Product Tests & Reviews
Bellm Custom .25-20 Winchester Contender


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Bellm Custom .25-20 Winchester Contender

25-20 Bellm 9 2

The subject of this review is a 10 1/4th” Contender barrel made for me by Mike Bellm and chambered in .25-20 Winchester. First, a bit of background for those less familiar with the chambering:

 

Here above are the 44mag, 357mag, 25-20WCF, and 30 Herrett for size comparison.

 

The .25-20 Winchester has been around a very long time. There is a difference in opinion as to when it was actually introduced. Some authors declare the date of inception as 1893, others 1895, and it is one of the few cartridges to survive the transition from black to smokeless powder. Whatever the case may be regarding it’s exact year of introduction, the round was quickly implemented by a majority of gun manufacturers, and due to it’s effectiveness, inherent accuracy, and low recoil, achieved considerable popularity.

 

The Winchester lever action models 1892 and 65, the Remington slide action Model 25, Marlin slide action 27 and lever action 94, and the Savage bolt action repeater Model 23, were all available in .25-20 Winchester, or” WCF” as it is sometimes labeled. Marlin has re-introduced the .25-20 WCF in their Model 1894CL lever action. During the 1950's, Sako even chambered a few L46 rifles for the .25-20, mostly for the Australian market. Kimber once chambered a few of its Model 84 bolt rifles for this cartridge, and Browning produced some Winchester Model 92 reproductions in .25-20. The only current production rifle presently available in .25-20 WCF is the Marlin Model 1895CL.

 

Winchester also at one time loaded this same chambering with a slightly different bullet shape and head stamped it .25-20 Marlin.

 

The .25-20 is a cartridge that can be enhanced to a satisfying degree by hand loading. Though the 60 grain bullet can't be improved much over the [now obsolete] factory load, the 86 grain bullet is typically loaded to deliver around 1700 fps. The .25-20 is also capable of very good accuracy when fired in a single shot such as the Thompson Center Contender under review, or a good lightweight bolt action rifle. Both Winchester and Remington continue to offer ammunition in this caliber, though only with the 86 grain bullet.

 

Previous to the 1930 introduction of the .22 Hornet, a Winchester Model 92 in .25-20 Winchester was considered to be about ideal for varmint shooting.

 

The.25-20 is a fine turkey cartridge and destroys very little meat on a large Tom. It is great for mid range Woodchuck hunting, and I am told by those out west that it is a potent enough cartridge for Javalina.

 

25-20 Bellm 9 1

This barrel is a Bellm made barrel, 10 1/4th” in length, full bull, and with Super 14” dovetail lock spacing for the forend screws, which I requested Mike use in order to enable the mounting of heavier target style forends. I also mounted the old Side Saddle Williams Silhouette rear sights, with a tall blade front for precision open sighted shooting. I will later be mounting a 1st Generation Bushnell Holosight with 2x doubler attachment for Deer and Turkey seasons.

 

With 86Gr. jacketed soft points the 50 yard accuracy was quite good, turning in an inch and under three shot groups bench rested and with open Silhouette sights.

 

  25-20 Bellm 4

More to come when I am able to chronograph various loads and test the round against our local varmint and game population.

 

 

This barrel was made by Mike Bellm, custom gunsmith & chambering specialist. Mike is a consummate craftsman and knowledgeable in all areas of firearms customization! Contact him through the link below: 

Mike Bellm

Contact us through our e-mail address at:
 

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