Rodents like woodchucks, groundhogs, prairie dogs, and coyotes are often called “varmints.”
Hunters are willing to kill a lot of animals at once from a distance because it is an effective (and fun) way to get rid of pests, even though these animals are rarely taken for food (though they may be).
For this, varmint hunters often use a small, super-fast bullet because it kills the target animal quickly and painlessly. Two examples of such weapons are the.22-250 Remington and the.220 Swift.
Both were made in the early 20th century to hunt small animals from a long distance, and both have been proven to work well enough that they are still used today.
But which one should you take if you have to?
Unlike most hunting cartridges, the.22-250 and.220 Swift can shoot bullets of 35 to 60 grams as fast as 4,000 feet per second (fps). Due to their high speed, these bullets can keep a flat path even at long distances. This makes them perfect for use in the grasslands, where cross-breezes are common.
Most of the time, small game hunters don’t worry too much about energy far away. A 55-grain or a 168-grain bullet moving at 2,500 feet per second won’t matter to a groundhog. In these situations, a bullet’s speed and straight path are more important than its “knockdown power.”
Both cartridges fire small bullets at a high speed, but the.220 Swift usually throws its projectiles farther than the.22-250.
For example, this Federal.22-250 load sends a 40-grain Hornady V-max bullet out of the muzzle at 4,200 fps, while these.220 loads send the same bullet out at 4,250 fps.
As expected for bullets with almost the same ballistic coefficients (a measure of how well a bullet moves through the air), the.22-250 drops 6.1 inches at 100 yards, but the.220 Swift only drops 5.5 inches. Half an inch may not seem like much, but when shooting at a small target, it can make a big difference.
The wind drift, or the way the wind is blowing, goes with the same column. At 500 yards, the.22-250 has moved 34.1 inches while the.220 has only moved 29.2 inches in a 10 mph crosswind.
There aren’t many times when the.22-250 would be better, but most of the time, the.220 Swift would be 100 to 200 feet per second faster than the.22-250.
The faster speed, on the other hand, will make your barrel wear out faster. “Cartridges of the World” by Frank C. Barnes says that people who have used both types of cartridges say that the.220 Swift wears down barrels faster than the.22-250.
Most hunters don’t worry too much about barrel life, but varmint hunters shoot a lot more bullets than your average whitetail addict. Possible varmint shooters need to decide if the.220’s extra power is worth the cost of a future barrel upgrade.
No, we are not talking about living in a barrel. In this case, we’re talking about ballistics, and it’s clear that the.220 Swift is the winner.
Winner: .220 Swift
You can safely shoot both rounds. The.220 Swift will seem faster because it has a higher muzzle velocity, but the maximum recoil force is still only about 5 to 6 foot-pounds. A.223 Remington has a recoil of about 4 ft.-lbs., while a.30-06 Springfield has a recoil of about 17 ft.-lbs.
Any cartridge won’t hurt your shoulder, but I can’t say the same for your pocketbook. Even though the.22-250 and.220 are often in the arsenals of varmint hunters, they are not everywhere (a five-dollar phrase meaning “essentially everywhere”). You’ll have to pay at least $1.25 per round, and you might not be able to find them at your local sporting goods store.
The.22-250, on the other hand, has a few advantages over its rival. The.22-caliber Ruger is much easier to find than the.220 Swift, which makes it a better choice for people who want to buy a gun online.
Federal and Midway USA both have a lot to offer in the.22-250 caliber. Federal has 11 options and Midway USA has 36. On the other hand, Federal only has one version of the.220 Swift while Midway has five.
Because of economies of scale, the.22-250 is usually cheaper. Both calibers have high-quality hunting ammo that costs about the same, but the.22-250 has more hunting and plinking options that cost less.
One of the least expensive choices. The 22-250 round is the least expensive, costing about $1.25 per shot. It costs more than $2 to bet $220.
Winner: .22-250 Remington
When I say “versatility,” I mean both the number of weapons you can use and the number of animal species you can kill without breaking any rules.
Even though it was made for small game, any cartridge can be used on deer with the right bullet weight (55 grains or more). The 60-grain Federal Nosler Partition.22-250 and the 55-grain Fusion.22-250 are both great choices.
Deer hunting bullets can also be used in the, but they may be harder to find.
220 Swift. There are five different kinds of. There are 220 options, and none of them are heavier than 55 grains. Federal, on the other hand, only has one, and it’s for small game. Since this is the case, even though both cartridges can kill medium-sized animals, the.22-250 is the better choice.
There are more.22-250 rifles on the market than.220 Swift rifles because more manufacturers are willing to make ammunition for it.
For example, Weatherby makes five Vanguard models in.22-250, one of which is the very popular Weatherguard Bronze. The.220 Swift cartridge isn’t a common one for rifles, so none of them are made to hold it.
Large stores that sell athletic goods are even more different. Sportsman’s Guide has 48 rifles that are chambered in.22-250, but only one that is chambered in.220. Brownells has three.22-250 rifles, but none in.220. Cabela’s, on the other hand, sells four.
Both cartridges can kill a wide range of animals, but the.22-250 has a clear advantage because it can be used in rifles.
Winner: .22-250 Remington
And the Winner Is…
In the past, Caliber Battles have been about how cartridges work in similar ways. There is one cartridge that gives you more speed, but there is another that is easier to get, cheaper, or gives you less recoil.
Some of the problems that were mentioned in the previous comparisons could be made up for by a faster car. No, I don’t believe that.
Barnes has said that the faster bullet speed of the.220 Swift makes it “the best varmint cartridge ever made.”
Still, the average hunter walking through a sporting goods store won’t learn much from such glowing reviews. Even though the.220 is faster by 100 to 200 fps, the fact that it is so hard to find makes up for it. When you finally find it, it will cost a lot.
The.22-250 Remington wins the Caliber Battle because of this.