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I'm starting on a new cartridge for me, the .220 Swift. Not asking for load data, but I would appreciate comments from those experienced with this cartridge as to what bullets, especially bullet weights, and what powders have you had the greatest success with. As well as other general comments. The rifle is a Ruger No. 1, objective is pretty general--I want accuracy per se, I'll shoot some squirrels, coyotes and the like. I personally won't use it on game larger than Pronghorn, and doubt I'll do that.
Just so you know that I'm not new at this, I've been reloading for 55+ years and currently load 19 different cartridges.
Thanks!
 

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Moosehunt-- I've had a few and shot with guys and re-barreled their rifles. ;) Seriously. 1500 rounds is pretty 'old age'.

It's best with 55 grain bullets (IMO) and that's all I've ever shot. 4350 and H-414 are your good friends. With lighter bullets, 4895 is my choice.
Case stretch can be a problem.

Some #1-Vs are scary accurate!
 

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I have read (may not be exactly true) that bullets from the .220 Swift were the fastest man made objects on the planet from 1935 until aerospace developments in the late 50s or early 60s.

JBelk mentioned barrel life, and I wonder if modern barrel steels or nitride surface treatments might allow for longer barrel life than the earlier Swift rifles. I am also curious whether .22-250 barrel life is really much better than the Swift.

I have read posts by forum members who have bore scopes and examined the throats of their barrels, and decided to back off the maximum charges a little in favor of barrel (throat) life.
 

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The standard 22-250 has about three times the life of a Swift. The AI version can match the Swift for erosion. Barrel life can be extended to tens of thousands of rounds by slowing them down some. Big, over-bore cases wear faster than 'well-balanced' cases, no matter the load. A slowed 25-06 will toast the throat faster than a .257 Roberts at full throttle.
Case capacity equals velocity....and wear. There seems to be no magic shape or angle or secret, just capacity and bore diameter.
I've had customers burn out new barrels 'working up a load' for it, but it's all in fun.

I've never tried any kind of barrel treatment but impinged moly-coated bullets are GREAT. Just a PITA to do. I have a .221 Fireball with nearly 5,000 moly-coated Ballistic Tips through it with one .125" setback at 3500. It still outshoots me.
Most rifles can be 'cut back' to freshen the throat but the real scorchers don't benefit much. The throat wear is considerably longer up the bore than the smaller case. BR barrels are many times cut back a dozen or more times to 'freshen' them.
 

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I'm starting on a new cartridge for me, the .220 Swift. Not asking for load data, but I would appreciate comments from those experienced with this cartridge as to what bullets, especially bullet weights, and what powders have you had the greatest success with. As well as other general comments. The rifle is a Ruger No. 1, objective is pretty general--I want accuracy per se, I'll shoot some squirrels, coyotes and the like. I personally won't use it on game larger than Pronghorn, and doubt I'll do that.
Just so you know that I'm not new at this, I've been reloading for 55+ years and currently load 19 different cartridges.
Thanks!

I used to shoot #1 220 Swift and used H-380 with 55gr Berger. I also had trigger changed out to Keplinger set trigger. I just looked at Hodgdon current manual and I used their data and work up. I shot most PD's/few coyotes and can't use 22 cal here (Co) for any big game.


If I go for day PD I'd take may 3/4 22 cal rifles so won't get barrel too hot. I was also shooting 22-250AI,223AI,222AI,222mag,222,223 back then. I normally replace barrel when it no longer accurate to shoot PD so don't really keep rd count. I got rifle new 1991 and replaced barrel 1995 and still have rifle and it's tight neck 22BR.
 

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Not buying that life span. Certainly the bigger case/more powder burned/same pressure would erode the throat a bit faster.... but not that much difference.

There is a tendecy for .220swift owners to push the edges in pressure and velocity....can see that,why else did you buy the Swift and not a 22/250 if not for the "extra" speed?

Worked out much better with heavier bullets (of the time) than lite ones. Rather than more speed than a 22/250,think in terms of the same speeds with a bit heavier bullet.

THAT I could use and see a difference when shooting....the "extra"speed didn't help nearly as much as the better BC bullet at the same speed.
 

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"Lifespan" of a barrel is dependent on many things. Years ago, I saw a gun writer on an invitational sage rat shoot toast a brand new 22 Cheetah in less than 800 rounds. A good friend burned out a M77-V Swift in three days of rock chucks, but both were shooting like they were under attack. When you smell epoxy burning, it's time to sit back and take a breath and switch guns! Such varmint trips are best done with four guns, three of them K-Hornets. :)
Conversely, I know of a pre-war M70 Swift that's still in fine condition even though shot maybe 50 rounds a year.

When compared to the .222Rem, the Swift and 22-250AI have the life span of a house fly. It's possible to see .222s with over 5K through them. Warren Page wrote of them several times during the heyday of the Duece BR wins and records.

In my experience, barrels are replaced due to boredom of what it was and curiosity of what might be to come and cleaning rod wear more than being shot out. VERY few shooters shoot enough to actually 'need' a new barrel.....but it can't hurt! :cool:

I did over a hundred 22-250 AIs in the late '80s. Some came back to be set back to freshen them up in as little as 500 rounds. One was burnt up near ElCentro, CA on sage rats and rebarreled at 800 rounds, but excess heat is always a very large factor in wear.

I agree about bullet weight, but heavy .22 bullets are not 'varmint volatile' and tend to ricochet. I haven't shot anything heavier than 55 grains in any center-fire .22 for that reason. For many years, my 22-250 bullet was the Speer 52 gr HP which I also shot in the Deuces. Wind is a an ever-present challenge but makes me a better shooter.
 

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What does a shot out barrel mean? Can't shoot 1/4" groups anymore, best now is only 1/2"? I have a 30-06 that I had a gunsmith look at the barrel. He told me it was no good any more and needed a rebarrel. Huh! Thing shoot's 1 1/4" group's and is my elk rifle. Can someone define what shot out means?
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Your gunsmith might have had a truck payment due, maybe that's what it meant Don ;)
 

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"Shot out" means the barrel can not be cleaned, re-crowned and 'tuned' to YOUR level of acceptance.
In my own experience, I KNOW where a sage rat is going to be hit. When it doesn't, I know it's time to sit that rifle aside, let it cool, clean it and restore it to its deadly norm. When cleaning no longer works, the barrel could be suspect.

I'll dig up some pictures of a 'toasted' throat. It is VERY hard to wear out any barrel to the extent it's not suitable for an Elk rifle.

This 22-2250AI was shot a total of just over 1200 HOT rounds. It was totally fouled, end to end and was leaking primers just about every shot. Chrome-moly, Walther-Lother, 1-12 on a push feed M70. I shot this gun yesterday with re-constituted loads of H-414/55 Nos BT. Three shots in .78 and its amazing how fast they get to the plate!

The last picture is of a .222Rem Mag bought sight unseen from a guy in Florida that said the, "bore is great! Shoots half inch!" It looked like this from chamber to muzzle. No matter. it was priced and bought as an action.

Picture 3 and 4 are switched. 1 and 2 is the 22-250AI throat. #4 pic is an inch ahead of the chamber and #3 is 4 inches ahead of the chamber.
That dark, crusty, 'gator hide' is burnt steel. The ripples are tool marks that erosion exposes.

All pics from Lyman bore scope.
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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I have mentioned before of a 6mm/284 that was built with a chrome/moly 26" bbl that was toast from throat to muzzle after a carefully recorded 1058 shots of full charge loads. This was done in the Arizona year 'round temps from 45 deg to 110 deg ambient and the barrel never being heated whereas a hand couldn't be held comfortably. On the hottest days, cold damp towels assisted by being draped over the barrel/receiver.


Since then, a new stainless varmint weight 27" barrel and reduced loadings with even more time between shots are proving to extend barrel life when viewed with a Lyman bore scope.


Yes - you CAN burn a barrel out with hot loads, rapid shooting in hot temperatures.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks gents. Pretty much where I was headed--either H380 or H414 with 55 gr bullets. I'll probably start with Horn. V-Max's and see how they work up.
As to burning out the barrel, or wearing it out or whatever one chooses to call it, well, I didn't get a Swift to shoot at .223 speed, or even .22-250 speed. I got a Swift to be swift. I certainly won't over heat the barrel, but if it wears out, I'll get a new one, simple. When I go squirrel shooting, I'll start with my 10/22 as usual, then move out with my K-Hornet, maybe take a few with my .223, then move on out and try a few with the new Swift, probably a dozen or less. What fun!!! I doubt I'll wear it out at my age!
As to case stretch, the Swift case shape suggests such. I believe that was a major reason that Roy Weatherby developed his .220 Rocket, actually an improved .220 Swift. Indeed, if dies wouldn't cost me a fortune, and I could find a reamer, I definitely would consider opening it up to .220 WBY Rocket.
Thanks for the comments!
 

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That's prettty much the best use of the .220 Swift...it's your "long stick".... for the ones that are a bit too far away for your .223.....which is what you use with the Hornet seems too small....which is what you use when a .22RF won't do it.

Other people use the "long stick" on the short range ones....which is kind of embarrasing when you think about it....but some folks can't resist the "red mist" effect.
 

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When you can't find the parts, you might have been too close.... :eek:

:D
 

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I've found 'hams' stuck to the roof of my truck! :eek:

I could hunt crows for a week in Florida with a box of ammo and one rifle. I've had as many is five rifles and 6,000 rounds of ammo for one day in S. Idaho on groundsquirrels, rockchucks, jackrabbits and magpies.
 

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I have mentioned before of a 6mm/284 that was built with a chrome/moly 26" bbl that was toast from throat to muzzle after a carefully recorded 1058 shots of full charge loads. This was done in the Arizona year 'round temps from 45 deg to 110 deg ambient and the barrel never being heated whereas a hand couldn't be held comfortably. On the hottest days, cold damp towels assisted by being draped over the barrel/receiver.


Since then, a new stainless varmint weight 27" barrel and reduced loadings with even more time between shots are proving to extend barrel life when viewed with a Lyman bore scope.


Yes - you CAN burn a barrel out with hot loads, rapid shooting in hot temperatures.
my friend(RIP) and gunsmith had a 6mm-284 win sometime in the early 1990"s. he had a 98 mauser action, timney trigger, 26" douglas that was moly, a piece of black walnut that he carved into a benchrest stock, i think it was a 24x leupold? and he bedded the action. accuracywise, it was unreal!!! a 10 shot group(100 yards/bench) looks like it cloverleaf. i remember it was 87gr hornady sp (don't remember the powder or charge) going 3300fps+/-(it pops into my head 3294fps avg, but i'm not sure). it was around 1000 shots, till the throat was toast and the barrel was smooth and burned. he took the barrel off and put on another 6mm-284 again and again.

when he got tired of that, he went to 22-'06 and a 50gr hornady sp, 22-284 and a 50gr hornady sp, 22x57 ai , 243 rock chucker and a couple of more that i can't remember. i think that he had a 6mm-220 swift, but i'm not sure if he did.
 

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220 Swift / Sierra 55 gr. B.T. - H.P. / IMR-4350

220 Swift = SPEED!

If you have to slow down a 220 Swift, then it is not needed! Move on to a smaller and "slower" cartridge, and leave the Swift to those that can appreciate it for what it is.

My last 220 Swift was a rear tang Ruger M77 Varmint that had over 2,000 rounds shot through it before it was gifted to another varmint hunter, and on a very bad day, it would still shoot 1/2" or less at 200 yards with those 55 gr. Sierra bullets.

Never let the barrel get HOT and protect the throat when cleaning.

Danzac coated bullets will eliminate any and all copper fouling, as long as the bore is properly conditioned when shooting coated bullets.

A
 

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Owned a Ruger #1 Special Varminter in 220 Swift. 55 grain Speer Spitzers sho 1/2 MOA always. 60 grain Nosler Partitions for any thing bigger than a coyote. Wish I hadn’t sold it.
 

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The number one priority for a Swift would be a rifle that is easy to rebarrel.
I've looked over a few in the used gun racks. They all seem to share a common trait, the need for a new barrel.
 

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What I have here is exactly nothing that the OP had on the list but... an old M77 that sprayed factory Hornady ammo but responded very well to handloading. 55 gr. Nosler Ballistic Tip, 39.5 H380, CCI BR primer and Norma brass. I was working up a load 25+ years ago and when I covered that early in the string 3 shot group with the tip of my pinky I stopped going faster. As I recall the outside to outside of the group was .39". Might even have been better if I had continued. At that time the book speed was under 4000 now online data is way under 4k but with different components. I have a chrony now and should run it to check. I had 0 luck with "B" brand mono bullets and hope to try Hammers in the near future just in case the desire for a deer or pronghorn with a Swift hits me.
 
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