Copyright 2019 – Stephen Redgwell
Why a 225 Winchester?
That’s the question my friends always ask. I smile and they say, “Not again! Why not get a 22-250?”
Let’s just say that I do not care to walk the path followed by everyone else. There’s nothing wrong with a 22-250, just as there is nothing wrong with a 225. I want rifles and cartridges that interest me, not the ones offered by mainstream firearms companies. Certainly not the rifles and cartridges that my friends like!
I always tell them, “Hey, I’m not you!”
Like I said, I have nothing against the 22-250. I have nothing against Creedmoors of any type, Nosler or Barnes bullets, or the company that Bill Ruger built. They’re all marvelous things, but they aren’t my things.
– I’m not a Remington 700 fanboy. The truth be told, few North American firearms interest me, except as platforms on which to build
– Leupold, Zeiss, Schmidt and Bender and Nightforce are all nice scopes, but are overpriced. I’m happy with Bushnell or Burris. I own plenty of both
– I prefer blue jeans to LL Bean
– I drive a pickup, not a BMW
– Last fall, I passed on not one, but two whitetails, because I was enjoying the walk
– I make my own bullets – jacketed and cast
– I build my own rifles from parts
I walk my own path.
Back to the 225 Winchester build. You might be reading this, wondering what the heck is a 225 Winchester? If you don’t know, please use your Google Foo and find out more about about it. The only thing I ask is to remember that I’ve always wanted one. As well, that progress has allowed me to correct some shortcomings from 1964.
I’ve wanted a Model 70 in 225 Winchester since I was a kid. I read all the stories and ads in Field and Stream, Outdoor Life, etc. Winchester accurate! A modern design! I’d be popping groundhogs at 400 yards in no time! I could keep them out of the oat fields. I was naive enough to believe everything those gun writers and ad men told me. Winchester had their hooks in me from an early age and wasn’t letting go.
Winchester called the 225 ‘semi-rimmed’. That’s silly. It’s rimmed. Calling it semi-rimmed was like calling a summer day partially cloudy. Didn’t they mean partially sunny? My friends said I must be a reincarnated Brit. I would stick out my tongue and exclaim, “No need to be rude!”
Rimmed cartridges are cool. The cases have appealing shapes. I like the long, droopy necks and shoulders. The elegant, soft lines. And the flanges are perfect for single shots, another long time interest. Rolling blocks, Farquarsons and High walls. There was so much to like about rims!
My friends shook their heads and told me rims weren’t practical, and single shots weren’t of much value in today’s world either. Older cartridges like the 303 British, 30-30 Winchester, etc. were archaic. Advances in powder chemistry demanded a more efficient container. The brass was too thin. Jiminy Jillikers! Rims? They were right out of the Middle Ages!
They were telling me that I wasn’t practical, but apparently they were. Time to drink the Kool Aid! I needed a magnum rifle, imported German scope and a cupboard full of Nosler Partitions!
Bah! The world needs things that are pleasing to the eye. Beauty is very much a practical thing.
Another step in my journey happened about 20 years ago when my best friend bought a Farquharson single shot, chambered in 225 Winchester. I wanted that rifle badly and told my buddy if he ever wanted to sell it, phone me first.
The clincher happened a few years ago when another old friend, John, one of my boyhood mentors, passed away. I was left 225 (yes, you read that right) 225 Winchester cases, dies and some other reloading tools. I got a phone call asking me to drop by his house. His son gave me a box full of the aforementioned reloading stuff, and a message from his dad. It said that he couldn’t provide the rifle, but he could give me the rest. Stop procrastinating! I had always talked about it, but never bought one. Don’t let life pass you by!
That was 2012. By then, 225 Winchesters were hard to come by, so I built my own. I improved on what Winchester started in the early 1960s.
I chose a barrel with the proper twist. The originals had 1 in 14 twists that were only adequate for 55 grain bullets. I ordered a 1 in 9. Now I could take advantage of heavier bullets and advances in propellant technology. Remember I said that I made my own bullets? That meant I could shoot home made 60 and 65 grain projectiles.
When Boyds started making a new, adjustable stock – the AT-ONE – I added it to the box that had a donor Savage action, a trigger, bolt lug, bolt handle and other parts needed to make my 225. It took me a couple of years to collect everything and build it, but it’s here now.
The only thing left to do was to shoot it, and invite the spirit of my old mentor, John, to come along. No doubt, he was right beside me on that first range trip, and he’ll be there whenever I take it hunting.
I had some help, but did it my way.