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F-Class is prone centerfire rifle. There is no national sanctioning body for it like in benchrest. It seems to be a name you call something when a bunch of people want to get together and shoot a while. The NRA published some rules for about 5 or 6 different variations of F-class which include short range, medium and long range and then Palma style (what we did).
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Ah... kinda sorta. The NRA is the de facto sanctioning body as evidenced by they are the ones putting out the rules! F-Class is a sub-category of NRA High Power, normally shot as a separate match alongside conventional Prone matches. Pretty much any match format that is valid for conventional Prone can be used for F-class as well (and there are a handful). As of 01/01/07, the gun & shooter classifications are official.
Several years back (ok, maybe a couple severals) I was a varmint hunter living in western Nebraska. Opportunities to shoot as far as I could imagine abounded, as did targets. F-Class sounded kind of cool, but there were literally no nearby clubs of any sort that even shot HP, much less this new-fangled 'F-Class'. Then I moved to Washington state. Far fewer varmints, and a little harder to find open land to shoot on (mostly private land and too many people here-n-there) though it was possible. High Power, however, was alive and going strong. Still no F-class, though. Some clubs would let a person shoot 'front-supported' (bipod only, no rear support) but they kind of looked down their noses at ya if you did it more than once or twice. So, I transitioned to conventional HP. I shoot a little Across the Course w/ a Service Rifle AR, some conventional Prone w/ my Palma gun (now a switch barrel w/ a 6mm BR tube)... and F-Class whenever I get the chance.
Some of the old-time Prone shooters still look at us a little funny at matches, but it's getting so there are enough of us (F-Classers) that they aren't openly snotty anymore. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cool.gif[/img]
Somewhere along the line I ended up as the F-Class/Tactical chair-person for the state rifle & pistol association (trust me, it was one of those deals where everybody else took the step backwards and I wasn't smart enough to follow suit!), so I have some experience answering questions on F-Class. If you have any questions, I'll answer them as best I can, or try to point you in the direction of someone who can answer them.
In the mean time, here are some links to more information:
Long-range.com (forum on Long-range HP, both conventional and F-Class - many top competitors hang out here)
U.S. F-Class team site
WSRPA F-Class page
The meager page I have up on the state associations site. Has some FAQ's on things I get asked a *lot*.