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Practically Shooting

My First 1,000 Yard F-Class Match


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I shot my first 1,000 yard match today. I've been trying to get there all season and finally caught the last one. This is held at an army base, so it's not as easy as just showing up. You have to submit your drivers license number, rifle description, etc by Tuesday before the match.

In this club's NRA Long Range matches, they run standard prone (sling shooters) and F-Class together. F-Class, for those unaware, was created by an aging Canadian shooter to keep competing. It's basically regular prone Long Range, but you can use a bipod or forward benchrest, a rear bag, and a scope. To make up for the extra help, the scoring rings are half size. The X-ring is ring is 5", the 10-ring is 10", the 9-ring is 20", the 8-ring is 39", and the 7-ring is 44". That makes up the aiming black.

Shooting tight enough isn't the problem. It's the wind. A small wind change between shots today would move shots from one side of the 44" 7-ring to the other.

And this place is know for strange fish tailing and swirling wind patterns. I don't know what it is, but it's been that way every time I've shot there. The regulars said today was the worst they had ever seen it, not due to high wind speeds (the gusts hit 20 mph) but the inconsistent speed and direction. This range has four big wind flags- one on each end of the 600-yard firing line, and one on each end of the target line. I never saw more than two flags close to the same. Several times I watched the right side target flag switch from ESE to SW- over a 100 degree shift- then swing right back to ESE. Seriously, the wind could change during the bullet's flight.

It sucked.

And I loved it.

We shoot longish range at my friend's place, but it's a different deal in a match because of the time. You get unlimited sighters, and 30 minutes to shoot sighters and 20 record shots. I've never cut it close on time before in Highpower, but ran close today. Things just take longer at long range. There is more to watch, more wind indicators, more wind changes. With unlimited sighters, I used them. Use up about seven sighters, reading the target, make adjustments...and the next thing I knew I had used nearly half my time and had just under 18 minutes to make 10 scoring shots. You shoot two 20-shot "matches", and I did the same thing in both.

I had never shot any form of Highpower with a scope before. Obviously it helped, but it was also an added complication. I didn't expect that. Keeping track of the focus when checking mirage, fine tuning parallax, deciding whether to adjust for wind, hold off for wind (and then to hold off by moving the crosshair intersection on the target or by using the mil-dots and holding them center) and THEN remembering what you did in the last shot as a baseline is a lot to keep up with. Add in that you have to remember the wind condition when you did that, and it's probably different from what you have now 40 seconds later. I got lost during the second "match" and had a string of six misses after shooting 8s and higher with my first six. Everything went blank. I couldn't remember which wind direction I had to account for. Now I'm poking at the air in the middle of the match just trying to get one on paper to give me reference. All the while, the clock is ticking.

I shot somewhere in the 140s (146? 148?) out of 200 on the first match, and after getting lost in the second match I plummeted to a dismal 86. Freakin' wind. I set a goal

for myself at any new competition I try: Don't finish last. I made it; I didn't.

Before the match, my rifle buddy kept telling me I needed to go no matter what, just to get some 1,000 yard and wind data.

Thanks to the shifting winds, I think I got more data than I wanted! They all said I picked a helluva day to start this nonsense.

I'll go back. It's about the only rifle game I can do while lying down.

Gear geek info: Steyr SSG .308 with 25.6" barrel, US Optics 10X scope (probably the lightest rifle and definitely the smallest scope there, but I don't think either hurt me at all), Harris bipod, wedge-shaped rear bag, shooting 185 grain Berger Juggernaut LR Target bullets at 2610 fps.

The books all say I should need 38-40 moa of elevation. It took 49.5 moa. This is why you need to verify.

I had already seen at shorter ranges it took more, so started higher than the charts at 45 moa. Good thing I did that or I'd have started off paper and lost.


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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 8 months later...

I shot a mid-range (20 rds each at 300, 500, and 600 yards) F-Class match Sunday.   


That was a lot easier.  

But not easy.


I had actually shot those distances with the rifle before, so didn't have to spend half the match chasing zeroes.   I shot a .223 this time, partly on a dare from a friend, and partly because it's what I've shot a lot recently.    I used 69 grain Sierras at 300, and 77 grain Sierras at 500 and 600, and Varget powder. 


I love seeing the equipment at these things, although I probably won the award for cheapest rifle there: Remington 700 SPS Tactical, with a $259 SWFA scope.   I knew one guy there, and his brother had a rest that might have cost as much or more than my rifle.   He said he'd been through seven barrels since February.  


Anyway, it was fun.  I hope to shoot another next weekend, a 60-rd 600 yarder.  

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A sighter is a shot that's not for record.  A "freebie" you can use for sight adjustments to confirm your zero change due to condition changes, etc.  


Usually in Highpower, you get two sighters before each stage (standing, sitting, prone).   Smallbore is often unlimited sighters, with a separate target for that.  That's what you see on most smallbore targets with multiple bullseyes, one will be marked with an S on each side. 


In the 1,000 yard F-Class match we had unlimited sighters but once we declared we were shooting for record, we had to continue without shooting anymore sighters.  

You might think people would shoot a lot of them, but they don't.  For one thing, there is the time limit, but that's not it. The condition changes happen so fast and have enough effect that people want to get done in the shortest time they can.   That's something I'm having to get used to.  


The Mid-range match had "convertible sighters" which is something I'd never had in Highpower.   You get two sighters, then you can "convert" either the second or both to scoring shots by telling your scorekeeper.    I was pulling targets for someone who shot two Xs with his sighters.   I'm sure he converted those.  That gave him the additional advantage of finishing sooner with less condition change.  


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  • 4 months later...

Lots of people talk about shooting long range but it's just talk. I've just started long range shooting myself and I've only gotten out 400 yards and even the lightest wind affects trajectory and your DOPE has to be right on. 

   1000 yards isn't easy in the least. Anyone who says it is hasn't shot at a 12" gong at that yardage before. 

   And the rifle has to be moa at the very least. Sub moa to be competitive. 

The concentration you have to have to make these kind of shots is extreme. A 10x scope was/is the military choice for snipers,and they make kill shots at extreme long range with them. 

   I'm shooting a 7mm rem mag. Tc dimension. The more rounds I put down the pipe the tighter my groups get. Out of a lead sled yesterday I shot 3 shot groups at 100 yards and I could cover them with a nickel. TC guarantees moa with the dimension and countless YouTube vids and my experience confirms it to be so. 

   Good on ya for competing. You'll only get better. 

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  • 6 years later...

Yep, I’m waking up a seven to eight year old thread.  

I’ve shot maybe four F-class matches since then, but never more than one per year.  Most of that was Mid-Range.  A friend who shoots these always made fun of my “annual match”, but I even broke that poor record of attendance.  It had been at least four years (five?) since I had shot any F-Class when I crawled back out last month.  

It was a Mid-Range/3x600 match: Two matches in one.  

Mid-Range is twenty shots each at 300, 500, and 600 yards, for 60 rounds and 600 points possible. 

The 3x600 is twenty shots at 600, and twenty more, then twenty more for another 60 rounds and 600 points.  You get a few minutes break to cool the rifle and yourself between strings.

I got a new gee-whiz rifle in March and since I didn’t have any zeroes beyond 240 yards in the time since, I wanted to use one of these matches to walk it out that far.  I didn’t want to go straight from 240 to 1,000 and hope the charts were right.  They would’ve got me close, sorta kinda, but I’d rather not do that.   The targets are now all electronically scored, so a miss is reported as a miss with no other information.  

Now that I have data to 600, I haven’t decided if I’ll wait for a Palma match later this year (800, 900, 1,000 yards) to walk it out some more, or trust the charts and jump right into a 1,000 yard match.

It may sound obvious, but while 600 yards is a big reach, that 400 yard step to 1,000 is  still a big one to take all at once.


Tomorrow is another Mid-Range/3x600.  Can I make two matches within one calendar year?   I am registered, paid, have everything ready…and woke up with a cold and sore throat this morning.   I gradually got worse throughout the day.

I’ve been in bed since 6pm, hoping plenty of rest will reverse that trend and I’ll make it.  


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Less wind drift from the high-bc 6.5mm bullet is the main difference.  

This makes it more forgiving of shooter error. 

Roughly translated from inches, a 10mph left/right wind blows my 6.5CM load about one scoring ring less than my .308 load.  At a place where the wind is hard to read or swirls, like where this was, that can add up to a lot of points across the match just from wind shifts.  Add in my bad wind calls and hold offs, and there’s some more. 

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I’m back from the Palma match.  It went smooth and quick. We were done shooting in 90 minutes. 

The course of fire was 15 shots each at 800, 900, and 1000 yards, so I now have holdovers to 1,000.   At 800 and 900, it took a little less elevation than the tables show, so by the time I got to 1,000 it was adding up.  The tables were showing from 9.0 Mils to 9.4 at 1,000 yards but it only took 8.8 Mils.  

They have electronic target scoring there, so no more time spent in the pits pulling and marking targets.  A neat side benefit to this is it gives you velocity figures at the target.  I don’t always remember to write this info down, but having the info would only be one more thing to keep me up nights thinking about. 

FWIW, at 900 yards, my load was making 1574 fps and had a Standard Deviation of 10 fps.

(6.5 Creedmoor with Hornady 140 ELD-M bullet.)

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The results have been posted.  They don’t show my score at 1,000 yards, which I assume was to spare me from embarrassment.  

I was still the top F-Class shooter.  

(I was also the only F-Class shooter since everyone else there this time shot a standard NRA match rifle.   That makes me also the last place F-Class shooter.  But we’ll just ignore all of that.) 

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