The .25-20 Winchester

By Chuck Hawks

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.

Note: An article about the .25-20 Winchester can be found on the Rifle Cartridge Page.

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Copyright 2004, 2016 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.