High Power Rifle is a specific style of competitive shooting popular in the United States. It is also referred to as "Across the Course", XTC, as well as 'traditional' High Power.
Types of matches popular in High Power Rifle include service rifle, open, Axis and Allies, and F-class.
In service rifle matches, a competitor may only use an M1 Garand style rifle, an M1A (M14) style rifle, an SR-25 (M110) style rifle, or an AR-15 (M16) style rifle. A post front sight is required for the service rifle category.
In the 2016 revision of the Civilian Marksmanship Program's "Competition Rules for Service Rifle and Pistol", use of a magnification optic has been authorized, intended to represent the use of the Rifle Combat Optic (RCO) on today's M-16 and M-4 service rifles. Magnified optics are limited to a maximum 4.5x power, and can be of the fixed magnification or variable-zoom type. These optics will also be allowed during the National Matches, hosted in Camp Perry, Ohio. Use of collapsible buttstocks has also been allowed in the 2016 revision.
The standard course of fire for a service rifle match has four (4) individual stages that comprise an aggregate match:
Starting in 2009, Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) Matches also require a shooter to begin in the standing position before moving into the sitting, kneeling, or prone positions to start their rapid fire. NRA competitions do not require a competitor to begin in the standing position.
Scoring combines from a total aggregate of 50 shots worth 500 points. In addition to points, "X" counts are also used to rank shooters in a match. In the center of each target (within the ten ring) is an "X" ring. If a competitor shoots within this ring they receive the ten points for shooting a ten, but also receive an additional "X" which serves as a tie breaker, if needed. For example, if one competitor ends a match with 487-14X (meaning 487 points with 14 X's) and another shooter ends with 487-20X, then the one that shot 20 X's will finish ahead of the one which only shot 14 X's.
In addition to service rifle matches, there are also other types of matches that are typically included in High Power Rifle shooting. In so-called open matches, almost any rifle may be used, including civilian hunting rifles as well as foreign military rifles. Another style of popular matches is called Axis and Allies. Such matches permit both US service rifles as well as foreign military rifles (e.g., Lee–Enfield, Dragunov, SKS, Arisaka, etc.). These matches are governed by rules and scoring methods that are very similar to U.S. service rifle matches.
F-Class is another style of High Power Rifle match that falls within High Power Rifle shooting, having an entirely different set of rules.
Some High Power Rifle matches are shot only at 200 yards, such as sometimes seen during specific M1 Garand matches, and Axis and Allies matches, although they are still shot from various positions (standing, sitting/kneeling, prone).
Popular calibers often seen in High Power Rifle matches include 5.56 (.223), as well as various 30 caliber rounds (.30-06, .308, .303 British, 7.62×39mm, 7.62×54mmR, etc.) In F-Class shooting, calibers even up to .35 are permitted.
Traditional High Power Rifle shooting is most commonly done using a rifle with a military web or leather sling attached, with the shooter using a shooting mat, wearing a shooting jacket, and using a specialized glove that is worn on the support hand. The shooting is done at fixed, specific distances from the target line. Both loop slings, affixed at only the front end of the rifle stock, as well as hasty-slings, affixed at both the front and rear of the rifle stock, are also often used. Those matches involving F-Class shooting add additional options, permitting use of a bipod, as well as joystick-equipped rests similar to those used in bench rest shooting.
F-Class is a rapidly growing shooting sport subset of High Power Rifle shooting. F-class is shot solely prone at distances over 300 to 1200 yards. Competitors may use almost any caliber rifle (up to .35 caliber), a scope, and a front and rear rest or a bipod. F-class shooters use targets half the size of (and often shoot concurrently with) the world's long-range Palma shooters. See the High Power Rifle rulebook for more information on F-class competition.
There are two classes in F-class competition: F-Open and F-TR. F-TR is a restricted category where a shooter must shoot unmodified .223 or .308 cartridges with a rifle using a bipod in front with a weight limit of 18.18 pounds. F-Open allows any cartridge, uses a front rest like used in bench rest shooting, and has a higher weight limit of 22 pounds.
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