The .25-06 Remington had been a wildcat cartridge for about 35 years before being standardized by Remington in 1969. It is based on the .30-06 Springfield cartridge necked-down (case opening made narrower) to .257 inch caliber with no other changes. Nominal bullet diameter is 0.257 in (6.5278 mm) and bullet weights range from 75 to 122 grains (4.9 to 7.9 g).
When it was first standardized, handloaders commonly used World War II surplus gunpowder. Burn rates of the available powders at that time were not well-suited to such a large case with a relatively small diameter. Since then newer slower-burning powders have become available and have greatly improved performance of this cartridge.
The cartridge is capable of propelling a 117 grain (7.6 g) bullet at up to 3200 feet per second (980 m/s) and energy levels up to ~2,500 ft·lbf. Bullets lighter than 75 grains are available in .257" caliber, but were designed for the smaller .25-20 Winchester and .25-35 Winchester cartridges and are too lightly constructed for the high velocities of the .25-06.
The cartridge has mild recoil, somewhat below the .270 Winchester but more than the .243 Winchester and .257 Roberts. Shooters who are recoil sensitive will find the recoil from the 25-06 bearable, but not pleasant enough to shoot all day long. This cartridge is nearly as powerful as the .257 Weatherby Magnum, usually running 100-150 ft/s. slower with a given bullet weight.
SAAMI pressure limit for the .25-06 is 63,000 PSI.
25-06 is an good round for deer and antelope, but will cover game ranging from prairie dogs to elk. However, if the .25-06 is to be used for large game, heavier bullets are recommened.
Bullet companies such as Nosler, Sierra, and Hornady make top performance bullets at reasonable prices for the .25-06 Rem. Bullets such as the 120 grain Nosler Partition, 117 grain Hornady Interlock or SST, and the 117 grain Sierra Gameking or Prohunter to name a few are bullets that can penetrate elk-sized game with ease. The cartridge has its best advantage when used with heavy bullets. The .25-06 cartridge has a flatter trajectory than its parent cartridge, .30-06. That is well suited to open plains hunting where long shots are crucial.
The .25-06 is a popular cartridge for hunting coyote. The .25-06 is more than capable of killing elk-sized game even at long distances ethically. It provides quick clean kills with minimal recoil, a flat trajectory, and when used with appropriate bullets it can make hunting or shooting successful.
Most manufacturers of bolt action or single-shot rifles offer the .25-06 as a standard chambering and factory loaded ammunition is available from Remington, Winchester, Federal Cartridge and most other major manufacturers.