Well, truth-be-known, this article will intrigue true afficianados of firearms, firearms history, and those whose outdoor excursions include an intimate knowledge of hunting and sports afield. Just mention the 25-35 Winchester to those ol -timers or new-timers who can appreciate this almost-forgotten caliber and a certain gleam will be seen in their eyes.
When i was a young lad I used to spend a lot of time at the ranch/farm of my Grandfather. I recall that he made the rounds of his property at least once a day. I also noticed that he would make sure that he grabbed his Winchester model 94 in 25-35 before setting off on these neccessary excursions. He left behind a beautiful Winchester model 12 shotgun and a number of .22 rimfire rifles of various makes and models that would make a firearms collector drool.
In those days it was imprtant that the landowner keep conrol of pests, varmints and troublesome predators. Apparently the 25-35 filled the bill for all these requirements. I saw him dispatch anything from prairie dogs to coyotes with that lever-gun. He was a disciplined man and made sure each shot was a quick and clean kill. I never saw him shoot twice. In todays world this may cause some to ponder why he needed to do this type of shooting, but in those days the rifle was a tool that helped protect fields or farm animals that were extremely valuable and hard worked-for in many ways.
The 25-35 is an old cartridge created fromsome say the 30-30 others the 38-55 Winchester. It was believed to be the whiz-kid of its generation. It fired a long lean 117 grain .25 caliber bullet from a lever-action rifle that was effective out to 200 yards. Its bullet had a good ballistic coeficient, a long heavy bullet that drove in deep and killed way beyond its paper prowress.
This interesting round was mild of recoil and it had a much flatter trajectory than the famed 30-30 winchester and much much better than contemporay cartridge designs of the time including the 44-40, 32 Winchester special, 45-70, 32-20, 25-20, 38-40, 38-55.
Ballistic tables belie the effectiveness of this cartridge design. Many other modern 25 caliber rounds surpass this venerable .25 choice but its velocity, trajectory, and downrange retained energy measure up well against many of its contemporaries, in fact, as a lever-action round it proves itself to be pretty potent indeed. Let us compare it to a relatively recently designed cartridge of the same ilk, the 7-30 Waters.
The 25-35 would be a viable cartridge if chambered in a modern lever-action. the 7-30 waters concieved by Ken Waters. It was designed to be a caliber that would bring the old lever-action closer to the efficacy of more modern choices. It could be compared to the 25-35 a design available almost 40 years ago.
With advent of the LEVERevolution ammunition from Hornady the aged calibers offered in lever-actions really get a boost in performance by using pointed bullets. Since these are safe to use in the tubular magazines in lever rifles the need for flatpoint bullets is not mandatory anymore. Perhaps Hornady could produce a special run of this ammunition for the unfairly maligned 25-35. It is no caliber for elk or grizzily bears but should be brought back. It can stand on its own merit. It is a good caliber and one of my favorites.