.25-35 WCF, The Step-child?

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  • Last Post 12 September 2018
David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 10 September 2018

As I have written in previous posts my love for the .25-35 WCF started with the purchase of a contender barrel some 35+ years ago. But up until recently I never realized how little has been written about this venerable cartridge, often referred to as the "perfect woods loafer". 

Introduced in 1895 along with the .30-30, ammunition has been in production ever since, with the manufacture of the model 94 in this caliber ceasing about 1964. Since then there have been very few rifles produced in .25-35 until recently. 

I would like to write a book about this caliber. In order to do so I will need a great amount of information. Please email me with your experience and knowledge of the .25-35. I would greatly appreciate it, please include your name. 

chefreiss@gmail.com

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys, Good Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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RicinYakima posted this 11 September 2018

Find a copy of Rifles and Rifle Shooting by Capt. Charles Askins (father of Charlie Askins) published in 1912 and redone a few times since. It was done in the hay day of the 25/35 and 25 Remington. FWIW, Ric

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 11 September 2018

Ric,

Thank you. I have that book and will go back and read it again. I would have thought that you would have some experience with the .25-35. 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys, Good Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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RicinYakima posted this 11 September 2018

Well, I am not a fan of the Winchester 94; they don't fit me very well, hurt my face when shot and drive my thumb into the end of my long nose. Plus the .25-35 was never popular here in the PNW high desert. The few that I have seen have come from the west side of the mountains where there is heavy timber and logging clear cuts.  What I like is the Remington 14 pump in 25 Remington. It fits well, weights less and shoots a little faster, but not much. Even it is not long legged enough to be very useful here except for plinking.

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 11 September 2018

since i have an extra 25-35 reamer i bot when a friend thought he would convert a spare 94 from 30-30 ... then changed to a 38-55 .... i even bot some good molds for the project.   

i have since thought it would be fun to put together a bolt 25-35 ... just to irritate some black rifle buddies  ( pc: buddies with black rifles ) ....  how about converting a remmy 788 in 30-30 ... or a m54 winchester ... or even a savage 340  .    wait ... a ruger 1 ! .... just change the extractor ...  

anybody out there have a bolt/R1 25-35 ?

ken

 

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RicinYakima posted this 11 September 2018

No, but my friend in Richland, WA, built a Remington Hepburn in 25/35. Recoilless and quiet with a 30 inch  barrel, beautiful gun. The next owner changed it to 38/55, that I never understood.  

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loophole posted this 11 September 2018

I haven't shot my mod 94 25-35 yet.  I cleaned it and applied a little oil and it is very smooth and tight,  Bore looks perfect.  I have accumulated  dies, prepped brass and loaded 100 rounds.  I think I have read every article  on the net about the rifle and the cartridge.  I found loads on the net and in a few of my reloading manuals. 

Observations so far:                                                                                                                                           

Hornady dies work well.   Least expensive of those sold by Midway.

Hornaday brass is very good--no damaged cases or other problems.  Seems very uniform. I ran cases through the sizing die, then trimmed to length with a Wilson trimmer and camfered with a Wilson tool.

In prepping the cases the Lee flaring die set to just enter the neck allows .258" cast bullets to seat smoothly.  The Hornady seating die takes the slight flare out of the case when it is screwed in till it touches the shell holder, but it puts little crimp in the case. 

I am using bullets from Western.  They are very well cast and uniform.  They have bullets cast in lyman 258231 molds, both plain based and gas checked.  I've read this is the mold Lyman designed for the 25-35 round.

Will report results, but it looks like a hurricane is going to be dumping rain on North Carolina mountains for the next week.

Steve k

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M3 Mitch posted this 11 September 2018

I have never had or even shot a 25-35.  I do have to ask what advantage it was supposed to have over a 30-30, from a practical point of view.  Perhaps a bit less recoil, maybe a bit flatter trajectory? 

One might compare it to the 7-30 Waters, chambered in 94 AE rifles for a few years, I think what Ken Waters was trying to do is make a bit flatter shooting and softer kicking round for the 94.

What can you hunt with a 25-35 using cast bullets?  I have to think, just from theory, that it would not be nearly as good a cast bullet deer round as the 30-30.  Perhaps as the Wikipedia article on it suggests, it's at its best shooting coyotes.

I'm curious as to the accuracy you get, both with the new Miroku, and the older Winchester.

All that said, I am starting to think I would really like to find a nice Model 64, particularly.  Even though I can't think of a single thing it would do, that existing 30-30 rifles would not do as well or probably better.

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Ross Smith posted this 12 September 2018

But just think of all the new molds and dies etc. you can get with your kids inheritance!

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lotech posted this 12 September 2018

Years ago, I had two .25-35s, a Savage 99  and a '94 Winchester. I enjoyed cast bullet work with the cartridge, but question the usefulness of the .25-35 with cast bullets for hunting anything other than small game or varmint shooting up fairly close. It would likely be a minimum close-range deer cartridge with the 117 grain Hornady flat nose soft point jacketed bullet, but I doubt that bullet is even produced now. I never used the .25-35 for anything but paper targets. For that, it was fine. 

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Scearcy posted this 12 September 2018

I don't think I am willing to sacrifice my Remington 788 30-30 to be rebarreled in 25-35. I like the idea of a bolt gun though. Which of the cheap mil surp bolt guns would be suitable for a 25-35 single shot? The trimmer the action, the better.

Jim

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 12 September 2018

not sure there are any " cheap" mil surps left ....  but i just checked gunbroker and it looks like one could find a savage 340 in 30-30  for under 300 ....... i am thinking of feeding problems if you put a 30-30 case in a 8mm mauser etc.  

if i had a 30-30 remmy 788, i would carefully screw out the 30-30 barrel and screw in a 25-35 ...

sorry for thread creep, i just get over-excited at weird gun projects ...  ..

ken

and next you could have an accurate 375 winchester !!! ... you could sell that in iowa for about $850 ... legal for deer here ...

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 12 September 2018

as far as a 25-35 on whitetail deer ...   wouldn't it be in the ballpark of a 243 win. ? ... my deer hunting buddies swear the 243 is instant death on those.   just wandering ...

ken

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 12 September 2018

A couple comments:

The first deer I ever killed with a handgun was with a 10" contender .25-35 WCF using a cast bullet (can't remember the bullet specs, will have to go back and check my notes, however I told this story once already on the forum a few years ago). No problem, the 100 to 115 lb. doe dropped in her tracks). From all the ballistic charts I have seen the .25-35 is certainly adequate for deer out to 200 yards. 

It has always been regarded as a very accurate round, good enough for varmints out to 250 yards. Here is an example of it's potential: 

.223 - 75gr. - 2900 fps. avg. vs .25-35 - 75gr. - 2800 fps. avg. 
.223 - 60gr. - 3100 fps. avg. vs .25-35 - 60gr. - 3000 fps. avg.

I have a 788 switch barrel rifle which sounds like a great project in the future with a .25-35.

I also have a 788 / .30-30 in pristine condition and the thought of converting that one sends chills up my spine. 




David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys, Good Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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M3 Mitch posted this 12 September 2018

As for a jacketed bullet for hunting use, deer, etc. - I would have recommended Hawk bullets, but they don't make any bullets smaller than 6.5 mm.  Probably a good semi-flat point cast bullet in #2 alloy would work OK on smaller deer if you are not too far away. 

I would be pleased to be proven wrong, but I am a bit doubtful about a 25-35 with cast on bigger western deer. 

That said, I am still wanting to find one of my own, probably an original M64 Winchester.

The Savage 99 is a different beast, you could, for a jacketed load, use the pointed bullets easily available at your friendly local gun store.

Perhaps I should shut up about jacketed bullets before I get some demerit points for doing so.

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