Advice on Chronograph - 1st Purchase!

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Advice on Chronograph - 1st Purchase!

Post by ShootingStar » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:52 am

Hey everyone,
I did a search on here, but not other sites, and didn't find much information. . .

What is your recommendation on a chronograph and why?

Thanks and I look forward to hearing what you have to say and using your collective experience to buy my 1st one!

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Re: Advice on Chronograph - 1st Purchase!

Post by cedestech » Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:31 am

https://www.sportsmansguide.com/product ... ampaign=CI

Have not used one but hear good things about this one. Magno speed throws shots, dopler can be a problem and pricey, this optical one addresses the problem with light since it doesn't use ambiant light. YMMV but it's what I'd buy if I was going to purchase right now.

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Re: Advice on Chronograph - 1st Purchase!

Post by mychippy » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:38 am

The advantage of the MagnetoSpeed and LabRadar are that you don't have to set up any equipment downrange. I use a MagnetoSpeed sporter because it's cheap, and it seems to work well. As stated above, it may change your point of impact. Some folks at AccurateShooter are enamored with the LabRadar because you can, in theory, use it during a match to record all your shot velocities. Most reviews I've seen have been positive. If the additional cost was not a concern, I'd get a LabRadar.

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Re: Advice on Chronograph - 1st Purchase!

Post by Jerry G » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:49 am

Oehler is the best way to go. They are easy to set up and work every time. The radar ones only work out to a couple hundred yards with their data. If you just want muzzle data I suppose they are OK.

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Re: Advice on Chronograph - 1st Purchase!

Post by Another Dang 9 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:51 am

I have a pro crono and for $100 it can't be beat.
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Re: Advice on Chronograph - 1st Purchase!

Post by OldRanger » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:17 am

I Use a magnetospeed chrono and like it just fine.

I saw a guy using a radar one and must say that its pretty sweet. Jerry, most chronos (including mine) only give data at muzzle velocity so I don't see that as a big detriment. Having no attachment to the rifle and nothing downrange to shoot accidentally seems good to me.
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Re: Advice on Chronograph - 1st Purchase!

Post by Jason » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:23 pm

Jerry G wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:49 am
Oehler is the best way to go. They are easy to set up and work every time. The radar ones only work out to a couple hundred yards with their data. If you just want muzzle data I suppose they are OK.
Jerry, can you explain this one a bit more? As was mentioned, the Oehler only gives muzzle velocity and the Labradar goes out to a couple hundred yards. I don't understand your comment.

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Re: Advice on Chronograph - 1st Purchase!

Post by Jerry G » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:51 am

Data out to only 200 yards is totally worthless. The Oehler works great, gives you a printout of every shot, does statistical analysis for your string and prints that out. It uses regular adding machine paper so a paper supply is cheep and no problem. My friend has a Chrony and the printer works half time at best and occasionally gives some funny numbers. It is particular about light conditions too.

I can set up the Oehler at any distance I want to as long as I put a piece of T-1 in front of it to protect it from low shots beyond 400 yds.

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Re: Advice on Chronograph - 1st Purchase!

Post by Zolt » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:57 am

Oehler

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Re: Advice on Chronograph - 1st Purchase!

Post by Jason » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:48 am

If you have your own range where you don't have to coordinate with other people and great weather (no rain/snow and good lighting) most of the time, the Oehler will work for you. It has been the standard by which all other optical chronographs have been measured for years. Any other optical chronograph will likely be a lower price, but you'll be getting a lesser product, too. Like all traditional optical chronographs, it's a bit of a pain to set up and get just right, especially your first few times using it. This can be a hassle when shooting with other shooters at the range, as you either have to wait through a couple cease fires or annoy the other shooters.

If you want to measure velocity as easily as possible for a cheaper price, you can grab the MagnetoSpeed V3. You can get the sporter version of the Magnetospeed for an even cheaper price. I have the MagnetoSpeed V3 and also bought the rail adapter, so it works with most every firearm that I have other than semi-auto handguns with slides and no rails. It's a little tedious learning how to get the spacers right to get the MagnetoSpeed V3 on each different gun and it can be a hassle to switch between several guns in a long shooting session. All of that can be done while everyone else on the firing line is going about their business, though, so I'd rate the hassle here much lower than with the optical chronographs. There is the worry of having the chronograph changing point of impact and/or group size, but I haven't had that happen for me. Maybe that's because most of my rifles aren't pencil-thin barreled hunting rifles (silhouette mostly took over all my shooting).

Here's a comparison between the Oehler 35p and the Magnetospeed V3. I would agree with most everything written there.
https://rifleshooter.com/2015/11/magnet ... nd-review/

There is also the Labradar available now. Having a chronograph that I don't have to set up out in front of the bench and I don't have to attach to the firearm is wonderful, but it does take up a bit of room on the bench. It's even easier to set up and just have work than the MagnetoSpeed. The biggest challenges with the Labradar are getting the unit pointed directly at the target and learning to use the controls effectively, and (for me) remember to switch the velocity range between pistol and rifle when I'm switching firearms. The aiming notch in the top of the unit could be a bit more precise, and sometimes I forget to hold the unit when I'm pushing the buttons and slightly change where the unit is pointed so it misses capturing the next shot. Having it also capture velocity at multiple distances lets me verify the actual ballistic coefficient out of my rifles instead of only relying on manufacturer claims. Having multiple readings for each shot will also detect if one of the readings isn't correct. I have not had this with other chronographs. The confidence it inspires when one shot's velocity is very different from the others is great. I still need to spend a little more time with the saved data format from the Labradar to see if I like it better than the MagnetoSpeed, but I may be biased because most of my data is formatted around the way that the MagnetoSpeed saved it. I have heard third-hand reports of the Labradar having trouble tracking centerfire .17 cal rifle rounds going really fast, but I don't have any of those so can't verify whether it's true.

Both the MagnetoSpeed and the Labradar save the chronograph data electronically, so it's easier for me to save the data in my spreadsheets for later, and I can add comments on group size, locations, conditions, etc. Then I can have that data available on my computer or cell phone anytime. I never kept the printouts from the older style optical chronographs in a system that was easy to find later. I usually ended up copying the results into a log book or typing them into the computer anyway.

Here's what is hopefully the most helpful part of this for you. I'd estimate that about 75% of my shooting is either testing for or in silhouette matches of various types. This includes smallbore/high power rifle, smallbore/PC/centerfire cowboy rifle, and smallbore/hunter's pistol. I have two traditional optical chronographs, the MagnetoSpeed V3 with the extra rail adapter, and the Labradar. I haven't had the optical chronographs out of my garage in at least two years, likely longer. I can't remember the last time I used either of them. I only know where one of them is because I saw it on the shelf when I took down the rotary tumbler the other day. I think I loaned the other one to someone else and never thought about getting it back because I don't really have a use for it anymore. I use the MagnetoSpeed V3 occasionally, as it's small and lightweight, and it takes up very little extra room on the bench. If I'm just testing velocity on one firearm and not really shooting for groups, it's fine. The rest of the time, I use the Labradar. It's just better.

If you really want a traditional optical chronograph, then the Oehler 35p is the one to get, if you don't mind paying a bunch and you can find one. Otherwise, you should choose between the costs/tradeoffs of the MagnetoSpeed or Labradar chronographs. Ten or more years ago, the answer to this question would have been different. Now, technology has moved on. Taking the time to write this up has motivated me to finally get around to trying to sell/give away my optical chronographs... if I can find them.

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Re: Advice on Chronograph - 1st Purchase!

Post by edgehit » Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:42 pm

Labradar. Here’s what it does unlike any other.
1.fast set up and take down and convenient for public range
2. Good stats
3. Saves data in Excel CSV file
4. Projectile tracking. The bigger the base diameter the farther it tracks. This Tells you a bit about actual BC. It literally provides a velocity about every yard or less. The velocity curve is not smooth so there is some error


It’s not perfect and has some quirks
1. Doesn’t work in fog or misting rain. Duh
2. Doesn’t track cast lead bullets that are slinging gobs of lube
3. Has trouble triggering rimfire rounds. Read manual
4. Can’t track ultra velocity >3,700 fps
5. Can’t track bird shot
6. Eats AA batteries

At some point, there will be a phone app to connect by Bluetooth which may be useful

I have access to the clubs Oehler but use Labradar because it’s faster set up and reliable reading. That’s right, there’s been too many times the Oehler wouldn’t read due to heavy cloud cover or maintenance problem.

Learn Labradars limitations and get over its shortcomings by reading the manual.
- Joe

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Re: Advice on Chronograph - 1st Purchase!

Post by Jerry G » Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:16 pm

If you have cloud cover, just leave the sun screens off.

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Re: Advice on Chronograph - 1st Purchase!

Post by atomicbrh » Tue Feb 27, 2018 4:04 pm

I do not have anything to add about chronographs except this chronograph story:
About 14 years ago the young son and I were shooting on a non-match day at the local club. A well known USPSA competitor rapidly backed up to the firing line beside us in a cloud of dust. His vehicle was a 1 ton, 15 passenger van that probably at one time was blue but you could not really describe the color. It had a stout engine and it did not smoke. Everybody in that family(wife and more kids than you could keep up with) shot USPSA and Steel Challenge. Progressive reloading presses, Dillons I think bolted on benches in the back of the van so they could reload at the range. Chairs in front of the presses. That van was always full of kids, components and match gear. So he backs up in a hurry, jumps out of the van in a hurry with a chronograph in his hand and gives the chronograph a mighty overhand throw downrange so that it tumbles end over end a couple of times and lands perfectly on the ground oriented in the correct direction and at his preferred distance from the firing line. Then pulls a pistol out of a bag and commences Chronographing loads. Doing this in less time than it took for me to type it.
From the looks of his chronograph he had gone through this scenario many times.
I am guessing he was always in too big of a hurry to call the line safe and scientifically put the thing on a tripod.

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Re: Advice on Chronograph - 1st Purchase!

Post by Another Dang 9 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 6:42 pm

What kind of crono results did he get... :-??
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Re: Advice on Chronograph - 1st Purchase!

Post by ShootingStar » Thu Mar 01, 2018 5:25 am

Bobby,
That's a GREAT story!!!
That guy really knows what he's doing! Like a BOSS - as they say!
AND - it's a testament to the old adage "Practice makes perfect!"

Did you happen to know what brand of Chrono? Because that model sure can take some abuse! It should last forever if handled "by the book."


Everybody - thanks for the input! The specifics of each type is exactly what I needed. Not just data points but reasons why and advantages or disadvantages of one over another.

ShootingStar
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