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1885 25-20 wcf
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January 23, 2021 - 2:24 am
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I am new to this group as of about 20 minutes ago. I just received a few of my grandpas old guns from my grandma and one is a 1885 25-20 wcf i am trying to find out as much as i can on this rifle including trying to find an ejector for it because this one is broken. My great great grandpa found this gun inside a wall that he was remodeling back in  the day and it has only been known to shoot a rat and to put down a sick calf since that point is what my grandma told me. Im also looking for ammo, brass, lead molds and anything else that i might need. My grandma gave me the gun and said that i have to pay her in venison next deer season for this gun. I am very new to this rifle and dont know much. Any information is appreciated 

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January 23, 2021 - 2:38 am
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If you can post the serial number, I can most likely provide you with the answers to almost any question(s) you may have about the rifle. If you can post pictures, please do so.

What is the exact caliber marking on the barrel… e.g. “25 W.C.F., or “25-20 S.S.”, or “25-20 W.C.F.” ?

Bert

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January 23, 2021 - 3:06 am
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Serial number 82693 the barrel says 25-20 wcf it is hard to read the numbers the gun isnt in the best shape 

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January 23, 2021 - 3:41 am
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[email protected] said
Im also looking for ammo, brass, lead molds and anything else that i might need.

Which would also include reloading dies.  Frankly, if the bore is no better than the outer surface, you might want to reconsider investing in these components.

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January 23, 2021 - 3:56 am
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actually the bore looks pretty good. Its not perfect. The first couple inches after the chamber have some imperfections but after that it is very clean 

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January 23, 2021 - 3:57 am
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I can barely make out the 25-20, but I can not see where that it is marked “W.C.F.”  

I agree with Clarence… your low-wall is in really poor condition, and I highly suspect that the bore looks like the exterior of the barrel.  

Do you have a 25-20 WCF cartridge?  If you do, will it seat in the chamber?

Roll the rifle belly up and take a clear picture showing the entire bottom of the receiver frame.

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January 23, 2021 - 4:37 am
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January 23, 2021 - 5:25 am
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I can see that the lower portion of the extractor is still in place.  One has to wonder how the upper part of the extractor was broken off.  The extractors are generally speaking quite robust for the center fire Single Shot Rifles.

What does the bore look like?  I highly recommend finding a 25-20 WCF cartridge and see if it will chamber properly.  

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January 23, 2021 - 5:41 am
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The first couple inches past the chamber has some imperfections in the bore but past that is very clean 

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January 23, 2021 - 2:21 pm
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Bert H. said
I highly recommend finding a 25-20 WCF cartridge and see if it will chamber properly.    

That won’t be easy, unless he knows someone who has a few–most gun stores don’t carry it in stock.  Can’t you tell for sure by the ser. no. ?

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January 23, 2021 - 4:29 pm
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 Bjorn, I might be a hours drive from you and I have dies, bullets, brass, loaded rounds, and a place to shoot. T/R

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January 23, 2021 - 4:32 pm
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TR said
 Bjorn, I might be a hours drive from you and I have dies, bullets, brass, loaded rounds and a place to shoot. T/R  

Now there’s a generous offer if I ever heard one!

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January 23, 2021 - 4:51 pm
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clarence said

That won’t be easy, unless he knows someone who has a few–most gun stores don’t carry it in stock.  Can’t you tell for sure by the ser. no. ?  

Ordinarily Yes, I can tell by the serial number.  However, I cannot tell if somebody reamed out the chamber on a 25-20 S.S. in an attempt to shoot the much more common 25-20 WCF.  Based on the ledger entry for this rifle’s serial number, it should be a 25-20 S.S.  Because the extractor is broken (or was intentionally altered) I suspect that somebody tried converting it from 25-20 S.S. to 25-20 WCF.  The only way to know for sure, is try seating a 25-20 WCF cartridge in it.

If the OP knows how to remove what is left of the extractor, the mystery of what it was originally chambered for can be answered by the marking on the side of the extractor base.

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January 23, 2021 - 9:52 pm
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TR said
 Bjorn, I might be a hours drive from you and I have dies, bullets, brass, loaded rounds, and a place to shoot. T/R  

Can you arrange a flight for me?

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January 23, 2021 - 10:28 pm
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 Chuck, Anytime! Tom

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January 3, 2024 - 7:58 am
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Bert H. said

clarence said

That won’t be easy, unless he knows someone who has a few–most gun stores don’t carry it in stock.  Can’t you tell for sure by the ser. no. ?  

Ordinarily Yes, I can tell by the serial number.  However, I cannot tell if somebody reamed out the chamber on a 25-20 S.S. in an attempt to shoot the much more common 25-20 WCF.  Based on the ledger entry for this rifle’s serial number, it should be a 25-20 S.S.  Because the extractor is broken (or was intentionally altered) I suspect that somebody tried converting it from 25-20 S.S. to 25-20 WCF.  The only way to know for sure, is try seating a 25-20 WCF cartridge in it.

If the OP knows how to remove what is left of the extractor, the mystery of what it was originally chambered for can be answered by the marking on the side of the extractor base.

  

Bert,

Was the 1885 ever chambered for the 25-20 wcf cartridge or just the single shot version? I understand guns were marked both 25-20 wcf and 25-20 ss but all were chambered in 25-20 ss. Thoughts? Thanks.

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January 3, 2024 - 11:50 am
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I KNOW for a fact the .25-20 Single Shot was marked as such.  It might have been abbreviated S.S. or not.  But it definitely was .25-20 Single Shot.  As that was the first Model 1885 rifle I had ever seen, and, just like Bert, I was fascinated.  But this was back when my income was mowing lawns and working in a general store after school, and money was tight and owning a Winchester rifle in at least a somewhat readily available caliber so I could shoot it was not practical.  This was well before the days of the internet where the possibility of obtaining obscure brass is at least an option now.

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January 3, 2024 - 2:23 pm
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I KNOW for a fact the .25-20 Single Shot was marked as such.  It might have been abbreviated S.S. or not.  But it definitely was .25-20 Single Shot.mrcvs said 

If marked that way, it was mfgd. AFTER Win introduced their .25-20 Repeater cartridge for the M 1892, because those mfgd. before then were marked .25 WCF.  Win was caught in a trap of their own making by falsely claiming as their own (which “WCF” implies) a cartridge first chambered for the M 1882 Maynard, & designed by an independent cartridge experimenter (F.J. Rabbeth), what would later be called a “wildcat cartridge,” like the .22-250.  So when the Repeater cartridge was born, the company was caught with their corporate pants down, & HAD to change markings for their SSs chambered for the original Rabbeth .25-20.

I found all this out the hard way, by buying a Low Wall marked .25 WCF but chambered for the .25-20 SS.  When I got home with it & tried to chamber a .25 WCF, I was in disbelief!  This was a good 50 yrs ago, when the only brass available was original factory cartridges, collector’s items.  Soon as I could, traded that gun off at a loss.

A SS built after the Repeater cartridge was introduced, & chambered for the TRUE .25 WCF would of course be marked as such, though most customers for the SS model preferred the older cartridge, highly regarded at the time for accuracy.

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January 3, 2024 - 5:26 pm
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The Winchester barrel marking from a #2 low-wall barrel prior to it being changed to 25-20 SS around 1895.  Rabbeth worked for Remington and had them make up a .25 caliber barrel for him around 1886 and I believe it went on a Stevens single shot.  Later, in 1889, he wrote an article for “Fishing and Shooting” about his Maynard in 25-20 SS.  Union metallic made the cartridges.  This according to Ned Roberts. 

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January 3, 2024 - 5:35 pm
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Old-Win said
The Winchester barrel marking from a #2 low-wall barrel prior to it being changed to 25-20 SS around 1895.  Rabbeth worked for Remington and had them make up a .25 caliber barrel for him around 1886 and I believe it went on a Stevens single shot.  Later, in 1889, he wrote an article for “Fishing and Shooting” about his Maynard in 25-20 SS.  Union metallic made the cartridges.  This according to Ned Roberts. 

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I’m sure Bert will chime in eventually but was the 1885 ever chambered for the shorter 25-20 wcf repeater cartridge and if so when?

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