The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > The Smithy

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old February 16, 2006, 08:22 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: December 21, 2004
Location: NoVa
Posts: 3
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?
Help Help
IntheX is offline  
Old February 16, 2006, 08:49 PM   #2
Harry Bonar
Senior Member
Join Date: December 5, 2004
Location: In the Vincent, Ohio general area.
Posts: 1,804

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.
Harry Bonar is offline  
Old February 16, 2006, 09:12 PM   #3
Jim Watson
Senior Member
Join Date: October 25, 2001
Location: Alabama
Posts: 14,152
Might be a .25-20 Single Shot mismarked WCF. I'll check the dimensions and history.
Jim Watson is offline  
Old February 16, 2006, 10:41 PM   #4
Junior Member
Join Date: December 21, 2004
Location: NoVa
Posts: 3
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 is offline  
Old February 17, 2006, 09:35 AM   #5
Jim Watson
Senior Member
Join Date: October 25, 2001
Location: Alabama
Posts: 14,152
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.
Jim Watson is offline  
Old February 17, 2006, 09:42 PM   #6
James K
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 24,159
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 K
James K is offline  
Old February 18, 2006, 07:48 PM   #7
Six Shooter
Junior Member
Join Date: February 17, 2006
Posts: 3
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!!!
Six Shooter is offline  
Old March 1, 2006, 10:42 PM   #8
Junior Member
Join Date: February 11, 2006
Posts: 13
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!
uscra112 is offline  

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:19 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2016 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.07564 seconds with 7 queries