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richhodg66
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Posted: February 06 2018 at 6:50pm | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

Anyone have any experience with the .25/222 or .25 Copperhead, a wildcat John Wooters developed in the 60s?

I like things that shoot cast lead bullets for small game. Seems anytime someone decides more power than a .22 LR is needed they make something with screaming velocities and lighter bullets for more meat damage. Something with a soft flat point bullet moving at relatively slow velocities is what you want for anything you're gonna eat.

I got into the .22 Hornet as a result of the .22 LR shortage. Had almost immediate success in a couple of Hornet rifles using cast. Kills fox squirrels real well, quiet, cheap and accurate at realistic small game ranges.

So, I kind of wanted a .222. In a lot of respects, it's the best of the .22 centerfires. For cast in particular, the long neck, slower twist and slightly reduced case capacity should make it a lot better than the .223, so I got one to play with, a Savage 340 (I'm a fan of the 340). This one has a heavier barrel than most it seems and a former owner re-stocked it with a nice Fajen stock and set it up to not have the barrel band.

Trouble is, it hasn't shot well with cast, and if it won't, it might as well not be here as I have .223s to do the jacketed work. Was thinking this rifle could be easily rebored to this wildcat.

I've always thought the .25-20 was probably the ultimate small, edible game round. Brass is unobtanium and rifles in it are getting rather pricey. This 340 conversion might make for a neat little cast rifle in that caliber and once dies were obtained, would be easy to load for.

I'm not ready to do this yet, want to try a few more things with cast in the .222, but having a small, .25 cast shooter sounds real intriguing to me.

Thoughts?

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Buffalogun
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Posted: February 07 2018 at 9:11am | IP Logged Quote Buffalogun

Rich,

Unless you specifically want to use the .222 Rem case, you might be better served with the .223/5.56 case. The neck of the .222 is a little longer, but .223/5.56 cases are easily found and priced inexpensively.

The pic below shows the loaded 5.56 LC brass next to the .25-45 Sharps, also in 5.56 LC brass. The neck of the 5.56 gets a little longer when it is necked up to .257.

It may be a little easier to find a barrel in .25-45 than .25 Copperhead. Also, there is the .25 TCU, but it might require extra case prep. And, the .25 Kimber figures in here as well.

Columbia River Arms offers Black Hole Weaponry barrels for the Savage 110 action. And, EABCO may be able to supply a barrel, as well for the Savage or TC Encore and TC Contender.



My .25-45 is an AR15 barrel and is very accurate, but I don't shoot cast bullets in a gas operated system.

Mike

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Paul B.
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Posted: February 07 2018 at 3:08pm | IP Logged Quote Paul B.

"I got into the .22 Hornet as a result of the .22 LR shortage. Had almost
immediate success in a couple of Hornet rifles using cast. "

I'd be interested in hearing what worked for you in the Hornet. I have a
50 and a 55 gr. mold for .22 caliber.
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richhodg66
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Posted: February 07 2018 at 4:59pm | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

Kinda funny. I found what I wanted it to do almost immediately and stopped experimenting. I started with the Lyman 225438 and 225415 and light charges of Bullseye. Both worked pretty well, but the nose designs weren't optimal. As I got into it, I wanted something that was a better hunting bullet and also that cast several at a time. I got in on a group buy for the NOE 45 grain WFN. Got a five cavity mold and I had all five cavities cut for plain based. That bullet, cast of something reasonable like 50/50 wheelweights and pure with some tin added and 1.5-20 grains of Bullseye is pretty much one hole accurate at 25 yards which is realistic squirrel hunting distance. I use it in a well worn Savage 219 that has an oddly pitted bore (pitted spot in the middle) but it still shoots well. Somewhere between 1.5 and 2 grains is the sonic level. A 1.5 grain charge is very quiet but still works well. The 2 grains give a "crack" but still not bad.

I also got a Lee Bator mold which is now unavailable. Nominally, it's a 55 grain, which may have presented problems in the old 1in 16 twist of my Hornets, but in reality, is shorter than the 225438. It's a gas check design and I cast those trying to approximate the 1% antimony of .22 LR bullets. Sized, checked and lubed, the shoot very well through a Stevens 322 and 5.5 grains of .22 Hornet. It's considerably more destructive on squirrel than the light Bullseye load, but kills them DRT just the same. The 322 will not feed that WFN NOE design, so I only use the Bator in it.

At some point, I'll try cast in my .223s. My old Savage should have a relatively slow twist, so I'm guessing it'll do OK. The newer Mossberg MVP has the fast twist they are doing with .223s nowadays and that, combined with the short neck of the cartridge may keep it from doing well.

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richhodg66
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Posted: February 07 2018 at 5:01pm | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

Buffalogun wrote:
Rich,

Unless you specifically want to use the .222 Rem case, you might be better served with the .223/5.56 case. The neck of the .222 is a little longer, but .223/5.56 cases are easily found and priced inexpensively.

The pic below shows the loaded 5.56 LC brass next to the .25-45 Sharps, also in 5.56 LC brass. The neck of the 5.56 gets a little longer when it is necked up to .257.

It may be a little easier to find a barrel in .25-45 than .25 Copperhead. Also, there is the .25 TCU, but it might require extra case prep. And, the .25 Kimber figures in here as well.

Columbia River Arms offers Black Hole Weaponry barrels for the Savage 110 action. And, EABCO may be able to supply a barrel, as well for the Savage or TC Encore and TC Contender.



My .25-45 is an AR15 barrel and is very accurate, but I don't shoot cast bullets in a gas operated system.

Mike


That .25-45 may be good, but I want it for cast, basically will be a rimless .25-20 for me, so the longer neck will probably be better.

If I choose to do this, it'll be a while down the road, too many projects ahead of it.

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richhodg66
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Posted: February 07 2018 at 5:23pm | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

One of the reasons this intrigues me is that I have a rifle that would be a good candidate for a conversion and I think the caliber would have considerable usefulness. If I were going to do this from the ground up on a rifle on my choosing, I'd most likely make a .25-35 and be done with it.

That said, it seems like there are tons of H&R and Rossi break open single shots out there cheap which might be good too. I still have some hopes for this .22 to be a good shooter. Hopefully it'll pan out.

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richhodg66
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Posted: February 07 2018 at 5:34pm | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

I believe there is a 6mm wildcat on one of the .222/.223 family or cartridges too. That would be a good one as well, since I have the stuff to cast for 6mm, just haven't done it yet. The only concerns are that a .224 barrel may not be able to rebored to something that close. The other thing is, most of the molds for 6mm are pointed or round nosed whereas there are lot's of flat nosed .25s out there due to the popularity of the .25-20 in the Model '92 Winchster. A 75-85 grain flat nosed cast at reasonable velocity would be a great small game round.

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Kenbro
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Posted: February 17 2018 at 2:11pm | IP Logged Quote Kenbro

rh66,
6x45 is probably what youíre thinking of? Load data on Hodgdons site
for it.

Iím using a 25-45 bolt gun with a 24Ē barrel.
Been experimenting for a while now.
End results are: Over 3000fps with 90gr. Gamekings and 2836 fps with
Sierra 100 grain Prohunters.
Powder for both is RL7.
Regards, Ken.

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richhodg66
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Posted: February 17 2018 at 10:29pm | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

What bolt gun are you using and what is the rate of twist? Been thinking about just selling the .222 and putting the money towards having MGM make me a barrel for my Contender carbine in the .25-45. No interest at all in obtaining those kind of velocities though. It would be used to shoot cast bullets designed for the .25-20 at targets and small game. I'm liking the idea of this using surplus 5.56 brass.

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Kenbro
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Posted: February 18 2018 at 2:15am | IP Logged Quote Kenbro

Hi rh66,
My gun started lif as a Remington 700 in 17 Rem. Callber.
Barrel i decided on is a Brux stainless steel x 10 twist.
Accuracy is plenty good for deer hunting with 5 shot groups less than 1
moa. I would like to try increasing the overall loaded cart. length but am
restricted by the magazine. Looks like i can take a spacer (un weld it)
out of the magazine, if i get round to it.

Here in the UK, to legally shoot all 6 deer species we need the
following: Minimum .24 cal; minimum 100 grain bullet, minimum 2450
fps and minimum 1750 ft lbs at the muzzle.
As you can see, 2450 wonít get you 1750 ft lbs, hence iíve pushed this
caliber quite hard and must be close to max pressure.

6x45 canít get near it for like for like bullet weights.
Really pleased with this round.
Regards,Ken


Edited by Kenbro on February 18 2018 at 2:16am


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richhodg66
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Posted: February 18 2018 at 7:27am | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

Thanks for this interesting post. I'm kind of a student of hunting regulations and they vary wildly from state to state here in the US. My state, Kansas, used to be rather restrictive on deer hunting as we didn't have huntable populations of them until the mid '60s. They now allow .22 Centerfires, seriously relaxed handgun caliber requirements and started allowing crossbows during the archery season (bowhunters basically own the legislators who make game law decisions in this state and that one has generated some serious gnashing of teeth).

I'm also intrigued that you have six different species of deer on an island the size of Alabama. Gotta admit to being a bit jealous, you can do a "grand slam" of sorts without leaving home. All we have around here is white tails, supposedly mule deer were indigenous here at one time, none now.

I'm not really looking at performance like you are. I pretty much want a .25-20. Some kind of sleek single shot would be perfect, but a bolt gun would do. I've kind of wanted a Savage 23 in one of the centerfire calibers and .25-20 was a chambering. Being the lover of vintage American hunting guns, particularly Stevens/Savage ones, that would seem natural. Unfortunately, the brass to support a .25-20 habit is getting difficult to come by, whereas surplus 5.56 is a drug on the market here. I could go to virtually any public range and leave with buckets of it free for the taking. Lee makes dies for the .25-45, I have bullet molds now, seems like a Contender barrel may be in my future.

It's kind of funny, I'm the one gun nut in any crowd lately that has absolutely ZERO interest in ever owning an AR, they're just plain boring to me, carried enough of them in the Army to scratch any itch I may have ever had to own one. But... the popularity of them here has sure made for some interesting cartridge development and I have been close to getting a bolt or single shot in .300 Blackout, .450 Bushmaster and now .25-45.

Not real sure why I want a small .25, cast in the .22 Hornet has been a proven performer so far. I guess it would be nice to know in the back of my mind I could hunt deer with it if I wanted to, but I have more than enough deer rifles waiting in line to get in the woods and not enough days I can do it here.

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Kenbro
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Posted: February 18 2018 at 9:02am | IP Logged Quote Kenbro

Hi Rich,
32-20 is a tad under powered for my liking, i do however have a 32-40.
Itís a Savage Ď99. And i have a Ď99 in Savage .303. Both excellent
condition.

I too like single shot rifles, so much prettier than anything else.
Had a Handy rifle in 300 Blk out. Too under powered, (For me) with
rainbow trajectory.
Had the Tommy Encore 243 with 24Ē barrel for deer and a 12Ē x 223
barrel that looked nice with the pistol stocks on.(Not legal here now).
Had several #1s, but, my neck was never long enough to get to the
scope, even with extended rear mount.
Sort of winding down from shooting now and my Browning 1885 in 243
cal. left home Friday. Was sad to see it go, but it was just too nice to
drag through the woods. Was a modern one built in 1997 and it has
exceptional grade wood. Very nice lightweight beautifully proportioned
gun. Apart from the trigger!
Cheers,Ken.

Iím supposed to be going deer hunting (Fallow & Muntjac) alone on
Tuesday, for 3 days (400 mile round trip)but not sure the legs will carry
me. Waiting for knee injections for osteoarthritis.

Interested what you use the low powered cast boolits for?

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richhodg66
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Posted: February 18 2018 at 10:14am | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

A .25 would be for small game mainly, though I use cast on deer and haven't killed one with a jacketed bullet since 2009 (I average about two a year). For where and how I hunt, a .30 caliber cast is just fine and in fact, I will do it soon with a 7x57 I have now.

I am a Savage 99 fan and have several, including a good shooter 99H (saddle carbine) in .303. Brass is now easily available for it. I do have a .32-40 as well someone made on a smaller Remington Rolling block, which I am told isn't strong enough for the .32-40. Not a problem for me because I'm only going to shoot plinking loads through it. I like the old Ideal 321232 plain based in it with fairly light charges of Unique or Red Dot. A Savage 99 is plenty strong enough to handle all it's capable of.

The .32-20 has always struck me as the perfect small game loading, which makes me wonder with all the hype over the .32 H&R magnum and .327 Federal why more rifles aren't chambered in them. I just kind of want a .25. I have .250 Savage rifles, but something along the lines of a trim single shot in a smaller cartridge is what I really would like.

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Buffalogun
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Posted: February 18 2018 at 5:48pm | IP Logged Quote Buffalogun

Kenbro,

Good luck on your hunt! If you are successful, we'd sure like to see some pics.



Mike

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Kenbro
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Posted: February 19 2018 at 11:25am | IP Logged Quote Kenbro

Buffalog,
I called the gamekeeper Sunday evening, just to confirm everything
okay for Tuesday etc. He told me he had 8 other hunters coming from
different parts of UK. Said i could still go, but, it would be easier for him
if i went 1 week to 10 days later and if i did that i could have the run of
the estate to myself.
As iím having trouble with osteoarthritis and awaiting injections in my
knees i acceptet his offer. So, should be going shortly and with how my
knees feel today iím deffinately Not disappointed.
Thanks, Ken.

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Kosh75287
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Posted: February 20 2018 at 7:35pm | IP Logged Quote Kosh75287

Perhaps you could try 14.0-15.0/H4895/55FMJ as your .222 Remington small game load? It's not .25 caliber, but might also solve certain other issues.

It was my impression that the .32-20, .25-20 & .218 Bee shared many dimensions in common, and can be inter-converted without great fuss. Would this not facilitate the brass-getting aspect of the .25-20 disadvantages?

The only other thought I'VE got would be a carefully loaded .256 Winchester in T/C Contender?
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richhodg66
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Posted: February 20 2018 at 9:34pm | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

I already download the .22 Hornet and use it very successfully on squirrels (have cottontail rabbits everywhere on my place, but they're cute and I like seeing them and never care for the way they taste). SO far, my .222 isn't accurate enough with the cast stuff I have tried.

Even though the Hornet works so well, I can't shake wanting a .25. Not sure why. If I needed bigger than .22, I have some small .30s, a .32-20 and a slick bolt action in 7.62x39. Also, the .30-30 downloads real easy, a .32 wadcutter and five grains of Bullseye or similar works well.

If I was smart and practical, I'd have MGM make me that Contender barrel, buy a set of .25x45 Sharps dies which are common and be done with it. About the only downside is they only offer their .25 barrels with fast twists.

I do have some .25-20 brass and a set of dies and molds. Watchinga couple of old Savage 23Ds on Gunbroker, one of those rifles I will own someday.

The .25-20 is the .32-20 necked down and the .218 Bee is as well. I have read that it isn't easy to do this as the brass is thin and tends to crush resulting in a high reject rate. Starline makes good .32-20 brass and Redding makes a forming die that might make that the away to go if I get one of those Savages.

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Kosh75287
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Posted: February 21 2018 at 8:20am | IP Logged Quote Kosh75287

I guess that, if I had a SERIOUS craving for such a round, I'D look for a well set-up bolt action 6x45 or 6x47mm. I know it lacks the ,257 bore, but it's questionable how much time I'D[/B} spend, using cast .257s over FMJ .243s. If I had one or more sets of very fine casting moulds for .257" diameter projectiles, my inclinations might easily follow yours.

An acquaintance of many years, who was enamoured of the the AR15 platform, finally obtained (after many months of my exhortations against using a .223 on deer) an upper in 6x45mm for Texas Whitetail and other animals.

It seems to work like a hammer falling on whatever he hits with it (including SOME species I believe to be outside its best range of application). For game animals, he limits his range to 200 yards, but has hit "varmints" out to 346 laser-measured yards (not sure I could do THAT with a BOLT-action!).

IF you simply MUST have a .25 Copperhead rifle, I think you simply SHOULD have one. But with a virtual "embarrassment of wealth" in terms of alternatives to it, you MAY find your quest far more expensive than satisfying. Naturally, I'll be very happy to be wrong.
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Kenbro
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Posted: February 21 2018 at 9:39am | IP Logged Quote Kenbro

rh66,
Have you checked AR15 armory.com to see if anyone there is using
cast bullets in 25-45?
Ken.

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richhodg66
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Posted: February 21 2018 at 11:40am | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

I really have doubts about using FMJs for small game. If I use something that doesn't expand, I want a blunt nose.

My inclination would be to just get one of those Savage 23Ds, because I prefer vintage rifles to new ones 99 times out of 100.

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