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Posted: 8/9/2020 2:16:17 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/9/2020 2:57:43 PM EDT by dryflash3]
I want to buy a chrono but know nothing.

Where do I start?

Not directed at you OP, but follow on posters.


Do not post offers to sell in this post.

All sales have to be in the EE. See the conduct code.

Use IM's for comms dryflash3

Link Posted: 8/9/2020 2:25:25 AM EDT
There are three basic types. Optical, magnetic, and radar.

Each has pros and cons.

Optical is the least expensive. It takes more setup and can have some errors when lighting conditions vary.

Magnetic is accurate, but must hang a sensor bayonet on the muzzle. The bayonet can be difficult to adapt to some guns. Middle of the pack in cost.

Radar is accurate, easy to set up. The Bluetooth is flaky, and you tend to need an external trigger to reduce missed shots. This is the best but most expensive method.
Link Posted: 8/9/2020 2:42:11 AM EDT
I started with Caldwell optical. After having issues not registering shots fired, I added a LED light kit and put a trash bag over it to eliminate side lighting screwing up the optics. This worked pretty good, until the wind would blow it over.

Sold the Caldwell and got a Labradar. Works great and non of the drama setting it up at a public range full of people. I haven't had any issue with it not registering shots.
Link Posted: 8/9/2020 7:11:07 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/9/2020 2:54:55 PM EDT by dryflash3]
I've got a optical I'll sell you cheap...I bought a Labradar and I'm not looking back.

@airfoil

Sales are not allowed outside the EE, So keep all further comms on IM's.
I don't want to give out an account warning. dryflash3
Link Posted: 8/9/2020 12:01:55 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By airfoil:
I've got a optical I'll sell you cheap...I bought a Labradar and I'm not looking back.
View Quote

Those are sweet but super spendy. Unless you do a ton of reloading OP a decent optical one will probably be fine for your needs.
Link Posted: 8/9/2020 2:03:42 PM EDT
Everyone should start with an optical, because you havent really joined the chrono crowd until you've shot one. (Mine survived the first oops, but the second time around the round punched clean through it)

I'm keen to get a magnetospeed, but as said they require mounting to the firearm which can be tricky or impossible depending on what you are shooting.
Link Posted: 8/9/2020 2:43:21 PM EDT
Number one rule of using a chrony.

Don't shoot the chrony.
Link Posted: 8/9/2020 3:15:11 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/9/2020 3:15:40 PM EDT by Trollslayer]
Why do you want to buy a chronograph?  

What do you plan to do with it?  

In what way will it improve your reloading or your shooting performance or ...?

If you can answer these questions, we may be better able to guide you.
Link Posted: 8/9/2020 3:22:54 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Trollslayer:
Why do you want to buy a chronograph?  

What do you plan to do with it?  

In what way will it improve your reloading or your shooting performance or ...?

If you can answer these questions, we may be better able to guide you.
View Quote

I want to know how fast my bullets are going.

I plan to work up loads for precision, subsonic loads for my cans, and hunting ammunition.

I hope it improves my accuracy, makes my ammo quieter, and ?...

Please guide me... I want to learn what else a chrono can help with.
Link Posted: 8/9/2020 6:06:30 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/9/2020 7:38:42 PM EDT by AeroEngineer]
What type of range do you shoot at?

Here’s why I say that  - setting up an optical chrono can take a fair amount of tinkering time downrange.

I’m a volunteer RSO at a club range, and then I want to use my chrono I do so when the range is empty so I can take the time to get it set up on a cold range.

If I was shooting at a public range where this would be an issue I’d opt for magnetic or radar.
Link Posted: 8/9/2020 6:34:36 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/9/2020 6:35:00 PM EDT by steve8140]
I use a competition electronics pro chrono DLX. It has built is Bluetooth so you don’t always need to be right next to the chrono to check the readout. It will sync right to your phone and store the info if you want.
Chrono

I’m a competitive shooter and relatively new reloader. I can check my loads and make sure I make power factor as well as test other equipment like archery or whatever you want.
Link Posted: 8/9/2020 6:56:12 PM EDT
I’ve owned both a Competition Electronics optical chrono and a LabRadar. The labradar is so simple it’s kind of unbelievable. If you chrono at a public range, it’s absolutely worth it for the time saved not waiting to adjust an optical that’s 10ft in front of the firing line.
Link Posted: 8/9/2020 7:13:25 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/9/2020 7:15:52 PM EDT by Donut777donut]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By AeroEngineer:
What type of range do you shoot at?

Here’s why I ADL - setting up an optical chrono can take a fair amount of tinkering time dow
nrange.

I’m a volunteer RSO at a club range, and then I want to use my chrono I do so when the range is empty so I can take the time to get it set up on a cold range.

If I was shooting at a public range where this would be an issue I’d opt for magnetic or radar.
View Quote

I have a membership at a gun club with many ranges.

I also go shoot on public land a bunch.

ETA: I’m starting to lean towards a Magnetospeed I think.
Link Posted: 8/9/2020 11:38:47 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/9/2020 11:39:32 PM EDT by Green_Canoe]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By AeroEngineer:
What type of range do you shoot at?

Here’s why I say that  - setting up an optical chrono can take a fair amount of tinkering time downrange.

I’m a volunteer RSO at a club range, and then I want to use my chrono I do so when the range is empty so I can take the time to get it set up on a cold range.

If I was shooting at a public range where this would be an issue I’d opt for magnetic or radar.
View Quote



Yep,  I shoot at a private club where I usually have the range to myself if I go at the right time. I find it takes an average 3 trips from the bench to the chrono to get the alignment perfect between gun, target, and chrono.
Link Posted: 8/10/2020 2:46:44 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Green_Canoe:



Yep,  I shoot at a private club where I usually have the range to myself if I go at the right time. I find it takes an average 3 trips from the bench to the chrono to get the alignment perfect between gun, target, and chrono.
View Quote

You can use a piece of string and do it in one trip....
Link Posted: 8/10/2020 12:11:15 PM EDT
I have started placing my chronograph at the target.  This completely eliminates muzzle blast effects and makes alignment trivial (a single trip to place & align with target).
Link Posted: 8/10/2020 12:26:21 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Trollslayer:
I have started placing my chronograph at the target.  This completely eliminates muzzle blast effects and makes alignment trivial (a single trip to place & align with target).
View Quote


Depending on distance to target, you're talking about a pretty large velocity drop.

I thought you had a LR, anyway?
Link Posted: 8/10/2020 12:36:00 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By RegionRat:
There are three basic types. Optical, magnetic, and radar.

Each has pros and cons.

Optical is the least expensive. It takes more setup and can have some errors when lighting conditions vary.

Magnetic is accurate, but must hang a sensor bayonet on the muzzle. The bayonet can be difficult to adapt to some guns. Middle of the pack in cost.

Radar is accurate, easy to set up. The Bluetooth is flaky, and you tend to need an external trigger to reduce missed shots. This is the best but most expensive method.
View Quote


This pretty much sums it up.   My only add is that Optical data quality is the least consistently accurate.  When properly set up, they can be just as accurate anything.  The trick is there are a lot of tricks to "Properly set up".  I tended to quite a bit of variability in readings from one outing to the next, with optical.  Less so with radar.  Though even with Radar, if you set up a bank of targets, the reading you will get on the perfectly centered target and the reading you get on the far right target, may not be the same.  

Of the options, the age-old case of the more you spend, the more you get, comes into play.  If you just want something on a budget that you'll use only a couple times a year, optical is the way to go.  I like to tinker, and to date have probably close to 5000+ traces tracked on my LabRadar (one outing = 10 test loads at 5-10 rounds per load, so each outing can get you 100 traces).   And I can set it up, and just roll.  With the others, there's a lot of set-up/screwing around time.  With optical there's a LOT of screwing around time (done downrange - looking back at your muzzle to check alignment - yay!)  With magneto, you have to remount on every gun being tested that outing; and you can't really trust the impact data from those shots, because you were touching the barrel while firing.  

To me, Magneto is actually the worst choice, because just save the moeny and go optical, which is more general, or spend the money and go Radar.  Just my own logic, Iwill say Magneto does give good data.
Link Posted: 8/10/2020 12:38:03 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/10/2020 12:38:41 PM EDT by lazyengineer]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By airfoil:
I've got a optical I'll sell you cheap...I bought a Labradar and I'm not looking back.

@airfoil

Sales are not allowed outside the EE, So keep all further comms on IM's.
I don't want to give out an account warning. dryflash3
View Quote


Aside from drawing ire from the mod for not following the letter of the rules; I don't really advise getting rid of your optical.  They're is very little money in it.  And as one LabRadar owner to another; it's not a bad idea having a back-up Chrony option in the house....
Link Posted: 8/10/2020 2:55:58 PM EDT
I've had most of the optical brands, from the dead cheapest to all the bells and whistles.  In my experience, all of them use the same garbage chinese sensors, and they will all give you errors based on lighting conditions here and there.  I have shot all the major brands that I've owned except the Caldwell one which is new.

If you're shooting for accuracy and having errors, sometimes it helps to sharpie the bullets black, especially if you're shooting small caliber bullets.
Link Posted: 8/10/2020 3:14:10 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/10/2020 3:14:43 PM EDT by -Obsessed-]
If you go optical, I strongly suggest taking a look at the Ballistic G2 from Caldwell.

It is inverted so the sensors look down at the ground vs up at the sky.

I never had an issue with it picking up any bullet in any lighting condition.

I am exceedingly unlucky and had a jacket separate and hit the screen, cracking it.

I wound up getting a LabRadar. It is nice, but far from perfect.

The Caldwell is fantastic and if I could use it at the indoor range I’m a member of I wouldn’t have been so inclined to get the LabRadar.
Link Posted: 8/10/2020 10:50:31 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/11/2020 11:16:04 AM EDT by Trollslayer]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By -Obsessed-:  Depending on distance to target, you're talking about a pretty large velocity drop.

I thought you had a LR, anyway?
View Quote


I have two optical chronographs and do not plan to ever buy another chronograph of any type.  Certainly, I would not spend $600 on one.  

At 50 yards, it's roughly 100 fps loss which is easily and accurately calculated using ballistic software.  Sometimes it's interesting to know the velocity at the target at varying distances, too.  This is how ballistic coefficients are measured.

Measuring at the end of the cord (10-15 feet) is too error prone.  Basically, I gave up doing that.  Since moving the chrono down range, set up is a breeze and my success rate is very close to 100%.

Still, I'd advised focusing on personal performance and use group size as your metric (not muzzle velocity).


Link Posted: 8/12/2020 3:03:01 PM EDT
Back when OEHLER was the only game in town and was kissing $1,000
I designed and built my own as a project for me EE degree.

Met professor at the range area and he was completely freaked out that it worked.

I used a piece of plastic rod with a flat and a slight bend as the 'lens' in the optical sensor.
A single phototransister in each sensor.

10 MHz crystal oscillator for the time base.
Z-80 8-bit microprocessor to do the simple math required.
Read counters, do the math, display velocity.
It all ran off of a 12 V car battery.

Memory was 1k x 4 bit at that time
so two chips to get a 1kx8 SRAM.
UV EPROM (Intel 2716) was a huge 2k x 8.

At least I had access to a simple cross compiler.
But programming was still in simple machine language.

He told me it was one of the most complicated senior projects he had ever seen.
He gave me a score of 100% for it.
50% my grade for the period.

I used it for about six or seven years.
Made some improvements on the optical sensors.
Link Posted: 8/12/2020 10:38:44 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By brickeyee:
Back when OEHLER was the only game in town and was kissing $1,000
I designed and built my own as a project for me EE degree.

Met professor at the range area and he was completely freaked out that it worked.

I used a piece of plastic rod with a flat and a slight bend as the 'lens' in the optical sensor.
A single phototransister in each sensor.

10 MHz crystal oscillator for the time base.
Z-80 8-bit microprocessor to do the simple math required.
Read counters, do the math, display velocity.
It all ran off of a 12 V car battery.

Memory was 1k x 4 bit at that time
so two chips to get a 1kx8 SRAM.
UV EPROM (Intel 2716) was a huge 2k x 8.

At least I had access to a simple cross compiler.
But programming was still in simple machine language.

He told me it was one of the most complicated senior projects he had ever seen.
He gave me a score of 100% for it.
50% my grade for the period.

I used it for about six or seven years.
Made some improvements on the optical sensors.
View Quote



Cool.  I made a mechanical chronograph for a science project in high school to measure the velocity of my pellet rifle.  Two stiff paper disks on a common shaft separated by a couple feet and spun at a known RPM.  Shoot parallel to the shaft and the angular separation between the holes in the two disks can be used to calculate the time of flight between the two disks.  I became a mechanical engineer...
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