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We took some of the kids friends to the range yesterday, and one of them brought an old family Marlin lever action rifle chambered in .25-20 Winchester. I'm not generally a fan of lever actions, but it was quite fun to shoot and amazingly accurate.

We were shooting dusty old boxes of ammo he had brought with the rifle, and I knew nothing about the round until I did some research online (now I know ALMOST nothing about it) but had wanted to find out how easy it would be to replace the ammo we shot through it last night. It seems like the answer is: "darn near impossible!"

Is this complete absence of this particular round COVID-related, or is it usually this difficult to find? I don't reload, and I know he doesn't either, but I'm still kind of wishing I'd collected the brass now that I've done a little bit of research.
 
Posts: 211 | Location: Pittsburgh, PA | Registered: August 13, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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That caliber is basically for handloaders!! New ammo can be found at times, but not easily, and is EXPENSIVE!!! Too bad you didn't save that brass, and have a good handloader reload it for you.
 
Posts: 4979 | Location: Az | Registered: May 27, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Sigh. With the caveat that I don't actually know any handloaders... I'm still kicking myself for not collecting the brass.
 
Posts: 211 | Location: Pittsburgh, PA | Registered: August 13, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I would love to have a .25-20 chambered rifle. Factory ammo is made every few years by Remington and is expensive. From what I understand, factory bullets are not terribly scarce. Casting your own bullets is a popular thing to do in this caliber. The big achellies heel is brass. Very hard to get as a stand alone component. Some people convert 32-20 brass to .25-20 But I suspect its laborious.
 
Posts: 2055 | Location: Manheim, PA | Registered: September 04, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Good to know that someone at least occasionally makes factory ammo for this. Granted, I have no idea how many more boxes he might have in storage, so it might be a completely moot point, but I'll certainly look for the brass next time I'm in that bay (it was in a spot possibly not as well picked over as others) and recommend that he keep the rest from now on.

I don't imagine these are the best possible rounds to learn handloading, but it's something he might be interested in doing eventually...
 
Posts: 211 | Location: Pittsburgh, PA | Registered: August 13, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by tp1l:
Good to know that someone at least occasionally makes factory ammo for this. Granted, I have no idea how many more boxes he might have in storage, so it might be a completely moot point, but I'll certainly look for the brass next time I'm in that bay (it was in a spot possibly not as well picked over as others) and recommend that he keep the rest from now on.

I don't imagine these are the best possible rounds to learn handloading, but it's something he might be interested in doing eventually...


Bottle necked cases are generally not the best ones to start your reloading adventure with. .38 Special and .45 acp are much kinder. Perhaps the brass could be given to a trusted friend who who is an experienced handloader with bottle necked cartridges.
 
Posts: 2055 | Location: Manheim, PA | Registered: September 04, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yeah, that matches my (very dim) memory of early research into reloading... The point is likely moot for now, since neither of us know anybody who is an experienced handloader (or in fact any kind of handloader at all) but it's still something to keep in mind for the future.

In the meantime, I'm encouraging him to keep the brass next time we're at the range, so at least that option is on the table eventually.

Thanks for the replies!
 
Posts: 211 | Location: Pittsburgh, PA | Registered: August 13, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Reloading is the way to go for 25-20.
I used to own one, and would often find old crusty half empty boxes at old dusty gun shops or gun show junk boxes for cheap. Also finding 32/20 brass is much easier and resizing to 25/20 is simply a run through the sizing die, no trimming or extra steps.
Bullets are common ( I used cast bullets)
 
Posts: 2646 | Location: Finally free in AZ! | Registered: February 14, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by captain127:
Reloading is the way to go for 25-20.
I used to own one, and would often find old crusty half empty boxes at old dusty gun shops or gun show junk boxes for cheap. Also finding 32/20 brass is much easier and resizing to 25/20 is simply a run through the sizing die, no trimming or extra steps.
Bullets are common ( I used cast bullets)


Good to know, thanks. I keep skirting around the edges of handloading. It's fascinating and something I think I'd enjoy... but I really don't need another expensive (in both money and time) hobby to add to the ones I already have. The economics also aren't really there for the common rounds I normally shoot, but it's still very tempting at times, especially right now.

I'll keep my eyes out for those dusty old boxes at gun shows in the interim, and if we ever shoot this again, at least we'll collect the brass for a rainy day.
 
Posts: 211 | Location: Pittsburgh, PA | Registered: August 13, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yes, you can form 25-20 brass out of 32-20 brass. Apparently the rim of the 32-20 brass is sometimes wrong, though, although I don't know why that would be, because the 25-20 is a direct descendant of 32-20. Also, 218 Bee is a descendant of 25-20, so you can neck up the 218 Bee, although you might have neck thinning problems.

But none of this brass is common. When you find some, keep it. I think 25-20 brass and loaded ammo is only made every so often.




The fish is mute, expressionless. The fish doesn't think because the fish knows everything.
 
Posts: 48939 | Location: Texas | Registered: February 10, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've got two .25-20 rifles, one of which I've owned for almost 30 years. It's a wonderful, useful round that I enjoy shooting and reloading. The late gun writer Ken Waters, in his "Pet Loads" article on the .25-20 in "Handloader" magazine called it "a woods loafer's rifle extraordinaire". That's a good description. The one-time record Whitetail (the Jordan Buck) was taken with a .25-20.

While I've formed the brass from .32-20 brass, you have to be careful not to use too much lube, or you'll get case dents/creases. Even then, the resulting case will be slightly shorter than factory specs.

You have to take the same reloading measures as you do with other WCF cartridges (.44-40, .38-40, etc.)
The brass is thin at the case mouth, so you can't over-flare/bell or you'll get cracks, and you have to ensure alignment the die when resizing so you don't crumple brass cases. I've got some cases that have probably been reloaded 6-8 times and I'm starting to get cracks.

The ammo companies still do occasional runs. A local store had several boxes of of Remington 86 grain loads when I stopped by a few days ago. Winchester must have done a recent run of brass, as I've seen several vendors on Gunbroker listing it in the last few months. Huntington Die Specialties in California carries brass. I'm hoping that someday Starline will offer brass.

My favorite bullet is the Speer 75 grain flatnose with AA 1680 or VV N-110 powder.

The .25-20 was a very popular round with farmers, ranchers, trappers and other "common folk" from the Deep South to Alaska, and there's still quite a few of them in use.
 
Posts: 513 | Registered: January 17, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks again for all of the replies. At the very least, this thread has inspired me to start sorting and maybe even cleaning my range brass. I don't know that I'll be jumping on the handloading bandwagon tomorrow, but it's one step closer at least.
 
Posts: 211 | Location: Pittsburgh, PA | Registered: August 13, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by divil:
I would love to have a .25-20 chambered rifle. Factory ammo is made every few years by Remington and is expensive. From what I understand, factory bullets are not terribly scarce. Casting your own bullets is a popular thing to do in this caliber. The big achellies heel is brass. Very hard to get as a stand alone component. Some people convert 32-20 brass to .25-20 But I suspect its laborious.


LGS that I help out at has a Remington Model 25, May 1924 build date for sale at $495 if you are interested. PM me if you want, I can put you in touch with the owner and forward photos of it if it is something you would be interested in.


-------------------------------------——————
————————--Ignorance is a powerful tool if applied at the right time, even, usually, surpassing knowledge(E.J.Potter, A.K.A. The Michigan Madman)
 
Posts: 6438 | Location: Livingston County Michigan USA | Registered: August 11, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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LGS that I help out at has a Remington Model 25, May 1924 build date for sale at $495 if you are interested. PM me if you want, I can put you in touch with the owner and forward photos of it if it is something you would be interested in.


Depending on the condition, that's a good price on the Model 25.
 
Posts: 513 | Registered: January 17, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by shovelhead:
[QUOTE]

LGS that I help out at has a Remington Model 25, May 1924 build date for sale at $495 if you are interested. PM me if you want, I can put you in touch with the owner and forward photos of it if it is something you would be interested in.


Thanks Shovelhead. If this were June I would jump on it, but since July I have paying off a SP101 Ruger and Marlin 1894 both in .357. Someday, I will snag a .25-20, but by the time I am in the market again, I am sure that Remington will be long gone. The Remington sounds like too good of a deal for it to linger on the shelf for too long.
 
Posts: 2055 | Location: Manheim, PA | Registered: September 04, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Page late and a dollar short
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quote:
Originally posted by divil:
quote:
Originally posted by shovelhead:
[QUOTE]

LGS that I help out at has a Remington Model 25, May 1924 build date for sale at $495 if you are interested. PM me if you want, I can put you in touch with the owner and forward photos of it if it is something you would be interested in.


Thanks Shovelhead. If this were June I would jump on it, but since July I have paying off a SP101 Ruger and Marlin 1894 both in .357. Someday, I will snag a .25-20, but by the time I am in the market again, I am sure that Remington will be long gone. The Remington sounds like too good of a deal for it to linger on the shelf for too long.


Actually it's been on the rack for awhile. Lack of factory ammunition is probably the biggest reason it is still there. Keep it in mind. This shop is interesting, a lot of vintage military and civilian firearms together with modern ones also. Unusual ammunition also, for example we have two boxes of .218 Bee on the shelf.


-------------------------------------——————
————————--Ignorance is a powerful tool if applied at the right time, even, usually, surpassing knowledge(E.J.Potter, A.K.A. The Michigan Madman)
 
Posts: 6438 | Location: Livingston County Michigan USA | Registered: August 11, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Reloading sizing dies are like hens teeth.
Couple years back I made a friend a sizing die for his lyman sizer.
That rifle was quite common when I was a child,fun gun but too much for hunting rabbits and not enough for deer
 
Posts: 22143 | Location: Georgia | Registered: February 19, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Reloading sizing dies are like hens teeth.
Couple years back I made a friend a sizing die for his lyman sizer.
That rifle was quite common when I was a child,fun gun but too much for hunting rabbits and not enough for deer


I really have a hard time with this kind of "information". Midway has dies in stock, Graf's has dies in stock...... That's the result of a few minute's worth of checking. There's probably several other sources carrying dies.
 
Posts: 513 | Registered: January 17, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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