The 25-06 Remington

*****AN OPINION ABOUT THE 25-06ís NICHE

The 25-06 is an excellent cartridge that provides excellent ballistics and trajectory for varmint through deer sized game. The 25-06 shines as an ideal duel purpose varmint and deer rifle. The 25-06 has ballistics, trajectory, and wind bucking ability that is among the very best varmint only cartridges available. The 25-06 as a dual purpose cartridge has the advantage of being quite capable of shooting bullets as heavy as 120 gr. bullets. The 25-06 is an excellent choice for Whitetail, Mule Deer, Antelope, and similar sized game. I would prefer something larger for large Black Bear, Elk, Moose, and other tougher critters.

It is important to evaluate the game species one plans to hunt and then evaluate if the 25-06 in regards to the which bullet is capable of "ALWAYS" doing the job at hand. If the you have doubts about the 25-06 for the game you plan to hunt please consider a cartridge that better meats your needs.

Finally, every gun is different and because the bullets, powders, etc. that I list here work well in my gun does not ensure that they are the best choices in your gun. Also, I have not tried every powder, bullet, primer, etc. and different combinations could affect the big picture as to how the cartridge will perform. I am just another enthusiast with a few opinions to share, I am far from someone that should be considered "authoritative" although this certainly looks like I authored a small book!

******BULLET AVAILABLE FOR THE 25-06******

Types of bullets available include hollow points, spire points, round nosed, plastic tipped, and full metal jackets bullets. I have tried many different types of bullets and I have switched to the plastic tipped Nosler Ballistic tips for most of my hunting. I like the plastic tipped bullets because they a) donít get deformed in your pocket/magazine b) are more accurate in my gun than other types Iíve tried c) they work well on game d) they have high ballistic coefficients, and e) they look good.

I also have a box of the Speer Grand Slam in 120 gr. that I have a load worked up for in the event that I needed to use the 25-06 for bigger game. I have not tried the Barnes-X bullets yet but this a bullet that has rave reviews that I plan to give them a try and if they shoot better than the Speer grand slam they will become my "Bigger Critter" 25-06 bullet of choice.

******25-06 USED ON VARMINTS*******

Varmint weight bullets that I have used include the 75 gr. Hornady V-MAX, 85 gr. Nosler Ballistic Tips, and 90 gr. Sierra HPBT. These bullet obtain extremely high velocities in the 25-06 and they are constructed with thin jackets and hollow cavities that cause these bullets to explode on contact with an object. This is important for Varmint hunting as you will often be shooting longer distances in open fields at small targets. If you were to use a solidly constructed bullet, the bullet could and likely would penetrate completely through the animal you shoot with adequate energy to ricochet and travel for miles potentially damaging someoneís property or worse killing somebody. In addition, seldom is it desirable to eat a varmint and hence the "wanton waste of game meat" as Iíve seen described by others is a non-issue. These explosive bullets can and will allow a poorly placed bullet to totally tear a small critter apart. As an example, I have hit groundhogs low in the "guts" and these bullets explode completely disemboweling them. This results in a quick clean kill where a "Big Game bullet" would have punched a single hole through the animals gut which might not kill the animal.

*****25-06 ON COYOTES AND FOX ******

I have seen some people that have said that they donít have any interest in the coyotes hide. Personally, I would love to finally outsmart one of our eastern coyotes and get the hide tanned. If you donít have any interest in the hide, the explosive bullets described above will provide quick, clean kills with impressive effect.

If you want to keep the fur from a fox or coyote you MUST NOT use the above bullets as these bullets have the potential to leave massive holes in their hides. I prefer to use full metal jacket bullets and the only ones that I am aware of for the .257 bore are those manufactured by Barnes. These bullets will leave a small primary wound but the shock of a 100-115 gr. FMJ moving at 25-06 velocity should cleanly kill a coyote. Please note however that I have yet to get to shoot a coyote and in as much I am guessing what the result will be. Foxes on the other hand are animals which will flip in the air upon impact and never take a single step. The FMJs result in very minor damage to the pelt Another alternative would be to use a very strong "BIG GAME" bullet at reduced velocity. These bullets will act more like the FMJ and may provide good results, but I have never needed to use these as I use the FMJs.

As described before the FMJs and "Big Game" bullets will not explode on contact with an object and hence it is quite important that you keep in mind what is behind your target as these bullets will ricochet with the potential for disastrous results.

******BIG GAME BULLETS******

Big game bullets for the 25-06 need to meet the criteria that I described on the F&S forum as you need a bullet that will maintain integrity but yet mushroom dispensing with some of itís energy. The 25-06 is quite powerful for the diameter bullet and in as much I have not been happy with the "on-game" performance I have seen with some of the mid-weight bullets available. One mid-weight bullet in particular that I was disappointed with is the 100 gr. Nosler Ballistic tip bullet. I shot two deer in the lower front shoulder using this bullet and the bullet provided an explosive effect after relatively shallow penetration. If I had to take a shot requiring deeper penetration, I am not confident that the bullets would have done the job. I have read that Nosler has improved some of their bullets because of this problem but by that time I found that the 115 gr. ballistic tip works well for me and I have never given the 100 gr. bullet another try.

The 115 gr. Nosler Ballistic tip bullet is an excellent performer at 25-06 velocity even if solid bone should be hit. Admittedly, the bullet doesnít maintain complete integrity but it maintains enough energy and mass to provide penetration for the normal 120 to 180 LB deer I hunt.

I also hunt black bears and I feel that the 25-06 is light for some of the larger bears that live in the woods where I hunt. With this disclaimer, I have a load worked up that uses a 120 gr. Speer Grand Slam that should provide deep penetration for these tough animals. I would also use this load if I was to hunt some of the really large Whitetail or mule deer while on a "PAY-TO-HUNT" deal.

*****NECK SIZING VS FULL LENGTH RESIZING*****

Every rifle chamber has variations even if these variations are small. When a rifle is fired the cartridge is fire formed to the actual dimensions of the chamber. For optimum accuracy in your cartridge I prefer neck sizing as this resizing only affects the neck of the cartridge which holds the bullet, while the rest of the cartridge remains the dimension of the gunís chamber. If someone is using a pump or semi auto rifle full length resizing may be more appropriate as these rifles do not have the camming action of bolt and lever action rifles to aid the extraction of the cartridge.

*****CASE OVERALL LENGTH*****

To begin I always trim my brass to a consistent 2.484" and ligtly deburr them. I also deburr the primer hole to ensure consistant ignition of the case upon firing.

I prefer to seat the bullets in my reloads to the point where the bullet is just off the rifling. This Overall length varies for each bullet as the shape of the bullet can affect how far the bullet can be extended before the bullet will strike the rifling. The way I usually determine this dimension is to take an empty resized case and seat a bullet to a long overall length. I take this cartridge and slowly try to push it into the chamber. At the point where the bullet strikes the rifling you will feel pressure as you can force the bullet into the empty case using you rifleís bolt. Once the bolt is closed I remove the cartridge and set my seating die to the length of this cartridge.

From this point I seat a second bullet in an empty case to the same length as the previous cartridge. I blacken this bullet using carbon from a candle (Obviously donít do this near gunpowder!). I again run this cartridge in the chamber looking for signs that the bullet strikes the rifling (There should be marks in the carbon). Take a third cartridge and seat the bullet to a slightly shorter COL, blacken it and evaluate if it strikes the rifling. You can use the same bullet and cartridge to repeat this process but I prefer to use at least two so that you always have your "longer" cartridge as a reference.

Once you have a cartridge that doesnít hit the rifling I would measure the overall length using a micrometer and record it for future reference. I keep some of these "Maximum Off Rifling" cartridges as samples until I have completed my load development for that particular bullet.

I use this length as the longest COL and I will try a few lengths which I will discuss later.

*****POWDER CHOICES*****

My favorite powder for the 25-06 is Hodgkinís H4831-SC. I have also used IMR 4320, IMR 4350, IMR 4831, IMR 4895 and H4831. The H4831-SC in my gun is the most accurate powder that I have tried with every bullet weight and type. The SC part of the name refers to "short-cut" meaning that the powder granules are about half the length of the normal H4831 powder. This short-cut powder is much easier for a powder measure to deliver an accurate charge. Furthermore, the smaller granules may pack better in the case yielding a better charge density. My other choices in order are the H4831, IMR 4831, and IMR 4350.

When you begin working up a load I suggest loading a series of loads using the same bullet, case, primer, and case overall length, but vary the powder charge. As an example Noslerís manual suggests loads from 48 to 52 gr. of IMR 4831 for a 120 gr. bullet. If I was to start working up a load for this powder and bullet I would load five cartridge sets using 48, 49, 50, 51, and 52 gr. of powder. Each of these loads would carefully be shot working from the lightest towards the hottest. Each shot would be taken using a solid rest using sandbags. After each shot I would allow the gun to cool for 1 to 2 minutes trying to be as consistent as possible. After each set of five shots I would carefully evaluate each case to ensure that you donít see any signs of excessive pressure. On the target I would record the date, weather (temp, sunny/cloudy), distance, and load specifics (Bullet, powder, charge, primer, overall length). Continue this process through the various charge levels. It has been my experience that the 4381 powers tend to be more accurate at the upper charges while IMR 4895 works better at reduced velocities.

Once you know that a given powder charge is more accurate than the others I would strive to further refine which charge is most accurate. As an example you might find that the 51 gr. load is more accurate than the 50 or 52 gr. loads and none of the loads show excessive pressure. I would then load sets of cartridges that would go from 50.0, 50.5, 51.0, 51.5 and 52.0. It has been my experience that 0.5 gr. differences in changes is the limit to what I can find differences in accuracy at my level of skill and gunís accuracy.

*****OTHER COMPONENTS*****

Other items used can also make a difference in reloading the 25-06 include the case, and primers. I prefer federal components but I encourage you to try several different manufactures as there are differences that can affect your accuracy.

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