In the May 1978 issue of Precision Shooting, A.H. Angerman predicted the following about what benchrest shooters would be doing 25 years from May 1978.
So how does Mr. Angerman compare to Nostradamus? Lets take a look at which ones he hit and which ones he missed – over 35 years later. We’ll give him 2 points for each one he nailed and take one away for each miss.
• They will have electric ignition, no primers.
1 Point: Remington gave this one a run, but electric primers just didn’t ever quite catch on. So while we can’t give you both points, we will give one.
• Record shots will be counted and crossfires detected electronically.
1 Point: This may be going on in rare occasions, somewhere out there. We’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and one point.
• Groups will be measured in fractions of a millimeter using some kind of light triangulation including immediate transmission to a computer that will post and predict all match scores and aggregates continuously on a big TV screen.
1 Point: They have done some stuff on TV screens and with electronic target viewing systems, but not “measured to a fraction of a millimeter.” Perhaps the most ambitious wishful thinking with this one Angerman – we’ll give you a point.
• There will be semi-indoor sound-proof firing booths and flat covered preassigned loading spaces behind each booth for each competitor.
1 Point: Ok, so one for every competitor might be a bit of a stretch, but there are covered loading benches behind a lot of benchrest firing lines out there with a place to clean/load — some are even indoors. Another point for this one.
• There will be 200, 300, and 400 meter courses of fire as all groups at 100 meters will be immeasurably small.
1 Point: Ok, we’ll give Angerman another point here. Group sizes at 100 are barely over bullet diameter, but they are not “immeasurably small.” Measuring equipment has admittedly improved since 1978. There are longer benchrest matches now, that even go out to 1,000 yards.
• There will be automatic two-minute target changing, preregistered spacious parking areas and adjacent motel rooms.
-1 Point: As much as some may wish this prediction had come true, we just aren’t seeing this one fulfilled over 30 years later. Maybe we’ll give it another 25?
• Ranges will either be baffled to eliminate bench rotation or be covered. Only baffles you see are overhead to keep stray shots from getting away.
2 Points: Many of the new state-of-the-art ranges have baffles for sound abatement and bullet containment.
• There will be two rows of benches one on top of the other, one row firing and the one row getting ready.
-1 Point: Nope, not seeing this one in practice.
• There will be new optics, new alloys, and new propellants. Plastics will be out.
1 Point: Angerman was right about new optics and new propellants, but we can’t really say plastics are out.
Well as this proves, sometimes it’s just virtually impossible to tell the future, but it sure is fun to try. Points total: 6 points out of a possible 18. So what are your predictions for benchrest shooting 25 years from today? Please share your predictions in the comments below.