Gunfight Friday: A Varmint-Rifle Showdown

This week is a gunfight for those of you who like to argue about calibers. The .220 Swift dates to 1935, and it was the first cartridge to break the 4,000 fps barrier. The Swift has an old-school mystique about it, and also a reputation for burning out barrels prematurely that may or may not be deserved. The .22-250 started out as a wildcat about the same time the .220 Swift was introduced, and it was legitimized as a factory load in 1965. It, too, can top the 4,000 fps mark.

Jhjimbo’s .22-250

This is my groundhog and varmint rifle: a heavy-barreled Remington 700 (left-hand) .22-250. I have added a Harris bi-pod and a Burris 6X24 scope. I load the Sierra 52gr BTHP Match with IMR 4320, and on a good day, especially in the morning with no wind, I am good to 350 yards. This rifle will shoot five rounds into one clover-leaf hole at 100 yards.

John’s .220 Swift

This is my late father’s custom-built varmint rifle, chambered in .220 Swift. Her commissioning remains somewhat of a mystery to me. I believe she was constructed sometime between 1982 and 1988, in the days when Allan Hall’s single-shot actions reigned supreme in match competition (before BAT and Viper actions were well-established). Her trigger is set to no more than half a pound—perhaps less (I have yet to test it with a trigger scale), and her heavy-set, stainless-steel barrel is 24 inches long. She isn’t balanced; most of the weight is in the forend, which helps keep her steady in the sand bags. The entire rig tallies in at approximately 13 pounds.

Though I haven’t thoroughly researched her origin, my limited efforts have left me with more questions than answers. Mr. Hall made the single-shot, long action, but he did not construct the entire rifle, nor even the barrel. None of the other components are marked. I have no doubts that I will one day discover who the maker is, but, for now, I’m looking forward to preparing her for some prairie dogs. I have a feeling this one will shoot.

There are your choices: a custom Swift or a Remington .22-250. Vote and comment below, and keep the gun pictures coming to fsgunnuts@gmail.com

Which rifle do you prefer?

Jhjimbo’s .22-250

John’s .220 Swift