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Thread: Lever Action Back From The Dead

  1. #1
    Member Ground Control's Avatar
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    Lever Action Back From The Dead

    I haven't been very active here for a while due to the fact that Australia -NZ travel has been next to impossible for the last 2 years and I haven't been back to our place in the Marlborough Sounds since the whole shit show kicked off .
    Anyway thats not what this is about .
    I recently purchased an old Winchester model 92 25-20 rifle .
    For years I carried a Winchester 44/40 model 94 in the Tractor with me ( We have a Tractor Slashing business here in Queensland ) and a large number of Pigs/ Dogs ( we don't call them Dingoes ) meet their maker to it .
    My eyesight went to pack and I could no longer use the iron sights on the old girl so it got replaced by a scoped rifle .
    Then about a year ago I found a " No drill scope mount " for the 44/40 and with a Vortex Red Dot I was back in action
    That renewed my interest in Lever Actions and when I found a completely Junk/Trash 25-20 at my local Gunshop I couldn't say no .
    We have a property here in QLD that isn't overun with Critters , but Dogs and Feral Cats are the biggest problem we face , and research of the 25-20 cartridge says that it is a .22 Mag on steroids ( My .22 Mag Anschutz rifle is always with me ) so even though history has labelled the 25-20 as a underpowered relic it is actually the ideal "Bang Stick" for me .
    When I purchased it I knew that the last few inches of the barrel were toast and the stock was in a bad way .







    A strip down and degrease with brake cleaner removed 105 years of oil / grime , why are old rifles always covered in 1mm of this mix ?
    This is a pic of it before the "spring clean " note the rust and grime .





    A visit to the local Gunsmith to lop the Barrel ( now 17 inches of good rifling ) and the addition of a no drill mount got me to a usable rifle again .
    Factory ammo is hard to come by and expensive , but managed to snack a packet of Winchester and Remington locally ( 25-20 was a popular cartridge in its day in Australia )
    Sighting in group at 50 yrds with a Vortex Crossfire Red Dot .





    A quick " Bubba " fix of the crack in the Stock .





    Put to work the next day .





    Then a member of an Australian forum provided a new Stock for the old girl .




    I know the Winchester Traditional People will be turning in their graves right now , but " Bite Me "
    I have taken an old unwanted and unusable rifle and given it a second chance .
    I love it and it's now my favourite rifle and yes I own my fair share of Carbon and High quality glass

    PS - 2 Cats and 1 Dog down .
    muzza, NRT, Makros and 36 others like this.
    FALL IN LOVE WITH THE NUMBERS , NOT THE IDEA

  2. #2
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    Looks alright. Youíve breathed life back a junker and made it a shooter. Awesome


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Ground Control likes this.

  3. #3
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    Put a peep sight on my 44 lever gun after having a red dot on it,not quite as accurate but looks a whole lot nicer..can’t beat the.lever action.
    Ground Control and Micky Duck like this.

  4. #4
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    Well done. I would have got the barrel drilled and tapped while at the gunsmith, plenty of meat in that one. As you said it has little to no collector value so what does a few more holes matter?. May as well be put to work.

    You now have a reloadable .22 mag
    Ground Control likes this.

  5. #5
    Fruit loop..?? Ftx325's Avatar
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    great job ... well worth the effort .
    I have been taking random wanders around the local gun shops in the hope of picking up an old junker and doing the same sort of thing as a bit of a project .
    The fact you get to carry and use it regularly is the icing on the cake . Shame ammo is a bit rare .
    Ground Control likes this.
    born to hunt - forced to work

  6. #6
    Member Ground Control's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiroahunta View Post
    Looks alright. You’ve breathed life back a junker and made it a shooter. Awesome


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Thanks mate , it actually shoots better than I thought it would .
    FALL IN LOVE WITH THE NUMBERS , NOT THE IDEA

  7. #7
    Member Ground Control's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The bomb View Post
    Put a peep sight on my 44 lever gun after having a red dot on it,not quite as accurate but looks a whole lot nicer..can’t beat the.lever action.
    I had a Williams Peep on my 44/40 for years , but my eyes just don’t focus like they used to and that’s why I had to move to the Red Dot .
    To be honest now I know how much better and quicker a Red Dot is I would still use one even if my eyes weren’t shit .
    I will admit that a Lever Action is much sleeker and handier with just irons though .
    Moa Hunter and Micky Duck like this.
    FALL IN LOVE WITH THE NUMBERS , NOT THE IDEA

  8. #8
    Member Ground Control's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Got-ya View Post
    Well done. I would have got the barrel drilled and tapped while at the gunsmith, plenty of meat in that one. As you said it has little to no collector value so what does a few more holes matter?. May as well be put to work.

    You now have a reloadable .22 mag

    If the no drill base moves or gives trouble then I will drill and tap it , but I have used the same base on my 44/40 for quite a few months and it never moved .
    The 25-20 is quite a bit more than a .22 Mag in reality, the factory ammo I have is loaded with 85gn bullets and they lope along at about 1400fps but can be hand loaded up to 1700 - 1750 fps in this old action safety ( factory ammo is down loaded for liability reasons Iím told ).
    I have all the gear to reload for it now minus the powder but will be loading 60gn bullets at somewhere between 2100-2200fps .
    Those figures leave the .22 Mag in its dust .
    My .22Mag is running CCI A22 ammo which has a 35gn bullet doing somewhere in that 2100-2200fps range , so nearly twice the bullet weight at the same speed .
    Not going to bother reloading for it though until I burn through the 100 rounds of factory stuff which will probably take a while because I donít target shoot the thing and Iím lucky to let off 3 - 4 shots a week .
    Moa Hunter, Micky Duck and Got-ya like this.
    FALL IN LOVE WITH THE NUMBERS , NOT THE IDEA

  9. #9
    Member Ground Control's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ftx325 View Post
    great job ... well worth the effort .
    I have been taking random wanders around the local gun shops in the hope of picking up an old junker and doing the same sort of thing as a bit of a project .
    The fact you get to carry and use it regularly is the icing on the cake . Shame ammo is a bit rare .

    Keep your eyes peeled and you never know what will turn up
    An old rifle that is resurrected back to duty without restoring it to the point that you don’t want to carry it in fear of scratching it is the best in my opinion.
    This old thing will get no special treatment and although it won’t be abused it will have a reasonably hard ( second ) life .
    Moa Hunter and Ftx325 like this.
    FALL IN LOVE WITH THE NUMBERS , NOT THE IDEA

  10. #10
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    Hello ground control, I am in the same boat as you, just picked up a very old marlin 1894 in 25-20, bore is completely shot (pitted all to hell), but after a tidy up the rest is working fine, was part of a package deal with an old timer, i wanted his 1894 CBL in 32-20, had to take the old 25-20, fitted new iron sights, the front blade was broken and rear leaf bent, bolt rusted and tight,
    Girlfriend and I are having lots of fun shooting cans and clays, with the old 25-20, ammo is hard to find and $80-99 a box of 50, so this has lead me into the word of casting, a purchases of a layman 65gr gas check mold, and a lube sizer, the bullets cast are my very first,
    awaiting a top punch to size now,
    the 32-20 has a poor trigger, new Wild west guns trigger dosnt fit, so the little carbine 25-20 is getting all the attention at the moment, beauty balanced rifle,
    I am going to order a drill and a 25-20 liner from Brownells next days off, and find a machinist and a lathe and repair the bore,
    Fun we round, pitty ammo is so costly, My 22 mag hasn't fired a shot since i got these two we rifles,
    so far shot a crow and a magpie, with 25-20, when this run of extreem cold finishes up (-30-40 last 4 weeks,) i am going out for a rabbit,
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    Like you haven't been able to get back to NZ for over two years, soon i hope.

  11. #11
    Member Ground Control's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by southernman View Post
    Hello ground control, I am in the same boat as you, just picked up a very old marlin 1894 in 25-20, bore is completely shot (pitted all to hell), but after a tidy up the rest is working fine, was part of a package deal with an old timer, i wanted his 1894 CBL in 32-20, had to take the old 25-20, fitted new iron sights, the front blade was broken and rear leaf bent, bolt rusted and tight,
    Girlfriend and I are having lots of fun shooting cans and clays, with the old 25-20, ammo is hard to find and $80-99 a box of 50, so this has lead me into the word of casting, a purchases of a layman 65gr gas check mold, and a lube sizer, the bullets cast are my very first,
    awaiting a top punch to size now,
    the 32-20 has a poor trigger, new Wild west guns trigger dosnt fit, so the little carbine 25-20 is getting all the attention at the moment, beauty balanced rifle,
    I am going to order a drill and a 25-20 liner from Brownells next days off, and find a machinist and a lathe and repair the bore,
    Fun we round, pitty ammo is so costly, My 22 mag hasn't fired a shot since i got these two we rifles,
    so far shot a crow and a magpie, with 25-20, when this run of extreem cold finishes up (-30-40 last 4 weeks,) i am going out for a rabbit,
    Attachment 188288Attachment 188289
    Like you haven't been able to get back to NZ for over two years, soon i hope.

    Nice find on the Marlin
    Mate we are at the other Extreme of temperature at the moment with over 40 degree for the last 3 days .
    I’d be interested to know how you get on with the cast bullets , I don’t think I’ll ever go down that path but the cartridge was originally designed with a lead projectile.
    Bullet weight is an interesting topic.
    The barrel twist rate was designed around lead projectiles and factory modern ammo is only available in 85 / 86 gn jacketed.
    Reports I’ve read while researching the cartridge say lead 85gn bullets stabilise OK but something about the jacketed ones being slightly longer can cause problems
    My rifle is right on the limit of stabilising those jacketed 85gn bullets and shows signs of keyholing at ranges over 75 yrds . It shoots surprisingly accurate up to 75 yrds then accuracy goes to shit from there .
    I’ve got a box of Hornady 60gn bullets on the shelf which are designed for the 25-20 and I think they will eliminate any stability problems and the higher velocity will flatten the trajectory a bit .
    Im not to worried about the factory ammo’s stability for now because anything I shoot is usually under 80 yrds anyway either from the Tractor of walking at night with the Olight flashlight .
    Whats the plans for the 32-20 ?
    FALL IN LOVE WITH THE NUMBERS , NOT THE IDEA

  12. #12
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    I've always loved walking the hills with ancient weaponry. Started with Great Grandads 2 model 1896 Winchester Gallery guns when I was a boy.
    Almost a way to have time and a chat with folks long gone.Where's it been, what's it shot and how many whanau did it feed?
    Grat way to spend a day and line the puku.
    Ground Control and bumblefoot like this.

  13. #13
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    I will keep you updated on the cast bullets, I've got a layman 257420 65gr gas check mold, the bullets cast, have come out at 71.5 gr, I've got 3000 .25 gas checks, so i will run em at 1800-2200 and see what happens, going to depend on lead fowling etc, bore is very rough, so may have to powder coat, thankfully have a mate up here, who is casting, and can get advice and help first hand.
    Got a hundred primed 25-20 rounds, just waiting on the top punch to size straight.
    The package included 250 rounds of 25-20, 200 of witch is collector grade, and 200 rounds of 32-20, a 25-20, 83 grain Boomer mold single cavity, and dies for both rifles, The old timer took me for 2g, for both rifles and all the supplies, and a days drive each way, pretty good buy in my view, certainly a lot more fun than a bolt action .223

    Work mate is bringing up a unfired marlin CL 25-20 from a run 1980's, half sized mag, holds 5, so might have another in a few days, be hard to turn down as 30 years, since anyone made a 25-20, 1g so we will see.
    lots 32-20 around here, prophet river firearms up here, has a dozen or so, all 73 clone Winchesters,
    I intend to get the 32-20 trigger cleaned up, currently 6-7lbs to break,
    I will bring one rifle back to NZ, for a walking rabbit gun, and fiddle about with the levers up here, hunting and cowboy action shooting.
    Still quite a few of the old trappers using them as dispatch guns on the trapline, and for shooting Beavers,
    Components are very difficult to come buy, i am lucky to have plenty of suitable powder and primers, bullets for both are simply not about. but I did get a few hundred .32 cal bullets before everything disappeared,
    I've gathered up a 115gr .32 gr mold and a lubesizer, with sizing dies and top punch's from buy and sell, once it warms up, I will start casting a few for the 32-20.
    Interesting winter project, these obsolete old rifles, are a bit frustrating at times, I have a Ruger #1 in .219 zipper from last winter, the form dies have only just been made, 12 moths after I ordered them, pray the post doesn't loose them, as the brass I have is too tight to chamber.

    Well hope the heat drops a bit, I didn't like the high temps the couple years I was in Kalgoorlie, we are meant to warm up this week to -20 ish,
    Ground Control and Micky Duck like this.

  14. #14
    Member Ground Control's Avatar
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    Looks like the old Lever is going to get a workout over the coming weeks ( truth is I'll probably have to Trap these Feckers ) because a pack of Dogs have moved onto the property .
    I've seen sign of a large Dog up the Top of the block and set a few trail cameras out and only got a glimps of him a couple of weeks ago , then checking the cameras this morning it seems he has a family .
    Here is a still shot of the pack .



    This is a 15 second video ( I've had varying levels of success posting video , some can view it others can't )

    FALL IN LOVE WITH THE NUMBERS , NOT THE IDEA

  15. #15
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    Love dogs myself but a feral pack like that on private property would be a nightmare.
    Do you use poison?
    ZQLewis likes this.

 

 

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