We like to take similar calibers in a platform, like rifle, and compare them. Our goal with this 220 Swift VS 223 Remington article is to help you choose which cartridge will be right for your next rifle based on several criteria.
Please know that whatever it is that you choose, you’re not wrong. At the end of the day I’ll pick a winner for myself, but what is right for me may not be right for you.
Let’s get started.
220 Swift VS 223 Ballistics
The 220 Swift propels a 55 grain projectile to 3,680 feet per second and 1,654 FT/LB of energy at the muzzle. Comparatively, the 223 Remington propels a 55 grain bullet to 3,240 and 1,282 FT/LB of energy at the muzzle.
At 100 yards, velocity for the 220 Swift slows to 3,253 FPS and 1,292 FT/LB while the 223 Remington slows to 2,874 FPS and 1,008 FT/LB of energy.
In terms of ballistics alone, the 220 Swift is the clear winner, but there is more at stake than just foot pounds of energy and bullet speed.
223 Remington VS 220 Swift Trajectory
Both cartridges shoot relatively flat, but the 220 Swift wins here. At 300 yards the 220 Swift drops a few inches less than the 223 Remington does.
223 Remington VS 220 Swift Ballistics Chart:
|CALIBER||MUZZLE VELOCIY||MUZZLE ENERGY||100 YD VELOCITY||100 YD ENERGY||100 YD DROP|
|223 Rem 55 GR||3240||1282||2874||1008||0|
|220 Swift 55 GR||3680||1654||3253||1292||+.09|
220 Swift VS 223 Rem Recoil
Both cartridges recoil very lightly and this shouldn’t be a concern for most shooters. The 22 caliber rifles are a good option for people newer to shooting to learn on because they’re good at building confidence.
Because of their inherent ability to hunt animals, they both serve double duty.
I’d be remiss to not at least state that recoil will be heavily dependent upon the rifle as well. For example, a bolt action rifle will recoil totally different than a semi-automatic rifle will in the same caliber.
223 Remington History and Use
The 223 Remington is the younger of the two cartridges being released to the shooting public in 1964. After its release it was picked up by the military, loaded to higher pressures, and given a name change to 5.56 NATO.
Both cartridges are similar, but I always recommend that if you’re in the market for a new rifle in this chambering, to buy one in 5.56 because it offers up greater practicality and the ability to shoot both 223 Remington and 5.56 NATO.
The 223 Remington gives the shooter more options for hunting and this is also a popular self-defense round over 220 Swift. I like to say to people that if you can only buy one rifle, an AR-15 that you can hunt with AND defend yourself with is the best case scenario.
To read more history and see more ballistics on the 223 Remington, click that link.
223 Remington Availability and Cost
The 223 Remington, along with its counterpart the 5.56 NATO, is the the most popular rifle cartridge in the United States. At least part of the reason why this is true, is because the most popular rifle, the AR-15, chambers 5.56/223 more often than any other chambering.
Because of this popularity, all of the mainline ammo makers produce 223 and 5.56. In addition, the smaller boutique ammo makers also produce a lot of this ammo, as well.
This drives price down significantly over similar cartridges.
220 Swift History and Use
The 220 Swift is a much older cartridge than the 223 is. Originally introduced to the shooting public in 1935 by Winchester Ammunition, the end goal was to produce a high speed centerfire rifle cartridge with a caliber of 22.
220 Swift is an excellent varmint hunting cartridge that has also been used for deer hunting with the right loads, wherever a 22 caliber projectile can be used for hunting deer (check your local laws).
To read the more in depth article on the 220 Swift and its history and ballistics, push on that link.
220 Swift Availability and Cost
The 220 Swift is not a very popular chambering. Both Hornady and Federal Premium, for example, only have one offering for it each.
Because it isn’t offered as much as 223 is, there are less rifles that shoot it, less people buy it, and it is more expensive.
223 Remington VS 220 Swift — Which is Better?
In terms of hunting ballistics alone, the 220 Swift with its better downrange trajectory, energy, and velocity is the clear winner. However, with its lack of rifles and all around lower number of ammunition manufacturers making it, it costs more to shoot and is harder to come by.
Therefore, for me and my uses I choose 223 Remington with rifles chambered in 5.56X45 that will shoot both calibers. For those reasons, 223 Remington is my winner here.
There is nothing wrong with 220 Swift, however, as it is an excellent cartridge.