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Thread: A nice little small game rifle

  1. #1

    A nice little small game rifle

    I went to the site of my favorite importer in Florida last week and ordered a Husqvarna Model 26 single shot rifle in 25-20 caliber to add to my small group of 25-20 caliber rifles. The importers have been bringing these rifles in for about a year now and they are getting to the bottom of the barrel. The one I bought is missing front and rear sights, was drilled and tapped on the barrel for an awful imitation of a weaver base, and has a mis-matched and ill fitted bolt that won't close all the way. It also had a rubber cheek-piece glued the comb of the rifle and like all of these guns, is missing the extractor. The saving grace to this train wreck is that the bore is excellent and the wood is pretty... not to mention it was only $125 US.

    I pulled off the rubber cheekpiece, separating the epoxy from the rubber and leaving it on the wood. I started the tip of my pocket knife under the epoxy and found that it would peel off in thin, opaque sheets if I pried gently so that was all removed in about 30 minutes. Easy. The bolt was another story. Once I figured out how to take it apart I ran the main bolt body into the receiver after staining the lugs with lay-out dye. It took me about 3 hours of stoning to get the bolt to close with just a little pressure at the last few degrees of travel. When I reassembled the bolt another problem surfaced. The striker would only travel about 1/8" before seizing up hard in the receiver body. Back to the layout dye and a few hours of stoning. Now is snaps forward all the way. The safety malfunctions and there isn't much I can do about that other than to weld it up a bit. It holds the striker back but not far enough: if you pull the trigger with the safety on the striker will slip forward of the sear which would cause an accidental firing if one were to then flip the safety into the "off" position. A problem for another day. The extractor will be made of spring stock. I got a look at an original on line and should be able to replicate it without too much cussing. I'm going to make or retrofit some sights and then shoot it before I make the extractor. I'll just knock the empties out with a cleaning rod.

    I like the 25-20. With a 72 grain bullet at 1845 fps it's like a .22WMR on steroids. Having a long neck the bullet gets excellent alignment in the case and most 25-20's are very accurate. I'll post additional pics as things come together.~Muir
    Last edited by Muir; 19-05-2012 at 13:14.

  2. #2
    just had to look this calibre up, never heard of it before.
    sounds very quiet in this film:

  3. #3
    The 25-20 is quiet but I think that the video diminished it's noise a little. I don't shoot it without muffs. Those fellows were shooting the 87 grain factory loads which are anemic, at best, in deference to the weaker rifles chambered for it over the years. It is interesting that some historians consider the 25-20 to be the first "varmint" cartridge. Tho ballistically identical to the 25-20 Single Shot produced by Steven's Arms Co., the 25-20SS was considered a "target" cartridge. When Winchester put out the 25-20 Winchester in their lever action it entered the sporting realm. Funny to think it was considered a "fine 200 yard varmint cartridge" in it's original 87 grain/ 1400 fps black powder loading in 1895.

    I have a Sportco-rebarreled Model 1892 and Cadet Martini in 25-20 both purchased in Australia, and I gave my son a Savage Model 23B bolt gun in 25-20. All shoot extremely well. The oddest 25-20 I owned was a Model 1922 Springfield -the .22LR training/target version of the Model 1903 30-06 Service Rifle- that I rebarreled to 25-20 after someone had foolishly rechambered the original barrel to .223 and converted the bolt to center fire. It was an amazing shooter but someone with a fat checkbook needed it more than I. I regret selling that one now but at the time there were mouths to feed.~Muir

  4. #4
    Hi Muir,

    25-20 is a lovely caliber to use, I've used them in Finland for Metso/ Copola, ie the Capercaillie, a turkey sized grouse. Do you know of any jacketed solid bullets for reloading? Ideally 4.5 grams/69 grains. My Finnish friend has only a limited supply and cannot source any there or here. He does not want to use hollow point or cast lead as they damage the meat too much.



  5. #5
    Bob: I use cast bullets; preferably gas checked cast bullets. My favorite is a Lyman 72 grain bullet. Tell your friend that if he casts the bullets of a mix similar to wheel weight metal he can heat treat them for minimal expansion. They will act like jacketed solids to a degree. It's a bit of a start up expense and learning curve, but he will be in bullets forever. The bullet of choice, historically (other than cast), is a 60 grain HP for varmints and a 87 grain SP for game animals as they don't expand much. Even those are getting scarce on my dealer's shelves. Here the cast bullet is the main load for those who are eccentric enough to shoot 25-20.

    What kind of rifle were you using, may I ask?~Muir
    Last edited by Muir; 19-05-2012 at 23:43.

  6. #6
    It was a 1950,s Sako L46 either Mk2 or 3 bolt action with a 3 shot magazine. The rifle shoots well with old Sako solid ammunition which was loaded in Finland, he has other soft point ammunition but does not like this as much as it 'opens the birds' too much. I have mentioned your suggestions to him but he thinks that with careful use, shooting only at Caper he still has a few years left, but he is always hoping to find more!


  7. #7
    Your really sad Muir ................................................. you do know that?

    Several years ago I looked at one of these on I believe it was Peter frosts stand (Empire Gunsight Co) now I cannot recall which calibre and chambering the one he had was. I know they did them in 45/70, 30-30 as well as the 25-20. The one he had was complete. Nice little rifle.

    I would think that the 45/70 would get your attention quite quickly when you touched it off the 30-30 seemed about perfect weight wise. I even printed off the specs and pictures from an online Husqvarna catalogue although I don't now what became of them.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    It was a 1950,s Sako L46 either Mk2 or 3 bolt action with a 3 shot magazine. The rifle shoots well with old Sako solid ammunition which was loaded in Finland, he has other soft point ammunition but does not like this as much as it 'opens the birds' too much. I have mentioned your suggestions to him but he thinks that with careful use, shooting only at Caper he still has a few years left, but he is always hoping to find more!

    Bob: I am very envious of your friend! That rifle would be one of the crown jewels of my collection. The bullet I mentioned is the #257-420 made (still) by Lyman. Nominally it weighs 69 grains but the lubed weight is 72 grains as I cast them. I would say that I went through some old Cast Bullet Association journals last night and the #1 game hunted with this bullet after rabbit? Turkey. When loaded to 1500 fps it kills them fast with little meat damage, and this with standard alloys; not heat treated as I do. I hope your friend keeps shooting. I feel good knowing that someone, someplace, is using the 25-20 to put meat on the table. Pass on my well wishes. (and while you're at it, a standing offer to buy that rifle!)

    Brit: I know, I know. I try to be good but it's an affliction. I kind of black out and the next morning there's a UPS shipment confirmation in my email. If I was an alcoholic there wold be publicly funded programs I could get into. Dammmit!

    I have seen the 45-70 and 30-30 versions. They were on a larger frame than the Model 25-26 which were 32-20 and 25-20. I think they were the Model 45. The action is very Nagant-like: split bridge and heavy cocking piece. One big locking lug. I have been looking through my box of sights and found nothing I want to use on this rifle so I guess I'll mill a set of sights The rear sight will be a simple affair until I see how the rifle shoots. If it has a degree of accuracy I'll make an adjustable sight. Yes: Touching off the 45-70 on one of these might be considered a religious experience.

    I was going to mention that in the stock there was a set of shims (?) made from a Swedish newspaper. I made sure they stayed there. I do a firing pin test today. I set the firing pin protrusion last night at .052" so we'll see how that flies. If it goes "bang" I'll start casting bullets. My favorite mould will be of no good to me: the groove diameter appears to be .260 inches and too large for that bullet. I have some plain based bullets that might work and one spitzer HP that will work but the bullet has never been too accurate. Such fun.~Muir

  9. #9

    Barnes does offer a 90gr banded solid in .257. If your friend is up to the work and cost, he could have a machinst make him a heat treated die that would accept the bullet, but expose the base an appropriate amount to file the bullet down to a certain weight. It would be a lot of work, but it would make it possible for him to get consistent weighted, non-expanding bullets for his 25-20.

    Just a thought...

  10. #10
    You could try paper patching? It is about that vintage.


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