View Full Version : Ruger M77 220 Swift Custom Barrel

January 22, 2012, 06:28 PM
I own a Ruger M77 220 Swift that I have had a couple of years and found to be a very good shooting rifle. Recently, I am becoming more interested in shooting beyond 300 and even 500 yards, all the way out to 1,000 and have been looking in to ways to do this with the Swift. I have found some info on the 90 grain bench rest bullets made by Berger, but have been informed that the stock barrel which I think is a 24" with a 1:14 twist will not be suitable for stabilizing this size of bullet. Therefore, I am looking into purchasing a custom made barrel specifically for this purpose.

After looking around on several custom barrel websites I have found that selecting a "contour" is part of choosing my barrel. I know nothing about contours, how they work, what they mean, and definitely do not know what I need for this particular purpose.

Can anyone give me some good advice on what length, twist and contour would be optimal for the purpose of shooting the 90 grain Berger bullets up to 1,000 yard distances? I have had some recommendations on another thread I posted of a 26" barrel with a 1:8 twist, can anyone confirm this? Also, if the bullet will stabilize with the 1:8 twist in a 26" barrel, will a 30" at the same twist shoot even better?

Any advice and info will be greatly appreciated!

January 23, 2012, 06:00 PM
Come on, 122 views and no one has any good info for me? I figured I'd have several good replies by now, any help will be much appreciated.

January 23, 2012, 08:50 PM
It appears that you've asked the same question in at least 3 places on this one forum. I think you probably have most of the info you need: 24 inch barrel; 1 in 7 or 1 in 8 twist. As for the contour, go with a medium to heavy varmint contour. Then pick your barrel supplier and go with it. If all you are going to do is punch paper, then go with a heavier barrel contour. If you might want to shoot coyotes or prairie dogs, go with the medium contour. Find a good gunsmith (I think that's important) and get a great scope. Norma brass is a good choice. 4064 has long been a great powder in Swifts, though maybe not for that weight bullet. Bench rest primers are good.

Your rifle might be a lot like my first tractor. I got all the stuff I thought I needed on the first one, but when I bought the second tractor I knew exactly what I needed. Good luck with it.

January 24, 2012, 02:08 PM
It appears that you've asked the same question in at least 3 places on this one forum. I think you probably have most of the info you need

Yeah I got alot of good info just never the actualy info I wanted regarding the contour of the barrel, etc. However, you answered that for me in your reply so I appreciate it. The reason I started new threads is because the old ones seemed to just stop and my questions were pretty repetitive without direct answers.

January 24, 2012, 09:47 PM
I hope I didn't sound too awfully abrupt in my response. The problem for a fellow trying to answer your question is that you weren't clear on what all you planned to do with the rifle. If it's just long range paper punching, then you'd probably want a real long range rifle, which will be far too heavy and bulky for any sort of hunting. If you do plan some hunting with this rifle, then you need a different sort of rifle. If you are going to do both, which is what I based my response on, then a 24 inch barrel is plenty (though you could go to 26 inches, but going past 24 inches is a lot of barrel). And the barrel contour needs to be something at least reasonable weight-wise, so that you won't need a rolling bipod to get the gun to the field. As for barrel twist, I thin you (and I) heard from others that a 1 in 7 will stabilize the 90 grain bullet and that a 1 in 8 twist "might" adequately stabilize it. That makes it your choice, but I don't think I'd spend as much money as you are about to on a barrel that might or might not stabilize the bullet you have chosen to shoot. Talk to some serious long range guys or specialty gunsmiths and get as much advice as you can regarding what you plan to do and what you plan to do it with. You want to get as close to right as you can the first time you spend the big bucks. Personally, I'd find a top notch gunsmith that works with the type rifle you want and sit down with him to discuss this at length.

January 25, 2012, 04:38 PM
Sounds like an interesting project.

I suggest a couple things to keep in mind.

Tighter twists and long heavy bullets are a lot harder for the powder gasses to push down the barrel.With a larger case like the Swift,you can load enough powder to get in trouble.Trouble may come as a very quick pressure spike,and cool versus hot day,lot to lot variation,etc suggest leaving yourself a margin of safety.

Tight twists and long heavy bullets at very high velocities are more prone to metal fouling.

If you are planning to shoot varmints,the match bullets do not open up.Berger does say some of their match bullets are suitable for varmints.I don't know,but the 77 gr ones I tried out of my AR said "excellent for varmints" on the box.My experience,a prairie dog is not large enough to open these bullets up.The kills were not quick enough to suit me.The bullets might be fine on a coyote.One bullet that is relatively sleek and I believe would open up on varmints is the 75 gr Hornady A-max.It has a plastic nosecone.That bullet is not suitable for a magazine fed .223 but it might be fine in your Swift.

Now,I do not say these things to rain on your parade.I think a tight twist 22-250 would be a fun tool for me.I just offer some things to keep in mind so you will more likely be successful.

Jim Watson
January 25, 2012, 11:27 PM
At risk of repeating myself or somebody else, I THINK an 8 twist would be adequate for a 90 gr Swift, surely for some of the 82 grain bullets coming out now. Berger recommends a 7 twist for their 90 grain bullets but that is in something like a .223. You might should actually talk to somebody at Berger to get the straight scoop.

Added barrel length will get you a little free velocity and move the muzzle blast that much farther from your ears. It will not affect the shooting otherwise. I have a couple of 28 inch barrels because the first was what Krieger had in stock and the second was the longest Pac Nor makes without charging extra per inch. No stronger reason. Palma shooters typically use 30 inch barrels on their overloaded .308s.

If you are going to stick to the factory Ruger stock a 26-28" medium heavy would be about right. I think the 77V Swift has a 26" barrel, the sporter 24"

January 26, 2012, 07:06 AM
Thanks Jim, that was helpfull, and thanks to everyone else for all of the replies.

February 19, 2012, 02:20 PM
You may check out Weatherby .220 Rocket (.220 Swift Improved) if you are going to re-barrel your 77V. I had mine rechambered in 1979 by Huntington's and it has made a world of difference. It does not stretch brass any longer and gains a couple hundred FPS. It will fire standard 220 SW and is a dream to load for. Mine shoots a Sierra 52/53gr HPBT Match at 4K FPS with pressure to spare, and 5 holes touching. It has killed dozens of prairie goats and mulies up to 500 yards and hundreds of rats . My only regret is not re-barreling with a 1/9 twist to shoot the Sierra 69gr HPBT Match.