My wife came back from a funeral in Oregon with her deceased uncle's lever action 25-35....octogon barrel transitions to a round barrel. The action seems smooth and the gun looks to be inremarkably good shape considering it's age...1918 or something like that.
Is there available ammo for this bore?
Would it be prudent to use the gun if ammo is available or is this a collector piece?
If a Winchester or Marlin, the rifle with it's half round half octagon barrel was probably a special order piece, you didn't mention maker, stock configuration, model, or anything else, but that's not a standard barrel, making me believe that if it's in that shape, it was certainly special to someone, and likely well cared for.
Ammunition for it, though not common, is available. Might take some shopping, might have to order it in, but it's out there. If all else fails, the case is based on the .30-30, and form dies can be had, and I bought WW bulk brass for my Dad, and Father in Law's rifles just last year.
It's a surprisingly accurate round and the recoil is negligible. I wouldn't hesitate to use it on a big mule deer under 200 yards if I was certain of the shot, especially with a good bullet. 117 grain round nose is pretty much standard for the cartridge, velocity a bit better than 2100 fps or so.
Give it a good cleaning, and enjoy! I'm envious!
Winchester makes a run of 25-35 every couple of years. There are actually probably quite a few rifles in Alaska that are chambered in 25-35. I know a fella out in Gambell that uses one for Walrus hunting.
I picked up a recent Win M94 in 25-35, plus I've got a cherry older model. I also load for a friend's Shiloh Sharpes in the caliber. Ammo is out there, but usually special order from local stores. Reloading is a lot more viable, though brass is about as scarce as the ammo. I form all mine from a big buy of new Federal 30-30 cases I picked up last year ($2/box for a case!).
When forming the cases from 30-30, be aware that they are going to be too long and need trimmed back to minimum, then followed up with another trim following fireforming. They'll be too long again after fireforming, so keep the loads to the starting load level. I haven't worked out just how short they should be trimmed before fire forming, but a bit more than min would be best and involve fewest hassles.
In addition to the 117 RN bullets, get hold of Midway and order some of their Remington 86 grain FPs intended for the 25-20. Load these to around 2500 fps for varmints or down to around 1300 fps for small game. They're super and cheap.
I've also had great luck with cast bullets, especially in the Sharpes. I have both 86 grain and 117 grain FN molds, both GC. Using Lyman #2 alloy and keeping velocities below around 1500 provides superb shooting almost free.
I've not had much luck with the little 60 grain FP bullets in anything I've tried but the 356 Win. My two 25-20's don't even like them, and they're worse than awful in all three 25-35's.
You've got a dandy round there in what sounds like a dandy rifle. If it's in good shape, I'd be inclined to shoot it a lot, even if it had serious collector interest. The round and gun are too good to become safe queens.
I looked at the rifle again...still impressed with it, more impressed that I wound up with it...
It is a model 1894 Winchester, nickle steel, with flip up rear sights for 50, 100 & 200 yards.
The octogon barrel stops at the end of the forearm, short of the rear sights.
The barrel is stamped "Especially for smokeless powder". 25-35 WCF
The magazine tube extends to within about the last 3 inches of barrel length.
The stock and forearm look to be in exceptionally good shpe for the estimated age of the rifle.
The wife says her aunt told her it was used for deer and cougar.
Thanks for all the ammo info...was unaware that Winchester still makes the caliber.
Any advice on what is best for cleaning the action and such on this steel?
Am a little afraid to start taking it apart, don't want to mess anything up...but you only learn by trying I guess.