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One of the most deadliest rifle calibers on earth, you will never guess

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by BHP9, Jan 17, 2003.

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  1. BHP9

    BHP9 member

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    Many years ago as a young man times were tough and jobs were scarce (sound familiar). I took a job in a very large sporting goods store where I worked with 50 beautiful young women and when I was not answering their questions both job and non-job related I was busy selling the lastest firearms and reloading equipment to customers.

    Well after an exciting morning in more ways than one I would often retreat upstairs at the lunch hour to the book section of the stores library where I just happened to discover two of the most fantastic books I have ever read or probably ever will read. The name of the books were "Handbook for Shooters and Reloaders Vol.I and II. by P.O. Ackley". He was perhaps the greatest gunsmith and wildcater who ever lived. He backed up his information with cold hard tests, often complete with pictures.

    His wildcat creations are still used today many, many years later and his two books were not just reloading manuels but had many amazing stories about his experiments into the then, vast unkown world of ballistics and rifle actions.

    He astounded the world when he proved that a military rifle that at that time was largely scorned was the safest and strongest rifle action every made. The Jap 6.5 Arisaka.

    But what I found even more astounding was his article on one of the deadliest calibers ever invented "The 220 Swift".

    Ackley backed up his claim with actual tests on armor plating and live animals complete with pictures. He fired at a U.S. half-track that had 1/2 inch thick armor plating with three calibers, A military round of 30-06 Armor piercing that penetrated only .07 of an inch, a .270 Winchester with high velocity 100 grain bullets that flatened out and a .220 swift factory load with 48 grain bullet at 4,100 fps. The Swift puched right through the 1/2 inch thick armor plate. This astounded even Ackley who therorized that the bullets high rotational spin had a lot to do with penetration. The rotational spin was a fantastic 212,916 revolutions per minute. Sound familier? Fast forward to the U.S. military that went to the 62 grain .223 bullet out of a fast 1 in 7 twist for more drill like penetration of helmets many years later.

    And that was not all to this story.

    Akley and his friends not only hunted deer but had the opportuninty in 1948 in Arizona to thin out herds of feral burros that weighed as much as 600 pounds. They were wild burros that had been specially bred to be as big as Missouri mules by Miners years perviously. The fellows participating in the hunt were all armed with weapons like the 30-40 Kraig, 30-06 and German 8mm. They all laughed when Ackley showed up with a .220 swift but Akley only smiled and promised not to use the gun if it proved too underpowered.

    Well, when Akley unleashed hell on earth the rest of the hunters saw burro's colapse like they were hit with bolt lightning as far away as 600 yards and even gut shot burros colapsed in their tracks. Soon everyone was screaming to get a turn at using one of the most deadlist calibers on earth.

    I remember reading articles by others which seemed unbelievable at the time of even Grizzly bears being slain with one shot.

    Many new calibers have been invented since those days and with todays new super magunums perhaps using very light weight bullets of larger caliber we might have a combination that would beat the old .220 Swift but since no one to my knowledge has tried this we will have to wait and find out if some newer , bigger caliber can equal this feat of the .220 Swift of so long ago.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2003
  2. cratz2

    cratz2 Member

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    Good post. Another interesting fact as to maybe why the small caliber/high velocity/high rotational speed rounds do such a good job penetrating metal is it actually melts the metal as it passes through. Never shot at 1/2" metal but on thinner metals, if you look at the exit 'wound' you will often see metal that has melted down, looking like melted candle wax.
     
  3. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    Phil Sharpe lists a load for the old Savage .22 HiPower that runs about 4,000 ft/sec. Not bad for a cartridge introduced in 1899. That might explain the use of one of those for a one-shot kill on a 400-pound tiger in India, back around the WW I era.

    The Swift sure is rough on feral cats, out around 300...Haven't ever meddled with penetration on iron stuff. Have to try it.

    :), Art
     
  4. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Member

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    Fastest production cartridge

    If I have my firearms history straight, the .220 Swift was the fastest commercially produced cartridge available until the .30-06 Accelerator was introduced. 4000-plus feet per second - Yikes!

    Brad
     
  5. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    Yeah, for decades the standard factory load for the Swift was a 40-grain bullet at 4,140 ft/sec.

    Bullet technology didn't come anywhere near equalling today's critters. I remember around 1952 or so, messing with my father's Swift. If you shot through two pieces of heavy paper that were spaced about six inches apart, there would be a hole in the first, and a few tiny holes from jacket-pieces in the second--and a fine wash of lead on it. But it would blow a monstrous hole through a jackrabbit.

    Art
     
  6. Sven

    Sven Senior Member

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    What (common) rifles can one find today chambered for this caliber?
     
  7. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    Great post BHP9. That's why it's good to read these old books (I have an original 1 volume copy by Ackley. This was before he expanded it to two volumes).

    Can you share more about your early work in that store? What store and where? That sounds like an older style Abercrombie & Fitch or Eddie Bauer or old fashion Hardware Store or sporting goods store. When & where?
     
  8. bogie

    bogie Member

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    Just about any company that makes varmint rifles makes a Swift.
     
  9. cratz2

    cratz2 Member

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    Ruger makes a couple, Remington makes one. I don't think Savage or Winchester does currently. Actually, it's pretty hard to find brand new rifles in the Swift. So many manufacturers have gone over towards the 22-250 because of supposed early barrel wear and throat erosion. :rolleyes:

    In all honesty, for people that don't handload, there isn't much difference between the 220 Swift and the 22-250. Just for some reason, either buyers or manufacturers have migrated to the 22-250 over the Swift. Much like the 257 Roberts used to have a huge following but now, you either step down to the 243 or step up to the 25-06 but most have moved away from the 257 Roberts. :(
     
  10. ShaiVong

    ShaiVong Member

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    Does the 22-250 have the same unbelieveable qualities of the 220 swift? :what:
     
  11. Meanoldfart

    Meanoldfart Member

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    Hey, guys, I'll not argue about the 220 Swift being deadly.
    But the crap about the rotation is just that, if the spin on the bullet is 1 in 10 inches, {which would be plenty in a short bullet like a 40gr. .22} it would rotate 1/20th of a turn in that 1/2 inch of steel.
    This is the same type of bullsh-t that anti's used against Black Talon ammo{it just spins like a buzz saw as it rips your guts out}.
    Truth is, it only makes 1 rotation in the 10 or 12 inches it takes to go thru the body.
    Lets display a little critical thinking sometime.:banghead:
     
  12. ShaiVong

    ShaiVong Member

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    What if you shot someone in the top of the head, down through one leg?

    nt
     
  13. Meanoldfart

    Meanoldfart Member

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    If he was hit with that dreaded 220 Swift at 212000 rpm, there wouldn't be anything left but a pile of link sausage.:what:
     
  14. Frohickey

    Frohickey Member

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    Sven

    Remington 700 VS SF
    Ruger M77R Mark II
    Ruger KM77VT Mark II
    Ruger #1 B
    Ruger #1 V


    220Swift vs 22Cheetah
    Reloadbench.com 220Swift - 55gr@3900FPS - 1857 Ft-lb
    Reloadbench.com 22Cheetah (Wildcat 308Win necked down to 22) - 55gr@4050FPS - 2003 Ft-lb

    I think that all of this punching through of armor plate is because of the small diameter of the bullet, much like a needle goes through kevlar vests. Smaller diameter allows you to focus the limited bullet energy into a smaller area too. :banghead: If smiley's head was a cone, that brick wall would have been punched through a long time ago. :D

    220Swift ammo and brass is pretty spendy. About $20 for a box of 20. I think if I'm going to go the hyper-velocity route, I might just spend some money on this instead. Sure, its a discarding sabot, and it might add to some inaccuracy if the sabot does not precisely hold the bullet in the centerline axis, but for $10 for 100 sabots, it might just work fine. :scrutiny:
     
  15. BHP9

    BHP9 member

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    But the crap about the rotation is just that, if the spin on the bullet is 1 in 10 inches, {which would be plenty in a short bullet like a 40gr. .22} it would rotate 1/20th of a turn in that 1/2 inch of steel.

    True and not True. While in the barrel it is true but when the bullet leaves the barrel the spin is what is claimed and this was proven years later by U.S. Army test trials when they needed to spin the .5.56mm bullet thousands of more rpms to penetrate steel helmets at 400 yards. This is why the twist was changed from 1 in 12 to 1 in 7 and the bullet weight was increased from 55 grains to 62 grains along with the insertion of a steel penetrator. It was found that with the combination of increased rpms that the steel penetrator was able to do a much better job than if it had a slower twist of say 1 in 10 or 1 in 9, both of which would have stabilized the bullet. I cannot recall the rotational speed but it was published in I believe the American Rifleman magazine after ballistics tests were run on it by the U.S. Army.
     
  16. telewinz

    telewinz Member

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    Because it is the most common cartridge fired its the 22 long rifle.
     
  17. BHP9

    BHP9 member

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    My own experience with the .220 swift has been positive. I once shot a ground hog at a range of only 200 yards and the bullet hit the spine dead center and blew up and the only thing that I could find left of the ground hog was the head.

    The secret of the .220 swift as a varmint rifle

    I have liked the .220 swift more than my 22-250 for the following reasons. I load the Swift at about 3,700 fps and at this loading the Swift is operating at very low pressure as compared to loading the 22-250 at the same velocity. The results are that case life is far longer and trimming far less necessary than with the 22-250 at the same velocity. I have often got as many as 20 reloadings out of a batch of cases when loading the classic load of 37.5 grains of 4064 behind a 55 grain bullet. Groups out of my 1962 Model 70 Winchester with super fancy Fajen wood stock are 1/4 inch at 100 yards with few groups ever going over 1/2 inch.

    You can load the Swift a lot faster with the lighter bullets but barrel life and case life will not be as long. As a matter of fact on certain humid days you can actually see the bullets catch fire as they burn a trail of blue smoke for the first 50 or so yards.

    Next time you are out shooting at long range in the field or at a long range target range have someone stand directly behind you when you shoot. On sun shiny days you can actually see the bullet arc towards the target. Some people claim that you are only seeing the vapor trail but I disagree because I have been able to see a copper glint off of .30 cal. bullets when spotting for shooters at national matches.
     
  18. BHP9

    BHP9 member

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    oopps posted twice
     
  19. Archie

    Archie Member

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    Penetration on a single hard surface...

    such as a steel plate or helmet, is dependant primarily on velocity. Next factor is sectional density, which is weight compared to frontal area. Over all weight is not as important as SD. (Obviously, the heavier a bullet is in a fixed caliber, the more SD it will have.)

    P. O. Ackley, in his wildest dreams, would not have tried the 220 Swift on elephant. Penetration in a homologous mass (like ballistic gel or elephant) is dependant on momentum. That's why the rifles for large game fire big, heavy bullets.

    Spin rates: The longer the projectile, the faster it must be spun in order to stabilize. The reason for changing the M16 twist rate from 1-12 to 1-7 is to stabilize the heavier bullet.

    But spinning the bullet has nothing to do with penetration, per se.

    But all that takes nothing from the .220 Swift. Were some decent bullet company to make 80 to 100 grain bullets for it; and we could get the rifle makers to put in a twist rate to stabilize those heavier bullets, we could have a rifle for anything from groundhogs to antelope. Sigh...
     
  20. Larry Ashcraft

    Larry Ashcraft Moderator Staff Member

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    Ackley's own creation...

    The 22-250 Ackley Improved, will equal the 220 Swift's ballistics, with less barrel wear and longer case life.

    I've long been a fan of Ackley's wildcats. In fact I'm building a .270 Ackley Improved on a Springfield my dad built in the 50's.
     
  21. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    ShaiVong, there ain't enough difference in performance on lil critters to generate an argument, between the Swift and what once was known as the Varminter.

    BHP9's deal of loading below max pays off for any hotshot rifle, and the practical difference between 3,700 ft/sec and anything above that is purely academic.

    If you stay with coyotes and smaller, a bullet of 50 to 55 grains will work just fine, and you don't have to burn up a barrel to get all the velocity you'll ever need.

    I grant that it's a ton of fun to have some truly hot loads around, just for the occasional fun and games. A full-max 40-grain load into some water-filled container, for instance...Heckuva show!

    :), Art
     
  22. Triad

    Triad Member

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    From all accounts I've heard, 8mm Mauser does the same thing.
     
  23. BHP9

    BHP9 member

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    Spin rates: The longer the projectile, the faster it must be spun in order to stabilize. The reason for changing the M16 twist rate from 1-12 to 1-7 is to stabilize the heavier bullet.

    But spinning the bullet has nothing to do with penetration, per se.

    I would partially agree with you about needing a faster twist to stabalize the longer heavier bullet. But the Military could have easily used a 1 - 10 twist to stablize the current round. I have fired this round out of a Ruger Mini-14 with a one in 10 twist and it worked just fine with no tumbling and just as good as accuracy as the 55 grain stuff. The Barrel life in the 1 in 10 would also have been much longer so why did not the U.S. military go with the 1 in 10 but instead go with the 1 in 7 twist because in their own published tests the 1 in 7 twist did contribute to superior penetration due to the higher rpms of the projectile

    P.O. Akley states as much almost half a century before. but the U.S. military had to discover this for themselves many years later.
     
  24. BHP9

    BHP9 member

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    But all that takes nothing from the .220 Swift. Were some decent bullet company to make 80 to 100 grain bullets for it; and we could get the rifle makers to put in a twist rate to stabilize those heavier bullets, we could have a rifle for anything from groundhogs to antelope. Sigh

    Good news my friend. You can buy 80 grain bullets from such makers as Sierra, and Berger. I believe I have also read that someone ,maybe Berger has already made bullets in the 100 grain weight in .22 caliber.

    One could also make his own jacketed bullets with the use of swaging dies. An outfit by the name of Corbin use to and maybe still does sell bullet swaging dies in any weight and configuration that you might want.

    Actually your idea of a new dream rifle was actually tried almost 100 years ago in the Savage 22 hi-power. I believe the bullet though was an odd ball diameter of .228 instead of .224 and I cannot remember just how heavy the bullet was but I believe it was around 80 grains or more in weight.
     
  25. Gewehr98

    Gewehr98 Member

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    So what you're saying is, BHP9...

    When I finish my 6.5-300 Weatherby Magnum wildcat, I should chamber and barrel it for a fast twist and 200gr 6.5mm bullets. The linear velocity and rotational velocity would be enough for it to go through an M1 Abrams?
     
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