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I posted this question on The Firing Line and was advised to seek an answer from Marshall Stanton.  I first have to say that I was overjoyed to find this website and forum.  Chock full of valuable information and little B.S.  Now for my question:  What level of loads can be shot in the Smith and Wesson 25-5 .45 Colt without causing undue wear on the gun. I am hoping for 1100 fps with 260-270 gr. bullets. I'd also like to know other fellow's experiences with the 25-5 Smith. I am looking to buy one from a seller on the internet but have never fired one.
 

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Just as full power loads in a Model 29 44 magnum will head the gun to early retirement, use of loads that will generate the velocities your looking for cause wear on the model 25. I would not attempt to use the load data listed for the Ruger, Freedom Arms, or T/C Contenders.

I'm not sure what you'll be using the gun for but I personally would limit the use of high performance rounds. The gun will perform on deer without going over 1000 fps so long as you do your part. I guess the easy answer is that if you what the true high performance 45 Colt buy a Ruger. If you want a light weight double action and don't need the higher levels of power buy the Smith.

Sorry if this wasn't the answer you were looking for
 

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When I first started researching the 25-5, I thought that it was a relatively weak gun with paper thin cylinder walls that would fly apart when loads exceeded factory levels.  This seemed to be the conventional wisdom.  Then I encountered some fellows who were far more experienced than I who challenged this notion.  Their experience showed them that the 25-5 is far stronger than what most of us have been lead to believe.  Not Ruger or Freedom Arms strong, but able to take quite a bit above factory loads.  I'm just trying to get some qualified opinions from those who have actually tested their 25-5s with heavier loads.  
 

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Frontlander:
I own a 25-5 and love it.  But for most of its life I have fed it factory or somewhat above factory loads.  None of the loads were in the Ruger class.  Yes it is an N frame but it WILL NOT last with Ruger class loads.  All of my loads have been with 250 to 268 gr. cast and jacketed bullets of various styles and either 7.1 grs of 231, (fact equivilent load) or up to 9.3 grains of Unique.  About max in Colts according to people like Skeeter Skelton, and Hornady.   I have over 7000 rounds through it and it is still in usuable condition, but has worn in the central locking pin area of the frame and as such is in need of repair.  
I believe that if I had stayed with the fact, or equivilent loads it would not have worn so quickly.
For heavy loads stick to the Rugers.  Either the Redhawk or the Blackhawk.  
 

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I also have a 25-5 Smith and it is a good gun. I love the caliber and I love N-frame smiths so this is a good combination. Keep your loads in the 25,000 cup range or less and it will last a very long time. John Linebaugh states that he carries a 25-5 on a daily basis with a 260 Keith bullet loaded to around 900fps for generally duty but loads up a 300gr LBT to 1000-1100fps for anything real dangerous. I would recommend calling and talking to him, he is a very friendly man to talk to and would surely give you straight advice. He can be found on sixgunner.com. Hope this helps.

God Bless

Chris
 

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Myself and several friends own 25-5's for 15 years or better and they are still going strong. We have taken deer and hogs with them ( 4" barrells). I have used 225gr bullets for speer at 1050 fps and did well on deer.  Also used 250 gr Hornady at 1000 fps which also did well on deer and 1 medium hog(going away shot,hit where neck meets shoulder,exited forehead). I used these bullets before I discovered this site so would look here for bullets first. I would not recommend using heavier bullets as I tried it and they seemed to be too much in my opinion. We carried these guns for years on duty as well as did other officers and they made great defensive guns even with the wimpy 225gr silvertip. I wouldn't recommend a steady diet of hot loads but ours have lasted fairly well with no signs of wear. Good luck and good hunting!                                                                                              Pistolpete
 

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Frontlander,

As you can see there is quite a consensus in regards to handloads in the S&W 25-5, whether here or at Shooters Talk. For any kind of longevity you really don't want to exceed 250-260's at ~1100 fps by much at all.

Have you had the chance to start your handloading lessons yet with that friendly sherriff you mentioned at Shooters? If so, how's it going?
 

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Don't know if this against the rules butttt?
I have two of the S&W 25's in 45 Colt. I sit down and cast up 6,000 to 8,000 slugs each winter, size and lube them then load up 1,000 at a pop on my Dillion.
I've used 9.0 of Unique, 255 grain sized .454 in a Star, lubed with LBT or Rooster Red.
My oldest model 25 had 30,000 or 40,000 rounds [Because it was the only one I had at the time and I was shooting IPSC and PPC with it and shooting considerably more.] through it when I sent it back to S&W for a new cylinder and barrel and that was 5 or 6 years ago.
The S&W's are doing fine and shoot very well.
Jim
 

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arkypete,

The load you mentioned should give around 900-925 fps depending on the barrel length and the idiosyncrasies of your gun. If it exceeds the normal SAAMI pressure spec for .45 Colt (14,000 psi) it won't be by much. You should get a great deal of life from your 25-5 with it.
 

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I too have just bought a 25-5, and it is great! A very accurate gun. I have also asked the same questions you have, you should  check out the forum on sixguns.com under campfire. I got a lot of good suggestions, but most said to keep the loads at no more than 1000fps.Hope this helps.
Michael
 
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