Speeding Up The .220 Swift

Q: I own a Remington 700 in .220 Swift with a 650mm barrel and topped with an old Leupold 6.5-20x scope that’ been gathering dust in my gun safe for a number of years. Now that the rabbit population in my area has grown, I want to ask you if you can suggest a load with a light bullet that will clock 4,000 fps in my rifle. I’ve heard the argument that heavy bullets buck the wind better, shed their velocity more slowly and hit harder at long range. This offers an advantage where big game is concerned, but what about varmints?
Jesse Wilkins

A: What matters most for varmint hunting is that the faster a bullet is,the quicker it gets there. It is critical that it gets
there as fast as possible to minimise bullet drop and wind drift. A faster bullet shoots flatter so range estimation isn’t
so critical, delivers more energy and is more likely to expand at long range. There’s no doubt that a high-velocity bullet offers several advantages for varmint shooting. Your Swift has what it takes to develop such high velocities. The long barrel,

a large case with the capacity needed to contain an adequate amount of powder behind a light bullet. In my Wilson Arrow which holds the same amount of powder as the standard Swift, I have developed two loads which drive the Nosler 40gn Ballistic Tip over 4000fps. In Remington brass (water capacity 48 grains), I am loading 44gn of W-760 for 4176fps and 38gn of AR2206H for 4136fps. If these loads don’t deliver acceptable accuracy, I suggest you try the
50gn Ballistic Tip and 42gn of W-760 for about 3950fps. Lightweight bullets going fast produce explosive expansion and are less likely to ricochet. Give those varmints hell!




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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.