So what do you Contender pistol guys think about this round? Good candidate for the platform?
-Available brass, either 25-45 headstamped or necked up from plentiful 223 brass.
-Dies seem available at a reasonable price
-Very good selection of .257 bullets
-Factory ammo seems avaialble, though probably only mail-order.
-Case capacity and pressure is a great match for the 14-15" Contender barrel.
-Velocity for most bullets is just about the same as 25 Bullberry, 25-35 etc.
-Freed up from the constraints of the AR platform, seating lengths can be altered for better accuracy and pressure management.
-Not a TCU (improved shoulder)
I've been talking to Troy at Bullberry Legacy about getting a barrel and he might consider adding this chambering to his list for Contender. The Bullberry offerings for .257 are pretty limited (though the 25 Bullberry is a top-notch option, no doubt).
Anybody have specific experience with this round? If Troy ends up adding it to the options, I can't see any reason not to order one.
I looked into it for an AR upper and found most people aren't getting the velocity that the factory claims or that might be available from factory rounds only.
Start by finding out what kind of velocities the Sharps shooters are getting out of shorter barrel lengths.
It's kind of like an un-improved 25 TCU, right? In a single shot I have to wonder why.
I'd start with a pro/con list of the Sharps vs TCU and go from there.
I'm very fond of my 6 TCU carbine, but that's about as close as I get to it I guess.
I am a 25 caliber fan, so don’t take it as a slight towards the caliber.
Your bullet selection to perform well at those speeds is very limited. Most are designed with 25-06 speeds in mind.
The 25’s see less love than other calibers from bullet makers, as do the .270.
G whiz, it's a Contender or a G2, never was G1!
I've got 2 25-06 encore barrels but I would agree with the comments on limited low velocity bullets (compounded with an assumed pistol length barrel). IMHO it seems like a forgotten caliber with little work done wrt development of new long range or low velocity bullets that work so well in pistol applications. Not saying it wouldn't be fun and rewarding, but i think the uses and performance might be limited. If you stuck with standard 1:10 .257 twist rate you won't be able to shoot heavy for caliber (not many options there either) bullets.
Just got off the phone with Jerry Choate of Jerry's Outdoors in Tulsa who has had a 25-45 Sharps Contender barrel for a couple of years. He had nothing but good things to say about the chambering. Great accuracy, good hunting round, easy to load for, etc...
His is a carbine so he can count on better velocity, but the 14-15" barrel should still still give solid performance with those lighter-weight and lighter-constructed bullets.
Made a 20" Contender for the Boss and For myself a Remington 700 24".
I have been using the Hornady 75 grain and the Sierra 90 gr HPBT Game King.
Never planned to use the heavy bullets, if I need more weight I use a different gun.
I have shot a few jackrabbits and took it out for hogs but they didn't get the memo.
I like it.
I see it as an in-betweener for me. I have a 223 14" for 50-55 grain bullets and my 6.5 Bullberry carbine for 100 grain and 129 plus my 30-30 AI Carbine if I need 150s. This will be for that gap between 60 and 100 grains and I expect that I'll shoot a lot of the 87 grain Speer Hot-Cor and TNT bullets. And it's very likely that the Barnes TTSX 80gr will be a great bullet as well.
My experience using the 80gr Barnes Tipped xxx Shock. I shoot this bullet out of a 21 inch 25 Bullberry. The powder I have found that really does make a 30-30 case work is Leverevolution. The 80 gr really makes a low velocity 25 caliber shine. I will not share my load for this particular setup,in my opinion it is not slow. I utilized a chronograph to work up to the load that I am very content with. My original intent was to shot the 85 gr. Nosler Balistic Tip which worked great in the accuracy department, not so much in the performance department. I also shot a 6TCU in an 18 inch barrel and the 70 or 80 gr Ballistic tips are both great bullets. Good luck with your project. T24
Initially, I figured I'd use cheaper bullets to do substantial load development and once I get the barrel "broken in" and see where the limits are with pressures and velocities, I'll get some of the TTSX.
I got bullets and dies and started working on some dummy rounds...
L to R: 223 55 gr SP, 25-45 75 gr SP, 25-45 87 gr HotCor, 25-45 117 gr BTSP
Question???? We are talking a Sharps cartridge, I figured they would all be rimmed. Looks to me as if the parent case is a 223? Was this a REAL Sharps chambering? Just asking.
It's not by any means a traditional "Sharps" in the historical sense. The Sharps Rifle Company (a recent, modern company with no connection to the Sharps of 45-70 fame) just commandeered the name and then adopted a combination of decimal caliber and metric case length to mimic the caliber/unit designation of the old black powder cartridges. It is an adaptation of the 223/5.56 parent case. No resemblance whatsoever to the old cartridges and just some cheeky marketing.
Once you get past the BS factor, though, the chambering makes great sense. Though it's designed for the AR platform, it's much less limited in the single shot pistol/carbine world. Since there's no constraint on overall length in the Contender, seating those heavier bullets out for extra case capacity will make all the difference. These examples are .060 to .160 longer than would fit in an AR magazine and should produce less chamber pressure for the same amount of powder than they would if loaded to a shorter OAL.
Got it.....MARKETING Isn't there a 25 TCU? I thought the TCU family gets about all you can get from a 223? However reinventing the wheel is always a fun trip!
Yeah, this is sort of a reboot of the 25 TCU except that they left the 223 case as is and just opened up the case neck. The TCUs had a straighter taper and 40 degree shoulder and are a better design IMO. Since this is an AR round, feeding considerations take precedence.
When it comes down to it, the 25TCU would definitely be my first choice but...dies are rare and very expensive or have to be ordered custom as opposed to the $36 set of Lee dies you can get from Midway for the 25-45. Also, there's at least a limited source of factory ammo for the 25-45. I doubt that it'll ever become popular enough that it'd be loaded by any of the big ammo manufacturers but it does exist and at a very decent price (hunting ammo 16.95 per box from Sharps).
When deciding on a chambering for a custom barrel, I thought hard about resale potential. Wildcat and handload-only barrels are much less popular in the general market as opposed to barrels that you can buy factory ammo for.
I am anxious for you to get this up and running. I've had several 6mm-.223s over the years, and the round delivered performance far out of proportion for its diminutive size. The 25-45 is just more of a good thing.
The most important thing in life is not what we do but how and why we do it. - Nana Mouskouri
Yeah...I really like the bullet weight selection in this caliber. It just seems tailor-made for Central Texas - 70-75 grain "varmint" bullets that will shoot flat, take care of coyotes, etc and do decent service on deer at low velocities; 87 grain work-horse for most any game we can find; 117 grain RN and SP bullets when needed for big hogs.
If I can get the throat/leade set to allow decent bullet seating and take advantage of max case capacity, I think there's a lot of potential here. Probably more than in the AR platform.
I'll definitely keep you posted!!
I'll speak for the 257 TCU [aka 25 Ugalde]. I have a barrel for my Encore and it is one of my favorites. Accurate, easy case forming, not terribly fussy, an all around good round. However load data is almost impossible to obtain, I started by interpolating between 6mm TCU and 6.5mm TCU start loads and worked from there.
When I first got the barrel from MGM, I used a set of Lee 25-45 Sharps dies for case forming until 4D finished my set of 257 TCU dies.
The 25-45 round would probably be similar in performance with just a tad of velocity loss. The availability of store bought ammo might be a factor.
Good Luck and have fun.
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