My love affair with the .25-06 Remington began back in 1978 as a young lieutenant in the Army. Sitting at my desk one day, I happened to read an article in Gun Digest about the cartridge. Some gun writer or another was talking about the cartridge in the Ruger Model 77 rifle. I admit I was smitten, but on a lieutenant's pay, with one kid and one on the way, I didn't have the spare cash.
Designed by the renowned Charles Newton in 1912, it's certainly not a new cartridge. It was a wildcat for many years, until being standardized by Remington in 1969. It was a whiz-bang cartridge back then and it's a whiz-bang cartridge today. I bought my first one in 2008, a used Ruger 77 off the resale rack at a pawn shop. Even then, it was the older, tang-safety model and I got a good price on it. I took it home, studied it, and started searching about for brass and bullets. I started with a load of Reloder 22, 50.0 grains, which filled the cartridge to the case neck, then seated one of Sierra's 117 grain Gameking bullets on it.
When I took it to the range, I got settled on the bags and started shooting a string, it threw them all into 0.8" at 100 yards with boring regularity. On a later trip, I got out my chronograph and pushed those little Sierrras over the screens. The numbers showed 2971 fps with a low Sd and Es, and I said the hell with load development. I was done. An old used rifle, turning those numbers with MOA accuracy is nothing to sneeze at.
Since then, I've bought four rifles in that caliber. Two Savages, and another Ruger, and they all turn in great accuracy, each of then below MOA with that same load. I am of the same opinion now that I was in 2008; don't mess with it. And, I admit today that I don't currently own a rifle in .25-06. They went to family members who showed a liking for the cartridge, like my daughter-in-law, who I featured earlier in a post.
That grin is the one that I usually get when someone shoots that rifle. Women and young shooters find it easy to hit with an accurate rifle, and the .25-06 is accurate. It has lighter recoil than many other long-action cartridges, the long, slender Gameking, or an equivalent bullet from Hornady or one of the other manufacturers carries well, and from what I can tell from the gong targets we shoot, it hits like the hammer of Thor.
I consider the .25-06 Remington to be one of the pre-eminent cartridges for medium game in the US today. Why it hasn't caught on with more shooters today is a mystery. Maybe because it's not a "new" cartridge and the gun writers don't talk about it much, but like its parent, the 30-06, it's just as useful today as it was when Newton designed it, over a hundred years ago.
Last week, my son came over and asked if I'd reload some for him. We looked at my stock of bullets and I found that I was out. There were no more of those lovely, slender 117 Gemkings on the shelf. I fixed that today by ordering some bullets and some extra brass. For a hundred-year-old cartridge, it's got a lot to offer.