I agree Alan, lets get back to the issue that Denis has started. Which is directly where I am aiming these following comments.
The first and primary idea that has been discussed by lots of people in this thread, and one of the main issues that Denis raised. Why do we raise FClass to such a high level sport to the detriment of attracting new members, and can an alternative class be introduced for Tactical/Practical/Varmint/Hunter classes (such as benchrest Hunter class) so as to attract those new members who can use existing said classes of firearm, or use off the shelf firearms and not feel too disadvantaged by doing so? This is particularly important over the first year or so as new shooters learn to read wind flags and conditions, and get used to the sport. I think its fair to say that most posters in this topic so far have supported this idea of a new class or sub class at club level - but no changes to FOpen category.
The second idea or point that is being made in Denis original post, is why do we treat newbies who shoot different styles of rifles differently? Why is the use of tactical style rifles frowned upon by some club members (in the same way that once FClass was once treated by Target Rifle shooters) ?? Why do club web pages state such things as "Off the shelf rifles are not suited to this style of shooting".... well if I read that on a club web site as a newbie, I probably would not turn up and even try to shoot my new Remington Varmint rifle at long range... even though it will probably shoot very well! Why do we not allow magazine feed, why are there no muzzle breaks allowed? BTW, my own club has that statement listed on their web site, and no I dont have a new remington
Denis has stated that with newbies and come and try people, a large amount of them are "put off" so to speak after they are told what the cost of the sport is. I have tried to explain by way of my experience, that to become reasonably competitive, you do not have to spend a fortune on rifles and scopes. A reasonable omark with a good barrel can be picked up cheaply and be competitive, rifles such as Remington's, Tika, Howa, Savage can be used and upgraded over time to be relatively fair rifles. Lots of Savage rifles getting around, including Denis' own rifles, plenty of re-barreled Tika apparently doing well, and I have seen several Weatherby/Howa's now that do well at club level.
The point I have tried to make, is to back up the concept of a new tactical/varmint/factory class as an entry point, AND that you can also become relatively competitive with simple upgrades on these same base factory rifles. If we have a sub discipline in FClass that does not require high end gear to be competitive at club level we will attract new shooters, grow our membership base and grow the sport. The idea of not wanting to target young people as new members is strange and regressive - to suggest that we plant the seed and hope they return later in life is again strange, if you turn them away now by having a bad attitude, then there is a high chance they will see fullbore and FClass shooters as elitist and NOT want to return in the future.
I'll just list the points from the original post for refreshing
Why can’t we set up to have practical and varmint rifles shoot along side us at club shoots?
Why can’t we allow them to use muzzle brakes on their side of the range?
Why can’t they use magazines with the correct safety procedures on ex-mil ranges?
Why is their style of shooting any less important than ours?
Why is there so much resistance to growth and different disciplines from within our own shooting community? After all, it's all long range fun and many principals are the same.
The last two questions by Denis from his original post remain central to what I am saying, why is one style of shooting any less important than ours (including why is ones sub discipline better than another), and why is there so much resistance to growth? These two points are unfortunately something that I have seen at club level and by some of the members on this site. There is resistance to change, unless that change is to suit their own purposes and styles. Changing with the times and updating ideas should be seen as a good thing. Not changing with the word around you creates stagnation, and stagnation and complacency causes deterioration and decay, especially when applied to such things as we are discussing with Fullbore target shooting. Being elitist and suggesting that other styles of shooting or firearms are less important creates a divide (as per the recent posts in this topic).
Denis, sorry for this diversion, but I agree with what you have said, I think a new hunter/factory class as North Arm has unofficially had when I was up there, is a great idea to attract those new members, younger members, and members with different ideas on what target rifles may or may not look like. We have the same down here, and we probably need to actively encourage a few more of them to come along and help grow our club.