Looking for history of the 25-20 cartridge

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igolfat8
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Looking for history of the 25-20 cartridge

Post by igolfat8 »

I found a lead bullet in a Black Walnut reclaimed board that I was re-sawing a few months ago. It was fairly deep into the wood because several inches of wood had grown around it and fully encapsulated the bullet. I took the wood (with the bullet in it), to a professional reloader and he took micrometer measurements of the lead bullet and to the best of his knowledge and calculations he thought it to be a Winchester 25-20 lead bullet. The board is at least 80 years old having been used as part of an old house’s window framework.

I would like to learn more about the bullet and cartridge history. Wikipedia says there was a 25/20 Winchester cartridge from 1894 but it referenced that Marlin had manufactured that cartridge several years earlier.

Please share what history you know about the round or point me to a link that could shed some light on my quest for knowledge about this special hidden treasure I recently uncovered.
utbrowningman
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Re: Looking for history of the 25-20 cartridge

Post by utbrowningman »

My grandfather had a .25-20 Winchester lever and my sister now has it. I hope to get it form her as she does nto shoot at all. The only thing I know is that the caliber at one time held the Washington state deer record. No other details.

From chuckhawks.com

The .25-20 Winchester is a neat little small game, varmint, small predator, turkey, and possibly javelina cartridge that was introduced in 1893 in Winchester's Model 92 lever action rifle.

Winchester and Remington offer factory loads in .25-20 that drive an 86 grain flat point bullet (SD .186) at a muzzle velocity (MV) of 1460 fps with muzzle energy (ME) of 407 ft. lbs. At 100 yards the velocity is 1194 fps and the energy is 272 ft. lbs. The maximum point blank range (+/- 3") of this load is about 139 yards when zeroed to hit 1.7" high at 100 yards.

According to the Speer Reloading Manual No. 13 reloaders using the 75 grain Speer FP bullet can achieve a MV's of 2008 fps with 12.5 grains of AA 1680 powder and 1901 fps with 12.6 grains of IMR 4198 powder in Winchester cases with CCI primers. The Speer trajectory tables show the following for their 75 grain FP bullet at a MV of 2000 fps: +2.4" at 50 yards, +3.2" at 100 yards, 0 at 150 yards, and -8.8" at 200 yards. The ME of that load is 666 ft. lbs.

Because .25-20 case walls are thin, care must be taken during the resizing and crimping operations. However, as can be seen from the foregoing figures, handloading pays big performance dividends to anyone with a .25-20 rifle.
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Regnier (gunrunner)
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Re: Looking for history of the 25-20 cartridge

Post by Regnier (gunrunner) »

Igolfat8;

The .25-20 caliber cartridge was developed by Winchester in 1893. Bullet diameter was .257 and weights of 60 grains and 86 grains. The cartridge case is brass and used a small rifle primer.
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igolfat8
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Re: Looking for history of the 25-20 cartridge

Post by igolfat8 »

Hmmmm, I’m just going by what I read on Wiki as it says Marlin developed the round in 1889?
Regnier (gunrunner)
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Re: Looking for history of the 25-20 cartridge

Post by Regnier (gunrunner) »

Igolfat8;

Source: 7th Edition of "Blue Book of Gun Values Ammo Encyclopedia" and "Cartridges of the World" and both say Winchester in 1893.
Far more reputable than Wiki and there is always mis-information there.
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igolfat8
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Re: Looking for history of the 25-20 cartridge

Post by igolfat8 »

Thanks for the reference and clarification.

Did you by chance look for a 25-20 Marlin cartridge? Below is an excerpt from Wiki:

"The .25-20 Winchester, or WCF (Winchester center fire), was developed around 1895 for the Winchester Model 1892 lever action rifle. It was based on necking down the .32-20 Winchester. In the early 20th century, it was a popular small game and varmint round, developing around 1,460 ft/s with 86-grain bullets. But two years earlier Marlin Firearms Co. had already necked down the .32-20 Winchester, and called it the .25-20 Marlin. It was first chambered in Model 1889 lever action Marlins long before Winchester did the same thing and put their name on the .25-20.[2]"
Regnier (gunrunner)
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Re: Looking for history of the 25-20 cartridge

Post by Regnier (gunrunner) »

Igolgat8;

The .25-20 cartridge was a necked down .32-20 and introduced by Winchester for their Model 1892.

Marlin did start to make the Model 1894 in the.25-20, and .32-20, .38-40 and .44-40 calibers. But, Marlin did not make a deluxe Model 1894 in 1894, so anyone that wanted a deluxe gun in .25-20 caliber got a deluxe Model 1889 instead in .25-20. Only deluxe Model 1889's will be found in the .25-20 caliber, and most of them are recorded in the factory records in 1894. Deluxe Model 1889's in .25-20 are quite rare!

There were some boxes of ammunition labeled "Marlin Safety .25-20" as well as some in .32-20. There was a slight difference in the loading for some reason. Not exactly what the difference was.
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marlinman93
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Re: Looking for history of the 25-20 cartridge

Post by marlinman93 »

I have done a lot of searching for info on the .25-20 Marlin, and the .25-20 Winchester, to ty to determine which came first. Even sources who mention the Winchester version may have come out in 1893 state they're not 100% sure, and add it could be as late as 1895. So I personally haven't found anywhere that has provided documented proof positive as to which cartridge hit the market first?
I do know that Winchester sold ammo early on marked for .25-20 Marlin, and also ammo for their .25-20 Win. which seemed odd that they'd sell both when the cartridges seem to be identical to measurements I've taken. I have boxes of Winchester ammo marked .25-20 Marlin, with the same headstamp on the Win. cartridges inside. So seems that Winchester acknowledged Marlin's part in this, even though they also had their version also.
Which came first I don't know. I personally think they came out so close to the same time that nobody will ever truly know who was first.
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igolfat8
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Re: Looking for history of the 25-20 cartridge

Post by igolfat8 »

MarlinMan93, You mention having some boxes of each. Did the original lead bullets have round noses?
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marlinman93
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Re: Looking for history of the 25-20 cartridge

Post by marlinman93 »

Yes, they did have round noses. But with just a very small flat end on the top of the round nose.
Marlin lever actions 1870's-WWI, Ballards, and single shot rifles!
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