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The 25-06 Remington

The 25-06 Remington is a versatile round, good for everything from varmints to elk.

Technically speaking, the 25-06 Remington has been around since about 1920, which is when the inveterate tinkerer A.O. Nieder first decided to neck 30-06 brass down to 25 caliber.

Nieder’s creation, with slight differences in shoulder angle, became one of the most popular wildcat cartridges ever designed, but it wasn’t until 1969 that Remington decided to make the 25-06 a factory-produced cartridge.

This might seem like a long wait to legitimize such a utilitarian round, but in fact the 25-06 had really been waiting for gun powder to improve enough for it to bloom into the cartridge we know today.

Previous to 1969, the 25-06 worked pretty well if you were willing to put a 26- or 28-inch barrel on your gun. If you left the tube any shorter, all you really accomplished was a bright flash with ballistics very similar to something with much lower case capacity, like the 257 Roberts.

This changed in the late 60s with the advent of double-based powders that could burn quicker with stable pressure curves. This allowed the 25-06 to reach its full potential with more practical 24-inch or shorter barrels, and bought it a place in Remington’s lineup.

The 25-06 has always enjoyed an excellent reputation as a big game round, and is often used for mule deer or pronghorn hunting. A hunter with a 25-06 enjoys a flat trajectory, low recoil and enough muzzle energy to knock down their critter of choice on the plains.

These days, with the advent of high weight retention bullets, I might even lug the 25-06 out elk hunting. It wouldn’t be my first choice, but I think a careful marksman shooting from reasonably short ranges could surely make it work. To my way of thinking, though, the 25-06’s real role is as one of the few near-perfect varmint cartridges ever drummed up.

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Bullet weights for the 25-06 run from roughly 75grs up to 120grs, and a standard 1:10 twist means that they can all be stabilized for excellent accuracy. This wide array of reasonably heavy bullets makes the 25-06 very resilient to wind drift compared to other varmint cartridges.

The 25-06 is also an excellent compromise in terms of case capacity. A load of roughly 50grs of any given powder is all that is required to keep all of the 25-06’s bullet weights in the neighborhood of 3000 fps, which is amply fast for shooting out to 400 yards.

This means that you can bang away at all the little rodents you like out on the horizon without running through a pound of powder too fast. When it comes to the average gopher hunter, the 25-06 is probably a touch much. However, if prairie dogs or the occasional coyote is on the agenda, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better round.

The 25-06 is hard on varmints, but easy on the shoulder and the pocket book.


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The 25-06 Remington