View Full Version : .25-20 Rifle Cartridge

November 14, 2008, 10:48 PM
I recently acquired an old J. Stevens single shot lever action in this caliber. I have only been able to find the .25-20WCF rounds on the web and did pick up a box to try out, but I heard second hand that there are two different .25-20 cartridges and that they are not compatible. This rifle makes no mention of the WCF, but I have yet to see a .25-20 in anything different. Any truth to the unreliable second hand story?

November 14, 2008, 11:40 PM
There is a 25-20 single shot cartridge. Here is a link to buy brass.


Jim Watson
November 14, 2008, 11:49 PM
.25-20 Single Shot is a long skinny tapered case chambered in Stevens and other single shot rifles. It is too long for any of the repeaters of the day so when Winchester wanted a .25 lever action, they necked down the .32-20 to .25 to form the .25 WCF=.25-20 Winchester.

Picture of loaded ammo at
I bet you are horrified at the price, good reason to handload if the old gun is in shooting shape.

November 15, 2008, 12:05 AM
Could you shoot the .25-20WCF through the single shot? If not, then why?

I hope I didn't get too far ahead of myself picking up a box of .25-20WCF from Cheaper Than Dirt.


Any chance these would work? The gun definitely looks to be in good shooting shape.

November 15, 2008, 12:07 AM
The best idea is to take a chamber cast and then take the rifle, the cast and the cartridges to a competent gunsmith.


November 15, 2008, 12:24 AM
how might one go about making a chamber cast?

November 15, 2008, 01:06 AM

This is a material that melts at stovetop temperatures- 150-200F (or thereabouts.) Basically, you plug the bore at the end of the chamber VERY tightly with a patch, and C A R E F U L Y pour the melted stuf into the chamber. When it has cooled, you take it out and can measure your chamber dimensions. At this point, a visual comparasion of the loaded 25-20WCF round and the chamber cast will probably tell you what you want to know.

There are full instructions somewhere on exactly how to do the chamber cast, but that is a rough outline. I haven't cast a chamber for about 50 years, so my memory is a little rusty. The page listed above had basic instructions, also. Somebody here can give you better instructions, or you might try asking over at :


They love these kinds of questions.


November 15, 2008, 02:13 AM
You can do the same thing with crayons but it's kinda smelly and is more fragile but it will give you the correct chamber dimensions.

redwing 40
November 15, 2008, 09:09 AM
Try Cerrosafe Alloy melting Temp. 158-190 F this is the Temp. of hot water. This alloy will expand to give a perfect tight chamber reading. It can also be used for checking bullet molds etc. The problem with most home made chamber cast wax or various school supplies they do not expand when cooling. This is most important for a correct chamber reading.

My guess is that you have a 25-20 Stevens. This rifle is not the same as the 25-20 WCF. The 25-20 Stevens and Cerrosafe can be ordered thru firms listed in the post.:)

Jim Watson
November 15, 2008, 09:47 AM
The .25-20 Winchester ammunition will not work in a .25-20 Single Shot rifle because it is not only shorter, it is larger in diameter. Won't go in at all.

If Grandpa's Stevens should happen to be a .25 WCF, you are in luck, but most likely you wasted your money at CtD.

November 15, 2008, 10:55 AM
Looks like I wasted my money. It will not fit. :(