Working up some L46 25-20 loads

Discussion in 'Handloads for all Sako models' started by topgear, Jul 17, 2016.

  1. topgear

    topgear Sako-addicted

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    Had some time today and worked up some .25-20 loads for my L46s. I've been using factory loads and now have enough brass to load up a few. I got a hold of a lot of 75 grn HP sierra projectiles cheap and used these. I've got some lilgun and thought I would try this combo as a starter.

    Quickload was indicating around 11 grns of lilgun should be good. So I loaded up some with 11 grns and 11.5 grns of lilgun and went for a shot (Loaded to just fit in the mag. lengthwise).
    Quickload 2520 lilgun.JPG

    With 11 grns of lilgun behind the 75 grn sierra HP I got an average of 2212 fps and a pretty neat 5 shot group.
    Not bad for quickload I thought which predicted 2238 fps! Group size was also good just under an inch at 90m.
    No pressure signs so I tried the 11.5 grn loads, but only got a marginal increase in velocity - average of 2260 fps for 5 shots. Again no signs of pressure, group size was slightly bigger around 1.1 inch. I think I'll settle on the 11 grn loads as the extra 1/2 a grain of lilgun isn't giving too much extra velocity wise.

    Anyway they certainly shoot much faster and flater than the factory 86 grn offerings from Remington and Winchester which run around the 1450 fps mark! I just need to get them out on some game soon.

    Last edited: Jul 17, 2016

  2. Ash Smith

    Ash Smith Member

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    i to am trying to get the 25-20 shooting with some reloads.
    I have some aussie made cast 85gn projectiles from HRBC.
    using 9gn of AR2207 I'm getting group of about 1.5in at 50mt.
    velocity is 1300-1360fps. shooting ok but would like to tighten groups up a bit.
    more tweaking required.
    anyone else reloading cast projectiles?
    I had them wizzing a bit quicker up around 1700fps but group was terrible.
  3. ricksengines

    ricksengines Well-Known Member

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    Velocity does not automatically translate into improved accuracy. There are a lot of other factors that come into play. Suggest that you read my discussion on proper seating relative to the lands and then try a middle of the road load in terms of burn rate etc. and then work up or down from there. I posted it in the 6MM PPC thread.

  4. Sako Mac

    Sako Mac Member

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    Topgear, I like to use my Sako L46 too and it took me a few years to realise the potential of the combination of 25-20 and Sako L46, this rifle being the only front-locking action for this cartridge (that I am aware of). I did not know what to expect, however logically it made no sense that according to published load data the 22 Hornet could develop more muzzle energy when the 25-20 has approximately 39% more case capacity (based on my measurement using H4227 powder and W-W brass for both – it is 34% more if you use the Lee Manual’s volume data), 32% more bullet basal area and has cases that I believe are just as 'strong' as those for the Hornet (if not more so) – therefore in similarly designed firearms with powders of suitable burning rate the 25-20 should significantly better it in terms of energy generated at equivalent pressures.

    Eventually I ended up with the loads below that I consider working loads and are used consistently in my rifle (I dug up notes from 2007-2008 for the loads that I have used ever since), all of which develop around 1000ft-lb in energy. While I haven't done exhaustive accuracy testing they seem to shoot 3 shot groups averaging around an inch at 100 yards (have had 0.6 inch groups, but would expect around the inch mark).
    I have mainly used the 75 and 85-87 grain loads thus far. From my experience it seems that there is around 100fps loss/gain in velocity per 5 grains of bullet weight, at least with AR2205/H4227 powder.

    No, I do not know the pressure of these loads, all I can say is that they do not indicate high pressure signs in any way, the cases have been loaded 6 times (some 7 times) to date and they seem in good condition (no loose primer pockets, signs of incipient case head separation, split necks etc). They have been neck-sized only so far (no need to full-length size yet, they go in and out just fine) and there is no reason to think that I won't get many more loads out them.

    As is usual practice, I would recommend not to start with these loads and to remember that they are used in a Sako L46 rifle, my individual rifle at that, even in another L46 start with lower loads (it would be wise to start with published data from reloading manuals) and work up in small increments watching carefully for signs of high pressure in your individual rifle.

    I have only just started to try Lil Gun powder in the 25-20 (I found it great in the 357mag, did not like it in the 300 BLK), but at this stage it looks good, with 60-75 grain bullets it looks like it may give more velocity than H4227/AR2205, but no significant velocity advantage for 87 grain bullets. Don’t know about accuracy. Will post results if/when I develop loads.

    Components: Sako L46 except where stated in comments, Winchester brass (W-W), Remington 7.5 primers, bullets seated at least 1mm off lands, Chrony F1 chronograph. No statistical power for this data is implied, the data I have is here for you to see.

    25-20 Loads for SakoCollectors forum.JPG

    A picture of a loaded rounded-off 85 grain Nosler BT is below, next to the foot of a Fallow Deer taken with the above load. These projectiles act like a 'big-game' bullet at these velocities, with moderate expansion and relatively good penetration.
    25-20 85gn McNos for SakoCollectors forum.JPG
    topgear likes this.
  5. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    Sako Mac: Thanks for the extensive post and data. I think you are correct that, in the L46, there is much room for improvement in .25-20 velocities. I wouldn't hesitate to use your loads (judiciously worked up from below) in any L46. There are probably some other bolt .25-20's (Savage 23, Winchester 43) which, although not a strong as an L46, might also digest them without difficulty.

    I have a Remington Model 23 slide action .25-20 that gets "sticky" pretty quickly if mild factory-level pressures are exceeded, so I guess the factories are justified in keeping their loads on the mild side considering all of the stretchy old levers and pumps out there for this cartridge.

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