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.25-06 barrel length and performance

22 Jul 2013
@ 06:21 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

From email query:

Nathan hello,
I am going to purchase a 25/06 am I best to stick to 24 inch barrel if I can? What would be your preferred brand?

Regards, ....


22 Jul 2013
@ 06:22 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: .25-06 barrel length and performance
Hi ...,

Ideally I like a long barrel in .25-06, doesn't have to be too heavy, but I like a 26" barrel to keep speeds up. Trouble is, no one makes this barrel length any more. Remington make a 24" barrel which is a good compromise, Tikka only do a 22" barrel. The faster the .257's are driven the better. This reduces wind drift and helps retain wounding potential at extended ranges.

It is important to understand the contrasting performance of the .25-06. Out to moderate ranges, performance is often spectacular but there comes a point where performance drops away rapidly. Ironically, a cartridge like the 7mm-08 with the 162gr A-max loping along at an MV of 2650fps with the 162gr A-max, produces less drift and hits a great deal harder out long. So to me, I like to try and retain that spectacular .257 performance out as far as possible. Often we chase velocity when we don't really need it as the given cartridge will perform well at lower speeds. For example, the .280 Remington is just as effective at 2850fps as it is at 2950fps with the 162 grain A-Max. But in the case of the .25-06, more is better. At least that is how I see things.

The fly in the ointment is that .25 cal barrels are in my experience, the most finicky. Gun makers often seem to have trouble with this bore diameter. Even Tikka, who usually do so well with their barrels, struggle with the .257 bore. In some instances, plans have to be changed, a 100gr bullet adopted rather than a 117gr bullet, simply to get acceptable accuracy. So which ever way you go, it will be a punt. If you buy the Tikka, it will have an accuracy guarantee. If you buy the SPS stainless, it will have no guarantee and will need stabilizing, bedding, trigger work etc. If the bore is a dud, it will need to be rebarreled. I suggest if shopping for an SPS, that you inspect the muzzle of the rifle for machine marks in a good light. Use a magnifying glass (unscrew the front obj off a Tasco/Nikko).

The other option is a Weatherby rifle chambered in .257 Weatherby Magnum...
03 Aug 2013
@ 05:55 am (GMT)

Andy Stewart

Re: .25-06 barrel length and performance
24 inch is minimum in 2506, any less and you should go with .257 Roberts, cause that's the performance drop. I run a 25 inch Trueflite on a Weatherby Mk5 Ultralite - 3200fps plus across a number of 117/120gn loads and 3400plus with a couple of 100gn loads. Shoots just about any load at 3/4 and better.

Inside 300 it doesn't matter so much, but outside that distance an extra 200 fps is seriously important, - for some reason, in 2506 the extra inches plus or minus make a much bigger difference than in other calibres.

Stay away from modern Remingtons. The Tikka is a reliable quality of build, if you buy a rifle because it is a little cheaper, cheaper is what you will get, and then spend time and money to improve it.

The A7 Sako would be even better.

If you are going 25cal, you might want to start handloading though.
03 Aug 2013
@ 07:15 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: .25-06 barrel length and performance
I've been through hell trying to tune dodgy Sako rifles. I have put notes in the long range book but have also since made a video with evidence which I will upload in due course.

Be weary about quality comments Andy, much of what we knew has changed in recent years. Things aren't so straight forwards at the moment.

You really hit the nail on the head regarding the subtelties of .25-06 performance.


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