25 Caliber - Think About It


December 19, 2008, 07:39 AM
More and more it seems to me that hunters - ESPECIALLY varmint/deer hunters - are seriously missing a great bet by listening to the "traditional knowledge" about the quarterbores.
Like many calibers - all you have to do is mention the .250 Savage, or the .257 Roberts, or the .25/06 - and most of us can predict how the conversation will play out. And as usual... some of it will be right - some will be wrong, and, in the case of the quarterbore, a lot will be missed.

First and foremost I'm convinced even people who own one of the .25s are probably missing out on its' very substantial potential as a varminter. Consider this...

... that "ancient pipsqueak", the .250 Savage launches a 60gr varmint bullet at 3500fps and a 75-grainer at 3200fps. There ain't a single fly on that ! The .257 Robts. tosses those bullets at 3700fps and 3500fps respectively and the .25/06 will sling the 75-grainer at 3600+fps. - or just a tiny hair slower than a 55-grainer from a .22/250 or a 58gr. V-max from a .243. And the 75gr. bullet in .25 caliber has a better ballistic coefficient than the 55-gr. .22 caliber bullet.
It's plain as day that even the ho hum "little" .250 Savage - with a 60-grainer at 3500fps. or 75-grainer at 3200fps - is a first-rate varminter in anyone's book, and the .257 and .25/06 are just even more jam on your toast!

But let's go ahead and consider the "other end" - the "what's-the-biggest-game-it-will-kill" end that everyone dwells on forever ad nauseum. We all know the conversation...

1. "The .25/06 is too small for elk, or at best it can take cow elk at short distances but not big bulls."

2. "That's baloney - the .25/06 kills trainloads of elk (including bulls) every year. Yes, you need good shot placement but you need that with your .338 mag too."

Yadda, yadda, yadda - same-o same-o

Let's look at it from a different angle. If someone said their favorite elk caliber was 7x57 Mauser, I doubt anyone would raise a skeptical eyebrow. And if they said they use the 120gr. Hornady SST bullet I doubt more than a very few would voice any criticism of the bullet choice.

Ok - let's decrease the bullet diameter bya skimpy .027" and decrease the bullet weight by a piddly 3 grains. Then let's increase the sectional density by .040 and increase the ballistic coefficient by .040. And then let's sling this new bullet at the same 2800fps as the 7x57 Mauser.

What is our new elk cartridge ?:confused: The lowly .250 Savage ! :what::what::what:

That's right, Mabel - the .250 Savage !:eek:

How do Ya like those apples, Chauncey ?:scrutiny:

See why I think hunters with their insanity over big bangs are missing something great right under their noses ?:confused:


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December 19, 2008, 07:59 AM
i think you are grossly over estimating the 25's capabilities, and i doubt very many factory rifles shoot a 60 grain bullet w/ enough accuracy to be considered varminters... and if they did, the bc's are low enough to make the project difficult on a dog town.

if you are bent on making a case for a dual purpose rifle, you should go back to your original argument, the 7mm, and twist it a bit to say '7-08'...

i have some 25's, and their paper performance is about what you are saying, but their on-game performance (practical application) isn't quite there. i like my 25's well enough, and wouldn't part w/ 'em, but they aren't the ultimate in dual purpose rifles, either.

December 19, 2008, 08:30 AM
Having shot a LOT of deer (over 120 with my 2 Roberts) with the .25's, and a number of prararie dogs, crows, ect, you're pretty close on your estimation of the .25's.

The biggest problem with the .25's on varmints is wind-drift. The 60gr bullet looses velocity big time. The only 60's I familiar with are flat-noses and have very poor B.C.'s. If you're shooting woodchucks in the east at under 200yds, it's no big deal. If shooting p'dogs in the west, the wind will eat you up at over 200yds. The 75's are only marginally better. Better yet are the 85's-87's. With a 100gr bullet, my .257wbymag performs essentially the same as my .22-250, and would be my choice if I were to shoot p'dogs after a Mule Deer-Antelope hunt. However, recoil and powder consumption are in a totally different league. Not brutal (except if shooting over 100rds in an outing....), but enough you'll need a spotter to call hits !!!!!

For varmints I can think of a number of rifles that are better. The .223 comes to mind first. Uses lighter bullets that are cheaper, half as much powder that can get expensive in a hurry, ect. You get the idea!

For elk, however, you are correct. A Nosler 120gr Partiton from a .257wbymag essentially duplicates the performance of the .270. Ditto the .25/06. Nobody will tell you (that has used them) that the .270 won't reliabliably take elk. I too, from experience, tell you that a .338 200gr in the wrong place (missed by less than 2" at 250yds- wind got me!) will let an elk escape. If I'd had my .257Roberts, I'd have perhaps got that elk as I'd been using a 115gr Nosler Part. instead. Too much penetration and not enough expansion can be a bad thing..............

Having killed in excess of 200 deer with the .22Hornet, .223, and .22-250, I can tell you that they work with the best. (The .257Robt. and 7mm08 in my opinion, and of course the over-kill .30/06.....). If and ONLY IF a decent bullet is placed decently. But,there are many who have shot only a few deer if any with a .22cf that will tell you they are inadequate. I could say the same about the .24's but "my" personal bad experiences (based on a small sample), but it wouldn't neccessarily be true.

Truth be told, there really isn't much difference in "killing power" between the .25's up to the mid '30's. Bullet construction and placement are EVERYTHING, assuming sufficient velocity to make the bullet perform properly.......
But, not every body shoot's a .25-something, which I like because it sets me apart. Makes me an "eliteist" I suppose....... Snob, perhaps.......

December 19, 2008, 11:08 AM
Goose is right about the BCs and Dakotasin is right about the accuracy with such light bullets at least in MY old rifle. If I wanted to take on a dog town (don't have a .22 centerfire), I'd just use the 100 grain bullet (1/2-3/4 moa in my gun) and live happy. The BC is up there and the accuracy is adequate. Now, if I was a dog hunter (never hunted 'em), I'd have a .22-250 in my collection in a heartbeat, another excuse for a new gun. :D Meanwhile, my .257 is a great little Texas deer rifle, kills hogs just as dead as any .30 caliber, and we do have lots of coyotes down here if I ever decide to take up varmints. Most predator hunting is at night and long range is not the deal when you're spotlighting. Heck, I'd probably just use my .22 mag for that. I normally shoot stuff I can butcher and eat, though.

The combo varmint/medium game rifle concept is fun to talk about. The .243 and quarter bores theoretically would cover that slot, but I just think there are much better choices for vermin in .22 caliber and in actual execution, the 25s do have their limitations with the little bullets, variable rifling twist not yet having been invented. That's the .22s forte and so far the government doesn't limit the number of rifles I can own, though I'm not sure how much longer that will be the case. And, if I was a dog hunter, I do have a two gun case for those out of state hunting trips I might make.

I don't share Dakotasin's feelings about the quarter bores effectiveness or lack there of on medium game, but then, he has bigger deer up there than we do and probably has to shoot them a might farther away than I do. I do think there are better calibers for elk. That's why I bought a 7 mag, but now that I have a .308, well, toss up there IMHO for elk. The 7 has more whop, but I think I'd rather tote the little M7 around in the high mountains on all day hunts. BTDT with the 7, it's big and heavy after 8 hours in rough country.

Art Eatman
December 19, 2008, 11:54 AM
I already have a .243. Why would I want to move up to big-bore?


Sorry. It's just another character flaw...

December 19, 2008, 12:10 PM
LOL ! I knew I wouldn't need to praise the .25s to you, "Goose". :D

Yep, that 60-grainer is, I think, intended for things like the levers in .25/20 and not really for any long-ish range varminting.

To talk .22/250 (a cartridge I think the world of) and the .257 Rbts. ... the 55-grainer from the .22/250 has a BC of about 245 while the 75-grainer from the Roberts has a BC of about 290. The Roberts tosses it's load at 3500fps which is barely 200fps slower than the .22/250 (and the .250 Savage isn't far behind).

If one moves to the .25/06, the speed is essentially the same with the BC advantage going to the .25.

Not saying the .25s are the "ultimate" varminter - just that they are darned respectable in the varmint venue and I think it's unfortunate that many miss that fact.

Ditto on the high end - the .25s aren't the "ultimate" elk cartridges - that honor is reserved for the .270 and 7mm/08. But the .25s are clearly viable Wapiti-punchers.

For the middle of the range - the 87, 100, and 117/120-grainers will all do an admirable job on deer and such from any of the three common .25s . Heck, the .250 Savage (aka .250/3000) earned its' wings with the 87-grainer at 3000fps. and rightly so.

LOL! :D That's how a lot of people look at it, Senator, and you won't catch me bad-mouthing the .243. LOLOL :D :D ;D But the fact remains - the .25s are all one heck of a good deal for most hunters.


December 19, 2008, 12:50 PM
I could take issue with .270 and 7-08 and the "ultimate" elk cartridge, but being as I've never even shot an elk, it'd only be uninformed opinion based souly on magazine writers. LOL Yeah, I do remember Jack O'Connor. Without him, I doubt the .270 would ever gotten off the ground with such an oddball bullet diameter so close to 7mm. Not to knock the .270, fine weapon, but really, what can it do the .280 Remington can't?

December 19, 2008, 12:55 PM

Not to worry, McG...

I'm sure the .30 caliber Howler Monkeys will be along with their thread-bare tripe soon enough.

LOLOL :rolleyes:


December 19, 2008, 01:05 PM
Talking about .25 caliber, I sure wish that there was a little more bullet choice for my .25-35. It is either tiny winnies intended for the .25-20 or 117 gr, and only one manufacturer. Nothing in between (unless I want to shoot single shot) because a round nose or flat nose is required. I would really like to use a 95 or 100 gr pill. The 117 gr is a bit heavy for the .25-35, but no option.

December 19, 2008, 01:14 PM

The 87-grainer won't work ? What's wrong with a single shot ???


December 19, 2008, 01:17 PM
Well, I've always liked .284" bullet selection and rifles chambered for it. Had a 7x57 for a while and got the big magnum over a .300 for reasons of high BC and good bullet selection. The .30 guys often quote the wide variety of bullets, but with modern bullets like the Barnes, I ain't shootin' no 220 round nose with a BC of .200 or something. :rolleyes: The variety in .284" is better than in .277" at least.

I thought real hard about getting a .280 when I was looking for something bigger than my .257 to carry out west. I decided that the 7mm Rem Mag could be loaded like a .280, but the reverse was not the case. The 7 mag was available in the exact same rifle with the exact same price, only compromise is one less round in the magazine, only a factor for the tacticool crowd and they're not into bolt guns anyway unless they're some sort of sniper rifle with "tactical" added to their marketing name. So, anyway, I got the 7 mag and being as I am me, of course, I loaded that thing to the max. The bigger the number on the chronograph, the happier I tend to be. ROFL! But, I COULD load it down to 2800 fps with a 150 grain bullet and it'd basically be a .270 or .280 as far as the target is concerned, and my shoulder if that mattered. It really doesn't have that much recoil, not in a .375 H&H class or anything, not much difference from a .30-06 actually. It shoots a little flatter than a .30-06 and a little more punch where lead hits bone. I like it for anything I'm apt to ever chase that's bigger than a deer/hog.

You can twist all this caliber stuff around to prove about anything, but fact remains, for deer sized game, there are about a bazillion viable choices out there, just whatever makes you happy. Of course, there will be more in the future, considering the necessity of the gun manufactures to re-invent the wheel for sales and marketing purposes. I no longer keep up with it all. I don't know many of the RUM/WSM stuff, just don't care. My son-in-law has a .270 WSM. I didn't even know it existed until he showed it to me. It's a nice rifle, I've fired it. Recoil is up there with my 7 mag. I'm sure it works. But, why the hell would I want to sell one of my rifles for one? They all do the jub just fine and a deer or even an elk ain't gonna know the difference. I suppose the short action rifle is a little easier to tote than my 7 mag, I can see that argument. I'm not averse to the new short mag stuff, variety is the spice of life, it's just that I don't care about new calibers anymore that only repeat what's been done before. I've made my choices and I'm happy with 'em. I don't need the latest and greatest, been there, done that. I think the attitude might come with age. LOL

December 19, 2008, 01:19 PM
Hey, Moosehunt, ever thought about swaggin' your own bullets? I've looked into it, never tried it. I cast for my handguns, but you can make about any jacketed stuff you can dream up with swagging your own.

December 19, 2008, 01:23 PM
Not a thing against the .25s but so far as varmints go they can be a bit harsh on pelts if you are into that part of it

December 19, 2008, 01:26 PM
Here comes a .30 caliber howler monkey to join all you .25 caliber howler monkeys. Shawnee I see it funny that you can rag on the .30 caliber guys (On a daily basis) but if I were to rag on you about your .24-.25 cal preference you would see me as just another wizbang-magnum buffoon.

I have respect for and love shooting both my .243 and .25-06 and have no problem taking either with me during deer season and taking well placed shots on big muleys and blacktails, but when late October comes around I take out the old .30-06, 300 win or my 270 wsm. I never see a elk hunter around here who uses a 25-06 or a bob. You will see a lot and I mean a lot of .270's and 30-06's and when you get to the thick timber west of the cascades the 30-30 is often present and is also my personal choice for the coast range.

December 19, 2008, 01:34 PM
Shawnee--Any of the 87's would be great IF I went single shot, but I really don't like hunting with it as a single shot. If I just wanted to shoot targets, it would be fine, and nothing against those who do, but to me, a gun is to hunt with. Obviously, paper is used for load developement and practice, but the objective is to hunt!

MCgunner--Thought about it, but don't think I want to go to that extreme, though certainly an option. I've considered a mold and casting, but haven't found the right mold. Granted, I haven't looked real hard, because truth be told, I don't much like casting--a personal defect, I guess! I'd like to find a source of cast 90-100 grainers, though, preferably gas check. I would buy!

December 19, 2008, 01:41 PM
I don't think of it as serious .30 bashing. LOL! I mean, if I couldn't cuss and discuss "deer rifle" calibers, I'd not have much to talk about over the years as far as rifle shooting goes. I own, and have owned .30 calibers and my .308 is still my favorite. It's the last rifle I got, cost me nothing except for the 300 bucks I spent on optics. I won it in a door prize raffle at a gun show. Actually, I won a .25-06 (to go along with this thread), but I already had a fine quarter bore and had been really wanting a stainless M7 Remington in either 7-08 or .308. I found a .308 version and worked a trade for the .25-06 BDL and have been happy as a clam with the rifle. It's been all I've used for the last 10 years. I finally got grandpa's old .257 out to the range the other day after buying 50 rounds of cases and running a few through the dies. I was getting re-energized by the quarter bore thing when Shawnee started posting about it again. LOL I think I'll take the old rifle out to the stand a few times before season ends. I ain't seen crap so far this year, but have been been doing more duck hunting than deer. I mean, you gotta be on the stand to see anything. I have been using my .30-30 Contender mostly and took an SKS out one afternoon for grins.

Moose. I used to shoot spitzers in .30-30. Now, I had a Savage 340 at the time, box magazine, but you could load one in the mag and one in the gun and have a two shot. Use Nosler Ballistic Tips and you don't have to worry about the magazine follower buggering the nose of the bullet. Just another thought.

December 19, 2008, 01:56 PM
Lots of elk have been taken with the .25-35, a cartridge I'd like to see make a comeback - for deer. As for the what cartridge for what animal thing, that has been so over-discussed that it seems silly to keep repeating the same lines over and over. I think it's a golden rule thing. If you were an elk and you were being shot, which would you rather be shot with a .257 or a .30-06?

December 19, 2008, 01:57 PM
Indeed, MCgunner, that's a good thought and I've considered it. The next hunt with the old .25-35 will probably be for Pronghorn and I'm kind of leaning that very direction, i.e. 2 shots, 1 in the chamber, one in the magazine. I'm going to try bullets from 87 to 100 grains and see who wants to play! Can't load 'em too hot for the old shooter!

December 19, 2008, 04:20 PM
I've taken ELK with a quarter bob as recently as two years ago. This year I harvested a big cow with a 270win.

I'm not so sure about the sub 87 gr though, they don't give me very good groups and are more prone to drift. My two bobs really like the 117grs, that all they get anymore.

December 19, 2008, 06:10 PM
I recall seeing a picture of a huge brown bear killed with a .25 in "The Weatherby Guide" (late seventies")Thought to myself, "no way,a guy needs at least a .300 or a .340 to do that!" How naive we can be as teen-agers!
P.S Shawnee.I apologize for initially "missing" what this "hunting" forum was for.

December 19, 2008, 06:34 PM

Its not untill I got to the Internet that we (Me, the wife, two sons and oldest daughter, and soon to hunt more ,4 other girls) found out that all those BrownBears, Muskoxen, Caribou and Moose we shot werent killed 'enough', because we used .243W 100gn ........:rolleyes:

Guess Im lucky I stumbled onto using my M-39 Sako, but then again, its designed to shoot a (as I now know) FMJ bullet designed just to "wound"....:barf:

December 19, 2008, 07:35 PM
Hell, Caribou, as much game as you shoot, you need something easy on the shoulder. LOL. You kill more game in a season than I fire shots at paper! ROFL

December 19, 2008, 09:34 PM


my humble setup: Savage 111G in .25-06 ('hunter' taper barrel) w/ Simmons Master Series Pro Hunter (quite a mouthful) 6 - 21 x 44 riflescope; initally purchased as a 'varminter' starter project; do not YET handload for it, but have a stash of Hornady 75gr V-Max heads for handloads;

factory 'varmint' load selected: Winchester 90gr PXP (Positive Expansion Point) -- a pre-ballisitc tip fast expansion bullet; shoots sub-2 MOA @ 200 yards when I really concentrate on trigger squeeze & breathing control;

alternate 'bigger than varmint' load selected (for whitetail): Remington 100gr CoreLokt pointed softpoint; shoots sub-1 MOA to slightly over 1 MOA @ 100 yards; point of impact is virtually the same for the two loads, so all I have to do is 'windage' correction for each selected load;

only drawback in using this setup for 'dual purpose' is the higher mangification range of the scope (6x mag power is a bit high for shots on deer 50 yards & closer); recoil is pleasant; steady eye relief on the Simmons scope is a nice feature; can't wait to develop my own loads, but I have a good stash of the Winchester PXP's to hold me for another hunting season

Art Eatman
December 19, 2008, 09:49 PM
The current issue of Guns&Ammo has an article about the .257 Wby Maggie. They cite the owner of Flagstaff's largest gunshop as saying that it's the most popular seller, and is widely used by hunters in the Four Corners area. Mostly, the Vanguard.

That's elk and mule deer country, isn't it?

December 19, 2008, 10:01 PM
That's elk and mule deer country, isn't it?


Open country mulies and elk in the mountains nearby. I know guys from here that chase elk up north of Silverton, Colorado. They must have half of Texas up in those mountains in elk season.

December 19, 2008, 10:34 PM
Unfortunately, I'm afraid you're correct in that last sentence, MCgunner!

December 19, 2008, 11:12 PM

The "one in the chamber and one in the tube" scenario is (imho) an entirely viable solution to pointy bullets in a lever-action. That's how I use my 30/30s regardless of bullet shape anyway. If the hunter is working hard to make the first shot count that second round seldom comes into play anyway.



I envy you getting to hunt elk in the heavy timber with a .30/30. Hunting timber is my favorite venue for any game. I would be sorely tempted to try it with my Super Blackhawk but would probably chicken out and take one of my .30/30s instead. Either way it would be grand fun. At least it's grand fun to think about doing. Elk hunting is a lot of work and the calendar has just about wrecked my knees.:(


December 20, 2008, 12:37 AM
If you were an elk and you were being shot, which would you rather be shot with a .257 or a .30-06?

I would rather be hit well, regardless of caliber. Both are very cabable of killing me. What I don't want is to die a week later of a belly ache or a pack of coyotes, because some guy who didn't practice enough shot me in the guts. I've killed elk with a .243 and a .30-06. The few that I have hit bad have gotten away, which is a shame. I wouldn't think twice about using a quarter bore for elk if that's what I was practicing with.

December 20, 2008, 01:37 AM
60 grain eloquence remains within in the .223 Reminton/ .22/250 field of expertise. A .25 caliber slug requires a 120 grain offering for reasonable result. Upping the caliber requires bigger, fatter bullets to compensate for Sectional Density Prowess. Twixt the two lies the fantastic .243 Winchester offering: 100 grains of heart-shocking potentency. Upping caliber size merely ups RECOIL Amount. Is a .30 caliber ever required? Yes, when game tops 800 pounds on the hoof! cliffy

December 20, 2008, 02:55 AM
There's just something about that old 30-30 I guess. I truly believe there is no better feeling rifle to carry in the field than an old model 94.

December 20, 2008, 07:27 AM
".... there is no better feeling rifle to carry in the field than an old model 94."

THAT, Suh, is The Gospel Truth.


December 22, 2008, 01:14 PM
I am something of a caliber nerd and I really like the 250 Savage, and am considering a CZ 527 in 221 Fireball for a walking varminter.

So it is really something for me to say that reading the caliber posts shawnee treats us to on a regular basis... makes me want to just keep on killing things with my 30-06.

Perhaps it will tickle his fancy to know that I dispatched (only for the sake for mercy, as I believe it was nearly frozen to death anyway) a mangy coyote with my 200 Swift this weekend.

220 Swift, the cartridge the 22-250 wants to be. :neener:


December 22, 2008, 07:29 PM
Down here, we call them things "chupacabras".

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