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Looking for input on purchase of Chronograph.

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by John Gault, Jul 24, 2014.

  1. John Gault

    John Gault clackamas county Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    So I'm feeling pretty good about my overall reloading processes thus far and yet.... with many possible factors that change I still believe that I should have an actual data point for how fast/hard I'm pushing my loads out of the barrel.

    Looking for some first hand experience with chronograph use. Did you buy too little, just right or too much for your purposes? How much do I have to spend for accuracy? Anything else you can add to the conversation.
     
  2. Beta1759

    Beta1759 Beaverton Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I originally purchased a competition electronics prochrono digital and it worked great. However, after 1 outing at the range where i couldnt line up the chrony correctly and having to call a cold line 4 times, i finally decided it was time to buy something else. So i went with a magnetospeed. It's awesome. Expensive but absolutely fantastic. capture the muzzle velocity at the actual muzzle and it does all the things you would expect from a high end chrony (ES, SD, etc).

    http://www.magnetospeed.com/
     
  3. rutilate

    rutilate Vancouver and Surrounds Active Member

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    I have had a beta master Chrony and hate it. The interface is atrocious.

    I've been using a Caldwell chronograph that connects to your phone or tablet for the shooting/calculation interface. I love it. Finally a great interface that I don't have to read the manual EVERY TIME I use it. It seems to be reasonably accurate, the infrared screens allow ease of use indoors, and it is very easy to edit/store data and email it out for further analysis
     
  4. Hook686

    Hook686 Northern California Active Member

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    I bought a Shooting Chrony Alpha Master off midwayusa.com on sale first at about $100 bucks. The master part means there is a remote screen that shows the results and a 15 foot cable to connect it to the sensor unit. Without the remote unit you have to get up a walk out to the sensor unit to read the results. The Alpha unit has a computer that computes a ten shot string with average, standard deviation, high and low velocity ... statistical data if you like that sort of thing.

    As might happen, one can shoot the sensor unit, especially if one switches from iron sights to a scope sighted rifle and forgets to allow for the scope distance to rifle bore line. That happened to me and I bought the F-1 Master, $30 cheaper, on sale at midwayusa.com. The F-1 does not have the computer that shows the statistical data, but rather shows the shot velocity for each shot in real time. I need write down the number as I shoot. I can do the statistics if I want when I get home and access the computer.

    I am happy with the F-1 Master Shooting Chrony, a basic chronograph. Others like all the bells and whistles like printer option, computer data storage on the chronograph. It all depends upon what you want. I think the Shooting Chrony might be the Ford/Chevy standard of chronographs and there are those that prefer the Cadillac, or even the Mercedes versions. It all depends upon what you want and are willing to pay. All I want is the fps of each shot ... very simple.
     
    John Gault likes this.
  5. John Gault

    John Gault clackamas county Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Thanks to those who've responded. Based on what you've given me I'll do a bit more specific research and likely make a purchase in mid August. Additional input is appreceated and welcomed.
     
  6. BillM

    BillM Amity OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Went through a couple of the little F1 Chronys--they work OK, and are cheap. Still have one
    laying around for a backup. Also have 2 of them with bullet holes through the display, going
    to make a set of bookends for the reloading manual shelf sometime.:)

    Ended up with the CED Millenium 2 from Shooters Connection. I shoot USPSA, and it was THE
    chrono I kept seeing at the Chrono station at major matches. Right at $200, and worth it.
     
  7. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I have a shooting Chrony Beta. I got it about 15 years ago and it works fine. It has many more features than I care to use.
    One thing I don't like about it. Because I don't use it all that often, probably once a year or so anymore, I have to get the manual out almost every time I use it! "Push "x" button for three seconds, wait til display starts blinking, then poke "y" button before display stops blinking"... I believe it should be much easier to use.
    If I was buying another, I'd check to see what it takes to operate and clear it.
    Other than the semi-confusing method of operation I've been very pleased with it.
     
    Steve M likes this.
  8. John Gault

    John Gault clackamas county Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    After reviewing your comments and several reviews on-line from various sources plus a multitude of on-line shopping and video watching I made a decision to go with the Competition Electronics Pro Chrono kit with the digital USB interface. Several factors including price point, features, add on components available (indoor light kit) and my winter indoor shooting plans all played a part in ordering this item.

    Thanks again for all your input. Hope to see you at the range....


    https://www.competitionelectronics....id=7&vmcchk=1&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=79
     
  9. bellarum

    bellarum beaverton Well-Known Member

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    I finally "clipped" my Alpha Chrony a few weeks back. I replaced it with the master chrony with the remote display. If this one gets "clipped" with a bullet it can be repaired. Its around $30 to repair. You can send in your shot up chrony back for a discount towards a new model if you want but, its cheaper to get a new one on Amazon.
     
    Hook686 likes this.
  10. Lindy

    Lindy Central Ca. Member

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    I replaced the metal legs that support the sky screens with wood dowls that are used to cook Kabobs,
    Now if I happen to hit one of the support legs it wont ruin the intire crony or knock it out of calibration.

    Good Shooting

    Lindy
     
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  11. John Gault

    John Gault clackamas county Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Nice tip on the wooden dowels!

    Took the chrono out to range today for it's debut. Shot some Federal XM ammo with known velocities to gauge how well working. Looked like it measured pretty darn well between 2850 - 2950 from 90 rounds.
    Then used it with my first batch of reloads using chrono. My rounds averaged a tighter velocity tolerance from round to round but about 300 ft/second slower and with looser grouping. I was surprised how little change I got in velocities from 21.6 to 22.4 grains of H322 with only moving from around 2640 to 2700 on chrono. Back to the drawing board.
     
    orygun likes this.
  12. Janes

    Janes Enid, Oklahoma Member

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  13. Janes

    Janes Enid, Oklahoma Member

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    I have a crony and you always have to go down range to set it up. I found the Magnetospeed and it is great. You don't have to go down range to set it up you can do it from the bench . They are more expensive but worth it
     
  14. thorborg

    thorborg portland oregon Well-Known Member 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Wow some nice stuff there with your needs ultimately the deciding factor but here is my two cents.
    I load and shoot jugs of powder a year but pull out my low cost chrony only when working up a different lead / load or verifying new batches.
    I paid about fifty bucks for a RCBS @ Fishermans maybe three years ago and put it atop a camera tripod with crank up elevation which provides me infinite adjustment. Nearly all factory loads have been real close to what the chrony reads which is accurate enough for my purpose. Repeatability is fair so I average multiple shots and throw out the weird ones. Lighting is critical so go on the bright days but not but not blaring sun. The controls are right on the table and easy to use. I wouldn't use the readings to argue any points but again for my use I'm happy. As far as killing it, I always use a bench and good support and am diligent so never shot it. I have had the muzzle blast from my 45-70 revolver blow the sky screen apart but didn't hurt it. Most hand guns and 22's are fine 6 to 8 feet but big muzzle blast will definitely skew the readings so move it out as far as you can. black guns tend to have sights mounted across the street so you need to eyeball down the barrel to align the target and insure you can hit fairly center of the screen and not shoot the struts. When I check speed I'm not real concerned with where it impacts other than not the chrony. Rarely do (my) max loads equate to best accuracy. For target, knowing speed pales in comparison to repeatability, accuracy is all it's about, so the Chrony is mainly used for added protection along with case and primer examination to insure I've balanced powder, primer and crimp and haven't exceeded purported speed which is my only ability to judge pressure. in 250 to 500 batch loads I randomly check 20 and only because I keep records of each load session. Also, for comfort shooting, saving powder, finding the accurate sweet spot with less powder is assisted with the use of a chronograph albeit too slow is less of an issue since I shoot revolvers. For hunting though, the load needs not only to fly consistently enough I can rely on where it is through the arc of travel but do some work when it gets there other than punching a paper hole so knowing how fast it goes along with your other data allows rough calculation of impact energy. Along with the bullets specs, you can determine if it will perform / expand properly. Even though I came up with some excellent performing loads with new powders and bullets, when I actually leave for hunting , I chicken out and take the accurate and deadly loads made from specs I worked up in 1972 since I know exactly where they will hit at any given range from experience.
    All in all, If I had the bucks to burn I would go with Janes recommendation of the magnetospeed but the reality of it is, it's an overkill for me when what I have now is good enough. Unless your a serious wildcatter, Once you work up what works for you, you'll likely not touch it much. Find a buddy with a lot of toys or better yet join a gun club with the toys for money better spent. I loaded, shot and killed for forty years without one. I'd still like that magnetospeed though:s0145:
     
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  15. Janes

    Janes Enid, Oklahoma Member

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    What I like about the magnetospeed is that the shade doesn't affect it. On the other one I was always worried about shooting it or if I was shooting in the right place. The Magnetospeed is expensive. Like you said after you get the loads worked up you may not use it much
     
  16. usagi

    usagi Redmond Well-Known Member

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    magnetospeed is the way to go. more expensive but so very worth it.

    optical chronys are completely no-go at indoor ranges.
     
  17. U201491

    U201491 Well-Known Member

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    Chronographs, Unless you are doing a Lot of load buildups over time and barrel length testing and maybe even to a commercial level is a tool that you will use a little in the beginning, then it will become a dust collector.
    If you can, find someone that already has one and see if they will let you utilize it to do what you need.
    Other than Chrony is at the lower end and they work well.
    Just a suggestion. Use the money for Ammo, supplies or toward another gun or optic.
     
  18. usagi

    usagi Redmond Well-Known Member

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    you are supposed to chrony every time you start a new powder lot. burn rates differ from powders of different manufacture dates.
     
  19. U201491

    U201491 Well-Known Member

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    Most shooters re zero for matches, every time they change, powder lot numbers, primer lot numbers, bullet lot numbers or case weight change in new brass. There are so many more important things to do than just chronograph. That is just one small tool in reloading. Anyone that shoots a lot, will buy in quantity all the components they can with same lot numbers to minimize doing all that.
    You should even spin every bullet and weigh and measure every case if you are 100% serious about accuracy.
    All your cases should be fired one time in the firearm you are using and then load for competititon.
    I even went so far as to make sulfur casts of my chambers and matched my dies to that. Also checked bores for tight spots and remedied that as well.. The path to the perfect reload can be a great quest and almost a disease LOL.
    Do half of that and just shoot more. :D
    Trying to get Ten rounds through the same hole can be fun and it can frazzle your hair............LOL
    My favorite is "I can shoot the eye out of a rat at 300. And could come damned close to that for most of my life. I love precision and accurate weapons. Always have. But there is a point of overkill in achieving that too.
    Just make sure you keep enjoying what you do. When it becomes drudgery, change tactics.


    .
     
  20. John Gault

    John Gault clackamas county Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Just thought I'd update on chrono usage. Today I took it to the range and put some of my reloads thru the V poles. In order to see how well chrono was running I first put 15 rounds of Winchester Factory Ranger HP +P+ ammo that the box indicated ran at 1250 velocity at muzzle. I will say that that ammo was loaded to some exacting specs.... I had several "duplicate" messages come up on chrono and all of the numbers were only a few off the 1250 mark. Very impressed with that ammo.

    My 124 gr. Montana Gold HP's with 4.6 Grains Vit N340 averaged 1020 with a deviation from 1113 to 1140 on chrono.