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May 12th, 2008

Beggs Develops Radical Rigs in West Texas Tunnel

Gene Beggs operates his own 100-yard indoor tunnel and rifle testing facility just outside of Odessa, Texas. Gene provides instruction and “tunnel time” for serious benchresters looking to improve their skills and optimize the accuracy of their rifles. Along with teaching the fine points of short-range benchrest, Gene has been developing two radical new rifles, one chambered in 220 Beggs, a slightly modified 220 Russian, and a second chambered in 6mm Beggs, a necked-up version of the 220 Russian that retains the original body taper and shoulder angle.

Both rifles share a skeleton design which uses the Stiller Cobra or Viper action as a central load-bearing member. Remarkably, there is no conventional fore-arm at all. Gene has bolted, directly to the barrel, a 3″-wide bag-riding aluminum sled. The sled was not designed as a mid-barrel tuner, but it might have some beneficial effects in that regard. However, the tuning functions are handled by two concentric rings threaded to the muzzle. Gene believes that with minor rotations of his front tuning rings, he can dial the gun into tune and the tune can be easily adjusted as conditions warrant.

Do Mr. Beggs’ guns shoot? Absolutely. We had the chance, a month ago, to visit Gene in Odessa. We shot both the 220 Beggs-chambered rifle, and its 6mm Beggs-chambered cousin. Both rifles are nearly identical, though the Heavy Varmint-weight 220 has a longer, 27″ barrel compared to 22″ for the Light Varmint 6mm.

In the tunnel, the 220 HV, with a no-turn-neck 220 Beggs chamber, produced three-shot groups in the low ones and zeros right out of the gate, even before the tuner was optimized. With a barrel with over 1000 rounds through it, after firing 40 rounds without cleaning, Gene produced a tiny 5-shot group in the low ones. The first shot was slightly high (a common occurence in the tunnel according to Beggs). The last 4 shots, rounds 42-45 since the barrel had been cleaned, went into 0.084″. This rig, though radical in the extreme, certainly appears fully competitive with more conventional BR rigs, and it tracked superbly, with no hopping or rocking on the bags.

220 Beggs — Simple, Accurate, Efficient
We were also very impressed with the 220 Beggs cartridge. It’s basically a plain 220 Russian with a sharper radius at the neck-shoulder junction. Gene has commissioned a 220 Beggs reamer with matching seating and full-length sizing dies. The little cartridge achieves 3600+ fps with a 52gr bullet, pushed by Benchmark powder. From what we could tell during our short visit, the 220 Beggs is easy to load for, and performs exceptionally well with either turned (.250″) or no-turn necks. The recoil was noticeably less than a 6mm PPC, making the gun a joy to shoot. This round, we felt, could also be an outstanding varmint cartridge. The velocity is there, and we don’t think any other 22-caliber varmint cartridge is going to beat it for inherent accuracy.

Gene notes: “The .250 turned neck is probably the best choice and I have custom carbide neck bushings available for that diameter. I also have a new shipment of custom Hornady dies. Freebore? Anywhere from .035 to .045 is fine. I prefer flatbase bullets of 52 grains. Hodgdon’s Benchmark has become my favorite powder for the 220 Beggs. A case full gives around 3550 to 3600 fps with no signs of excessive pressure. The little sucker is a hoot to shoot and is competitive with anything out there on the 100/200 yard line.”

As for the 6mm version, Gene told us: “The 6mm version of the cartridge performs best with Hodgdon’s H4198 Extreme, but the 220 has proven it will shoot well with just about anything you put in it including N133, H322, Benchmark, 8208, Norma 200 etc. It is the most trouble-free, user friendly cartridge I have ever worked with and will compete heads-up with anything. It’s also very easy on the shoulder.”

How to Learn More
Gene sells components (reamers, dies etc.) for the 220 and 6mm Beggs, and also offers training/testing sessions in his West Texas Tunnel on an appointment basis. For more information, or to schedule a session, email genebeggs [at]

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May 12th, 2008

2008 Eastern CMP Games and Creedmoor Cup Results Posted

Over the past two weekends, concluding on May 11th, hundreds of shooters participated in the 2008 Eastern CMP Games and Creedmoor Cup at Camp Butner, NC. Some 398 shooters took part in the CMP Games on the first weekend. That makes the Games one of the most popular shooting events of any kind hosted in North America. Importantly, at a time when match attendance is shrinking for many other disciplines, CMP Games participant numbers were up dramatically since last year’s inaugural event. This reflects the growing interest in traditional, military-style firearms.

CLICK HERE for Complete Match Results

SFC Singley Wins Creedmoor Overall
The CMP has posted complete CMP Games and Creedmoor Cup Results online. The Creedmoor Cup Overall Champion was SFC Grant Singley, with a 790-31X score. A service rifle shooter with the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU), SFC Singley was the Military Marksmanship Association (MMA) Soldier of the Year in 2007 and 1996. Taking second in Service Rifle was Singley’s USAMU team-mate Tyrell Cooper, with a 787-26X. First in Match Rifle Class was Troy Lawton, who posted a 787-25X.

CMP Games Popular
Warm Carolina spring temperatures, light winds and only one brief spell of rain created ideal shooting condition. As a result there were 12 Garand-Springfield-Vintage Military Rifle scores in the 280s. Sean Leighton (287-5X) won the Eastern Games Garand Match, while Robert Churchill (281-5X) won the 1903 Springfield Match. Churchill was also High Senior among Springfield shooters.

The best score of the CMP Games was a 288-6X fired by CWO2 Peter Burns, USMC, in the Vintage Military Rifle Match. Burns is now the OIC of the Marine Corps Rifle Team, but he competed in the Camp Butner As-Issued Military Rifle Matches to “just shoot for fun.” He fired a Swiss Schmidt-Rubin M1911 rifle in 7.5mm Swiss caliber. The Schmidt-Rubin has a barrel-mounted open rear sight. Burns’ winning performance demonstrates that peep (aperture) sights are not essential to shoot great scores. Burns also placed sixth in the Garand Match, third in the Springfield Match, and first overall in the As-Issued M1 Garand EIC Match.

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