Re: Help me understand competitive shooting
I am assuming you will want to use a bipod, or a pack, for a front rest.
If so, then F-Class would be one good alternative for you to help improve your fundamentals and work on your set up. F-Class will give you instant exact feedback of where your bullet hits compared to your aiming point, and then you can gain a better understanding of what factors effected your bullet's flight.
I run matches in Missoula, MT including long range and F-class matches. We have in our program an unofficial "hunter class", where you show up with your "field worthy" rifle and shoot on the long range (vs the f-class) target. The X-ring on the LR target is 10 inches and if you are hitting that at 800-900-1000 yds routinely, then you are ready to shoot the official F-class targets (X-ring is 5" and ten ring is 10").
Match shooting really gives you a great opportunity to read the wind and see how it effects your bullet's drift. As you likely know, at 800yds, your bullet will drift anywhere from 6 inches to 10 inches (gross example) with a 2 mph wind pick up let off. Match shooting will let you see the bullets placement on the target immediately after your shot so you can correlate "what you saw" environmentally with where the bullet drifted to.
While match shooting is not training for hunting, it will improve your capabilities, fundamentals and help hone your equipment.
NRA LR/F-class matches are typically open to everyone, including non-members of the sponsoring club. You pay your entry and compete. If you ever get a chance to shoot a team match at long range, that is an even better chance to gain some helpful info.