220 SWIFT: Goin' to 'dog town with Dad


Well-Known Member
Sep 13, 2017
Black Canyon City Arizona
So the past few weekends my dad and I have been going prairie dog shooting. (He is 79, I am 55). I've been a 220 Swift nut since I was a kid, and currently own 2. One is a older Ruger 77V, now on its second barrel, and one is a Remington Varmint SF. I guess what I love most about them is the nostalgia, retro, history thing, and the connection I feel when I am shooting, reloading, etc. for this and other rifles/cartridges I shoot and reload for.

Anyway, I can see I'm going to have trouble staying on topic in my own thread, so let's just put it out there anything I put in here is the topic. LOL!

Dad has a 220 Swift also, and he was instrumental in getting me my first one, which is the Ruger mentioned earlier.
So here we are, 2 old timers out there getting a hoot out of poppin the poodles with our Swifts. I think he brought his because he knows how much I love the caliber. He likes it too, but he also has a 22-250 and others, where the 220 Swift is it for me.
Anyway, we don't press our rifles much out there anymore, it's more about enjoying the moment, and this was a pretty memorable trip, just like all the other hunting trips I've been on with Dad. We spent all day hunting 3 separate towns, looking over some ancestral (dead) towns, and while driving in between them, talking politics, laughing, joking, spotting antelope, deer, etc.

On the way home he was dozing off in the truck, we were listening to Willy's Road house, which is some really old country music, and it kind of hit me: Some of the same songs on the station that used to play when I was 5 years old and going hunting or fishing with Dad, 50 years ago. Anyway, I realized how RICH I was to have him to share all this with, and realized again those days are truly numbered.
Kind of put me in a very thankful mood.

I don't see the 220 Swift talked about too much on here, just wondering who else shoots this cartridge still?

I'm still out there making memories with it, anyone else?

Tell me about it!


Well-Known Member
Oct 21, 2012
New Zealand
It was early October 1979 when I walked into the rifle store and there displayed on the front of the gun rack was a new Ruger M77 in 220 Swift.

At the time I was shooting with a Parker Hale 1200 22-250 that I was having trouble with the second round jamming as it went into the chamber if I was trying to get off a quick second shot.

That Ruger sported the thinnest 24" barrel I had ever seen on a high power rifle. Back in those days Ruger really knew how to polish and blue a rifle, it was so shiny I could see myself in it.

That rifle went home with me that day wearing a brand new Redfield 3-9x40mm Traditional scope. Redfield made great scopes back then.

The first time I shot that was with Norma 50 grain factory ammo and after sighting it in the first 5 shots went into 0.65" at 100 yards.

My best shot with the Swift was at a couple of rabbits mating just shy of 400 stepped out yards. I got them both with one shot.

Over the years I have shot goats, pigs and deer with that rifle.

It still lives in my gun safe and occasionally I take it out for a walk after hares and rabbits.

The 220 Swift is a great cartridge and hopefully it will be with us for a good many years yet.

Varminator 911

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2007
SW Texas
I've still got a Ruger 220 Swift. Wish I had my first one back. That was a pre 64 Winchester model 70 with a fixed power 8x Unertl scope. I bought that about 1960. Was lucky I didn't blow myself up with my reloads. Killed lots of crows and fox one running all out at about 220 yds.

I used to have both heavy and light barrel Rugers but sold the heavy one because the light one shoots so well. I seldom miss under 300 yds. It's like lightning. Pull the trigger and it's a clap of thunder and lights out.


Dec 2, 2012
I still have my first 220 Swift, a Ruger M77 with a tang safety. I bought it used from a good friend. I have rebarreled it, given it a newer trigger and had Snake River Cerakote make it titanium grey. My second favorite gun for shooting pot guts here in Nebraska after my 221 fireball.


Well-Known Member
May 1, 2018
Got hooked on the 220 Swift when I was a kid, my dad and grandfather faithfully shot them being government trappers for the state of Wyoming.
Took my first prairie dog with my Grandfathers Remington 700 VS which I was lucky enough to receive earlier this year.

My dad and Grandfather loved the old Ruger M77V, my Grandfather keeping his stock until shifting to the Rem 700. My dad on the other hand did some work to his building a custom tiger stripe maple stock and dropping a canjar set trigger in it.

All 3 rifles are tack drivers and I can only imagine the stories those rifles have. I've kept my Grandfathers rifle how he left it with the old Weaver, with one change going to the trigger, the old timney he had finally gave out I'm running a Jewell now. I've got a load of a 50gr Nosler BT with 39 grains of H380, just took a coyote 2 days ago while Sage Hen hunting.


Well-Known Member
Dec 4, 2007
central wisconsin
Great write up !!! congrats to you n your Father, Yes the 220 swift is Legend for sure. in my 20's I tried to get in in a #1 ruger Varmit heavy bbl........ had one on order for 8 months , gave up then bought a new md77 V....... boy was I happy and did she ever shoot wow , sold her to a friend cause I bought a semi-custom 220 swift on a older ruger flat top action, with a 26 in ss/Channlyn bbl bout a #3 conture 1/14 twist cut-rifled bbl she'll shoot 3/8 3 shots at 200 yds with my handloads, course its got a set canjar trigger just sweet. so ya the SWIFTS alive n well & long my she live thks .


Active Member
Oct 11, 2013
It amazes me how a person can find so many similarities in people you have never met. My father was a trapper in Wyoming. He shot a ruger 77v tang saftey swift. At 12 yrs old I saved and bought a Liberty model used 77v tang saftey swift out of Massachusetts from shotgun news. We shoot dogs together now with my 3 boys using our swifts and two we have built for the oldest two of my boys. We will finish the last one for my youngest boy this Christmas, he is 5. I never owened a fast car, but 40grers at 4200+ was my hot rod. It will be as long as I can see the cross hair dot in the straight 12x leuopould it wears. Thanks for the memories to come.

Jeremy Walbert

Active Member
Aug 18, 2017
My father bought me a 700 vs in 220 swift when I turned 14. He shot a 17 rem and we would spend countless days on the back of the trick shooting ground hogs. He always discussed what he would do to that rem when it finally got shot out. After he passed I spend the money, new stock, new barrel and new glass. Now my swift is showing signs of age and the only thing keeping me from a changing calibers is memories and the fact the it never let me down.


Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2011
Rapid City
I love this post. When I was growing up my Dad always had his pre 64 Winchester 220swift in the car wherever we went. He shot badger, Fox, crows, magpie,gophers.
I didn't think it could miss because he never did. I got to shoot it at prairie dogs when I was 7. That started a life-long hobby. I'm 68 now and I've fired far more than 100,000 rounds through several swifts(I did discover that it could miss) mostly at prairie dogs. I shoot mostly 20 cal now but that old swift of my Dad's is still in the gun rack with a fresh Lilja barrel ready for action.


Well-Known Member
Nov 19, 2010
My gosh the dad and family stories are great. Never owned a swift but 22-250 is what I had and my dad was a 30-06 guy he would rather shoot that than anything. I took him deer hunting in Montana a few years ago he was 79. He told me he would have his 06 ready and I said we would take my creedmoor and I would packit and he could just look through the binoculars. He thought about it and said ok. He shot the creed up to the hunt and including killing his buck and said that is a fun rifle. If he was younger he might of had to have one.

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