25-20 Loads

Centerfires, rimfires, pistol cartridges and everything in between.
1894User
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25-20 Loads

Post by 1894User » Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:26 pm

Just acquired a Marlin CL in 25-20, have produced about 300 pieces of brass from Starline 32-20 (only lost 13 doing it) and I need some assistance in loading this beast. Have purchased a number of Speer 75gr Flat nose and some Meister 85gr Lead bullets. Also any advise on annealing the brass. After all the work I do not want to loose any of it. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

JW

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Re: 25-20 Loads

Post by No1_49er » Wed Jul 12, 2017 1:41 am

For annealing, I'd be inclined to checking out the induction unit at https://www.ampannealing.com
They list a setting for 32-20, so it's probable that they could easily determine, with your cases, the correct setting for 25-20. I managed to stumble on a couple of hundred 25-20 factory loads tucked away under a shop counter, so didn't have to go down the road of reforming the cases.
I have one that is used for 6mmPPC, 6.5x55 Swede, 303Br, 308MExp, 250Savage, 222 & 223, 40-65 & 45-70, 38-55, and more. Fabulous unit. Initial cost a bit of a choke, but oh so easy to use. Forget about those gas burners. You could even set up a little sideline operation for your shooting buddies.

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Re: 25-20 Loads

Post by Boyd L. » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:04 am

1894User wrote:
Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:26 pm
...Also any advise on annealing the brass. After all the work I do not want to loose any of it. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

JW
I use a propane torch in a relatively dark room. I focus the tip of the flame on the neck-shoulder junction until the impacted area has a dull red glow. The heat spreads up the neck to the case mouth. I do not use this technique on straight (or nearly straight) walled cases, but on my 22 PPC, 257 Ackley, and other bottleneck high pressure cases.
The technique I use demands that one learn to "read" the cases and their reactions under heat. Some may find that learning (and potential case loss, til you get there) unacceptable. A product called Tempilaq has greatly simplified the process. Different grades melt or are consumed at different temperatures. Simply paint it on the case, apply heat and when the Tempilaq reacts appropriately, stop the heat. A shooting buddy uses this method and so far I can tell no difference in case life between his method and mine. As mentioned there are undoubtedly some great mechanical products as well to make the process very simple.
Good luck.

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Re: 25-20 Loads

Post by snaketail2 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:35 am

Once you have the annealing complete I suggest 4198 or LilGun powders. I had success with 4227, but that powder is position sensitive and required a dacron wadding over the powder. You will not need small rifle primers - small pistol will do. And minimal crimp is all that is necessary.
The Marlin Owners web site has great deal of 25-20 information - http://www.marlinowners.com/forum/reloa ... aders.html

Michael
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Re: 25-20 Loads

Post by glen ring » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:17 pm

I have had two 1894cl 25-20's. Both liked fast, jacketed bullets. I used imr-4198 and H-322. Loads around 1500 fps seemed to work best.
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Re: 25-20 Loads

Post by 1894User » Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:10 pm

The cost of induction annealing is a bit more than i can afford, so sadly the propane route is what I am looking at. The device I own is not suitable for rimmed cases and I am hoping to find a somewhat automated system for under 400 bucks. As I shoot both 32-20 and now 25-20 there will be a lot of annealing cases in my future. Found some loads in a lyman manual and an older Speer manual. The powders that I have that should be suitable for this cartridge are Power Pistol, H110, Lil-Gun, 2400, 4198 and Unique. Prefer to use the Speer Jacketed bullet for competition (able to snatch 1,000 of them) and use the lead 85 grain bullets for practice. (Given my level of shooting I need a lot of practice. Good thing lead bullets are available and cheap.)

Recommendations on automated annealing units and loads using the powders and bullets above would be most helpful. So far my load plans look like this:

75gr Speer Flat nose
- 7.0 - 7.5 Lil-Gun
- 10.0 - 11.5 H110

85gr Lead
10.0 - 11.0 2400
9.5 - 10.5 IMR 4198

Any comments are most welcome.

Respectfully

JW

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Re: 25-20 Loads

Post by 1894User » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:22 pm

Snaketail,
Thanks for sharing that marlin owners thread. 106 page of information on 25-20 loads. It will take a while to get through it all. 35 Remington covers most of the powders and bullets and suggests many others. His focus is on hunting, mine a bit more sedate and knocking over turkeys and rams consistently.

Thanks

JW

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Re: 25-20 Loads

Post by JohnHenry » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:38 pm

My experience with the 25-20 has been a frustrating experience to find the right load that is consistently accurate. Currently, I have an original 1894 Marlin with a 24" heavy round barrel, made in 1901. I found this rifle at a gun show. The rifling looks new. But I couldn't get it to shoot accurately until another shooter gave me a load using H322 with the Speer 75grain jacketed bullet. The powder nearly fills the case with just enough room for the bullet. I use small rifle primers. Muzzle velocity is 1810 FPS. It is the most accurate pistol caliber rifle I have owned. It will shoot groups of just over an inch at 100 yards benchrest with iron sights. I took a suggestion from Joe Atwood, in Texas, and do not crimp the case at all. I also noticed a this year's Nationals that the bullet was not affected by the wind near as much as my shooting partner's 32-20 with 3.5 gr of powder. If anyone wants the powder load, contact me offline.

Jim Luke

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Re: 25-20 Loads

Post by edgehit » Wed Jul 12, 2017 8:52 pm

I'll share about 12 months of my 25-20 load development experience that began by asking google a lot of questions. I also read the Marlin Owners thread on 25-20

I found 12-13gr Reloder 7 under Speer 75 shoots lights out in my rifles. Massey ran out of 4198 and tried RL7 in his rifles and got much better accuracy. I've documented several groups from 1/4" to 1" at 100 yds this year in those powder charges. Velocity is 1650 to 1800 fps range. My experiments found small rifle primers produced better groups, higher V, and tighter SD. CCI 400 works fine. Too bad I can't put a decent score together with it this year. The 1/4" group was stunning. All groups shot using tang or bolt mounted peeps. :shock: These loads get to the ram line, like right now, and have no mercy. Don't use them on mild steel targets.

I've experimented with LilGun and Winchester super target and field with cast and Speer 75. 3.2-3.5 gr WST with small pistol primer will shoot sub 2" at 100m around 1200 fps. 5.2-5.5 gr WSF shoots sub 2" at 1550 fps. Both loads with Speer 75. Al Fousts LilGun recommendation of 7gr LilGun shot 1-1/2" in my old pitted barrel 1892. Interesting thing about these shotgun powder loads is standard deviations are around 15 fps. Why they don't shoot smaller groups is beyond me. Muzzle blast is more like a "pop" and non-distracting unlike the rifle powder loads above

Cast lead load development is an artform. I was just about comfortable with Bullshop's 65 gr cast when Speer released the 75's last summer and I went that direction. Small amounts of WST or 231 shot like a 22 lr. But you had to get rid of the heavy lube and weight sort the bullets. What a pain! I don't have the time.

Beware of unsafe pressure caused by accidental double charges using small doses of shotgun powders. I don't think it'll blow up a Winchester 92. You can definitely blow the case apart and lock up the rifle. Please double check the powder charge before seating bullets and don't drink while reloading x_x

As for crimping, some do, some don't. You need to crimp if you expand the mouth to seat cast bullets. Good luck finding 25-20 brass that's long enough to seat bullets with a crimp at SAAMI overall length. I find this to be a problem. I'm making all my brass from Starline 32-20 new cases that is too short. This is the single reason to search the WWW for Speer 75's. Just seat the bullet without a crimp and enjoy shooting.
- Joe

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Re: 25-20 Loads

Post by 1894User » Fri Jul 14, 2017 1:31 pm

edgehit, JohnHenry,

Just what I am looking for. Will have to go find H322 and RL7 to add to the list. My load in 32-20 is 7.7gr of Lil-Gun and it shoots under two inches with peep sights off a bench. This is the load I will shoot this weekend. Right now everything is on a single stage press with individually weighed charges. Eventually I want to be able to move it to my Dillon, so eliminating the possibility of double charges is a consideration. The pistol powders are cheaper to shoot, but all can be double charged. The shotgun end powders that is not an issue. Also find that they tend to not heat up the barrel as much.

Do either of you anneal your cases? If so what method or machine do you use?

JW

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Re: 25-20 Loads

Post by JohnHenry » Fri Jul 14, 2017 2:31 pm

You will find H322 meters beautifully. I normally weigh every charge, but with this powder, using a Harrel Measure, it is never off over one tenth of a grain. So I just weigh every tenth charge to check. With the load I use you cannot overcharge, since the load nearly fills the case. If you double charge, there would be powder everywhere.

Jim Luke

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Re: 25-20 Loads

Post by 1894User » Fri Jul 14, 2017 7:59 pm

I now have 1K Speer 75gr FN. Shipment arrived from Midsouth. Annealing machine is on order and should arrive next week. Hope to find the RL7 and H322 powders in the local shooting emporiums. Wish I had one of the magnetic chronographs, but accuracy is my sole criteria anyway. Have found many loads with extreme spreads under 15 fps that really grouped badly. My best pistol caliber so far was a 1894 in 32-20 right at 1.6 inches for 5 shots with peep sights at a 100yds. Not sure my 60 year old eyes can do much better than that, but I am gonna try.

Will gladly admit that playing with 25-20 is a lot more work than 357 or 32-20, but it is a fun project and much better that trying to reload 22 WRMs. Two blown cases and a ruined 9422 firing pin spring cured me of that infatuation. Though I did prove that you can get near 1 MOA if you are willing to work it. My two blown cases were from using low grade ammo for the donor cases. If I had used any of the higher quality ammo as a starting point I doubt I would ever of had the problem, but the costs go up dramatically. Forming 25-20 cases is an art, but not that hard to learn, and annealing beforehand should reduce the number of lost cases (currently less than 4%). In the end the 25-20 is cheaper than reloading 22 WRM with about the same recoil. Think it would have to be an awfully sticky Ram to stay up when hit by a 75gr bullet that will still be at or near super sonic speed.

Thanks all for the great information. Will post results in a few weeks.

JW

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Re: 25-20 Loads

Post by edgehit » Sun Jul 16, 2017 1:19 pm

Reloder 7 and 322 will drop measure the same, within 0.1gr.

Like Jim, I measure 10 then weigh 1 to monitor the throw weight. When I shear a kernel, I dump that charge and re-throw it. I visually inspect every charged case to be sure there's no surprises.

All single stage press work. I tried Dillon 550 but the thin necks gave me fits with my old worn out press. Thinks just don't line up perfectly every time I index so I quit

I anneal after forming cases and again if the mood hits me. I use a propane torch in a very dark room using Varmit Al's technique
- Joe

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Re: 25-20 Loads

Post by 1894User » Sun Jul 16, 2017 8:28 pm

I have had issues with my Dillion 650, everything lined up but the powder drop tube which is also the neck expander. It would ruin 1 in 4 cases if I did not pay attention. Turns out the issue was in two parts and it took the Dillion technician less than 10 minutes to talk me through it. I too was frustrated as I had torn my machine down to just the frame, lever and cylinder ram and rebuilt it twice. There was a point where he was about to give me a RPA number and they would rebuild my machine for me and set it for 32-20. Turned out not needed. Gotta love Dillion, the machine is 15 years old and I have no idea how many rounds reloaded and they back it like I purchased it yesterday.

Not confident enough in my skills with a torch in my hands, something about it makes my wife and kids nervous. Whimps! So I ordered a Sage Annealing Machine. Looks simple, just a metal table with a rotating plate, two metal fences and two adjustable heads for torches. My only concern was that the cases needed to spin and I was assured that if you set the second fence high enough all cases will turn at a uniform speed. Will see later in the week.

JW

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Re: 25-20 Loads

Post by snaketail2 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:14 am

Is anyone having success with the Missouri Bullet "Coated" cast-bullet in 25-20. The 85gr bullet is longer and potentially more accurate than the 75gr Speer. Just wondering if anyone has found a powder that the "coated" bullet likes.
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