.25 Auto: Worth the trouble?


November 20, 2003, 06:56 PM
I have a Beretta 950 Jetfire on the way. I am thinking about getting some .25 dies, but I don't know if reloading for this caliber is worth the effort. I can picture myself having alot of difficulty with those tiny little bullets... not to mention getting the powder charge just right (a very small variation can make a big differance in such a small case).

But on the other had, I could save a bundle considering that it's $12 for 50 rounds of factory. So is it worth the effort? Does anyone here load for .25?

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November 20, 2003, 07:26 PM
I know a guy who loads the .25 ACP. He is serious enough about it that he bought a couple thousand once- fired cases from a Shotgun News ad several years ago.
He also loads for the .50 BMG, so he has both ends of the spectrum covered.

Dave R
November 20, 2003, 08:02 PM
I have dies for .32acp on my Christmas list, for the same reasons you mention. So if you're crazy, I'm only slightly less crazy than you.

November 20, 2003, 08:30 PM
I own a Bauer stainless .25 auto (a Browning baby copy). I do not relaod for it. Why? Who in heck will shoot a .25 enough so that you would need to save money by reloading for the lil thing?

If you would shoot it A LOT, it MIGHT be worth the trouble and expense to get set up to reload for it. NOT ME!

November 20, 2003, 08:43 PM
Speaking as a newbie loader (and a new .25 ACP owner), I'd say:

Watch those fingers, and consider hand weighing your charges.

November 20, 2003, 08:44 PM
I suppose you could say that I reload for the .25 ACP. I have the components and the dies. And, I loaded 50 rounds once. But, as critter says, I don't shoot a .25 enough to get serious about handloading the cartridge, and you really can't do much to improve the perfromance of the cartridge through handloading. Way back in the day, when I first turned 21, I wanted to buy a handgun and exercise my new right as a full fledged adult. I was working for minimum wage and didn't have much money, so I bought a Raven in .25 ACP and I shot it quite a bit. If I could have handloaded for it, I would have shot it even more. But today, I MIGHT take out one of my .25s once a year, or once every couple years if the mood strikes me. Some time within the last year I bought another Raven for the sake of nostalgia and haven't even fired it.
The reason I own the dies is that I got on a kick a few years ago to have dies and loading components for every cartridge that I have a gun for. I bought .25 ACP, .32 ACP, .380..................... Now that I have them, I can't really see the point and probably wouldn't do it again.
So, to make a long story even longer, if you honestly see yourself shooting your new .25 a lot, then go for it. It's only inconvienient and a PITA is you really don't want to do it. Heck, go all out and buy the cartridge conversion and load them on a Dillon 550.

November 21, 2003, 11:50 PM
CAUTION: The following post includes loading data beyond currently published maximums for this cartridge. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Neither the writer, The High Road, nor the staff of THR assume any liability for any damage or injury resulting from use of this information.

I got a couple 25acps just for the purpose of overloading: a Colt and a Vesta.

The Vesta had a big firing pin hole and cannot get any pressure going before it pierces the primer. The firing pin force is too wimpy for a wspm primer, so that is the limit.

The Colt does better, I can get the wimpy quiet factory loads beat for noise. I can make a real loud 25acp handload, but I can't make one that kicks hard. There just is not enough room in the cartridge for enough lead and powder.

November 22, 2003, 01:53 AM
I am the first person in the world and most likely the only person to own a Lee Pro 1000 shellplate that has the number "25A" stamped by the factory on it.
In the early 1990's I called Lee to see if they made shellplates for the Pro 1000 to load 25acp and if not would they make one for me. After talking to a couple of people I was transfered to Mr. Lee. After talking to him for a few minuites he said they had never made one but would for $100. From the jist of the conversation and the tone of his voice I could tell he was quoting me a high price to put me off on the idea. As at the time a Pro 1000 press set up for what ever caliber you wanted was $98 and change delivered from Midway. He was really suprised when I said no problem I will send you a check. Well I wrote him a letter and enclosed a check for $100. I got my 25acp shellplate in the mail a little over 6 weeks later.
After a few modifications to the case feeder and powder measure I have loaded about 1200 rds of 25acp on my Pro 1000 press.
I don't have any problem with "tiny little bullets" when loading 25acp. Although I did have problems getting consistant charge weights of the small powder charges using flake shaped powder. I tried WW-231 which is a slightly flatened tiny grained ball powder and get very consistant charge weights. I pressed a 1/2" piece of aluminum rod into one of the hole of a powder measure disk. Then drilled progressivley larger holes in it till it would throw the charge weight I needed.
The case feeder tubes were so large that the 25acp cases would turn side ways in them. So I found some of the same type tubes only smaller in diameter and inserted them into the case feeder tubes so the cases would stay upright.
I load 25acp for $2.50 a box.

David Wile
November 23, 2003, 11:05 AM
Hey Folks,

I like reloading for the art of reloading, not just as a mean to the end of shooting cheaper ammo. I would even go so far at to say I actually enjoy the time I spend at the bench even more than the time I spend shooting.
Starting as a teenager more than 40 years ago, I caught the "fever" quickly and have also been casting bullets and loading shotshells right from the beginning.

I also reload some of the more "difficult" ones like the 25 ACP and the 32 ACP. Now, having mentioned above how much I really enjoy reloading and consider it an art, I have to admit that I really do not enjoy reloading 25 ACPs. They are really small for big fingers!

In spite of that, however, I cannot bring myself to buy new 25 ACP ammo when I have perfectly good brass that I have been using for over 30 years. After shooting a hundred rounds or more, I look at those tiny cases and think woefully about the effort to reload them. Then I think about how much it costs to buy new ones, and "cheaper" wins out.

While I have a Hornady L&L Auto Progressive press, I have never done my "little ones" on it. I still use the same RCBS Rockchucker and die set that I have been using from the beginning. While I do weigh each charge of powder, I do use Bullseye and Red Dot which are flaked powders, and they meter very well through all my powder dispensers. I adjust the dispenser to throw exactly the weight I want or just to the low side of it. If I reload 100 rounds of 25 ACP, I would guess that 80 or more of the charges hit the correct set weight without adding any with the powder trickler.

The real problem is getting the case in the funnel properly so the powder gets into the case. This requires holding each case in the funnel as you dump the charge rather than simply setting the funnel on each case as it sits in a reloading block.

Loading 25 ACPs is a pain, but I will continue to do it. I would also consider using my progressive press, but I never wanted to pay for a shell plate for the 25 ACP. If I had a shell plate for it, I would not be afraid of any overcharges in the process. The dispenser on my Hornady is even more consistent than my other dispensers, and it is quite capable of throwing small charges of powder. Any variance in the charge thrown would be miniscule, and I really do not see how you could realistically get a double charge with the machine.

So, should you load 25 ACPs? Sure. If you are asking the question, I would bet your character is such that you will load them with pride and even find a way to enjoy the process.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

November 23, 2003, 04:11 PM
Well put, Dave.

November 23, 2003, 06:29 PM
I think I've decided to go for it. I went down to the gunshow today and picked up some brass for the .25, and I also picked up a couple boxes of ammo (Winchester 50 gr) and I'll save the brass from that. All I need now is the gun (going to get it on friday) and some dies and I should be set. Next question: Whats a good load? Anyone have any info on the 35 gr Speer Gold Dot? I've seen some load data for 50 gr bullets but nothing for 35 yet...

November 23, 2003, 07:39 PM
I was thinking about that - my loading manuals only show 50 grain loads, I guess because that is the weight John Moses Browning decided on? That 35 grain HP load looks compelling.

November 23, 2003, 11:43 PM
Speer has data on their 35gr bullet.

November 24, 2003, 12:12 AM
35 grain .251" Speer God Dot HP (#3985)

1.7 grains Bullseye yields 1040 fps
1.7 grains of 231 gives 937 fps.

November 24, 2003, 01:52 AM
"1.7 grains Bullseye yields 1040 fps"

I like the sounds of that. Bullseye is a powder I already use alot (works great in my 9mm Makarov loads), and 1040 FPS is pretty darn good for such a tiny little cartridge...

Thanks for the info! :)

David Wile
November 24, 2003, 11:27 AM
Hey David,

I know that 1,040 FPS sounds good, but keep in mind that it is only a 35 grain bullet going at that speed. There are 40 grain high speed 22 long rifle cartridges available that will go a bit faster than that. I know you can kill with such little bullets if placed in the right place, but the 25 ACP is what it is. While it is not a 45 Auto or 10 MM, it certainly has its place and purpose as does the lowly little 22 long rifle. You can carry a little 25 ACP in a vest pocket and a 22 long rifle two-shot derringer in your shirt pocket and never have anyone notice a thing. Come to think of it, you could also carry a 9 MM Makarov in your back pocket at the same time and not have it noticed. You could carry all three and not have them weigh as much as my big 10 MM Megastar which really is rather difficult to conceal. And, unless you simply stick one in the side of your pants, the big guns really require some form of holster to carry them. Yeah, those little ones do have their place.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

November 24, 2003, 03:23 PM
Yes I do realize the limitations of the round, it is not my first choice for carry, not by a long shot. This is going to be a BUG (back-up-gun), a "last resort" type of thing. Might be fun for plinking as well...

I'm just a bit excited now about reloading for this caliber because those speer stats look much better than factroy ballistics. It is also encourageing that their test firearm was a Jetfire...

Dave R
November 24, 2003, 08:07 PM
If you want to shoot your Jetfire a lot (which you should do if its your backup gun), then it makes financial sense to reload. And yes, those Speer stats look better than factory ammo. Great fringe benefit.

And I reload for a .17 rifle, so all this talk about "little bitty bullets' is all relative. Those .25acp slugs are easy to handle compared to my 25gr .17 pills.

November 24, 2003, 08:54 PM
You mean .17 Remington? Thats a caliber I've always been curious about...

I am suprized that .17 HMR has caught on when other .17 calibers haven't. Probably because it's a rimfire... but I'm going way off topic now...

Master Blaster
November 25, 2003, 08:36 AM
The economics of it.

I bought a Keltec p-32, and discovered that .32 acp ammo was about $11-13 a box when I could find it. I needed lots of practice, so I searched on the net. I already have a dillon 550b but I did not want to spend the money on a caliber conversion, because I did not plan to load many thousands. I did not have a single stage press, so I bought a Lee O frame press kit, with a set of dies for $65 delivered, 1000 77 grain lead bullets from Laser cast, and I saved 150 factory ammo cases, and bought another 100 new cases from midway, and box of speer 60 gr gold dots. so for a total of about $120 I can reload 1000 practice rounds (store cost $220 to $260), and 100 defense rounds (store cost $60).

So $120 with the equipment vs $250 for just the ammo.

I now have the ability to tune my loads for the P-32 as well as saving money.

You can probably spend about the same for .25 acp.

In order to make this really practical you have to really like reloading as well. I do!!!!!:D

November 25, 2003, 12:43 PM
"...need to save money by reloading..." Reloading isn't about saving money. It's about finding the absolute best load for your firearm. Still don't think I 'd load for .25 ACP though. Most pistols it chamber in aren't accurate enough to worry about. Not much call for long range accuracy in a phone booth.

November 25, 2003, 02:08 PM
"So $120 with the equipment vs $250 for just the ammo."

Thats not bad. But I'll do even better.



And I got of bunch of brass at the gunshow for $5

Total cost of reloading stuff: $52

With that $52 investment, I should be able to load up 500 rounds. I've already got the powder too, but I don't really even count that as an expense for this caliber, considering that it doesn't hardly use any powder.

So, at about 11.50 per box of 50 for factory, times 10 boxes to equal that 500 rounds I'll make, that would come out to about $115.

"Reloading isn't about saving money"

I think this is one case where it is. $52 vs $115, thats a big differance.

December 25, 2003, 02:56 AM
Yay for me, I'm getting .25 ACP dies for Chirstmas!

I'll try out some of these loads we've been talking about and report back when I've tested them out. Of course that might be a while...

March 17, 2004, 12:01 AM
I finally got around to testing my handloaded .25's :)

Here's the info:

Bullet: 35 gr Hornady XTP
Case: Winchester
Power: 1.7 gr Bullseye
Primer: CCI
Lenght: 0.845

Velocitys (in FPS of course):


Average Velocity: 985 FPS

Energy (in foot pounds): 75

They were a little slower than I expected (Speers website says I should have gotten 1040 FPS), but overall I'm happy. They functioned properly, I didn't have any jams or anything. I aslo tested them for expansion using 2 liter pop bottles filled with water. They did expand (but even an exapned .25 cal bullet is tiny) and penatrated 3 bottles. I believe that, considering the wimpy caliber, these are decent results. From now on, when I carry the Jetfire, it will have this load in it...

March 17, 2004, 12:21 AM
I've reloaded 1,000 rounds of .25 on a single stage press. It's a little like Zen. It's great therapy when you're stressed out and want to take your mind off of everything else.

Actually, it's not too practical, but I just enjoy reloading.

BTW, my .25 is a Beretta 950 also. I load 50 GR Remington FMJ bullets over a MAXIMUM charge of 1.1 GR of HP-38. My powder measure isn't reliable at that charge, so I have to hand weigh the charges.

March 17, 2004, 12:34 AM

I also tried the 50 gr FMJs, and also couldn't get my measure to reliable measure that small a charge. So I don't plan to use the 50 gr bullets again, it took forever measuring each charge by hand...

My measure will work with the 1.7 gr charge of bullseye, so I can turn them out alot faster... So I'll just stick with the 35 gr JHPs, even for plinking...

Paul "Fitz" Jones
March 17, 2004, 10:33 AM
As a police rangemaster I collected many thousandsof .25auto brass which I tumble cleaned and heat seal packed hoping for good home for them someday.

Johnny Guest
March 17, 2004, 12:38 PM
- - -by critter about his Bauer .25 pistol. When that pistol was first introduced, when? About 1971? -- I bought what was, I think, the third one to arrive in Fort Worth. I carried the little pistol in my hip pocket in a homemade leather folder holster and it was my Always Gun for many years.

I was a small town police officer and money was really short. After shooting up about two boxes, I bought a set of dies and some Remington 50 gr FMJ bullets. Yeah, something of a bother to assemble such small components, but it was well worthwhile for me. I was able to practice A LOT, and became pretty darn good, both at point shooting and in aimed fire. I opened up the little rear sight notch and found that I could hit a ping pong ball at 30 feet most of the time, using a center hold. When I missed, it was my fault, and not due to inaccuracy of the pistol or the ammo.

This was when .25ACP was just about all there was, if you wanted a really small handgun. The high quality miniature .22 revolvers were still in the future, as were the tiny .32s and .380s. I never had any illusions about the "power" of the cartridge/pistol combination, but worked on the theory of "ANY gun is better than NO gun."

Once upon a time, there was a noisy disagreement with a couple of robbers. When I had one still in the bushes and just five rounds left in my High Power, the little Bauer was kinda comforting . . . .


March 17, 2004, 01:50 PM
Mr. Jones,

I might be interested in that brass of yours. How much do you want for it?

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