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Old February 16, 2006, 08:22 PM   #1
IntheX
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Winchester 25 WCF Help Needed

I'm in need of some Winchester 25WCF info. I have a 1885 made in 1887 that will not allow me to put a cartridge in the chamber. The Barrel is stamped 25WCF but the Winchester 25-20 empty will not plat the neck. The Rim on the 25-20 is to be .408 Dia. but the rifle mics out at .3985. The begining of the Chamber is to be .349 bit the rifle mics out at .3230. The chamber is smooth without pitting or build-up. Does anybody know why this might be? Might it be sleeved?
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Bill
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Old February 16, 2006, 08:49 PM   #2
Harry Bonar
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25-20?

Dear Sir:
I've NO idea as to your problem but don't do anything - I'll do some research and get back to you.
This is in an 1885? Describe the rifle in detail next time.
Thanks Harry B.
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Old February 16, 2006, 09:12 PM   #3
Jim Watson
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Might be a .25-20 Single Shot mismarked WCF. I'll check the dimensions and history.
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Old February 16, 2006, 10:41 PM   #4
IntheX
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Thanks Harry and Jim.
I'll wait to hear from you before I do anything.
It is a Winchester Model 1885. I do have pictures of the gun and the stampings if that will help.
Thanks again
inthex
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Old February 17, 2006, 09:35 AM   #5
Jim Watson
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1. The .25 WCF (.25-20 repeater) did not come out until 1893 and could not be original in a rifle made in 1887. Winchester Single Shot 1885 barrels are pretty interchangeable and it might have been put on later.

2. Cartridges of the World gives rim diameter of a .25-20 Single Shot case as .378" and the head diameter as .315", which sounds loose in the rim recess and chamber mouth dimensions you give.

I think a chamber cast and contact with a real expert is needed.
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Old February 17, 2006, 09:42 PM   #6
James K
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A good thing to remember about those old single shots is that everybody played with them. They rebarrelled, rechambered, cut off barrels (at both ends), swapped barrels around and generally tried about everything in pursuit of that fabulous one hole group that you carried around to show people. A lot of this work was done by gunsmiths/machinists in small shops who might not have been too careful about making sure a barrel marking matched the chamber - after all, they knew what the gun took, and there was no one else there.

I suspect the barrel was originally in .25 WCF (for another rifle) and then was cut off and re-threaded to fit that Model 1885. Then it was re-chambered to whatever cartridge seemed like fun to try that week, maybe a (then) factory round or what was later known as a wildcat.

But I wouldn't count on finding ammo, unless you want to have it re-chambered back to .25 WCF.

Jim
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Old February 18, 2006, 07:48 PM   #7
Six Shooter
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New Reference

Try a book called "The handloader's Manual of Cartridge Conversions". You can do a sulphur cast of the chamber and then use the book for reference. Don't get the sulphur too hot!!!
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Old March 1, 2006, 10:42 PM   #8
uscra112
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Yes, possibly you have a rifle chambered .25-20SS but mismarked as .25 WCF. The base dimension corresponds to .25-25 Stevens, however. Might be either. Only a chamber cast will tell.

I myself own a Low Wall marked .25 WCF but actually chambered .25-20 Single Shot, so this interests me. My barrel is definitely Winchester, and is definitely not linered. My action s/n is 47xxx; but what year that makes it I do not know. The barrel has no s/n that I can find. Did Winchester put matching s/n on the barrels, the way Stevens did? I'm not a Winchester expert.

I read some magazine expert in the last 2 years or so answering this same query by saying that these are genuine factory errors. Could be hoooey, could be not.

Due to the dating descrepancy of yours, I'm now wondering if they might have had a mess of .25 blanks made up and stamped .25 WCF, but not yet chambered, and when a rebarrel job came in they used one of those barrels but chambered it to the customer's request in one of the Stevens cartridges.

If the bore is shootable, get some correct brass and dies from Buffalo Arms and have some fun. The .25-20SS and .25-21 are actually pretty neat little cartridges.

If the rifle has a rough bore, use the 60 grain Hornady jacketed softnose bullet. You can safely run the velocity up to about 1800fps using XMP5744, which I use exclusively in my .25-20 SS, and also my .25-21. (Don't do this in a Stevens 44, it's not strong enough!)

One of my Stevens 44 1/2 rifles in .25-20SS has a bore that looks like somebody dragged a log chain thru it, but yet it shot that bullet into 1/2" 3-shot groups with that load. Be aware that that Hornady bullet is built too heavy to expand or break up at that velocity, and may ricochet.

If the bore is REAL nice you have a treasure, and should shoot cast bullets of about 85 grains, at 1200 fps or so. In any case, do not mess with that barrel - these are not at all common!
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