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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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