Reloading for the 220 Swift

You have to start somewhere, so I purchased a box of factory Remington ammo in 50gr for break in, and I was off an running. First trip to the range I shot a 1 inch, 3 shot group with 2 of the shots touching each other. With the 900 mile per hour wind, I did not think that was too bad.

I planned to run another box or 2 of factory ammo through it but got anxious and bought dies and a bag of Remington brass instead.


I prepped all of the brass, including the brass from the factory ammo, by deburring the flash hole, turning the necks and weighing. Case length was very consistent and there was only 1.5 grains of difference in extremes in the brass weight.

Next, I bought 50 pieces of Winchester brass at a gun show, which I won't do again for this gun. Obviously, the brass had come from different lots and had been dumped into a single container for dispensing at the show. Prepped in the same manner, extreme differences in case length and weight surfaced, extreme by comparison to the Remington brass I purchased at a gun shop.

I purchased more Remington brass and a box of Winchester "Varmint" ammo so I now have close to 300 pieces of brass.

For this rifle, and it may just be me, I prefer the Remington brass.

I worked out a color coding scheme that is proving to be great for me. You can read about it in the March 99 issue of "The Firearms MagEzine".


IMR 3031
My old stand by, so I started with it. The first loads I assembled used 50 grain bullets. Nothing spectacular, 2.5 inch groups. Still in the break-in process so not really concerned.

I loaded a box of shells with the fresh Remington brass from a recipe in a manual using 50 grain bullets. The groups shrank to 3/4"

Loaded 10 rounds using a 55 grain pill and 10 rounds using a 63 grainer. With the 55's I shot a .506" group and with the 63's like 3/4" before I started playing around shooting clay pigeon chips that laid on the bank beyond my target.

I also reloaded 20 of the Remington cases with 50 grain bullets and bumped the charge by 4 tenths of a grain. Shot a .561 group, I think this gun is going to do OK.

Getting bolder with the new rifle now, I bought another can of powder. This time I purchased a pound of Varget. With Remington brass, I put together 8 rounds with 50 grain bullets and 35 grains of Varget. They grouped like .750. Also put together 10 rounds and bumped the charge to 35.5. Shot a 4 shot group that measured .326.


I wanted to try this powder, basically because I had some. I put together 10 rounds with 45 grain bullets. Fired 4 of the rounds and the cases stuck in the chamber slightly. The chronograph just stood there in disbelief, clocked one at 4405 FPS. The sticking cases bothered me so I did not use the rest of them.

IMR 4895

Long story, but anyway, I ended up trying this powder. The results were outstanding. I have not pushed this powder yet. I am running about 1.5 grains under max and shooting groups I did not think I could ever do. Here are a couple of targets.

For the time being, I have stopped changing components and I am just enjoying the consistency. I have been trying to get off a few shots each weekend.

OK, Just One More Powder
IMR 4064

I had to try just one more powder before the "Prairie Dog Conference". In several locations, I have read that 4064 is a great powder for the 220. After giving it a try, I give it 4 stars.

I loaded 3 groups of 10 cases. One group with 37.5 grains pushing a 52 grain Hollow Point and the second group with 38.5 grains pushing the same bullet. The third group held 37.5 grains pushing a 55 grain Boat Tail. The hollow point rounds grouped great while the 55 grainers were not so hot.

Not sure why the groups went south on the 55's so before I discount that option completely, I will try them again. It was a windy day, and the wind could have picked up or shifted by the time I got around to shooting the 55's.

There are a couple of more powders I would like to try in the 220 but for now, I am out of time. I need to establish a couple of favorites for the 243 and will dedicate some time to that in the next couple of weeks.


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Last Modified: Sunday, May 24, 2009 11:10 PM