.220 Swift for ferals?

Q: Recently I got a bargain buy, a heavy barrel Winchester Model 70 Varmint in .220 Swift topped with a Leupold Vari-X III 6.5-20x scope for $650. It came with a 3-die set and 130 once fired cases. The previous owner told me that this was every round the rifle had fired since he bought it. For varmints I’m using the Sierra 55gn bullet over 38gn of AR2208 which you once wrote turns up 3660fps. There’s lots of goats and pigs in my area as well as rabbits, so I’d appreciate it if you could recommend a couple of good load recipes to handle them. I was thinking of trying the 60gn Hornady V-Max and the Barnes 53gn TSX FB. What powder and charge weights would you recommend?

John Russell

A: For many years I’ve been using the 60gn Hornady soft-point which works very well on goats and pigs when driven at 3600fps by by 41gn of Win-760. I’ve also tried the Barnes 53gn TSX FB and 43.5gn of Win-760 for 3855fps. Another excellent load is the 70gn Speer bullet and 38gn of Win-760 for 3337fps. Another bullet designed to give deep penetration is the 60gn Nosler Partition, but don’t get the Hornady 60gn V-Max as the Swift’s 1:14″ twist is too slow to stabilise it, but the 60gn soft-point works well. Win-760 ball powder meters very accurately through a volumetric powder measure and has given me the best accuracy in both the .22-250 and .220 Swift.




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Nick Harvey

The late Nick Harvey (1931-2024) was one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable gun writers, a true legend of the business. He wrote about firearms and hunting for about 70 years, published many books and uncounted articles, and travelled the world to hunt and shoot. His reloading manuals are highly sought after, and his knowledge of the subject was unmatched. He was Sporting Shooter's Technical Editor for almost 50 years. His work lives on here as part of his legacy to us all.