F-Class shooting was the brainchild of Canadian George Farquharson and the “F” was derived from his last name. Mr. Farquharson came up with the idea of F-Class to enable he and other older shooters to continue competing alongside “iron sight” (Full Bore) shooters who used a sling.
Basically, George replaced the iron sights with a scope and replaced the sling hold with the option of using either a front bi-pod or a rest. F-Class is shot from the prone position where the shooters lay on a mat. He convinced the Canadian NRA (DCRA) to approve his idea and F-Class was begun as an official shooting sport in Canada in the 1990′s.
This idea caught on fire and very quickly spread to the British Commonwealth, Germany, France, Netherlands and to the United States. Conducted under the rules governing Full Bore with a series of exceptions. These relate to the target scoring, the use of a front & rear rest and the permitted use of optical sights. This style of shooting aids disabled shooters, is relatively new but is the fastest growing category world wide.(footnote 1)
The sport has evolved considerably in the last few years and rules have changed which permitted the use of front pedestal rest not attached to the rifle. Today in Australia we have F Class Open shooting unrestricted calibre and F Class standard A & B grade, that is restricted to .308 or .223 calibre. More detailed information is available on the Australian F Class Website.
This style of shooting is particularly applicable for “Medically disadvantaged” shooters. FClass uses optical sights & requires greater levels of accuracy than Full Bore target shooting. The rifle is supported front & rear &/or with special circumstances allows the use of tables.
Thus, this style of target rifle shooting has provided a means whereby many whom would be forced to leave the sport or not ever take it up can now actively participate to a “ripe old age”!
FClass shooting has some specific weight restrictions on the rifle & attached equipment however, as mentioned earlier, it also provides two different ways of supporting the rifle at the forefront. You can either attach a bi-pod or use an unattached front rest.
Target scoring in FClass is based on a 6 for the Bulls-eye and usually all competitions are over 10 rounds, thus a score maximum of 60 is the goal.
In Australia this last year, we have seen enormous growth and increase in skills and to avoid “shoot offs” at competitions due to tied results, a Super V was introduced to the bulls-eye (being 1/2 the normal bull in size) – this provides an extra .1 for each hit.
Now the perfect score is 60.10 which has been achieved by a hand full of shooters and is becoming more common as the skill level of shooters in the discipline increases. Who knows in few years the center circle may even be halved again to accommodate the growing skill levels.
Footnote 1. “What is F Class” courtesy of www.usfclass.com