Thursday, December 20, 2007

.25 Stevens Rimfire

I remember reading Elmer Keith and his comments about the .25 Stevens (which I think he liked for small game). Recently I bought Rimfire Rifleman and in the back is a drawing of the .25 Stevens rimfire. That only served to excite me a bit and I started to do a little research.

It seems that most authorities agree that the .25 Stevens was introduced in 1900 despite some references which would seem to indicate 1890 or so. In any "case" this was a joint development of J. Stevens and Peters Cartridge. Stevens chambered the the "Crackshot" No. 15 and "Favorite" rifles for the cartridge. Remington and Winchester also chambered rifles for the cartridge.

The original load was a 67 gr. lead bullet over 10-11 gr. of blackpowder. Later loads were offered with both semi-smokeless and smokeless powders the later being used exclusively when the round was discontinued in 1942 (likely due to to the war). The inside lubricated bullet was offered in both solid and hollow point ersions. In response to the calls by many gun writers for a high velocity load, Remington reputedly did development work on an improved version, the .267 Remington Rimfire, with a rumored MV of 1400 fps with the 67 gr. bullet. Unfortunately, nothing came of it and with the introduction of the .22 WRFM, there was little need.

The cartridge had a very good reputation, even Elmer Keith liked it, on small game without ruining meat. The negatives were the relatively high cost and high trajectory.

Of course, the high cost being a consideration, there was also a .25 Stevens Short which initially used 4.5-5 gr. of BP. It could be fired in any rifle chambered for the longer .25 Stevens.

Interestingly, there were even empty primed cases offered. I'd like to read of actual experience(s) of those who used these and why. I know I've often read of shooters who wanted to try loading their own .22 WRFM or 5mm Remingtons. They almost always seem to believe that they could develope more accurate and effective loads if only they had the chance. Perhaps that was the reasoning here and the ammo company saw a chance to make a sale.

This would be about an ideal small game cartridge, especially today. However, I'm not so unrealistic as to think that the tooling and marketing costs would be prohibitive. Certainly, no new rifles (other than custom conversions of exhisting guns) would be made. Even Contender couldn't be used because the bigger diameter of the rim moves the rim away from the firing pin. I do think that ammo could be sold for the existing guns then again, that may be the last vestige of my rifle loonie self hoping for the best that will never come. After all, if Elmer Keith couldn't make it happen...

1 comment:

Burgh said...

It is possible to shoot the old .25 Stevens rifles now by cutting off a .17 WSM round at the shoulder and loading a 50 grain .25 ACP bullet over a modest charge of Blue Dot powder.