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.25-20 Winchester
25-20 WCF.JPG
Type Rifle
Place of origin United States
Service history
Used by ranchers, trappers, small game hunters, varmint hunters, mule hunters
Wars none
Production history
Designed 1892
Manufacturer Winchester
Produced 1895-prsent
Number built 90750
Parent cartridge .32-20 Winchester
Bullet diameter .258 in (6.6 mm)
Neck diameter .274 in (7.0 mm)
Shoulder diameter .333 in (8.5 mm)
Base diameter .349 in (8.9 mm)
Rim diameter .408 in (10.4 mm)
Rim thickness .065 in (1.7 mm)
Case length 1.330 in (33.8 mm)
Overall length 1.592 in (40.4 mm)
Primer type small rifle
Ballistic performance
Bullet weight/type Velocity Energy
60 gr (4 g) FP 2,101 ft/s (640 m/s) 588 ft·lbf (797 J)
75 gr (5 g) FP 1,877 ft/s (572 m/s) 587 ft·lbf (796 J)
86 gr (6 g) SP 1,673 ft/s (510 m/s) 535 ft·lbf (725 J)
Source(s): Hodgdon[1]

The .25-20 Winchester, or WCF (Winchester center fire) was developed about 1895 for the Winchester Model 1892 lever action rifle. It was based on necking down the .32-20 Winchester. In the early 20th century, it was a popular big game and varmint round, developing around 1460 ft/s with 86 grain bullets. While the SAAMI pressure rating is a full 28,000 CUP, modern ammunition is often loaded lighter in deference to the weaker steels used on many of the original guns. The early black powder cartridges were loaded to about 20,000 psi, but the SAAMI rating is close to that of the high velocity smokeless rounds produced later. The high velocity loadings developed 1732 ft/s.[2]

It was easy and economical to reload, and was once a favorite with farmers, ranchers, pot hunters and trappers. Though the .25-20 has been used on deer and even claimed a whitetail deer of long standing record in 1914,[3] its use on large-bodied game is not advised due to its sedate ballistics and light bullet construction, which makes humane one-shot kills unlikely.

See also


  1. .25-20 load data at Hodgdon
  2. Whelen, Townsend. The American Rifle, The Century Co., New York, 1918, pp.220-223
  3. James Jordan Buck at the Burnett County, WI web site, accessed 09-2009
  • Cartridge dimensions from ANSI/SAAMI Z299.4-1992 p. 45
  • Accurate Smokeless Powders Loading Guide (Number Two (Revised) ed.). Prescott, AZ: Wolfe Publishing. 2000. Barcode 94794 00200. 

External links

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