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Playing with .25-35
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November 12, 2014 - 8:03 am
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Since the forum has slowed down, I’ll share a bit of Winchester activity in my neck-o-the-woods.

This year I chose to hunt deer with the ’94 .25-35 Takedown, 26″ Octagon, Crescent Buttplate, topped with an old A5 scope.  No Black-tailed bucks wanted to sacrifice themselves, so no venison in the freezer.  But it was a pleasure carrying this rifle throughout the hunts.  Getting old enough myself, that the hunts are mostly on fairly flat ground.  For some reason, the Coast Range seems much steeper than it was 40 years ago.

I’ve had the rifle for several years.  Shot it mostly when with my sons and enjoying plinking out to 120 yards.  That was fair weather shooting.  I love to share shooting days with those boys–young men in their 20’s.  My younger brother says his son is an excellent shot, and that our families should get together for the fun.  It sounds as if he anticipates my nephew giving my sons a run for their money in a competition. Though, considering how my sons have shot enough lead to tilt the Earth’s axis a bit, my nephew might not want to declare a contest.  Would be a delightful shoot for all of us.  I am proud of all of them, nephew too, for their skills and their safe gun-handling, and for the fulfillment they get from shooting well.  Brother and nephew are up in south-central Washington–we’re in western Oregon.  Maybe next summer we can meet to play.

Back to Winchesters!  The .25-35 will be 94 years old in six days.–One of our youngest Winchesters.  While hunting with it on cool drizzly days, I found that my usual carry method caused the eye-piece lens to fog.  Carrying it in the crook of my left arm and with my right hand resting down at the tang/lever.  It seemed the heat from my hand was fogging the scope.  Had a handkerchief handy, so no problem.  And–scopes surely have improved–in that last 1/2 hour of daylight when hunts often get interesting, this little scope would not gather enough light to be able to see a buck even at close range.  Yikes!  Still, it was good to be out carrying it.

Even though I didn’t get to shoot a buck, that didn’t keep me from trying to get the itch out of my trigger-finger.  An accurate shooting rifle, and such a joy to shoot!  Tonight I was reloading a few hundred 86 and 117 grain cartridges to replenish the on-hand stock.  I do have lead gas-checked bullets for this rifle, but haven’t found load information for them yet.

While hunting, I did come across fresh cougar scat–flies coming to it.  Within 70 yards, found where the cat had bedded in some of our newly planted grass.  (We’ve been clearing brush and planting for wildlife.)  Looked hard for the kitty, but he too didn’t want to be shot.  Maybe see him this fall/winter.

Elk season begins this coming weekend.  My youngest son is beginning to tap into his inheritance–my .270.  He will be carrying it for elk, so I’ve decided to carry the .25-35.  Some folks believe it is too light for elk, but if I do my job with the shot, should be a dead elk.  Plus, I’ll likely do more tending of the fire than I will be hunting.

Speaking of my youngest son–When he was nine, he loaded a few .38-40 cartridges for when he would be old enough to hunt deer.  When his first year of deer hunting finally arrived, he chose to hunt with those bullets in his Great-great grandfather’s ’73.  We were hunting mule deer at that time, and he turned down using the .270.  Killed his first two deer with the .38-40.  And his third and fourth deer, he shot with a ’94 .32-40.  He has been a Winchester fellow from an early age.

Well, I’d best quiet down now.  Just meant to send a note on the pleasures of carrying old Winchesters around the woods (and deserts.)  

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November 13, 2014 - 1:06 pm
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I have just started shooting 25-35 after looking for one with a decent bore for years, and finally getting one to complete my collection of all the early 94 Cal offerings. I bought this one unseen , and wouldnt have if I had seen the bore .I was told it was VG , and usually people are honest about this. It is gunky and hard to see , but I think there is not much corrosion, and am slowly getting the gunk out. It shoots OK . Still working on loads , but it works very well with the equivalent Factory loaded European cartridges Sellior Bellot designated 6.5 X 52R. Very flat out to 300 m accurate , very low recoil ,and a pleasure to shoot. I am just starting load development , and have had the best luck with Hornady 75 gr HP .Surprisingly ,  because I thought this light of a bullet would be over-stabilized in the fast twist meant more for the 100 gr and 117. I haven’t tried further than 75 Yds yet. so might start to tumble further out

Having looked at a few 25-35 bores , all bad I wonder whether the fast twist of 1 in 8 trapped more of the corrosive mercuric primer residue in the bore than the larger slower twist Cals ???

 

Phil

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November 13, 2014 - 1:34 pm
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I really enjoyed reading of your account. I am also very impressed with your son, getting his first deer with an old ’73 38-40.

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November 21, 2014 - 6:27 am
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Thanks for the comments you two.

Win38-55–

He seems to be most comfortable shooting when using his Winchesters.  Has a good time shooting other guns, but Winchester levers seem to fill his spirit.  The .38-40 was the first Winchester he shot as a boy.  Very heavy for him at that time, but he took to shooting it as if he’d had shot it for decades.  Considering his love for shooting that old rifle, and mixing it with his reverence for his ancestors, it was in his nature to choose that rifle for his first deer.  He will be the fifth in our line to “own” that ’73 (as soon as he gets a gun safe.)  I’m hoping he will have many fine days carrying it in the woods.

Phil–

Have you tried Remington’s 86 grain jacketed bullets?  We do add our own cannelure to them. They shoot quite accurately out of our .25-35.  If you would like specific loads we are using for the .25-35, please let me know.

We are going to attempt to move from jacketed to lead.  Ordered bullets from The Bull Shop.  This winter, I should be able to find a load for those.

As for our bore, we are fortunate that in its history, it wasn’t shot often, and it was well cared for–one of our least used rifles.  But it is seeing plenty of shooting and hunting now.  Maybe someone else on this forum could enlighten us on the rate-of-twist and corrosion connection, if there is one.

When you have decided on loads, I’d be interested to hear what you have found.

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November 21, 2014 - 1:49 pm
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I also really like 38-40 , having satisfying success in 4 ,92 Rifles , a Uberti SAA and a Uberti 73. All the rifles like 8 gr Unique with most cast or jacketed. Revolver gets 6 gr. I used to see fact Win ammo (anemic but accurate ) selling cheap at gunshows, now not so much , but still have a stash. This Win fact 38-40 ammo (Yellow box 50’s 60’s , small white box 70’s ‘ large white box 80;s ) is exc in all my rifles. I have been more frustrated getting satisfying accuracy out of 44-40  rifles .

25-35 ( fast twist 1 in 8, New corrosion with modern components is a non issue , the trick is to find one with good bore intact.)using  I  have been mostly using H4198 ,with a variety of Jacketed 75- 117, but havent bettered the Czech Sellior Bellot 117 factory so far. I think it uses a 309 dia bullet which seems better in my gun.I havent tried Rem 86 , not sure of availability in Canada

 I am currently working on 32-40 and 32 spcl resizing RCBS 32-170 gc with LEE SIZE DIES 321 &322 for uniformity, having promising results in all guns with H4198 & Imr 4227

I have LEAST EXPERIENCE WITH 25-35 SO LOAD DATA WOULD BE APPRECIATED

 

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November 21, 2014 - 3:03 pm
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I also like Unique for my 38-40’s.

For my Colt SAA (1907) and my Winchester 1873’s I use 7.0 grains of Unique behind a 180 grain lead bullet.  The revolver gives me an average velocity of 718 fps and the ’73 rifles develop an average of 1186 fps, which is right at factory specs.

For my 1892 Winchester rifles ONLY, I load 9.5 grains of Unique behind the same bullet.  That gives me an average velocity of 1440 fps and is much more accurate for me than factory loads, with 2″ groups at 100 yards with iron sights and old eyes (from a benchrest).  It is also a HOTTER load than factory loads and should not be used in any toggle link action as the 1873 nor in any revolvers!

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November 22, 2014 - 1:19 am
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.25-35 1894 Winchester 26″ Octagon Takedown

Speer 75 gr. FN—H4895 25 grains—CCI Large Rifle Primer.

Remington .257 86 gr. SP—H4895 23.5 grains—CCI Large Rifle Primer  Cut own cannelure:  bullet base to middle of cannelure=.023″.

Hornady .257 117 gr. RN Interlock—H4895 22.0 grains–CCI Large Rifle Primer.

We are going to begin chasing a lead plain base and/or gas check load soon.  So if members have accurate loads already, we’d appreciate the help.

 

Last week I was drooling over .38 WCF Colts on auction sites.  I have a Ruger Buckeye that I’ve carried and shot for many years–wearing the blue away.  Maybe I’ll begin learning what to look for in a Colt, and spring for one before they won’t let me shoot down the halls at the Rest Home.

I’ve told my sons that since my eyes are changing for the worse with age, that when I am finally unable to see, they will have to hang a bell from a long pole and shake it, so I can keep shooting at a target.  All they have to do is to determine the length of the pole, and which of them gets to shake it!  No takers so far.

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December 20, 2014 - 1:32 pm
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 The .25-35 ia an interesting cartridge.One I have always wanted to shoot,but so far have never been able to do.

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March 24, 2015 - 9:32 pm
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I’ve been loading and shooting 25-35 quite a bit lately.  I started out with IMR 4320 and 4064 because of what I read in Pet Loads and also because 4064 seems to do well for me in a few different cartridges.  My most accurate loads using 4064 had extreme spreads of 20-40fps in five shot groups at 100 yards.  The most accurate velocities for me with 4064 and a 100 grain bullet were recorded 2000-2150 fps with two different loads (23 and 24 grains) out of a 26″ octagon barrel.  IMR 4320 looked really promising at 50 yards when I fired my first shots through the rifle just to see where I was at on the paper but it was not as accurate at 100 yards and those groups that I shot over a chronograph had double the extreme spread in fps that 4064 had.  You might consider experimenting with IMR 4064 in the 25-35 WCF.

Thank you Win 38-55 for recommending I get a chronograph awhile ago.  It’s a great tool and I’m sure happy I picked one up.

Brad

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Brad Dunbar

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March 24, 2015 - 10:59 pm
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Thanks, Brad, for sharing the load work you’ve done.

With powder so hard to find, I’ll likely be trying H4895 and RL7 for the .25-35.  I have a good supply of both of those, but no IMR.

You have appeared to be a good fellow in your posts over the years, but now I’m not so certain that is the case–saving that barb about getting a chronograph to add to a thread where I would surely see it.  Salt in the wound! Wink(I don’t have a chronograph.  Envy!)

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March 25, 2015 - 12:39 am
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Hey thanks!

That powder shortage must be very regional yet.  That’s unfortunate.  Now when something is available that I use I buy it when I see it.  I guess this whole situation is making us all better and more resourceful hand loaders.

What about R15?

Brad

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Brad Dunbar

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March 25, 2015 - 1:20 am
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Brad I still have some in my first can of 4064 . My first powder selection 40 years ago , hearing it would be good in my 22-250 and my Buddy’s 6mm Rem. I hated the way it crunched in my new RCBS Uniflow. I went to IMR 4895 (pink can )- and it metered much better.Shorter cut H4895 meters even better/ I see From The Woods likes it for 25-35, and I have some, so I should try it.  How do you measure the 4064 ? Scoop and trickler would work I guess. Lately  my  shooting has been sabotaged by deteriorating Cataract condition, but hope to be able to get them fixed and be back in business soon

Phil

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March 25, 2015 - 2:27 am
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Phil

That’s too bad about the cataract.  Hope it gets fixed soon. 

I have never used my powder measure and I weigh every charge.  I just scoop with the scoop that came with the one set of Lee dies I have for 303 SAV.  I have a Redding trickler that I use sometimes also.

Brad

 

 

 

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Brad Dunbar

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