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  #1  
Old 03-12-2010, 02:51 PM
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Default .25 ACP ballistic test-vs .22 Long Rifle

I have heard and read over the years the many sources about how weak the little .25 ACP is on penetration, so I decided to try it out for myself. I took my little Walther 8 pistol and a 50 grain Remington FMJ and filled four 1 gallon jugs with water and placed them back to back in line. The shot was from 6 yards away. I was hoping that the .25 would go through two if I was lucky. Nope, all four jugs and the bullet kept right on going. It was not recovered.
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Old 03-12-2010, 02:57 PM
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I see the caps are still on the jugs which indicates a weak pressure spike. try this test again with a 22 LR .. the spike usually takes the caps off
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Old 03-12-2010, 03:00 PM
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I feel better now.
Just the other day, I had an altercation with a milk jug. I let it go with a good beating, but if Ida had my pistol.......

Seriously, if possible, always get European ammo for the 25. Sellier & Bellot used to offer it. NOTICEABLY hotter.
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Old 03-12-2010, 06:11 PM
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I'm doing some research on the .25 ACP for an article I am hoping to put together, and I am finding out some very interesting facts. I have always found it hard to believe that this cartridge can have such a negative history, but it has been in production for over 100 years. One of the reasons the .25 has gotten such a bad reputation, is some of the crappy guns made for it. The other is that the .25 was never meant to be a primary defense gun, it was always meant to be a back up or pocket gun. There have been a couple of cases that really showed that the .25, while certainly no dedicated manstopper, is also better than nothing. One was the killing of Prince Ali Kamel Fahmy Bey, an Egyptian who was shot three times with a Browning .25 by his wife, Madam Marie-Marguerite Fahmy. Fahmy dropped right where he stood. It seems the Prince was quite abusive towards his wife, and when he came for her, she was ready.
Another case was the celebrated Hooded Man Case where a British Police Inspector surprised a burglar and was struck with a single slug from a .25 ACP. The Inspector never stood a chance. So the .25 is certainly not on par with the .380 and certainly not even close to the 9mm, but it certainly has some intersting history behind it too, and its beginning to look as though it might not be the weakling on paper that it has been advertised to be. For a back up gun, for what it was intended to be, the .25 might not be all that bad.
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Old 03-12-2010, 06:31 PM
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I always liked what Col. Jeff Cooper said about the .25. If you shoot someone with a .25 and he finds out about it he is really going to be mad at you.
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Old 03-12-2010, 06:32 PM
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.25 ACP ballistic test:

FIRE...ouch...TEST COMPLETED
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Old 03-12-2010, 06:42 PM
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Don't really understand why you would even consider carrying a .25 for self defense when in the same sized package you could get a .380 (which IMHO is still under powered for self defense work), but a noticeable improvement. If a .25 is the only gun you own and could not afford to purchase a more powerful weapon, than I suppose it is better than a knife.

I know there have been lots of people killed with .22's & .25's, but the idea behind a defense gun is to stop the threat as soon as possible, not have the perp. simply die hours later after he has inflicted bodily harm on you.

I own .22, .25, .32 & .380 caliber guns, but NEVER use them for self defense work. My gun of choice is either a Model 65 .357 or a Model 60 stoked with Buffalo Bore 158 Gr. +P ammo.

As Handejector states, when is the last time you were threatened by water filled milk jugs?
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Old 03-12-2010, 06:44 PM
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I remember years ago hearing a story about a man shot in the face with a .25acp. The round stopped after going thru the skin and getting to the cheekbone. He was supposed to have pulled it out with his fingers.

He probably was mad too.
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Old 03-12-2010, 06:45 PM
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if you point a 25 at me i would still go the other way. they are better than notheing.
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Old 03-12-2010, 06:49 PM
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Yes, they are better than nothing, but an ideal carry piece is supposed to be something you have confidence in and will most likely get the job done fast. If you have a choice in life, make the best decision that you can afford. It may one day save your life!
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Old 03-12-2010, 06:51 PM
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I'm not going to volunteer to be shot with one.
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Old 03-12-2010, 06:53 PM
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NOR WOULD I, BUT I WOULD WANT TO BE SHOT EVEN LESS WITH A .357 MAGNUM.
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Old 03-12-2010, 07:11 PM
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Like I said, test some Euro ammo.
I shot a 55 gal drum with W-W 25 ACP. It punched a large 3/8-1/2" hole in one side, and only dented the other! Turned out the slup was lead with the Lubaloy jacket, which is really just thin copper plating.
The same day, I shot some of the early S&B that had the nickel plated STEEL jackets. BOTH sides of the drum looked they had been punched with a 1/4" punch, barely deformed or rolled inward. The slugs were too deep in a clay bank to dig out by hand.
You would not wear that S&B round home.
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Old 03-12-2010, 07:58 PM
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At age 14 I was shot with a 25 out of a Mauser 1910. Total penetration of my left upper arm, luckily not hitting any bone. Was a German mfg bullet, steel jacket. I felt nothing, was hot enough to penetrate quickly and no expansion. I would not want to be shot by one again.
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Old 03-12-2010, 09:53 PM
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While I wouldn't want to be shot by one, I remember one newspaper report of a man who was shot 3 times with a 25 ACP by an armed robber. Not one single round penetrated through his leather bombers jacket, his only injury was 3 small welts or bruises. As for the armed robber, he shouldn't have chosen to take on an ex paratrooper, his elbow was completely dislocated when his victim got mad and disarmed him. Probably **** ammo, but still, if it won't go through cowhide I'm not going to carry one.
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Old 03-12-2010, 11:25 PM
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My first CCW course was conduced by members of the local sheriff's department. They said the last 12 shooting death cases handled by the country coroner were done with 25s.
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Old 03-13-2010, 12:30 AM
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My purple fanny pack has a Para P-13 .45 loaded with alternating Silver Tips and Black Talons. Who says variety doesn't work.
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Old 03-13-2010, 07:25 AM
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Here's a bit of interesting history, dreadful, concerning Blokhin the executioner and the .25acp....


Vasili Blokhin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 03-13-2010, 09:10 AM
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I will say once again, but in a different way............I think that some people responding here are confusing killing power with stopping power. Yes, no doubt that a .25 is able to end someone's life; but that is NOT THE PURPOSE of shooting someone. The purpose is to stop them from doing harm as fast as possible. This is much easier to achieve with a more powerful round that has a lot more shocking power.

We can argue all day long about the "killing power" of a certain caliber. A person who is unarmed and is shot in the back of the head at point blank range will most likely die............but how many criminals are going to "pose" for you so you can do that to them. Let's talk about reality. The more mass, weight and speed a bullet has, the more likely it is to stop someone in a timely fashion. For me (personally) I would not consider carrying less than a 38 special +p, and that is by no means the most optimum round, just a minimum (at least for me).

If the only gun I had was a .25, and I could not afford to upgrade, then yes I would find the best and most reliable ammo, and practice as much with it as I could. I would however do my best to upgrade as quickly as possible.

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Old 03-13-2010, 09:36 AM
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Default .25 ACP

We all know the 2.5 ACP is tiny and has an indifferent reputation. Still, interesting to have the discussion, including reference to stronger versions/loadings.

It's is sort of the reverse of discussing 500 S&W, when folks might say we don't need such a strong cartridge. Nonetheless, they both invite our study.

Thanks for the insights.

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Old 03-13-2010, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chief38 View Post
I will say once again, but in a different way............I think that some people responding here are confusing killing power with stopping power. Yes, no doubt that a .25 is able to end someone's life; but that is NOT THE PURPOSE of shooting someone. The purpose is to stop them from doing harm as fast as possible. This is much easier to achieve with a more powerful round that has a lot more shocking power.

We can argue all day long about the "killing power" of a certain caliber. A person who is unarmed and is shot in the back of the head at point blank range will most likely die............but how many criminals are going to "pose" for you so you can do that to them. Let's talk about reality. The more mass, weight and speed a bullet has, the more likely it is to stop someone in a timely fashion. For me (personally) I would not consider carrying less than a 38 special +p, and that is by no means the most optimum round, just a minimum (at least for me).

If the only gun I had was a .25, and I could not afford to upgrade, then yes I would find the best and most reliable ammo, and practice as much with it as I could. I would however do my best to upgrade as quickly as possible.

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Old 03-13-2010, 11:12 AM
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I went to back to back funerals for two cops killed with a single round of .25 ACP each. One was a guy I knew a little bit - my partner's former partner. The other was a young guy I didn't know at all, but I wound up doing the paperwork for his Public Safety Officers Benefits (PSOB). They were killed 24 hours apart. I got my fill of kids crying for Daddy that day.

One was hit once above his vest on a drug raid. He died at the hospital, and his murderer died in a hail of return gunfire.

The other was shot while answering a prowler call. He didn't have a vest. The department didn't provide them, and he was saving some of his meager salary each week to buy his own, but he had five kids to take care of. The guy who killed him was some kind of nutcase paranoid schizo.

Anything that's going to push a piece of metal into your vital organs can kill you quite handily. There are better things to carry, but a .25 will get the job done.

Detective Joseph C. Thomas, New Orleans Police Department

Police Officer Chris D. McCormick Sr., New Orleans Police Department.
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Old 03-13-2010, 11:30 AM
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I've done some really amatuer penetration tests with a number of handgun cartridges.

The .25 auto can penetrate a substantial number of sheets of auto sheet metal! Like up to three plus interior door panels.

These crude tests done on a derilect 72 Dodge full size sedan on one of my fathers farms.

Shooting into one door, the bullet(if it didn't hit any door/window mechanism) would pass completely through the first door(2 layers of sheet metal, and interior plastic), and end up inside the other door after penetrating another interior plastic panel and a third layer of sheet metal. Would leave a dent on the exterior of the fourth layer of door steel.

I didn't shoot any auto glass in my experments.

Truthfully.....9mm, .38 Special and .45ACP were better 'car penetrators', but not all that consistant on blasting through both auto doors. The .22LR from a longer barreled pistol than the .25acp, was worse than the .25 auto. .22LR from a rifle was better than the .25acp. The mighty .32acp was at least as good as the bigger 9mm, .38, and .45 bullets. All ammo used was ball except the .38 and .22 ammo.

I really wasn't impressed with any of the bigger calibers, and only impressed by the .25 because it preformed so well comparitive to the bigger bullets.
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Old 03-13-2010, 11:45 AM
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I was shot in the chest with a .25.
It stopped in my sternum.
I have a nice crater where it hit.
My best friend pulled it out with a pair of needle nose pliers.
Sorry, I wouldnt carry a .25.


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Old 03-13-2010, 01:37 PM
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Ok, today I took out my .22 Colt Woodsman pistol and four milk jugs filled with water. I never really intended to make the .25 ACP into something that it is not. What I wanted to do was compare it to a .22 lr pistol, which I have heard so many say is superior to the .25 ACP. The .22 passed through two of the jugs and stopped halfway into the third. The round I used was a 36 grain Remington Golden Bullet HP. While some might say that a hotter .22 would offer greater penetration, again I was only using the standard 50 grain FMJ .25 as well. Here is the revovered .22 slug, note that it mushroomed nicely.
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Old 03-13-2010, 01:50 PM
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Frankly, I've heard enough from all the experts on the failings of the .25 ACP to make me puke. Just like all the "this is better than that" and "so and so said so, so it's got to be true, even though he's never been in a gunfight in his life" garbage that has been translated from gun rags to internet facts.

I'm in the middle of loading some .25 auto ammo anyway.

Thanks for the thread David, for what it's worth, I'd take the .25 over the .22 any day.

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Old 03-13-2010, 01:59 PM
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I went to the library this morning to get a newspaper article to answer a question I had when this post was 4 responses long, now it has 3 pages.

This is an excerpt from a hometown newspaper article from April 1984, concerning the murder of our county sheriff ...

" ...Nichols was taken to Washington Co. hospital where he was pronounced dead at 12:10 pm He had been shot three times with a .25 cal revolver (sic).
Washington Co coroner Dan Kelly Jr. has ruled that Nichols died from multiple gunshot wounds. Bullets struck Nichols in the abdomen, neck and top of the shoulder."

I attended his autopsy, a 50gr bullet was recovered from his heart - entrance between the shoulder and collar bone. Another was recovered in the lung that penetrated the side of his neck.

I would read Sigp220.45's post again and regard those who state "if I was shot with one and find out about it.." with the same intelligence of those who do a "Dragnet Flip" to close a revolvers cylinder.

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Old 03-13-2010, 02:11 PM
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Does anyone have a comparison of .25 and .22 from similar length barrels? Chrono'd speeds of a .22 from a 2.5 inch barrel?

It would be interesting to see how the two stack up.
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Old 03-13-2010, 06:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GF View Post
I would read Sigp220.45's post again and regard those who state "if I was shot with one and find out about it.." with the same intelligence of those who do a "Dragnet Flip" to close a revolvers cylinder.

GF
It was a joke! Using the context of Col. Cooper and his love of the .45 the .25 doesn't add up.

No one wants to get shot with a .25 or anything else for that matter. Is there better self defense rounds of course, is a .25 deadly of course. Is the .25 just about useless if there is something better to be used, of course. Is a .25 better than a pointed stick, of course.

As stated in other posts the purpose of a self defense load is to stop the threat. Is the .25 suited for that? NO, that is why you don't see LEO or the Military using the .25 as their primary weapon.
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Old 03-13-2010, 06:30 PM
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I satisfied my mind about the .25 vs. .22 debate a couple of years ago with some contrived "non-tests" which I stuck on some forums. Here it is in all its long-windedness and complete with photographic "proof."

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How many folks out there are going to admit to having a handgun chambered for the .25 ACP? If ownership of the .25 ACP is admitted then how many have actually carried a handgun so chambered? It’s a cartridge that is frequently criticized as being too unsubstantial for use for serious self-defense, yet ammunition is sold each year for this pipsqueak . Somebody’s using it for something.

The .25 ACP is one of our really old semi-auto pistol cartridges. It was introduced in 1905 or 1906, depending on the reference, in the FN Model 1906. Both pistol and cartridge were of Browning design. Once the semi-auto pistol became accepted and came in general use at the beginning of the 20th century, a number of designs in different sizes and chambered for a host of new cartridges were marketed to those who felt the need to possess a handgun for self-defense. The smallest practical sizes marketed were any of several models termed vest pocket pistols. Most of these were designed around the .25 ACP or 6.35 Browning as it is known in Europe. These diminutive pistols occupied about the same space as the smallest one or two shot derringers of the previous century but featured higher ammunition capacity contained in handy magazines that made recharging more convenient. Due to the relatively high velocity of the .25 ACP cartridge, handguns so chambered offered striking effectiveness equal or exceeding many of the low-powered rim fire, pin fire, or center fire pocket pistols marketed in the later decades of the 19th century. A light-weight-for-caliber .22, .25, .30, .32, .38, or at best .41 caliber bullet traveling at 400-500 fps is anemic in the extreme. Many thousands of small semi-auto pistols taking the .25 ACP were sold worldwide over the next 75 years or so. Among the well known brands were some really fine handguns made and sold in .25 ACP including Astra, Beretta, Browning, Colt, FN, Mauser, Ortgies, Sauer, and Walther. These are finely made and exhibit design and craftsmanship fully equal to larger handguns from those firms.

GCA ’68 and a change in tastes caused the popularity of high quality arms chambered for the .25 ACP to wan by the 1970’s. The cartridge became the provenance of the inexpensive semi-auto pistol. It seems that such low quality pistols, with their uneven functional reliability, further tarnished the reputation of the .25 as a serious defensive cartridge. Design advancements in the 1980’s and 1990’s made more powerful cartridges available in pistols almost as small as many .25 pistols. These days there are not a lot of choices out there if one wants to purchase a new .25 pistol.

So, What Can It Do?

For starters the .25 fully possesses the capability to kill a person very dead. It has laid many low in it’s century plus usage. It must be remembered that the .25 pistol is not a toy and absolutely must be accorded the same respect that any firearm should be given.

I’ve toted and used the .25 on occasion and have some notion of its capabilities. Upon considering the Kel Tec P3AT, it’s .380 ACP cartridge, and it’s overall size compared to my Colt Model 1908 I decided to retire the .25 as a deep concealment handgun and go with the P3AT and its more effective cartridge. Previously I’d slipped the little Colt in my hip pocket behind my wallet if I didn’t think I could contrive to hide anything larger.



Years ago I saw my first example of .25 ACP effectiveness and it was sorry indeed. I’d left a hunting vest on a tank dam where I’d been dove hunting one afternoon. Before work the next morning I drove out past the edge of town to the pasture to retrieve the vest. I slipped my Beretta Model 1919 .25 ACP behind my wallet and began hiking up a fence row to the stock tank. About 300 yards up the path from the road I suddenly found myself face to face with a coyote which was sitting on it’s haunches in the broom weeds at the edge of the path I was traveling. Pleased to have an opportunity to rid the countryside of one of the varmints I whipped out the .25 pistol and fired full into the center of the coyote’s chest, seeing dust and fur fly where the bullet struck. The distance couldn’t have been more than 5 yards. The coyote whirled and ran off. I’m sure I could ascertain a baleful look in its eye as it turned to run, contemptuous of my ordnance.

Someone once dumped an old washing machine in a gully on our gun club property. I took advantage of the opportunity to fire a few shots into its side with this .25 Beretta. The result was chipped paint and deep puckers. No bullet penetrated the side of the washer. A few more shots with a Smith & Wesson Model 17 .22 Long Rifle revolver penetrated the washer’s side. What was this? The .22 would pierce the sheet metal. I knew the Beretta was old, its bore ravaged by corrosive priming. The rifling was only a shadow in the pitted surfaces of the bore. I speculated that bore condition could be affecting my .25’s effectiveness.

At the next Fort Worth gun show I swapped the Beretta and cash for a Colt Model 1908 .25 that had a sparkling clean bore Since the washer was still at the range I stopped by and fired some more .25 ammo at its side. The shots from the Colt completely penetrated the sheet metal. Moral to the story is: if ya’ pistole ain’t got much horsepower to begin with, be sure it’s in good condition ‘cause you’re gonna need all the help you can get.

One evening my brother-in-law Bo called me to talk handloading and guns. I was walking around in the house on the cordless phone while visiting with him and happened to look out our front door. There on the porch sat a feral cat that I’d been gunning for. With no explanation other than “Hang on Bo” I held the phone against my chest with my left hand, fetched the .25, which happened to be nearby, eased the door open a crack, and popped the cat through both shoulders. The bullet exited and made a small, flaked mark on the concrete. The cat launched itself off the porch but immediately keeled over at the edge of the sidewalk in the grass. He’d traveled about 8 feet. He was about 10 feet from the muzzle of the Colt when I fired. Bo exclaimed, “What was that?” I replied that I’d just taken out a cat that was hanging around tormenting Wally, our kids’ new kitten.

I used the Colt .25 to administer a finishing shot to a buck once. I’d hit a buck deer high in the spine on a broadside shot with a .30-30 as he trotted through the edge of some oak woods. He was down but not out so I placed the .25 down close to the back of his head and pressed the trigger. As the shot rang out I observed the spent .25 FMJ bullet roll out of his right nostril onto the leaves, completely undamaged except for the rifling marks. The .25 effectively administered the coup de grace but was completely spent in traversing the deer’s head.

A few armadillos, ‘possums, and a ‘coon that was found beneath our camper on a deer lease have given their all to my .25 ACP and it proved to be effective on these varmints.

A Stinker to Shoot

I’ve owned an Astra Model 1916 (?), a Helfricht Model 3, a couple of Colt Model 1908 .25 pistols and a Browning Baby since I traded out of that old Beretta. I get a kick out of shooting the diminutive pistols but can’t say I’m good at it. The sights are rudimentary, the triggers are a chore, and there just isn’t much for me to hold onto. The Browning Baby was about as tedious as shooting a .44 Magnum with full power loads because of this. The Colt Model 1908 seems to offer a bit more to hold. All .25 ACP pistols are loud enough to ring one’s ears if hearing protection is not worn. Despite the small pistols’ general unsuitability for use I’ve been know to wile away part of an afternoon trying to shoot distant targets with them for fun. There’s a good-sized mesquite tree at the end of the road leading to the lake cabin that is slightly smaller in diameter than a skinny man. The distance is around 100 yards from the cabin yard. It’s possible but not easy to chip and nick the bark on the tree with .25 bullets. The last time I played at this game I had my best results shooting prone.

Oh the Raw Power

The traditional factory ballistic figures quoted for the .25 ACP with it’s standard 51 grain full metal jacketed bullet is 760 fps with 64 ft./lbs. of energy. Most consider the .25 ACP to be inferior to the .22 Long Rifle for self defense. This isn't entirely true as may be seen. It’s one thing to fire a .22 Long Rifle from a handgun with a four inch to eight inch barrel yet quite another to fire it from a typical vest pocket pistol with it’s barrel length of perhaps two inches at most. Perspectives change when firing both cartridges from similar handguns. It is said that the .25 ACP feeds more reliably than the longer rimmed .22 Long Rifle. There may be some truth to that statement as my .25 ACP semi-auto pistols have fed and functioned with perfect reliability.

Because some folks are gluttons for punishment, die sets for handloading the .25 are available. Picking out .25 ACP cases from the typical litter of .22 rim fire cases on the ground at the range is enough to make one cross-eyed. Once set up for handloading the tiny components aren’t quite as bad to handle as may be imagined. I handload for the .25 ACP as I must have a low threshold of entertainment. My RCBS Uniflow powder measure can just be adjusted to reliably throw the maximum listed charge of Unique. It won’t go any lower and is easier to set just a little over the maximum listed charge weight for Unique. I’ve only attempted to load Bullseye and Unique in the .25 ACP. I’d assumed that Bullseye would be the best choice but Unique gives higher velocities using maximum published loads. The .25 ACP would have to be the least expensive cartridge of all to handload if one troubled himself to cast bullets for it. I’m just not that dedicated.

The Inevitable Tests

Bo and I once spent a pleasant afternoon testing the .25 ACP and the .22 Long Rifle in a pair of Berettas he has. These two pistols have barrels of the same length. Below find data from the afternoon's tests along with some additional .25 ACP data including handloads.






.25 ACP Factory loads

Remington 51 grain FMJ, MV 789 fps, ME 71 ft./lbs.
Winchester 50 grain FMJ, MV 852 fps, ME 82 ft./lbs.*
Hornady XTP 35 grain hollowpoint MV 1004 fps, ME 78*


.25 ACP Handloads

Remington 51 grain bullet, 1.6 grains Unique, MV 853 fps, ME 82 ft./lbs.
Remington 51 grain bullet, 1.2 grains Bullseye, 728 fps, ME 60 ft./lbs.
Rem. 51 grain bullet, (can't tell-it's a secret) Unique, MV 933 fps, ME 99 ft./lbs.


Selected .22 Long Rifle cartridges fired from a Beretta Model 21A


Remington high-velocity copper plated 40 grain solid (Golden Bullet)*
MV 842 fps, ME 63 ft./lbs.

Remington high-velocity lead 36 grain hollow point*
MV 865 fps, ME 60 ft./lbs.

Winchester high-velocity lead 40 grain solid*
MV 854 fps, ME 65 ft./lbs.

Winchester high-velocity copper plated 36 grain hollow point*
MV 894 fps, ME 64 ft./lbs


A Colt Model 1908 and a Oehler Model 12 chronograph were used except (*) in which a Beretta Model 950 B .25 ACP and a Beretta Model 21A .22 Long Rifle were tested over a Chrony chronograph. Coincidentally, the Winchester factory 50 grain load checked out identically when fired from both the Colt and the Beretta and the Unique handload was only one foot per second faster.

When considering the midget automatics I'd prefer the .25 ACP to the .22 Long Rife though the difference is so minuscule as to be pointless. The .25 ACP feeds more reliably, the heavier and slightly larger .25 bullet shows equivalent velocities, and the fully jacketed design should deform less and offer more penetration. In tests against the '92 Dodge pickup fender the .25 ACP was noticeably more reliable in penetrating it than was the .22 Long Rifle when fired from the short barreled pistols. Neither was 100% successful in penetrating the fender. Not sure just what this test on the fender proves.





If one is required to utilize the .25 ACP for self-defense the original 51 grain loading looks like the best bet in my view. Lately the standard full metal jacketed bullet is listed as 50 grains. The cartridge will never have the reputation as a stopper. In order for it to do it’s best work it needs to penetrate to a vital organ. The lighter weight, expanding bullets offered by some ammunition manufacturers in an effort to provide “enhanced performance” appear to me to be more likely to fail to adequately penetrate. Some of these are: 40 grain Glazer Safety Slug, 45 grain Winchester Super-X Expanding Point, 35 grain Hornady XTP hollow point, and 35 grain Speer Gold Dot hollow point. The whiz-bang fancy .25 slug that expands effectively won’t do much good if it opens up and stops in the lining of a winter jacket or perhaps a rib bone or skull, leaving an assailant who is even more agitated. I’ve had no experience with any “high performance” .25 ACP ammunition so am not qualified to say what it would do. What’s more, I don’t intend to purchase a bunch of different brands order to find out what they could do. Penetration would be the first priority when selecting ammunition to carry in these pistols.

If it's all one has in his possession, a .25 ACP pistol could certainly be pressed into service for defense. It’d be better than nothing. A well-thrown punch generates more foot-pounds of energy but one must close with the adversary in order to land a blow. Since very small pistols are now available in more powerful cartridges there isn't really place for the .25 ACP in one’s self defense arsenal. It’s appeal in the 21st century lies in the collectors' fascination for the finely finished examples of the miniature handguns made in this chambering.

Now if I could only find a nice example of one of those scarce Walther PP’s chambered for .25 ACP…

Last edited by bmcgilvray; 03-13-2010 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 03-13-2010, 06:32 PM
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For fun we also tested the .22 ammunition in a Smith & Wesson Model 34 with 2-inch barrel and a Ruger Mark II with a 6-inch barrel.




Even the 2-inch revolver produced a bit more velocity than did the tiny Beretta .22 pistol. The Ruger with a 6-inch barrel really enhanced the performance of the test .22 ammunition.


Ruger Mark II

Remington high-velocity copper plated 40 grain solid (Golden Bullet)
MV 1097 fps, ME 107 ft./lbs.

Remington high-velocity lead 36 grain hollow point
MV 1137 fps, ME 103 ft./lbs.

Winchester high velocity lead 40 grain solid
MV 1109 fps, ME 109 ft.lbs.

Winchester high-velocity copper plated 36 grain hollow point
MV 1126, ME 101 ft./lbs.



Smith & Wesson Model 34

Remington high-velocity copper plated 40 grain solid (Golden Bullet)
MV 913 fps, ME 74 ft./lbs.

Remington high-velocity lead 36 grain hollow point
MV 945 fps, ME 71 ft./lbs.

Winchester high velocity lead 40 grain solid
MV 918 fps, ME 75 ft.lbs.

Winchester high-velocity copper plated 36 grain hollow point
MV 974, ME 76 ft./lbs.



Caution: ballistic non-test ahead.

I also fired all these handguns and loads into a 1992 Dodge pickup fender in order to observe penetration. I'm certain that this proves nothing except that these tiny pistols can damage the paint work on an automobile.



Originally I fired several rounds of the three .25 ACP loads at the fender. Here's some instances where one of each of the three loads tested failed to penetrate the fender but the angle may have been too extreme.



I tried again later, taking care to hit the fender head on. This time I fired two each of each of the three loads I had on hand and they all penetrated the fender. None penetrated the inner fender but left slight puckers in it. The ugly hole was from a "miss" when I placed couple of rounds too close together. Perhaps a flinch?



A hail of .22 bullet holes on the fender. The Ruger and the S&W Model 34 both penetrated the fender. The .22 failures to penetrate seen here all originated from the little Beretta pistol. I was surprised that the small increase in velocity observed in the Model 34 was sufficient to penetrate the fender.

On another occasion I've fired a single 158 grain +P equivalent .38 Special handload, a cast bullet .380 handload, and a Santa Barbara factory .380 load at the fender. The +P .38 Special load and the Santa Barbara .380 load easily pierced both the fender and the inner fender. The .380 lead handload pierced the fender and puckered the inner fender.

The .38 Special +P handload ("the Load" by the way) shot through the fender and inner fender and smartly struck the disc of the spinning target which happened to be positioned behind, causing it to swing the upper counterweight forward, sharply striking the fender. Very impressive performance!






.380 performance against the fender. Santa Barbara factory ammo and a moderate handload using Unique.




Bo's cast bullet showing exemplary expansion when utilized against pickup fenders. This is just the sort of expansion needed for fenders; a complete energy dump with no over-penetration issues.


These kinds of tests are vital to illustrate the value of various cartridges when pressed into service to protect oneself against aggressive automotive sheet metal.

Next week: Testing the .25 ACP against a Fender Stratocaster.

Last edited by bmcgilvray; 03-13-2010 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 03-13-2010, 06:48 PM
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To most people a gun is a gun. Even most bad guys that carry a gun of some kind are not expert enough to tell you what that little dinky thing you pulled out is other than, it's a gun.

So how many of the forum members here, if you were approaching someone to rob them, and they pulled out a .25 would continue the robbery and how many would look for someone else?

The .25 is a poor manstopper, but then, so is the .45. If the bad guy does see you are armed and continues the attack because he is high on drugs the .25 will probably be about as effective as the .45.

People who carry .45s, or other macho calibers, tend to feel they are bullet proof. Hopefully people that carry .25s would have the good sense to know they aren't armed for bear and will use some common sense before the shooting starts.
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Old 03-13-2010, 09:46 PM
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I'm one of those strange people who not only reloads for the 25 ACP, but has a bullet mould for it. I only have a couple of 25s, though.

A friend with more time than sense once took a cheap 410 double shotgun and sleeved a couple of 18 inch lengths of .251" bore barrel into it. He re-worked the extractors and has the only double rifle in the world in 25 ACP. He 'regulated' it and said that was more work than the rest of the project put together. It will keep shots from both barrels within 3 inches at 50 yds. If you want your shot to go into 3 inches at 100 yards, you can lay out several tens of thousands of dollars for a Wesley Richards or H&H.

I've fired the little double, great fun. It's death on bowling pins at 50 yds and I once got a left and a right on charging beer cans at 25 yds.

I once talked to a VERY good gunsmith about making one for me; he politely declined. However he did show some interest in converting a K-22 to a K-25. The cartridge is semi-rimmed so extraction should not be a problem and it would probably be quite acurate.
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Old 03-13-2010, 09:57 PM
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"...he did show some interest in converting a K-22 to a K-25."

Oh no!

I confess that I've considered the novelty of doing the K-22 conversion along with doing a custom .25 ACP barrel for a T/C Contender.

That .25 ACP "double rifle" is a hoot! It would be just the thing for charging chipmunks. Wonder if Holland & Holland would make one up? All it takes is money.
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Old 03-13-2010, 10:49 PM
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Hamilton Bowen can do a J frame in .25 ACP, complete with moonclips.

Bryan reading your report is probably going to cost me some money. I want one of those little Colt's!!
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Old 03-13-2010, 11:24 PM
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Talking my .25 auto

All this talk about .25's I just had to share this pic of this little Raven MP-25. I guess they are supposed to be the worst gun ever made, this one runs smooth and I don't think it has ever jammed. I can't hit things at 5 yards but my son seems to have the knack and does pretty good at 10 yards or so. S&B bullets are ear ringers for sure.

gordon
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Old 03-14-2010, 12:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sigp220.45 View Post
I went to back to back funerals for two cops killed with a single round of .25 ACP each. One was a guy I knew a little bit - my partner's former partner. The other was a young guy I didn't know at all, but I wound up doing the paperwork for his Public Safety Officers Benefits (PSOB). They were killed 24 hours apart. I got my fill of kids crying for Daddy that day.

One was hit once above his vest on a drug raid. He died at the hospital, and his murderer died in a hail of return gunfire.

The other was shot while answering a prowler call. He didn't have a vest. The department didn't provide them, and he was saving some of his meager salary each week to buy his own, but he had five kids to take care of. The guy who killed him was some kind of nutcase paranoid schizo.

Anything that's going to push a piece of metal into your vital organs can kill you quite handily. There are better things to carry, but a .25 will get the job done.

Detective Joseph C. Thomas, New Orleans Police Department

Police Officer Chris D. McCormick Sr., New Orleans Police Department.
Those policemen must have just died of fright. All the 'experts' know a .25 won't STOP anyone.

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Old 03-14-2010, 03:50 AM
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My youngest son was robbed and shot in the back 3 times with a .25 ACP when he lived in Albequerque, New Mexico. He spent a month in a coma in ICU. I'm just glad it was a .25 and not anything bigger. He was supposed to survive, as he has given me my only grandchild. -Ed.
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Old 03-14-2010, 11:54 AM
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Cyrano, I'm using lead bullets bought from a local caster, I wish I had a mould for one, and every other caliber I own. I'm working on it.

I'd love to have a k framed .25 auto. I like the .22s but the .25 has some advantages, unfortunately the tiny little pocket pistols that have always been made for the caliber don't do it justice.

Once nice thing about them is they are reloadable and can be very accurate if tailored like other handloads. With the ridiculous prices I've seen for .22lr ammo, I plan on getting to know my little .25s a lot better. The ones I'm loading now are going to be shot at the 100 yard range.
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Old 03-14-2010, 12:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jellybean View Post
Cyrano, I'm using lead bullets bought from a local caster, I wish I had a mould for one, and every other caliber I own. I'm working on it.

I'd love to have a k framed .25 auto. I like the .22s but the .25 has some advantages, unfortunately the tiny little pocket pistols that have always been made for the caliber don't do it justice.

Once nice thing about them is they are reloadable and can be very accurate if tailored like other handloads. With the ridiculous prices I've seen for .22lr ammo, I plan on getting to know my little .25s a lot better. The ones I'm loading now are going to be shot at the 100 yard range.
Lyman has made a mold for it; not sure if it's still available but if not one could be found used.

One thing to be aware of is that with this small ctg. there is very little difference in the charge weight between start and max.

Handejector's post about S&B ammo being hotter than commercial .25 ACP ammo, is dead on. I would like to add that it has also been known to cure issues with functional reliability. Some of those European vest pocket pistols don't like weak ammo at all.
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Old 03-14-2010, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocketdog View Post
Here's a bit of interesting history, dreadful, concerning Blokhin the executioner and the .25acp....


Vasili Blokhin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kinda wish I hadn't read it, but ... like the train wreck, hard to look away.

A special place in hell awaits ...
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Old 03-14-2010, 02:18 PM
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A friend of mine, i'll call him Charlie, because thats his name, was caught carrying a 25 auto by some of the gun shop crowd. Every one gave him a good razing, but Charlie felt confident as he had it stoked with the newer "PowerBall" rounds. They have a plastic ballistic tip.
So I conned Charlie to give me a few round to test. I tryed the same test as you did Dave, both with liquid water and ice filled jugs. Never got the bullets to expand. They just dont go fast enough.
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Old 03-14-2010, 02:53 PM
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Kinda wish I hadn't read it, but ... like the train wreck, hard to look away.

A special place in hell awaits ...
"He reportedly sank into alcoholism, went insane, and died in February 1955 with the official cause of death listed as "suicide".

What a tragic ending.
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Old 03-14-2010, 02:53 PM
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I don't hate the .25 or the .22 for that matter,I just accept they are both of rather limited use for defense.

To me I list both as "deep concealment,contact range" weapons i.e. you'll have to actually put the gun against your attacker for it to be of any use,face it even a weak 50 odd gr. FMJ with sixty odd foot lbs of muzzle energy is going to have a desired effect at ranges of a few feet.

If you get it in your head that you can deploy ether at five or ten yards like a reg gun you need to get some help.
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Old 03-14-2010, 03:39 PM
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David,
Thank you for taking the time to post pictures and information on your test.

I have never owned a .25 and find the information interesting.

PC945
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Old 03-14-2010, 04:06 PM
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Here is my post on the .25 from another thread :

"I agree with the importance of shot placement. There was a recent homicide in a trailer park in my town where there was a physical altercation between two card players where in the course of the fight one man pulled a .25 auto from his pocket and placed it in contact with his opponents chest killing him with one shot. You've probably heard the joke about the .25 that if you shoot someone with it and they find out about it they will be really mad. In this case it was a one shot stop. "

That being said I saw a .25 being shot at a toilet seat cover ( don't ask ) a few years ago and the bullet bounced off.
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Old 03-14-2010, 09:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NKJ nut View Post
"He reportedly sank into alcoholism, went insane, and died in February 1955 with the official cause of death listed as "suicide".

What a tragic ending.
Please note the rolleyes. If you read the article, you will see that the quote is the only upbeat part.
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Old 03-14-2010, 09:17 PM
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Rereading some of the older Spenser novels, tonight ran across Spenser using a .25 acp to good effect. The Widening Gyre (1983) p 162-166.

Robert B. Parker, author of Blue Screen
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Old 03-14-2010, 09:22 PM
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I have a cell phone holster with double pouches. My phone rides in one and a Baby Browning rides in the other pouch. NO ONE has ever asked what is in the second phone pouch and it goes with me EVERYWHERE. My primary CC is a S&W Bodygurad and the little Browning is always there as a backup. I too have shot the .25 into jugs of water and I know for sure that I don't want to get hit with one. In my opionion the .25 certainly has a place as part of my personal defense and I'm going to continue carrying it.
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Old 03-14-2010, 09:41 PM
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This was my hideout back when I worked in the Dick bureau. I saw many homicides, and some suicides by .25. A hideout is a last ditch, up close and personal, contact range weapon. When someone would make fun of my Colt, my old partner would pretty much end it by saying in reference to my .25,"it'll kill ya'".
There are newer, more powerful platforms now, but I still know working coppers way younger than me that have one on their person somewhere. John
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