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August 14, 2007

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A Few Kind Words About Mr. Niedner's Cartridge

In 1920, a wildcatter named A.O. Niedner necked down the .30/06 case to .25, and pronounced it good. He was right. The world was not exactly crawling with high-velocity rounds at the time, and his was a quick and easy way to produce one. The .25/06, as it was called, remained popular enough over the years for Remington to legitimize it in 1969. Today, several companies load it, and numerous manufacturers offer rifles chambered for the .25/06.

Because of the savage space constraints imposed on me, I was unable to mention it in my July cartridge guide in Field & Stream magazine, but trust me, it is one of the very best deer/antelope cartridges around. What it offers is enough bullet weight (120 or 115 grains), high but not insane velocity (way over 3,000 fps when loaded to its full potential) and light recoil. I use a .25/06 as my beanfield rifle, and see no reason to every change.

George Herron, the great South Carolina knifemaker of whom I have writ here, killed over 150 deer with a heavy-barreled Ruger Number One .25/06. He loaded 90-grain Sierra hollow-points to something like 3,500 fps and took only head shots. He and I differed strongly about that last part, but he was a marksman of the first rank, and never lost an animal as far as I know.

Like the .270, the .25/06 is something of a poor man's magnum. Its muzzle blast will not detach your ears, its flash will not start range fires, and the wounds it makes do not burp and bubble for hours afterward. But 87 years after its birth, it has yet to be surpassed in its particular niche.


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I enjoyed your cartride guide article. How about an article on good cartidges that are fading away for no good reason? My vote would be for the 250 Savage.

WA Mtnhunter


I took your Gun Nut Hard Quiz and got 14 of 15, so it wasn't THAT hard! What is a two diameter bullet for the .264 Win Mag? Never heard of that before.

Also, IMHO, O'Connor was an excellent writer but somewhat of an elitist and pompous ass. If he was so righteous in his ramblings, we would all be using a .270 Win.

sam iacobone

i am looking to purchase a rifle for mostly deer but want the ability for all around game. i was told either the 7mm 08 or the 270 win. which do you prefer? which has a lighter recoil yet better range?

Matt in MN

I like PbHead's idea! Let's have an article or at least a blog on fading cartidges. I just bought an old 99 in .300 Savage and would like to hear your thoughts Dave!

Dave Petzal

To All: Dying cartridges sounds like a good idea. I think it would work better on the blog than in the magazine, but we shall see.

To Sam Iacabone: The 7mm/08 kicks a little ligher than the .270, but to tell the truth, it's hard to notice the difference. The 270 has it all over the 7mm/08 for shooting at long range (300 yards plus) and that is the one I'd go with.

To Wa MTN Hunter: You left out bully. He was superb at it. Also, what does IMHO mean?

Dave in St Pete

IMHO = In My Humble Opinion


Mr. Petzel,

I wondered if a category that didn't appear in the cartridge guide was "woods rifle" cartridges? What might be the top ones there? Or should people just get semi autos chambered in your suggestions for all-around cartridges?


Ralph the Rifleman

The .25/06 is a sweet cartridge for sure--thanks for honoring it Dave.
My dying cartridge for discussion is the .358 Winchester.


IMHO = In My Humble Opinion
Hard to figure out because most of the opinions are hardly humble!
Have to say I wondered about the omission of the .25-06 from your list in the magazine. Along with the .30-06, .270 Win and .30-30 ammo for it is likely to be found at any crossroads country store in game country; not so for the 7mm-08. Just another reason to choose it.


What about cartridges which are seeing renewed interest? Think .405 Win, .35 Whelan (although that one we have pretty well hacked through), .264 Win Mag, .225 Win Mag, 6mm Rem, and did someone mention a new weapon chambered in .17 Rem?
I'd opine that a particular cartridge fades away from lack of wide spread investment in rifles for it, however wonderfully it performs. The proprietary Savage rounds, the Ackley Improved bunch, a multitude of metric numbers from around the globe. They never achieve enough investment in this country.


Dave: Glad to finally see some good press on the .25-06. My Montana rancher friend highly recommended it for deer & goats when I first started hunting "Big Sky" country 30+ years ago and it was great advice. It's still my "go to" rifle every time I head West. Can't beat the 120 gr. Nosler Partition over H-4831. Kills like the Hammer of Thor. Keep thinking about trying IMR-7828 and RL-25 behind that Nosler, but then then figure "If it ain't broke........" And by the way, at the risk of starting WWIII again, give my regards to your friend JZ. I miss his writing. Hope he's doing OK. And the next time you're in Sheridan, WY, be sure and have dinner at that Steakhouse over by the old Steam Locomotive. Superb steaks and the pork chop is almost better than sex. Damnit, I can't remember the name of the place - it's hell gettin old. Then again, can't remember what I had for breakfast this morning, so I shouldn't feel too bad... Ask around, the locals will point you in the right direction.


I am looking for a semi-auto shotgun that doesn't cost a fortune, but is reliable. I will mainly use it in the dove field. I saw the Remington SPR453 but don't know much about it. Any suggestions?


Funny thing; the normally super-wary Tom Turkey will come literally running when a more dominant Tom has been shot. Run right out into the kill zone to kick and otherwise punish the fallen superior. Sometimes I think we humans have the same instinct. As I recall one did not disparage Cactus Jack while he was able to do something about it. He was the most influential gun-scribe of his time and jealously guarded that influence -- if that made him a bully so be it. Pompous? Not really; he did talk big, but he walked big too. He didn't suffer the fool at all well but would take the time to explain a point to a neophyte. His favorite insult was to snort, loudly, and say (also loudly) "Hell, man, Eleanor can shoot better'n you do!" Eleanor of course was Mrs. O'Connor -- and yes she could shoot a durn sight better'n many.
I am not nominating him for Sainthood but give Jack O'Connor his due respect.

Steve C

Being a shotgun and bow hunter my first 20 years in the field, I didn't get my first big game rifle until the 1977, a Winchester Mod 70 in 25-06. I didn't know much about the cartridge but it came highly recommended from a knowledgable neighbor (editor for American Hunter) so I took the leap. I never regretted it.

An excellent all-around cartridge made even better with todays bullet designs.

Dave Petzal

To Silverarrow: O'Connor has no greater fan than I, but he habitually picked--hard--on people who couldn't fight back. Just out of meanness, and because he could.

Al McClane, our late and much-missed fishing editor, was an even greater figure in his world than O'Connor was in his, and no nicer man ever drew breath. An unfailing gentleman--to everyone, large and small.


The steak house in Sheridan is the Sheridan Inn - old hotel where Buffalo Bill used to audition acts on the front lawn.Located on 5th street, one block east of Main St.

Dr. Ralph

Where are you Clay? This is your baby... I don't have a lot of experience with the 25-06 but my brother in law did shoot one deer with his when we were hunting together. He was using Nosler Ballistic Tip hand loads and the entrance hole looked just like an exit hole. The whole shoulder of the deer was blown out right where he hit it. My only guess is that the bullet was going really fast (he is notorious for dangerous hand loads and he too was using the Ruger No.1 so that falling block can withstand a lot of pressure) and exploded on impact with the shoulder. Either way it was dead less than 10 yards away.

As for O'Connor I have to agree with the bully part, but we all know he was a hard man to get along with just from his books. If you disagreed with him you were wrong and an idiot and that was that. I still love him...

Bernie Kuntz

I had a .25/06 built on a Finnish Sako action, Sako barrel and French walnut stock by Reinhart Fajen. I still have an old 6X Redfield scope on it, and the rifle has taken dozens of deer and pronghorns in North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. It is undoubtedly my favorite rifle for pronghorns. I use 120-gr. Speer Spitzers and 120-grain Nosler Partitions ahead of 55 grs. of H-4831.

Bernie Kuntz
Bernie Kuntz

I should have mentioned that I had this rifle built in 1972 and it continues to print five-shot groups of 1" to 1-1/4" at 100 yds.


Ditto’s and Kudo’s on the 25-06. I don’t know of many cartridges based on the ’06 that haven’t made it in some shape, form, or another.

People who have done more ambitious hunting, and writing, than I say O’Connor became a game hog in his age. These folks claim O’Connor made too many Sheep Grand Slams and took poor heads on his later sheep hunts. However, the guy had the field hunting experience and did it in wild country.

Writing and Expert—When I was just starting out I hung on O’Connor’s every word, but as I gained field experience along with shooting and loading experience I had the opinion O’Connor had his favorites and prejudices in rifles and shotguns…that he could write very well about. I thought most his ideas on shotguns and shotgunning were horrible and real bush league. I think O‘Connor defined the custom rifle criteria superbly.

Point: Do a lot of reading by different authors to get a more complete picture of this sport


I cant decide which to purchase--I am looking at either the Tika T3 Hunter or the Ruger 77 Mark II (or if I cant find one the new Hawkeye)in .338 Win Mag. Let me know what you think.


To fgrant: The Sheridan Inn - thank you, sir. You're a gentleman and a scholar. And I stand behind the "superb steaks and the pork chop is almost better than sex" comment. If you're ever in Sheridan, give it a try. Best food in town, and I've tried them all. If you want to visit a true "old west saloon", head to the Mint Bar on Main Street. It's a classic. The "heads" and old photos alone are worth the visit. Thanks again.


Very good commentary on the .25-06. Except...Charles Newton was the originator, not Neidner. However, Neidner promoted it, and is usually given credit for it, whereas Newton dropped it, in favor of his .256 Newton which is the '06 necked to
6.5, instead of .25 cal.
But Newton was first.
Best regards,


Yo Bro Mr 25-06 Man Good read

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