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.25-20 Winchester
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 case .32-20 Winchester
Bullet diameter .258 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Neck diameter .274 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Shoulder diameter .333 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Base diameter .349 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Rim diameter .408 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Rim thickness .065 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Case length 1.330 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Overall length 1.592 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Primer type small rifle
Ballistic performance
Bullet weight/type Velocity Energy
60 gr (Bad rounding hereScript error g) FP2,101 ft/s (Bad rounding hereScript error m/s)588 ft·lbf (Bad rounding hereScript error J)
75 gr (Bad rounding hereScript error g) FP1,877 ft/s (Bad rounding hereScript error m/s)587 ft·lbf (Bad rounding hereScript error J)
86 gr (Bad rounding hereScript error g) SP1,673 ft/s (Bad rounding hereScript error m/s)535 ft·lbf (Bad rounding hereScript error 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 alsoEdit


  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
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External linksEdit

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