New Labradar in the house

daved20319

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Not sure just where to post this, we don't have a specific sub-forum for gun related electronics (hint, hint :D). Literally just got it yesterday, and I don't know when I'll be able to actually try it out, I woke up to 13 degrees this morning, and I don't see much better for awhile :eek:. I tend to avoid shooting when conditions result in frozen hands. All that said, here's some first impressions.

First impression, it's big and orange! Feels light for its size, but not flimsy. Only things in the box are some documentation, the Labradar (LR), and a USB cord. You'll want to figure out how you're going to mount it from the get go, you're going to need a sturdy tripod or a stand of some sort, you don't want the wind knocking over a $600+ piece of equipment. And it will need to be adjustable for windage and elevation, there's an aiming notch/slot in the top of the unit that needs to be aimed at the target. This aiming "system" seems to be the biggest cause for complaints, and the biggest aftermarket for this machine. Others haven't had any issues, I'll be trying it as is and go from there.

The menu system, at least for initial setup, is straightforward and intuitive, I ran through the settings in just a few minutes without needing to refer to the user's manual. Obviously, I haven't armed the radar yet, so time will tell what that part of the operation will be like, but I don't foresee any issues. The user's manual isn't real extensive, but it doesn't need to be, this seems like a well designed piece of equipment with a simple operator's interface. And unlike my old Shooting Chrony, I don't anticipate the need to dig out the manual every time you need/want to make a change to the settings.

My main reason for this purchase is my shift toward more precision loading, with the hope/intent of doing some long range shooting, 1K or more yards. Load workups are always the most challenging aspect, do you focus on accuracy at the target then "worry" about velocity, of do you test for velocity, then fine tune on the target? Regular light sensor chronos make this an either/or proposition, just getting the chrono aligned so you don't shoot it is a challenge, actually trying to aim at a target at the same time is just asking for a dead chrono, or bad data. To do both at the same time requires a different technology, enter the Magnetospeed and the Labradar. I looked hard at both, I like the ease of setup and compact size of the MS, and the price, but it doesn't play well with handguns, and a lot of my shooting and load testing is for handguns. So that really made the LR the obvious choice for me, despite the cost.

So now I have some questions for those already using one of these machines. What, if anything, do you consider a must have accessory/accessories, and why? What do you like best, and what's the biggest PITA? Any other thoughts and suggestions will be much appreciated. More later, guys.

Dave
 
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Load workups are always the most challenging aspect, do you focus on accuracy at the target then "worry" about velocity, of do you test for velocity, then fine tune on the target?
I used to shortcut most of the process. Most of my more accurate loads were around the max recommended powder charge, so I would start at max minus 10 percent and work from there. Once I hit the sweet spot I would fiddle with OAL. Standard deviation was usually the best around the best groups, so I was usually more interested in max velocity. I've been shooting more close range stuff lately so I haven't hand loaded in a bit. Now you have me thinking about it again, so thanks! I always had fun with it.
 

erslll

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Good tripod, external battery pack and a tablet of some kind that is set so it doesn't go to sleep. MK Machine makes a good aiming aid that is pretty reasonable.
 

BigGame

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I agree, use an external power pack.
Also, confirm that it’s running the most recent firmware version.
I was concerned about the aiming notch initially, but found the ‘aim’ does not need to be so precise and the notch is all you need. If there’s a bias in my aim, it’s a little low versus a little high.
I downloaded the phone app you can use with it, but find I don’t really need it. I just work the manual controls.
I set it up on a tripod and position it even with my muzzle and about 6-9 inches to the side.
Biggest gripe: you can’t return to a prior shot string and continue building on it. I just create a new string each shooting session and each rifle.

Bonus: I’ve found you can do BC testing with it by inputing muzzle and downrange velocities into a BC calculator like JBM. It’s not exact, but pretty close.

Advice: it’s so easy to use and handy that you should take it EVERY TIME you go to the range. No reason not to. Enjoy.
 
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daved20319

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Thanks, guys. Got the tripod, external battery packs, even an older iPad, still need to verify it's running the latest firmware. And yes, ease of use was the other driving factor, if it's as easy to setup and use as it seems to be, I fully intend taking and using it on pretty much every range trip. The biggest issue I see now is a good data log that is simple enough I actually use it, and that I can quickly/easily mine data from. I used to have a pretty good system when I was into air rifles, might have to resurrect and expand on that. That was also PC based, but I run Apple stuff now, so I guess I'm going to finally have to get serious about learning Numbers :oops:. Partner and I are planning a range trip this Saturday, despite the cold, will post more after. Later.

Dave
 

Mikej

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Thanks, guys. Got the tripod, external battery packs, even an older iPad, still need to verify it's running the latest firmware. And yes, ease of use was the other driving factor, if it's as easy to setup and use as it seems to be, I fully intend taking and using it on pretty much every range trip. The biggest issue I see now is a good data log that is simple enough I actually use it, and that I can quickly/easily mine data from. I used to have a pretty good system when I was into air rifles, might have to resurrect and expand on that. That was also PC based, but I run Apple stuff now, so I guess I'm going to finally have to get serious about learning Numbers :oops:. Partner and I are planning a range trip this Saturday, despite the cold, will post more after. Later.

Dave
Everybody wants to be you. Well I do anyway!

One of the members here that was involved with "Trash no Land" and was helping us at the North Fork Wolf Creek shooting lanes got one of those and had a thread. Real cool unit! Wish I could remember who. He'd probably have some input for you.
 
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daved20319

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Got the chance to run the new unit through its paces today and can sum it up in one word: PERFECTION! 3 different rifles, 2 handguns, and not a single dropped shot or other glitch.

This was an out of the box test, no aftermarket aiming device, no add on trigger unit, just put it on a tripod next to the bench, used the provided aiming notch to line it up on target, and started shooting.

Despite lots of complaints on line about it being picky about target alignment, I found it just the opposite. I had one target at 50 yards, two more at 100, I had it more or less lined up at 100, and it was happily picking up shots on ALL targets, at both ranges, and with a good mix of guns: 9mm & .45 ACP pistols and a Ruger Mini 14 .223 at 50, and a 6.5 CM and 7mm-08 at 100 yards on 2 different targets a couple of feet apart. The biggest problem I had all day was my damn glasses fogging up, making it hard to see anything :rolleyes:.

Couple of minor stumbles right at first getting familiar with the new system, but quickly sorted out, nothing but smooth sailing after that. Was using a 5200 MaH external battery for power, after more than 2 hours run time in mid 20's temps and around 100 shots recorded in multiple strings, it was still at 75% capacity. The data storage is excellent, and the track feature is amazingly detailed, you could literally graph the actual trajectory of each individual shot.

I've owned 3 other chronograph over the last decade or so, and this one cost more than all 3 combined, but I'm not regretting the expense at all. It's easy to set up, is totally unaffected by lighting or other weather conditions, and just plain works. This will be going with me on pretty much every range trip from now on, with the ability to capture so much data so easily there's no reason for it not to. I think the days of the light sensor chronographs are well and truly numbered, and good riddance! Later.

Dave
 

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