January 21st, 2023

Saturday Movies: Rimfire (Smallbore) F-Class and Fun Matches

Camp Wa-Ke-De indiana 2018 smallbore F-Class Jim Murphy
Anschutz .22 LR rifle set up for F-Class competition. Photo courtesy Sportschieben Blog.

Here’s a fun new discipline that will grow in years ahead — Smallbore F-Class with .22 LR rimfire rifles. Rest-supported prone rimfire matches have been held around the world for quite some time, but only a few years ago was the discipline officially codified in the NRA Smallbore Rulebook. And the first-ever Smallbore F-Class National Championship was held in July 2018 in conjunction with the Smallbore Nationals at Camp Wa-Ke’-De in Bristol, Indiana. The Nationals involved multiple days of prone shooting at 50 meters and 100 yards. For more information read Hap Rocketto’s Shooting Sports USA Smallbore F-Class Report.

Camp Wa-Ke-De indiana 2018 smallbore F-Class Jim Murphy
National Championship photo from Shooting Sports USA.

Smallbore F-Class competitors may shoot F-TR style with a bipod, or use a front rest. In the above photo from the inaugural NRA National Championship you can see a shooter with SEB Coaxial Rest at top, with a competitor using a low-profile bipod at bottom. Note the extended handle used to adjust bipod elevation. This is not a coaxial joystick, but rather a long handle attached to the mariner wheel.

Smallbore F-Class — The Future Looks Bright
With the high cost of centerfire ammunition, and the limited number of 1000-yard (or even 600-yard) ranges, we can envision that Rimfire F-Class will become a popular event at ranges across the country. Clubs don’t even need benches — just a 100-yard target bay and flat ground for the shooters. You can start with an inexpensive rimfire rig and Harris bipod. Then work up from there. Here is a custom rimfire F-TR style rig that belongs to F-Class ace and past centerfire F-TR National Champion James Crofts.

Camp Wa-Ke-De indiana 2018 smallbore F-Class Jim Murphy

Rimfire F-Class and Fun Prone Matches with Front Rest or Bipods

Rimfire F-Class offers the fun of centerfire shooting at a much lower cost. Shooting is done prone with either a front rest or a bipod. You can shoot a relatively inexpensive rifle such as a CZ 457 MTR, or a custom build that has the same design features, weight, and ergonomics as a full-size F-TR or F-Open rifle. The choice is yours. We like shooting smallbore F-Class, because you can find decent .22 LR ammo for just $0.20 per round. By contrast, you’ll probably spend at least $1.20 per round for F-Class centerfire ammo (counting bullet, powder, primer, and part of the brass cost).

Top-Tier Vudoo V22-S Target Rifle for Rimfire F-Class

Camp Wa-Ke-De indiana 2018 smallbore F-Class Jim Murphy

Vudoo Gun Works now offers an impressive .22 LR Single Shot Target Rifle that should prove ideal for rimfire F-Class (Open division). It features the new V22-S single-shot action, McMillan stock, and Flavio Fare BR-VS trigger.

Rimfire F-Class in the Canary Islands

This video comes from the Canary Islands, part of Spain. The voice-over is in Spanish but there are English sub-titles. The host explains: “In this video we summarize the main characteristics of this [shooting sport] that is practiced at 50 meters, 100 meters, and 200 meters with your .22 LR. Learn how to prepare your rimfire carbine and learn how to score your own targets by following our simple explanations. In another video we will delve into shooting techniques, shooting accessories and field accessories.”

Here is another rimfire F-Class video from the Canary Islands. This shows how the sport can be done with a variety of rimfire rifle types, even including a .22 LR AR clone. Some shooters are using a wide-base bipod, others are using normal Harris-type bipods, while others are using a large, benchrest-style front rest.

Rimfire F-Class-Style Local Fun Match in Oregon

In this video, F-Class John shoots an F-Class-style local fun match in Oregon. He is using a .22 LR rimfire rifle that has a full-size stock very similar to his custom F-Open centerfire rifles. This allows him to easily switch from centerfire F-Class to rimfire prone shooting with front rest and rear bag. The local fun match rules are a little different than an official F-Class match, but the shooting skills required are the same. Shooting this kind of local rimfire match allows John to keep his F-Class skills at a high level at a fraction of the cost of shooting centerfire F-Open.

Rimfire F-Class in Russia

NOTE: This video was filmed in Russia. The dialog is in Russian (without English subtitles), but it is still interesting to watch. Shooting F-Class with .22 LR ammo has become popular in Russia and other parts of Europe. You can have fun on a relatively short (200m) range with low-cost ammo.

Smallbore F-Class Course of Fire
The Smallbore F-Class Nationals was completed on paper targets at 50 yards and 100 yards. According to Shooting Sports USA: “The tournament ran during the any sight and metric phases of the 2018 NRA National Smallbore Rifle Championships, featuring a daily course of fire which mirrored the sling shooters, 40 shots at 50 meters on the A-50 target, a Metric Dewar, followed by 40 shots at 100 yards on the A-33 target. Although the international targets were shot throughout, the first two days were titled ‘conventional’ and the last two ‘metric’.”

The specifics of the match such as rifle requirements, rests, and sights may be found in the Provisional Smallbore Rifle F-Class Rules (Section 23), found on page 65 of the current NRA Smallbore Rifle rulebook. Any rules not covered in Section 23 will [reference] the normal rules of Sections 1 through 22.

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