Handloads: A .25 WSSM For Big Game

posted on April 2, 2024
.25 WSSM For Big Game

Every so often, you’ll meet hunters who still shoot a .25 Winchester Super Short Magnum and claim in superlative terms that the .25 WSSM is their favorite big-game cartridge. Unfortunately, too few of those hunters bought a Browning A-Bolt or Winchester Model 70 rifle chambered in the cartridge, because it never achieved much success after it was introduced in 2004.

.25 Winchester Super Short Magnum specsThat’s too bad, as the .25 Super Short is excellent. The cartridge’s case is extremely thick and contains a sharp shoulder angle and short propellant column that promotes an efficient propellant burn and good precision. Due to its minimal case body taper, cases stretch next to nothing upon firing and sizing. I found that a case trimmer set for a length of 1.660" turned off just the rough rim from the mouths of cases reloaded and fired four times. The recipe’s load of 45.0 grains of H4350 with Hornady 117-grain SST bullets registered a standard deviation of velocity of 7 f.p.s. across nine shots. Superformance and Big Game also perform well with heavy bullets, and Varget and H4895 work well when shooting lighter projectiles.

The Hornady Handbook Of Cartridge Reloading Tenth Edition lists a maximum of 45.9 grains of H4350 with Hornady 117-grain SST bullets. That weight of H4350, though, developed too much pressure fired in a Browning A-Bolt Hunter, causing a rather stiff bolt lift. A slightly lighter charge of 45.0 grains of the propellant developed an average velocity of 3,057 f.p.s. from the A-Bolt’s 22" barrel. That’s not much slower than the 24" barrel of a .25-’06 Rem. fires the Hornady bullet.

I was a fan of the .25-’06 when Winchester introduced the .25 Super Short, and after years of shooting a Browning A-Bolt chambered in .25 WSSM at the range and hunting deer and antelope, the little .25 magnum has become a personal favorite.


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