My primary use case right now is determining velocity of rimfire pews…though I would like to get more methodical with rolling my own center fire, so that is the next highest priority.

What chrono would you recommend and why? Would you avoid any in particular?
 
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A LabRadar.
It’s not even a comparison anymore.
They are easier to set up than any other chronograph, you don’t have to worry about them falling off your gun or messing with Barrel harmonics or rain or light being an issue. The data inputs to your phone or you can export it to an excel file.
 
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A LabRadar.
It’s not even a comparison anymore.
They are easier to set up than any other chronograph, you don’t have to worry about them falling off your gun or messing with Barrel harmonics or rain or light being an issue. The data inputs to your phone or you can export it to an excel file.
All except the price!

I have this. Well, its seen better days. One plus to the Lab Radar is you can’t really shoot it! I shot mine with a wad trying to test shotshell velocities!

It has Bluetooth.

 
One of the Caldwell versions with tripod. Similar to this one:


Except the sun shades on the one I received are flat rather than curved.

Anyways, bought it because:

-it was on sale. ($115 in 2018 @ Midway)
-has an app for iphone.
-plugs into iphone directly.
-can email data from app, or just leave data in app.

Probably now a days there are Bluetooth versions, which might be better. Might not be too, depending upon battery usage & such.

Packs & unpacks verything into/from its bag relatively easily/neatly.
 
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A LabRadar.
It’s not even a comparison anymore.
One vote down for the LabRadar if you will be using it in a small/short bay or if the bay has metal sides, aka the Conex at TCGC or Dundee. The LabRadar is really designed to have some distance downrange. I don't recall the number but it's in the manual.

If you have open space downrange it is a great unit.

You also need to pay attention to where your muzzle is in relation to the LabRadar to get accurate results especially if your gun has a comp. Again the manual tells you all about it.
 
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All except the price!

I have this. Well, its seen better days. One plus to the Lab Radar is you can’t really shoot it! I shot mine with a wad trying to test shotshell velocities!

It has Bluetooth.

I have the older ProChrono Digital. Have considered upgrading to the DLX with Bluetooth, but can’t confirm if you can operate the chronograph from your phone, change strings, delete shots, etc. without going down range. I actually ordered the wired remote control for mine, but hate having the wire running from the unit to the box. So, Reno, we’re you able to change strings, delete strings, etc. using the Bluetooth app on your phone?
 
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I have the older ProChrono Digital. Have considered upgrading to the DLX with Bluetooth, but can’t confirm if you can operate the chronograph from your phone, change strings, delete shots, etc. without going down range. I actually ordered the wired remote control for mine, but hate having the wire running from the unit to the box. So, Reno, we’re you able to change strings, delete strings, etc. using the Bluetooth app on your phone?
Yes. Phone app is nice.
 
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I have a Magneto Speed V3. It clamps on to the barrel and takes a few minutes to cinch down. It works really well and I'm satisfied with it.
It downloads the data to a mini-usb if you want to transfer it to your computer.
The downsides are that if you have a tapered barrel, it will sometimes start to slide forward. Solution is to give it a check every 20 rounds or so. I typically have my velocities down in 20 rounds so I remove it at that point. A friend put a piece of blue tape on his barrel to stop that. I'm too lazy for that.
There have also been complaints of POI shifts. On my hunting rifles, it has been about a 1/2 inch, low and to the right. I have not noticed an impact on my groups. I typically will shoot for velocity, then remove it to verify zero.
One thing I do appreciate is that I can install, adjust, and remove it while on the firing line. Unlike the units mounted on a tripod downrange that you have to wait until a "cease fire" is called.
Just be sure to check and double check that it's properly aligned. You must ensure it's below the bullet line of flight.
I have used it on my M1A, Marlin lever action, and hunting rifles with no issues. Have not tried it with handgun.
I have been seriously considering a Labradar but haven't been able to justify the cost just yet. The only time I use my chrono is when I'm working up a new load (not often anymore) or just verifying a load before hunting season. That's 20 rounds and then it's packed away until next year. The reason I'm considering the Labradar is the ability to determine velocity downrange. But as a buddy pointed out to me, a lot of online programs will determine that for you by just inputting your bullet type and MV. A few FPS either way will have no impact.
Take a look at how often you're going to use it and go from there.
 
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Another vote for the LabRadar, if you can justify the cost. I’ve been pleased with mine since purchasing it a few years ago. I watched for a sale, and a coupon through Brownells to coincide which took some of the price sting out of it.

Navigating the software was a bit tricky at first, and I find the phone app makes it more user friendly than using the buttons on the unit.

As others noted, the manual includes some helpful advice/tips/instruction. Don’t expect you can skip reviewing the instructions and show up at the range and it will work wonders the first time. But once you learn to navigate the menus, position it correctly relative to the muzzle, and have the settings right for what you are doing, I’ve been impressed.

I appreciate not being “that person”on the busy firing line at the range that needs to go out there and set up/move their optical chrono. Also, I’d have to be doing some really crazy, unsafe stuff to end up shooting the unit as it sits next to me on the bench vs. shooting over/through it. Met a few people who either them, or a buddy who borrowed their chrono ended up with a bullet impact.
 
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I just went through literal hours last night with this same question. Many reviews, many opinions. The consensus looks to be LR is accurate and very good but it's very picky. And expensive. And not in stock almost anywhere. AND it needs "extras" such as a tripod, external battery if you don't want to use AAs, a frickin SD card which is unforgivable at this price point not to include. The MS is easy to install, also very accurate and MIGHT mess with POI and harmonics. It's also in stock right now at many places. I ended up buying the MS sporter as it will meet the needs I have at this time and for MUCH, MUCH less than the LR.
 
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Right now im still mad at my still fairly new Caldwells chrono. Last range session i got only a handful of velocities from well over 20 reloads shot. Kinda ruined my day.
That said, its been a workhorse thats always worked well enough.
For now im just writing off my last time as a " bad hair day"...
 
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We have two LabRadars in our club for the members' use. We also have an Oehler for the occasional arrow - we have a narchery section, too. It's a matter of fact that the LabRadar is not impressed when used in conjunction with rifles/carbines with brakes - we've had some very odd variations in velocities that were not down to the vagaries/ineptness of the reloader using it.
 
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Yet another vote for the Labradar. This is my 4th chrono, started with a Shooting Chrony Beta back in my springer airgun days, but quickly ran into its limitations when I moved on to PCP's. Replaced it with a CED Millenium II, probably about the best optical chrono available short of an Oehler 35 IMO, but I sold it when I quit shooting for awhile (yeah, I'm stupid that way sometimes :oops:). Got back into shooting, needed a chrono, and bought one of the Caldwell units on sale. Decent setup, but still plagued by all the issues of an optical unit. Finally decided to upgrade, narrowed it down to either a MagnetoSpeed or the Labradar. Despite the considerably higher price, went with the LR, mostly due to the fact that about half my chrono testing is handguns, and the MS does not play well with handguns. No complaints with the LR at all, I don't find it "picky" in the least, any other optical chrono is going to require a tripod, and I already had SD cards and external power packs on hand for other stuff, so no extra costs to me. That said, if all you're doing is rifles, and it's only occasional use, I'd probably go with the MS. But there are other features to the LR that would still make it worth considering IMO. Later.

Dave
 
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I sure would like a Labradar but get by just fine with a V3 Magnetospeed. Once you get used to what you need for shims and settings for different guns it is very reliable. It is a game changer over an optical chrony for using at a public range.
 
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Any unit is better than none in feeling comfortable with developing handloads, especially outside the basic book data. Some how I never felt at ease with just primer and brass exams when judging new load safety. If you don't change things much or reload a lot it may be hard to justify any big bucks for a unit.
I have over 25 years with a 30 dollar sort (back then cost) only real issue was the lighting really finicky leaving me disappointed after a long drive to the woods. Unlevel terrain made alignment a challenge too. But hey, it got the job done, (most of the time).
My next was a Magneto speed, OK for most rifles. lot of fudging with mounting, doesn't care what's around it, still had to use the cheapo unit for pistols though.
I finally bought a Labradar, works great, I highly recommend, But like others have said close by, enclosures, and such can makes things wacko, but out in the open it's well worth the money and can't be beat,. for set up ease, lack of light issues, repeatable data, ruggedability. data collection / record keeping/ printout, transfer and archive ability etc.
If you do buy one, buy the external rechargeable battery unit, (it velcrows to the side of the unit) because filling it with disposable batteries is rather a joke, and eventually you will wish you had. They should have put one in the unit instead of the little batteries!!
 
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I also have the ProChrono DLX which replaced my ProChrono Digital. Two things that appealed to me with the DLX were the App announcing velocities, and being able to download a string to your phone and then shoot that string again.
 
I have an old Shooting Chrony. I've been very happy with it but I recently learned they are outta business. That kinda sucks.
 
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The pro chrono is great if you have access to a outdoor range. I have the older version with the add on Bluetooth and it works great. I use the indoor lighting kit on mine (powered off a power tool battery inverter) and it never misses a shot regardless of sunlight conditions.
 
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I've owned an Oehler for almost a decade now, and love it. Does everything I want, does so better than almost any other I've compared it to. That is until my buddy bought a Labradr and I saw how much easier it was to use, and the features it has.
I'm not going to run out and buy another chronograph as my Oehler is still a wonderful unit. But if it ever failed me I'd buy the Labradr to replace my Oehler.
 
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I won an Oehler 35p at the IPSC Area 1 Championships in the early '90's. I still use it, and it's been a great unit. Kind of a pain to take anywhere, so I just leave it mounted on the tripod, as I do the vast majority of my shooting at my house.
If I ever buy another, it will be Lab-Radar.

Oehler has great customer service though! I shot my sky-screens trying to check my arrow speed at 100 yards. (It was on a bet after a few too many, as I had never shot that far). They didn't make my sky-screens anymore, so they sent me a new set for free. Can't beat that!
 

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