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Thread: Cronograph selection

  1. #21
    Boolit Master elmacgyver0's Avatar
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    Now you're really confused, right?

  2. #22
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    Mk42gunner's Avatar
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    I'm going to suggest that you don't really need a chronograph. Especially if you are just loading for factory cartridges that have lots of available load data. If you are loading for a wildcat and coming up with your own guesses, it is a different story.

    Are they nice to have? Yes, but unless you are pushing for that last few FPS, not really needed. I used mine quite a bit when I first bought it, but I haven't even opened the box for several years.

    Robert

  3. #23
    Boolit Mold
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    Don't laugh but I bought one of these to try at a private indoor range when I couldn't get consistent readings with a CED Millenium under artificial light even using their IR light source..

    https://www.amazon.com/Ballistic-Pre...s%2C389&sr=8-6

    Once I worked out what the instructions actually meant it has been surprisingly reliable even though construction is very basic.
    I have compared readings in daylight to several other chronos I have (labRadar and PACT) and they are within expected shot to shot variation.
    At this stage I have only tested to handgun velocities but the specifications claim to go to 6500fps.

    At that price not much to lose and doesn't hurt as much if you shoot it which is inevitable with those shoot through chronos.

  4. #24
    Boolit Master almar's Avatar
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    +1 for the garmin, what a gamechanger. My only worry is that its so small i might loose it. It is pricey, but i got so fed up with the setting up of chronies and errors that i rarely used them anymore and my last one (a caldwell that a bought a couple of years ago) just stopped working so i went for the garmin and its fantastic. At that price though it better not give out on me for a decade at least. I have not had a single error yet with firearms but i guess the one gripe i have with it is with archery, it just does not like some arrows it seems and will not read them. But i just switched arrows.
    Last edited by almar; 06-11-2024 at 07:37 AM.
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  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by country gent View Post
    While not truly needed to assemble accurate ammo a chronograph can be a great tool to have to see what the ammo you load is doing, not only velocity wise but Standard Deviations and velocity spreads. Look for one thats easy to set up and use. The newer doppler radar units are nice in that theres nothing in front of the bench or rifle to get damaged.sky screens and some chronographs are in front of the bench and at risk.

    The other to consider is on a public range cease fires are the only time to set up the unit.A private range this isnt a big problem. The other to consider is size, needed accessories, and the room you have to transport them.
    Read this post at least three times.

    One of the parameters to define is what you mean by "accurate " Unless you are shooting long range (over 300 yards) you will waste a lot of time and money chasing ES and SD...and it does not matter for the ranges 99% of us shoot stuff at.

    It will make you feel good and give you bragging rights to have low SD and ES but if 95% of your paper punching is at 200 or less so what? If you are shooting deer, a 1.5 MOA load will get you to 400 yards ethically if you can read the wind. If you are shooting varmints a 1 MOA load will hit more critters than it will miss to 300 yards, if you can read the wind. I call it "effective" accuracy. All I need to get the job done.

    I may have been lucky, but I have been able to get "effective" accuracy for over 50 years without a chronograph using incremental load development.

    If you're looking at long range shooting, ES and SD are going to have more effect on performance.
    Last edited by dverna; 06-11-2024 at 12:42 PM.
    Don Verna


  6. #26
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    I recently bought a like new LabRadar cheap when a friend had to have the latest and greatest Garmin. I would never recommend the old style traditional chroni after using the LabRadar. Easy setup without going downrange, nothing to hit with a bullet, nice app that will Bluetooth to your phone. There seem to be plenty of good used ones for sale.

  7. #27
    Boolit Grand Master jmorris's Avatar
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    This is a good read for optical chronograph users.

    https://appliedballisticsllc.com/wp-...e-Velocity.pdf

  8. #28
    Boolit Buddy
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    Thanks to the OP for posting this one. I'm another seasoned citizen reloader interested in picking up a chronograph. I've been back into reloading for a decade and can put together some loads that are more accurate than I am. My reason for a chronograph is different. A few years ago when supplies started getting hard to find I picked up a decent supply of both WC844 and and another WC- powder that is supposed to be a 1:1 substitute for Unique. The price was just too good to pass up. I've got the some time to start experimenting with them and I'd like to know the velocity as I start working up loads. Pressure signs are easy enough to watch for, but I'm curious if I can match the velocities of my current loads.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by BamaNapper View Post
    Thanks to the OP for posting this one. I'm another seasoned citizen reloader interested in picking up a chronograph. I've been back into reloading for a decade and can put together some loads that are more accurate than I am. My reason for a chronograph is different. A few years ago when supplies started getting hard to find I picked up a decent supply of both WC844 and and another WC- powder that is supposed to be a 1:1 substitute for Unique. The price was just too good to pass up. I've got the some time to start experimenting with them and I'd like to know the velocity as I start working up loads. Pressure signs are easy enough to watch for, but I'm curious if I can match the velocities of my current loads.
    Working up loads with a non canister surplus powder this is where a chronograph is required. Same for substituting a newer similar burning powder where there is no reloading data and the standard powders are unavailable. While this is for an advanced reloaders only and should not be tried by anyone starting out substituting a slightly slower burning powder and slowly working up to the velocity you are supposed to get can generally (hopefully) keep you out of trouble. Famous last words but getting a reality check on the actual velocity you are getting is much better than a hope and a guess.

    I have had had some published loads using the exact components that gave extremely high velocities in a certain gun. Even though I didn't notice any pressure signs I backed off some. Similarly the current loads for 7mm Mag were slashed a decade or two ago when some short throated rifles hit the market and all of the later reloading manuals charges were reduced. I have a rifle with the correct throat and according to the book the load should be getting 3000 FPS but with a chrony I found out I was barely getting 2800 fps. Referencing some older manuals I worked up the charge to many grains over the current max and got close to the velocity you are supposed to get. Without a chrony I would have been shooting a 7mm mag with the same performance as a .308.

  10. #30
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    My Range has the Shot Marker System that is used for National Match and Bench Rest Games. I just found out about it a week ago when I shot Midrange NM at 600 yards.

    This thing is so cool it blows me away. Once I got hooked up, which takes no more than setting your phone to the WIFI address. it was showing Shot Placement of every shot I took (that actually hit the target!)as soon as it went thru the target.

    I was shooting my Red Gun (NRA Sporter Replica) with Iron sights from the prone position which was a real challenge for me to get into. I hit the target 10 or 11 times which exceeded my goal for the day.

    We had some F Class shooters with us and there Read outs showed all 20 shots from Each String clustered around the X ring! I'm not that good.

    The device was one of the coolest things I have seen in many years.

    I also want a Garmin Chrono and have a Nice Rifle to trade for one as soon as I find someone who wants a nice Ruger 77 in .243 Win.

    Randy
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  11. #31
    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
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    The Garmin has definitely changed the paradigm in chronographs. My recommendation would be look for one of the many cheap used chronographs on the market as guys switch to the Garmin . Then when the price comes down as it always does on newly released electronics get a Garmin or similar.

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by BamaNapper View Post
    Thanks to the OP for posting this one. I'm another seasoned citizen reloader interested in picking up a chronograph. I've been back into reloading for a decade and can put together some loads that are more accurate than I am. My reason for a chronograph is different. A few years ago when supplies started getting hard to find I picked up a decent supply of both WC844 and and another WC- powder that is supposed to be a 1:1 substitute for Unique. The price was just too good to pass up. I've got the some time to start experimenting with them and I'd like to know the velocity as I start working up loads. Pressure signs are easy enough to watch for, but I'm curious if I can match the velocities of my current loads.
    Quote Originally Posted by Delkal View Post
    Working up loads with a non canister surplus powder this is where a chronograph is required. Same for substituting a newer similar burning powder where there is no reloading data and the standard powders are unavailable. While this is for an advanced reloaders only and should not be tried by anyone starting out substituting a slightly slower burning powder and slowly working up to the velocity you are supposed to get can generally (hopefully) keep you out of trouble. Famous last words but getting a reality check on the actual velocity you are getting is much better than a hope and a guess.

    I have had had some published loads using the exact components that gave extremely high velocities in a certain gun. Even though I didn't notice any pressure signs I backed off some. Similarly the current loads for 7mm Mag were slashed a decade or two ago when some short throated rifles hit the market and all of the later reloading manuals charges were reduced. I have a rifle with the correct throat and according to the book the load should be getting 3000 FPS but with a chrony I found out I was barely getting 2800 fps. Referencing some older manuals I worked up the charge to many grains over the current max and got close to the velocity you are supposed to get. Without a chrony I would have been shooting a 7mm mag with the same performance as a .308.
    Yup and DoubleYup
    All I need my Chrono for!! Invaluable when I decided to work some stuff up with AA Nitro 100NF... I have Never been very good at reading pressure signs in any Revolver that I own!!!
    Reading a Chronograph, is so easy...I can Do it!!!!
    Good Place for an Edit; A Word Of Caution here... No sense looking for velocity on par with H-110, using Red Dot....But no reason the Nitro 100NF, cant get right close to Red Dot Velocities!!!!

  13. #33
    Boolit Grand Master jmorris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by W.R.Buchanan View Post
    My Range has the Shot Marker System that is used for National Match and Bench Rest Games. I just found out about it a week ago when I shot Midrange NM at 600 yards.

    This thing is so cool it blows me away. Once I got hooked up, which takes no more than setting your phone to the WIFI address. it was showing Shot Placement of every shot I took (that actually hit the target!)as soon as it went thru the target.

    I was shooting my Red Gun (NRA Sporter Replica) with Iron sights from the prone position which was a real challenge for me to get into. I hit the target 10 or 11 times which exceeded my goal for the day.

    We had some F Class shooters with us and there Read outs showed all 20 shots from Each String clustered around the X ring! I'm not that good.

    The device was one of the coolest things I have seen in many years.

    I also want a Garmin Chrono and have a Nice Rifle to trade for one as soon as I find someone who wants a nice Ruger 77 in .243 Win.

    Randy
    Thats the one I linked to in #12, not only tracks where the bullet hit but how fast it was going, when it got there. You do have to select the right target and calibrate the target/frame relationship but yes, its pretty simple and a "game changer" in how I collect and store data.

    You can also dial off the center of the target, maintaining your aim point while shooting your groups.

    You can build any size frame, as that has to be configured too. I have one that is 8' x 8', where you can miss the target by feet and still know the precise location "inside the window".

    Main drawback is the projectile must be supersonic at the target for it to be able to pick it up.

  14. #34
    Boolit Master pertnear's Avatar
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    Until you use a chrono for a while you won't know if it is an absolute for your every range session or a tool you may need just sometimes. I suggest you buy a used Magnetospeed that straps to the gun barrel. These are going for less than $120 used, as everyone wants the new radar type units. You can get off cheaper with the screen-type-shoot-through chrono's, but as already stated, these are a pain to set-up unless you have a private range of your own. If you use any "shoot-through" chrono enough you eventually WILL hit it. Just hope the shot is a crippler rather than a DRT!...LOL
    Hard times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men, and weak men create hard times.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by pertnear View Post
    Until you use a chrono for a while you won't know if it is an absolute for your every range session or a tool you may need just sometimes. I suggest you buy a used Magnetospeed that straps to the gun barrel. These are going for less than $120 used, as everyone wants the new radar type units. You can get off cheaper with the screen-type-shoot-through chrono's, but as already stated, these are a pain to set-up unless you have a private range of your own. If you use any "shoot-through" chrono enough you eventually WILL hit it. Just hope the shot is a crippler rather than a DRT!...LOL
    Never tried one but an issue I have is since the Magnetospeed straps to the barrel it will probably affect the barrel harmonics enough so you will have to later retry everything to tune in accuracy. You can easily go thru $120 just having to work a load up twice.

  16. #36
    Boolit Master elmacgyver0's Avatar
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    I wanted the chrono, just because I wanted one.
    Not because I need it.

  17. #37
    Boolit Master pertnear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delkal View Post
    Never tried one but an issue I have is since the Magnetospeed straps to the barrel it will probably affect the barrel harmonics enough so you will have to later retry everything to tune in accuracy. You can easily go thru $120 just having to work a load up twice.
    Yes, this is definitely true. But then again it depends on what you want to achieve & what type of shooter you are. If you are a competitor, especially long range, the SD & BC computations are important. If that's the case, then a $600 radar type unit is just a fraction of your expense in that game. Usually, at least in my case, I develop loads by using books & refining with components as miserly as possible. I don't do ladders or spreadsheet plots deciphering nodes & such. Not say anything is wrong with that, just that most competition shooters are much more savvy than me! A simpler explanation is to say that a chrono may be +50% of importance to the competitor's reloading but may be just >10% of the casual shooter's. A chrono may help you along with other things indicators that your load is too hot! Or you might decide to adjust a load up or down as a preference of performance vs velocity. Most folks don't want to shoot their deer with "cream-puff" ammo either! What I like about the Magnitospeed it that it packs up small & stays in my shooting box unless I need it. The best thing about any chrono is that it is a lot of fun & can add a lot to your enjoyment. Its results can surprise & keep you scratching your head! If you look at a shot & wonder "what?" more repeat shots won't save you any money, but its fun to just shoot a little more! Just IMHO....
    Hard times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men, and weak men create hard times.

  18. #38
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  19. #39
    Boolit Buddy hermans's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Michel View Post
    Having designed and built my own chronographs over the years, I cannot agree more with the above.
    I still use my own chronograph to this day, and it is based on the Oehler concept. I like the Oehler skye screens, they are very efficient as long as you ensure that the light conditions are good and constant.
    Yes, the new generation of chronographs like the Garmin are here to stay, due to their ease of use and the technology of having the measurements sent to your phone, tablet etc. immediately.
    But....they do not give absolute readings like the Oehler types, they give you derived values especially for MV. Being a "absolute measure" type of guy, I will stick to my old school chronograph.
    Do not get me wrong, I am not saying that the Doppler type's like the Garmin, are not "accurate", they are pretty close, and will serve you well for any kind of load development.
    Last edited by hermans; 06-13-2024 at 12:17 PM.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check