Handloading the .225 Winchester
Date: May 01 2010
The .225 Winchester suffered an untimely death and an “unmourned” passing. Winchester introduced the .225 in 1964 in its new Model 70 Winchester bolt action as a replacement for the .220 Swift, which itself had never been all that popular with shooters and hunters. The .225 has a semi-rimmed case and looks somewhat like a shortened .220 Swift. It might have been fairly successful, except the following year Remington introduced the .22-250 Remington. The .22-250 had been a popular cartridge for decades among handloading experimenters and gun nuts and shaded the .225’s velocities by 100 to 200 and some fps; the Winchester cartridge never had a chance.
Winchester chambered the .225 in its standard Model 70. I can find no mention in literature of the .225 chambered in the heavy barreled Winchester Model 70 Varmint, but it must have been, because there is one listed on an Internet firearm auction site. A note about the rifle states only 2,600 of these rifles were made. The Model 70 rifles in .225 were discontinued in 1972. Savage was the only large firearms company that also chambered the .225, and that was in its Model 340 bolt action.
With its semi-rimmed case, the .225 would be a good choice for easy extraction from single-shot rifles. In the December 1967 Guns & Ammo, P.O. Ackley wrote in his “Gunsmithing” column: “I consider the .225 Winchester sort of a natural for single-shot actions, including the Enfield Martini, Peabody Martini, Winchester Hi-Side, Sharps Borchardt and some of the others.”
Awhile back I got my hands on a .225 chambered in a Model 1885 High Wall Single Shot Special Sporting Rifle made by the Ballard Rifle & Cartridge Company of Onsted, Michigan. The Ballard 1885 is an exact reproduction of the original Winchester High Wall rifle.
The .225s fired through the Single Shot’s 28-inch barrel fairly well mirrored the
velocities of a .22-250 Remington in a 24-inch barrel. The Winchester Super-X factory .225 load with a 55-grain Pointed Soft Point bullet fired through the Single Shot’s 28-inch barrel produced about the same speed and only 100 fps less than Hornady and Federal .22-250 Remington loads with 55-grain bullets fired in a 24- inch barrel. Winchester states 3,750 fps for the muzzle velocity of the 55-grain Pointed Soft Point, but they clocked 3,433 fps from the Ballard rifle.
With handloads, the .225’s longer barrel added nearly 100 fps to 40-grain bullets with 2.0 grains less of Ramshot TAC than was loaded in a .22-250. However, 6.0 grains more of Benchmark in the .22-250 than is loaded in the .225 boosted a 50-grain bullet by 300 fps over the .225.
While reading up on the .225 Winchester, I found reports of its often erratic velocities