even though this model 25 has been completely re-done, the bore's rifling remained sharp - no pitting - has not been re-lined - and is the original barrel for this action It will be interesing to see what shape the case is in after firing. It almost sounds like fire-forming. I fire-formed about 50 218 bee to 218 mashburn bee in a restored stevens 44 1/2 action - everthing else brand new. It amazed me to see how different that case looked after firing.
 

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Like those old Stevens rifles. Some 25-20 chambers are cut a bit long (or you can look at it that the cases are necked a bit short) and the shoulder will move forward when fired. It's like fire forming those .218's; not a matter of headspace as the rim sets that.

If you were to take those .218 Mashburns and resize them back to .218 Bee fater each firing, how long would the cases last? Same deal on the 25-20 IF it has a long choulder...but it may well not, and the chamber may be "normal". Either way, I'd resize just enough to get easy chambering.
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Have a couple of 32-20 revovlers and one .32-20 rifle (a Marlin 27 pump). The revovler chambers eject cases that are very close to the original size. The rifle ejects a case that has a much shorter neck, and a long tapered shoulder. Can't interchange the brass unless I size the devil out of those rifle cases.

I just keep the cases segregated (easy to do...can spot the difference across the room) and resize the rifle's cases just enough to go back into the rifle's chamber easily. Get about the same case life with bot the revovlers and the rifle this way.
 

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I have the Winchester Lo Wall 1885 in 25-20 SS. Can I convert this to the 25-20 repeater? What is required to make this happen? Thanks, Jake
 

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The 25/20 Winchester Center Fire (WCF) is one of those old cartridges that if you have one you wonder why they became obsolete because it is such a useful load. both Winchester and Remington still load the cartridge. At one time there was two loadings a 60 grain jacketed hollow point flat nose and a 87 grain jacketed round nose. It looks like the 87 grain loading is all that is presently available. My Grandfather on my Dad's side had a 1892 Winchester chambered in the cartridge and as a boy I used it when I visited him on the ranch they had at the time. The 25/20 WCF and the 32/20 WCF where killed off by the introduction of the 22 Hornet. As I pointed out in another thread the 25/20 was very popular in Wyoming with the old timers that ran trap lines for various fur bearing animals.

The 25/20 Winchester Single Shot is the black powder parent case for the 25/20 WCF the case was shortened to make it work better with the smokeless powder available in the mid 1890's, and function in the 1892 Winchester's magazine. Fortunately 25/20 SS cases are still available and you can get them at Midway Arms.click here. http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=226899&t=11082005 With modern powders you can develop a safe load that improves the performance of the 25/20 SS quiet a bit.

Another 25 caliber cartridge that is long gone is the 25 Remington it was a rimless version of the Winchester 25/35. This is another cartridge that is in the dead useful category but this one was mortally wounded by the 250-3000 Savage, and then finished off by the .257 Roberts.
 

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The 25-20 Single shot is NOT the parent of the the .25 WCF or 25-20 Winchester. The SS has a much smaller base.

The 25-20 Winchester is a necked down 32-20 Winchester.

I think your conversion will work, with a strong emphasis on thinking as opposed to knowing.
 

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25-20

So how hard is it to redo? Is changing the chamber for the modern version such as the one that Cabela's sells tougher than simply buying the reamer and opening the chamber? Will the shell extractor work? Thanks, Jake
 

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The 25-20 Single shot is NOT the parent of the the .25 WCF or 25-20 Winchester. The SS has a much smaller base.

The 25-20 Winchester is a necked down 32-20 Winchester.

I think your conversion will work, with a strong emphasis on thinking as opposed to knowing.
You are correct the 25/20 was a necked down 32/20 I get confused by the 25 SS because there was also a Ballard 25/20 and I believe Stevens had a 25/20 as well. Again there is no need to do any conversion the 25.20 SS cases are available from Midway Arms and you can get the loading dies from RCBS The top picture is the 25/20 WCF the bottom picture is the 25/20 Winchester Single Shot.

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Rechamber

Is the Cabela's version of 25-20 ( repeater version ) a better cartridge than the 25-20 Single shot? If I wanted to convert the 25-20 single shot to a 25-20 Winchester, is the reamer all that is needed for that conversion? Thanks, Jake
 

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Jake, I just don't see this as being an amatuer kitchen table gunsmithing project. To do it right I think the barrel would have to be set back so the new chamber would clean up. The extractor will also have to be modified.

Here are a couple of things to consider; depending on condition and configuration, Winchester 1885s can be worth a bunch of money. If it is a nice original rifle consider how much potential value you might be losing by changing it. Your gun, your business but you should at least be aware of it.

On the other hand, do you know for sure that the bore is good enough to shoot anyway? If this is the case a liner might be in order.

You might want to inquire over at the assra forum. They will have some more ideas. http://www.assra.com/cgi-bin/yabb/yabb.pl
 

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Rechambering

Thanks for the reply. It's an average gun, good bore, nothing to write home about really. I just want to kill a couple of deer with the thing. I'm going to buy ammo off Buffalo I think and try the 25-20 S.S. ammo, $63.00 per box, but...I don't really need that much. Thanks again, Jake
 
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