July 24th, 2016

A Short History of the .220 Swift Cartridge

Sierra Bullets 220 .220 Swift Cartridge powder loading Hodgdon

A History of the .220 Swift Cartridge

by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Paul Box
Sierra Bullets 220 .220 Swift Cartridge powder loading HodgdonThis cartridge was introduced by Winchester in 1935 in their model 54 rifle. A year later, it was added as a standard cartridge in the model 70. What might not be common knowledge to some reloaders is that the prototype for the Swift was developed in 1934-35 by Grosvenor Wotkyns by necking down the 250 Savage case, but in the end, Winchester chose the 6mm Lee Navy case for the foundation for this cartridge.

This cartridge was far ahead of its time and for that reason it received a lot of bad press. We’ve all read the horror stories through the years. Many of those stories were just simply repeated from previous articles even the wording was just slightly different. So how bad was the Swift? Let’s take a deeper look.

Some of the early Swifts had soft barrel steel and some of the rare ones even had barrels that were .223 in bore size. This stemmed from the fact that the .22 Hornets prior to the end of World War II were .223 in bore size and some of these barrels were chambered in the Swift. It was rumored that the Swift peaked in pressure far too quick. I’ll bet they did with a turkey extra full choke barrel.

Burn rates of powders were limited at that time as well, so the Swift was limited in its true ability due to that. It was almost like building a funny car for drag racing when only kerosene was available.

One of the longest lasting black eyes was that it shot barrels out so fast. If you get the barrel branding iron hot and fail to clean it often this can happen. Common sense will go a long ways here. Keep the barrel as cool as you can and properly clean it every fifteen rounds or less will go a long way to improving accuracy life of a Swift.

Sierra Bullets 220 .220 Swift Cartridge powder loading Hodgdon

So what is the real truth about this cartridge? I’m glad you ask. I’ve been shooting the .220 Swift for over 43 years now. It is one of the best varmint cartridges I’ve ever owned. It is not hard to load for, it doesn’t suddenly peak in pressure and it isn’t the barrel burner that you’ve heard. Hodgdon powders once reported a Remington 40-X with over 3,000 rounds of full power loads averaged .344” for five, 5-shot groups. My findings have been the same. It isn’t as hard on barrels as it has been made out to be.

I’ve also read that down loading it slightly will help in barrel life. This is true, but if you buy a thoroughbred you want him to run. Barrels are threaded on the end for a reason. If you have enough fun to shoot out a Swift barrel, just rebarrel it.

The bottom line is enjoy the .220 Swift for what it was meant to be. The popularity of the Swift has slipped in the last twenty years and few factory rifles are now available in this caliber. There is no reason for this and I know the Swift will always have a strong and loyal following.

Sierra Bullets 220 Swift Cartridge Guide

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting 5 Comments »
May 25th, 2013

Hornady 17 Hornet Ammo Wins Readers’ Choice Award

Hornady has received an inaugural Gold Predator Xtreme Readers’ Choice Award for its Superformance® Varmint™ 17 Hornet Rifle Ammunition. The 17 Hornet is currently available in 15.5gr NTX® and 20gr V-MAX™ offerings.

Hornady’s 17 Hornet employs Hornady Superformance® propellant technology. Hornady claims that, in the 17 Hornet, its Superformance powders can deliver 100 to 200 fps more velocity than other commercially-available propellants. As a result, Hornady’s Superformance® Varmint™ ammunition shoots flatter, drifts less in the wind, and retains more energy out to a practical range of 300 yards. And many varminters have praised Hornady’s low-recoil 17 Hornet, saying this new cartridge is economical, accurate, and fun to shoot. 17 Hornet ballistics are far superior to the 17 HMR, as you can see:

hornady 17 hornet

Hornady’s 17 Hornet was derived from the 22 Hornet parent case. Claimed velocity with 20-grainers is 3650 fps — an impressive number considering the 17 Hornet uses about half the powder of the 17 Remington. The 17 Hornet is based on the rimmed .22 Hornet case. However, the case is not just necked-down from .22 caliber. The case designers reduced body taper, moved the shoulder, and changed the shoulder angle to 25°. This effectively modernizes the old .22 Hornet case, improving efficiency while retaining the max OAL, so that the 17 Hornet can work in any action big enough for the .22 Hornet.

hornady 17 hornet

Predator Xtreme Readers’ Choice Award
The Predator Xtreme Readers’ Choice Awards, sponsored by Predator Xtreme magazine, honors the best new products for varminters and predator hunters. A Gold award is the highest honor bestowed in a number of shooting categories. Products are chosen for award recognition based on surveys of magazine readers, so this is truly an “people’s award”.

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November 4th, 2011

Savage Will Offer Model 25s Chambered in 17 Hornet

Savage has confirmed that, for 2012, it will add a 17 Hornet chambering to its line-up of Model 25 varmint rifles. Savage’s decision to produce Model 25s in 17 Hornet was inspired by the release of 17 Hornet ammo from Hornady (see video below). This new rifle and ammo combo provides an affordable, centerfire option for varminters who want something more powerful than the 17 HMR. Though it has low recoil, the 17 Hornet cartridge offers plenty of speed. Hornady says its new 17 Hornet ammo will push a 20gr V-Max at 3,650 fps — that’s 1300 fps faster than a 17 HMR loaded with 20-grainers.

The 17 Hornet is based on the venerable rimmed .22 Hornet case. However, the case is not just necked-down from .22 caliber. The case designers reduced body taper, moved the shoulder, and changed the shoulder angle to 25°. This effectively modernized the old .22 Hornet case, improving efficiency while retaining the max OAL, so that the 17 Hornet can work in any action big enough for the .22 Hornet.

Hornady claims that its new ammo will push a 20gr V-Max bullet at 3650 fps. Dave Emary, Hornady’s Senior Ballistician, says that “This is just a very efficient little cartridge. It uses half the powder of the 17 Remington, has less fouling, more barrel life, and has the felt recoil of about a .22 Magnum.” Learn more by watching the video above.

Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting, New Product 17 Comments »
November 4th, 2011

Hornady Announces New Products for 2012

Hornady just released a new video that showcases Hornady’s new products for 2012. These include: Critical DUTY® Pistol ammo (9mm and 40 S&W), 17 Hornet® (loaded with 20gr V-Max), and Heavy Magnum® Turkey Shotshells.

Hornady Flex-LockThe Critical Duty ammo was designed to perform well in FBI protocol tests which demand excellent penetration PLUS reliable bullet expansion to 1.5 times bullet diameter. Hornady achieves this using a “Flexlock” bullet design with a polymer insert in the front of the bullet. The Flexlock plug helps prevents the kind of clogging and nose deformation suffered by conventional hollowpoints when shot through barriers. This allows reliable expansion even after penetrating clothing and other barriers.

Hornady Flex-LockNew 17 Hornet Varmint Ammo
The new 17 Hornet ammo features a 20gr V-Max bullet in a necked-down 25°-shoulder version of the 22 Hornet parent case. Claimed velocity for this rimmed cartridge is 3650 fps — an impressive number considering the 17 Hornet uses about half the powder of the 17 Remington. Hornady declares that its 17 Hornet ammo will be very reasonably priced, providing an “easy, inexpensive way to get into varminting.”

Last but not least, Hornady’s new Heavy Magnum® Turkey Shotshells pack 1.5 ounces of nickel-plated shot in a full, 3″ 12-gauge shell. This provides exceptional knockdown power for turkey hunters. Notably, these shotshells do NOT require special turkey chokes for your shotgun. Hornady’s proprietary “VersaTite” wad provides a tight shot pattern without special chokes.

Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting, New Product 1 Comment »