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25-20 for deer?
April 17, 2021
6:50 pm
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Neat story Roger.  I think that was another use for many .25-20’s around the farm – dispatching cattle and pigs for slaughter.  Very very few would chose a .30-06 that job.  And as your great grandfather discovered, a .22 sometimes worked out to be on the light side.

April 17, 2021
7:33 pm
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rogertherelic said
I became a 25-20 fan due to the Model 1892 rifle my great grand father had.  He butchered for neighboring Kansas farms, mostly in the spring and fall each year.  The 25-20 was his choice after the 22 rifle he had been using failed to put down a large steer after several attempts.  

Though the bullet of a .22 LR has remarkable penetration, a steer’s scull might deform it enough to stop it short of the brain, on a “between the eyes” shot.  A shot precisely in the ear canal would probably have been lethal.  But of course for this purpose a larger caliber is more humane.  I’ve killed many of my father’s big (100 lb), semi-wild goats with a LR at a range of 15-20 yds (as close as I could get without scaring them away), & they always dropped like a rock, but I waited until I could place the shot precisely in the ear canal.

April 17, 2021
9:09 pm
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If .22 LR doesn’t work on a bull, .44 Magnum surely will,

Don’t ask me how I know.  I wasn’t the one pulling the trigger, BTW.

However, in all seriousness, if .22 LR was ineffective, how much more powerful would a .25-20 be?  Not to mention, .25-20 would be a mighty uncommon firearm to find in a slaughterhouse, and finding live .25-20 rounds could be even more of a challenge.

April 17, 2021
9:17 pm
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mrcvs said
If .22 LR doesn’t work on a bull, .44 Magnum surely will,

Don’t ask me how I know.  I wasn’t the one pulling the trigger, BTW.

However, in all seriousness, if .22 LR was ineffective, how much more powerful would a .25-20 be?  Not to mention, .25-20 would be a mighty uncommon firearm to find in a slaughterhouse, and finding live .25-20 rounds could be even more of a challenge.  

Personally I think a 25–20 has a fair amount more killing power than a 22 LR.

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April 17, 2021
9:41 pm
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mrcvs said
If .22 LR doesn’t work on a bull, .44 Magnum surely will,

Don’t ask me how I know.  I wasn’t the one pulling the trigger, BTW.

However, in all seriousness, if .22 LR was ineffective, how much more powerful would a .25-20 be?  Not to mention, .25-20 would be a mighty uncommon firearm to find in a slaughterhouse, and finding live .25-20 rounds could be even more of a challenge.  

I agree that a .25-20 was likely very uncommon around a slaughterhouse.  I was referring to farms, mainly small farms.  At the height of the popularity of the .25-20, small farms and ranches dotted much of our country.  In fact, a large percentage of our country’s population lived on small farms.  Really, the reverse of how it is now.  Small game, foxes trying to get in the chicken house, porcupines chewing on the outhouse, groundhogs digging up gardens, slaughtering the occasional cow or pig, that’s what I am thinking of.  

I also agree with Rick – I think the .25-20 is notably more powerful than the .22 LR.  

April 17, 2021
9:57 pm
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I think you’re spot on with your comments Steve. Things have definitely changed.

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April 17, 2021
10:03 pm
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RickC said

Personally I think a 25–20 has a fair amount more killing power than a 22 LR.  

It does… with a bullet weight more than double that of a 22 LR, and with a muzzle higher velocity than a standard 22 LR, the 25-20 is a lot more potent than a 22 LR.

1. The standard velocity 22 Long Rifle 40 grain RN lead bullet generates a muzzle velocity of 1,138 ft/s in a standard 22″ rifle test barrel.  The muzzle energy is 116 ft. lbs

2. The standard 25-20 WCF cartridge develops around 1,460 ft/s with 86-grain bullets. The factory WHV load @ 1700 ft/s generated 540 fpe (nearly 4X that of a 22 LR).  There are listed loads for the 25-20 WCF using a 60-gr bullet that exceed 2100 ft/s

Comparing the killing power of a 22 LR to the 25-20 WCF is inane in my opinion.

I would shoot deer with this load out to 150-yds with no trepidation what-so-ever…

Ventura Heritage 25-20 WCF 75gr SP Ammo for Sale | Ventura Munitions

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April 17, 2021
10:08 pm
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Thanks Bert. Appreciate the data. The more I read the replies, I think I know what’s on my acquisition list.

RickC

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April 17, 2021
10:19 pm
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steve004 said

I agree that a .25-20 was likely very uncommon around a slaughterhouse.    

I think shooting was uncommon.  Despite that fact that humane stun guns were available by the late-19th C., many slaughterhouses simply employed a strong man with a sledgehammer to do the job.  I can refer you to a video is you want to see exactly how it was done.

April 17, 2021
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I think .25-20’s are very fun to shoot.  They are also a great next step up from a .22 for family members.  Spouses, kids, grandkids and so on can have a pleasant and enjoyable centerfire lever action rifle experience.  The .25-20 is far more pleasant to shoot than the next step up such as .30-30’s, .32 specials, etc.  

I have been pleased to see the .25-20 gain a whole lot of ground among collectors over the decades.  Once the .44-40’s started to dry up and increase in price, the .25-20 was a logical alternative.  When I first started collecting, the word on a .25-20 was that you could barely give one away.  More modern developments were replacing them and of course, small farms were disappearing fast.  It’s nice to see people enjoy them now – both to collect and shoot.

April 17, 2021
10:21 pm
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clarence said

steve004 said
I agree that a .25-20 was likely very uncommon around a slaughterhouse.    

I think shooting was uncommon.  Despite that fact that humane stun guns were available by the late-19th C., many slaughterhouses simply employed a strong man with a sledgehammer to do the job.  I can refer you to a video is you want to see exactly how it was done.  

Clarence – thanks for the offer, but I trust you on this point.  I don’t feel the need to see the video.

April 18, 2021
1:51 am
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22’s are very common on the farm or slaughter houses to kill the cattle.  One shot to the forehead and their dead.  These are not long range shots especially in the slaughter houses.  Just look up 22 cattle killers. There are some videos on YouTube.  My friend had a W W Greener Cattle Killer.  It took several years to find a round with the proper head stamp.

April 18, 2021
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Chuck said
22’s are very common on the farm or slaughter houses to kill the cattle.  One shot to the forehead and their dead.  These are not long range shots especially in the slaughter houses.  Just look up 22 cattle killers. There are some videos on YouTube.  My friend had a W W Greener Cattle Killer.  It took several years to find a round with the proper head stamp.  

You’re quite right, Chuck.  I’ve “put down” many cattle with a 22 and witnessed many more.  It’s all about shot placement.  The 22 has no problem penetrating a cattle skull and the result is instantaneous.  I’ve also seen dunderheads with higher powered calibers try to put down cattle who didn’t understand how to place the shot and bungle the job terribly.  It’s surprisingly easy to shoot under the brain if aiming “between the eyes”. 

Higher powered calibers tend to fragment and end up in the neck meat and then in the hamburger.  I’d never considered it, but the 25-20 with light loads and lead bullets might be a good option as well. 

By the way, an 1892 carbine in 25-20 would have been a light, handy rifle to carry on a farm/ranch for dispatching varmints like coyotes, badgers, rock chucks, and the like.  It would also add some firepower beyond a 22 if something unexpected and a little larger showed up.  Mark

April 18, 2021
3:08 am
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The best placement for slaughtering cattle is to visualize an “X” between the eyes and ears and aim where the lines in the “X” cross.

https://www.progressivedairy.com/topics/herd-health/tips-for-humanely-euthanizing-cattle

April 18, 2021
3:11 am
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Bert H. said

It does… with a bullet weight more than double that of a 22 LR, and with a muzzle higher velocity than a standard 22 LR, the 25-20 is a lot more potent than a 22 LR.

1. The standard velocity 22 Long Rifle 40 grain RN lead bullet generates a muzzle velocity of 1,138 ft/s in a standard 22″ rifle test barrel.  The muzzle energy is 116 ft. lbs

2. The standard 25-20 WCF cartridge develops around 1,460 ft/s with 86-grain bullets. The factory WHV load @ 1700 ft/s generated 540 fpe (nearly 4X that of a 22 LR).  There are listed loads for the 25-20 WCF using a 60-gr bullet that exceed 2100 ft/s

Comparing the killing power of a 22 LR to the 25-20 WCF is inane in my opinion.

I would shoot deer with this load out to 150-yds with no trepidation what-so-ever…

Ventura Heritage 25-20 WCF 75gr SP Ammo for Sale | Ventura Munitions  

Agreed, but if a .22LR is ineffective, although a .25-20 is more effective, there are better choices than this that are more readily available.

April 18, 2021
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mrcvs said
The best placement for slaughtering cattle is to visualize an “X” between the eyes and ears and aim where the lines in the “X” cross.

https://www.progressivedairy.com/topics/herd-health/tips-for-humanely-euthanizing-cattle  

Exactly.  That’s how it was explained to me by an old-timer before the first time I was called on to perform the unsavory task and what I’ve thought about when aiming every time since.  Mark

April 18, 2021
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Ive put a several cows down with a 22 LR shot at the base of the skull behind the poll of the head.  One shot and lights out.  Couldnt think of a more humane way.  A shot in the ear works pretty good too, either way you dont have to worry about the bullet passing through the thick frontal bone of the skull.   

As for a 25-20 on deer, why not.  Its got plenty of power for a head, neck, or heart shot.   Ive shot a number of hogs with a 32-20 at fair distances and they are pretty effective on them and their hide is a bit tougher than deer. 

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April 18, 2021
11:20 am
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1892takedown said
Ive put a several cows down with a 22 LR shot at the base of the skull behind the poll of the head.  One shot and lights out.  Couldnt think of a more humane way.  A shot in the ear works pretty good too, either way you dont have to worry about the bullet passing through the thick frontal bone of the skull.   

As for a 25-20 on deer, why not.  Its got plenty of power for a head, neck, or heart shot.   Ive shot a number of hogs with a 32-20 at fair distances and they are pretty effective on them and their hide is a bit tougher than deer.   

Yes, I’ve seen it done that way too, but most are trained in the method I described because it consistently provides immediate unconsciousness and is easier to apply in a large scale production environment.  Also, it’s easier to visualize and explain to employees with limited training whose first language is not English.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/9/313.16

As for .25-20 as a deer cartridge, a properly placed shot is deadly, no matter the cartridge.  I would like to have the opportunity to use it on deer, but the state legislature dictates otherwise.

if I had to guess, back when it was more commonplace, it may have been the caliber of choice for poachers.  I would think when you consider power vs the decibels of the gunshot, it would be the optimal choice.  More powerful than the .22LR, quieter than nearly all other available rifle rounds.

It HAD to have been revered back in the day.  Look at how many Model 1892 rifles with special order features there are out there.  I would think that owners of these would be inclined to purchase these because there was a special place for the .25-20 back in the day.  Now when is the last time you saw a Model 1892 in .44-40 with comparable special order features?

April 18, 2021
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mrcvs said

Agreed, but if a .22LR is ineffective, although a .25-20 is more effective, there are better choices than this that are more readily available.  

There are more choices readily available – now.  But they weren’t back then, which helps explain why the .25-20 was at one time much more popular and saw a lot of everyday use.  However, some of the modern choices have disadvantages when compared to the old .25-20.  A loud high-velocity, “crack” comes to mind.

April 18, 2021
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1892takedown said
As for a 25-20 on deer, why not.  Its got plenty of power for a head, neck, or heart shot.  

Those shots, yes, though you could say the same for hits with a .22LR.  But what’s the max range, would you estimate, that the “average hunter” could make those shots with a reasonable degree of certainty, using iron sights of course, & probably offhand?  Bert recommended 150 yds, but that’s way beyond my level of proficiency, though I practice offhand several times a week, & at 150 yds, because that’s where my steel targets are set up.

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