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F-class competition

F-class is a shooting competition for distances from about 300 to 1000m. And it's primarily about precision shooting on paper targets. It can be said that it is the most accurate shooting at long distances from prone position... One of the pioneers of this shooting was the Canadian shooter George "Farky" Farquharson after whom this discipline was named (that is the "F" in the F-class title). He began with this type of shooting in the 1990s and since then it spread around the world and is still growing.

The ICFRA (International Confederation of Fullbore Rifle Associations) rules are relatively simple and clear.

There are two categories:

F-TR ("Target", Standard Class) - .223 Remington or .308 Winchester. Weapons can be equipped with any scope and they must not be placed in the rest at the front (they have to use a bipod, bag, backpack, etc.). The total weight of the system is up to 8.25 kg.

F-Open (Open Class) - any caliber up to 8mm bullet diameter. Weapons can be equipped with any scope. The weapon may be equipped with bipod or be placed in the rest in front. Total weight is up to 10kg (bipods are counted in weight - not the rest).

The muzzle brakes and suppressors are not allowed for both categories. There are more detailed requirements for equipment but this is a basic outline...

Due to the relatively low commonness of specific F-class weapons in Europe it is usually allowed to compete with the muzzle brakes. The point is that there are a lot of shooters who want to take part in these competitions but their weapons just have a muzzle brake... And these shooters do not want to take them off only for the F-class competition. Not only they are used to use them but also their ammunition is tuned for use with brakes. And that's actually our case too...

In July we took part in such a competition in Slovakia. It was an unfamiliar environment for us at the shooting range that was completely open. The distances were 300, 600, 900 and 1000 meters. And because it was a military area the competition took place on Friday. On Thursday it was possible to train at another shooting range at a distance of 300m but we just did not make it in time for work reasons...

I wanted to test at this competition our new system we are preparing for the Mo2Km (Masters of 2 Kilometers) in France. But it turned out that this system is almost a kilogram heavier than the 10kg limit. And so we lightened and milled the system to the last minute before we left home. Above all the stock which is literally "like an swiss cheese" now - more holes than material... But that was not enough. So I changed the great but heavy Vortex Razor II 4.5-27x56 scope and one-piece mount with a considerably lighter Vortex Razor AMG 6-24x50 and Vortex rings. However thanks to all this the overall center of gravity was moved forward. So I had to change the bipod attachment just before leaving so the whole system would be better balanced... I finally got to the comfortable 9.95kg at the end! I did not even had to remove the scope caps.

The problem was of course that the scope was not zeroed... I just roughly set it with a "bore method". And there was no other option for me than to try to figure out the correction after the first "sighting shots" and then just go on...

Fortunately that's what I've done right... The first three sighting shots were at 300m and I found them in my neighbors target. Then it was relatively easy to make a correction and compete with it. My main goal for this competition was to check the ballistic chart (dope chart) for the new system. So far I've just been doing break-in than couple of rounds to find the proper powder charge and then firing one competition up to 900m. But I did not see the targets there so I did not know anything about the charts... The barrel before this competition had a total of 94 shots recorded...

The F-class shooting procedure usually is: at each distance you usually shoot 2 or 3 sighting shots which the referees will mark with the contrasting stickers to see them (or removable contrast disks). Depending on this the dope (up or down) can be corrected. Correction to the wind does not make sense because before the referees are finished with the stickers usually the wind will change... Then we shoot usually 10 competition rounds for the points.

The "10 on the target" is usually 1MOA at each distance and its "center or X "(counted as 11)" is usually 1/2 MOA. It is at 300m about 9cm "10". At 1000m it is about 30cm "10".

Targets at 600m. Contrast color are the sighting shots and grey is the "10". At this time the visibility condition was very good but there is definitely not possible to see the hits on that distance... Most of the match was in bad visibility conditions and we were barely able to recognize the sighting shots at 900 and 1000m. The problem was the wind in addition to the movement of the air - the "mirage". At this open shooting range (plain without trees) the wind was just playing with us an ugly game... And according to the rules no wind indicators - flags and the like - are permitted not only in the area between shooters and targets but also on the shooting line itself.

Globally the most accurate are the 6mm calibers. For example 6mm BR and its clones or 6XC, 6x47, 6CM... But as soon as the wind plays a bigger role the 7mm calibers are dominating the game with their heavier projectiles that have a higher BC and are just less vulnerable to wind. Even my new 7mm Practical has proven to be excellent in these conditions.

When the first three places were announced I was in shock... Despite all the difficulties and stress before leaving I won... Honestly I focused mainly on testing. I tried different adjustments of the bipod height and I was satisfied only with the last target... This new system just have the potential!

The competition was quite challenging. The weather conditions were really extreme (heat, wind, sun, mirage) and so we were rewarded (beyond the result) with the whole "trip" with beautiful countryside. It was a cool (but damned hot) day when we met friends and new people again and it was a new experience which hopefully will help us in the future competitions...

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