Information about a 220 Swift Ackley Improved

Posted by: John Wright

Information about a 220 Swift Ackley Improved - 11/10/17 12:38 AM

Can anyone point me to the case dimensions for a 220 Swift Ackley improved? In the early 80's, after finishing college, I started hunting with a benchrest/hunting professor at the University of Texas. He had a mfg FFL and talked me into building what might be a 220 Swift AI but with a turned down neck. The rifle was built on a Witworth action (Manchester, England) with a solid floor plate for stiffness, a Hart barrel similar to what is currently described as a Max HD profile and bedded to a McMillan beaver-tail fiberglass stock. He was a great fan of the 220 Swift but felt strongly about modifying the shoulder to reduce brass creep. I lost all of my reloading gear during Hurricane Ike in 2008 but I managed to save the rifle along with a standard 220 Swift case with the neck turned down, two fire formed cases from my rifle and a single loaded bullet. He always stressed that with these 4 items I could always have another collet Neck Sizing Die made.

The shoulder once blown out appears to be close to 40 degrees (Ackley?) but I seem to remember him saying that the turned down neck case was a bit different from what one would get from the typical 220 Swift Ackley Improved reamers.

Now that I am retired I would like to resurrect this rifle but I cannot find any specs on the 220 Swift AI.

Here is an image of the three shell cases and one loaded bullet.

thanks in advance.
Posted by: 1badshee

Re: Information about a 220 Swift Ackley Improved - 11/10/17 07:01 AM

Best bet with a custom chamber would be get a measurement from your loaded case with the turned down neck and turn some more down load and fire. Then send the fired brass to whidden and have dies made for your rifle.
Posted by: John Wright

Re: Information about a 220 Swift Ackley Improved - 11/10/17 10:31 AM

Thanks for the Widden suggestion 1badshee. I've only used the Lee Precision custom collet neck sizing dies in the past and the Widden die sets look very interesting.
Posted by: NWShooter69

Re: Information about a 220 Swift Ackley Improved - 11/12/17 11:33 AM

I thought with a rifle chambered for an AI cartridge, you just fired factory rounds and the result was the a formed case? Such as factory 243 fired, result 243 AI case for reloading.
Posted by: John Wright

Re: Information about a 220 Swift Ackley Improved - 11/12/17 03:37 PM

Hi NWshooter69, I believe you are correct about standard Ackley Improved cartridges. My rifle was put together by a bench rest shooter who was a stickler about neck thickness and uniformity. This is why we started with unfired brass and first turned the necks prior to fire forming the case with maybe 5 grains of pistol powder followed by corn meal and a plug of soap (see photo sequence). These cases were then trimmed to length if needed and after removing the primers and expanding the necks they were reloaded with a collet sizing die made by Lee Precision Custom based on two fired brass cases and one loaded bullet from my rifle). My recollection is that standard 220 Swift bullets with standard neck thicknesses either would not chamber in my rifle or if forced would create undue neck pressure which could be dangerous.
I lost all my reloading equipment in Hurricane Ike in 2008 including my dies, neck turners, scales, press, etc. I'm retired now and after checking into the Whidden sizing dies that 1badshee suggested I posted a question about collet vs bushing sizing dies on the reloading forum here on Pred. Masters. Another user suggested it might be cheaper to have this “220 AI variant” rechambered to 22-250 AI which and allow me to fire form commercially available 22-250 rounds as you suggest AI cases are typically formed and then neck size rounds for any subsequent shooting. This sounded like a simpler and safer alternative and I’m looking for gunsmiths in the area that might be able to rechamber the rifle to either 22-250 or 22-250 AI.
Posted by: Bigdog2

Re: Information about a 220 Swift Ackley Improved - 11/12/17 04:33 PM

As much as I think Predator Masters is great you ought to look through to find this type of info.
Posted by: John Wright

Re: Information about a 220 Swift Ackley Improved - 11/16/17 10:18 PM

Hi Bigdog2, Thank you for the link to accurateshooters. I think I would really prefer to move this rifle to a more practical predator/varmint rifle rather then try to preserve what might have been more of a "benchrest style" prairie dog rifle requiring so much rifle case manipulation. I learned what little I know about reloading (specifically for this rifle) from my friend who passed away three years ago and it was certainly very accurate but I'm thinking that this rifle would be of more service to me now if I just set it back and had it rechambered to 22-250 (as per the suggestion of another forum member on the PM reloading site. The coyote shots where I hunt are rarely more than 300 yards and I would rather spend time hunting than reloading.
I'm pretty sure this rifle has had less than 200 rounds put through it and the bore is in good shape. We usually kept the velocities low enough so we would not burn out the Hart barrel.
I'm calling local gunsmiths in my area about setting the chamber back to 22-250 but any suggestions are welcome.

Posted by: willy1947

Re: Information about a 220 Swift Ackley Improved - 11/17/17 04:58 AM

I have been loading the 220 swift for 55 years. I can load a 40gr pill so fast that is will never get to the target at 100yds on a foggy day. I can burn barrels up with the best of them. I can shoot whitetail deer at 200yds that will turn his insides into jelly. That is my two cents.
Posted by: ackleyman

Re: Information about a 220 Swift Ackley Improved - 11/17/17 08:55 AM

John, I am sorry for your loss of equipment.

A set back is in order by a good gunsmith that will also determine how much shooting had been done by the previous owner and cut off enough barrel to get rid of the worn section.

The Swift ackley improved is really fast, and impressive with heavy bullets.

Have you determined what twist rate the barrel is?
Posted by: Yotarunner

Re: Information about a 220 Swift Ackley Improved - 11/17/17 10:15 AM

When doing research maybe look into the 220 weatherby rocket. I know it is one of the first ackley improved cartridges so it may be close to what your looking for.