Q: I own a Ruger M77 .220 Swift which I have just had rebarreled with a 1:12 twist barrel. I’ve mainly used the swift for long range varminting on rabbits, feral cats and foxes, but after reading what you have written about the swift, I’d like to try it on pigs and goats. Which particular bullet or bullets would you recommend for this purpose? Can you suggest a powder and load? Many writers claim Swift bullets blow up too fast and lack penetration on larger animals. What’s your opinion on this?
A: I’ve gained excellent results using the .22 Swift and Wilson Arrow on goats and pigs. Back in the 1980s I loaded 60gn Nosler Solid Base bullets at 3600fps and it killed big boars like lightning, dropping them on the spot with running shots. Even before that I enjoyed good success loading the semi-pointed 70gn Speer which was designed for whitetail deer and pronghorn antelope in the US. Today we can choose between the stoutly structured 60gn Nosler partition and 60gn Ballistic Tip, which I have found penetrate deeply enough for rear end raking shots on goats and pigs. I’ve also enjoyed using the 60gn Hornady SST which my mate used to drop a fallow buck in his tracks at about 150 metres. Don’t believe all you read about the Swift. Most of the guys who write that stuff have never even owned one and are just parroting what some other know-nothing wrote. Bullet construction combined with high velocity is what counts most. A 1:12 twist will stabilise all of the 60gn bullets I listed. I get 3600fps using 41gn of AR 2209 or 38gn of Reloder 15. Another good bet is the 64gn Winchester bullet and 33.5gn of BM8208 for 3400fps. The Swift shoots very flat and most rifles are very accurate, if you can shoot well enough to place your shots in a vital area those bullets will penetrate just fine on deer.