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Posted: 8/6/2020 8:31:31 AM EDT
Is a chronograph essential for reloading?

If so which one do you recommend?
Link Posted: 8/6/2020 9:05:25 AM EDT
Essential, no. Family members went 50 plus years without using a crono.

And if you are shooting cans in the back forty, then does it matter...

Now if you are trying to determine how consistent and repeatable your reloading process and ammo is so you can get rifle rounds to .3 moa groups, that Process needs a crono.

My two cents

Ymmv
Link Posted: 8/6/2020 9:35:32 AM EDT
I vote yes.

When someone is starting out, it's an added security measure and velocity is a very good measure to know if you're "in the ballpark."

I have first hand experience of a balance beam scale being inaccurate, and was astounded when my starting loads were at max load velocity.

My balance beam scale was off by 7% (vs. a higher end balance beam scale).

I only knew this because I had a chrono.

If I didn't have one, I'd probably have shot my ladders, looking for good groups, and as most people know, good groups typically are on the hotter side.

Who knows how far over max I would have ended up, as some calibers don't exhibit pressure signs until WELL over max.

The caliber I discovered this inaccuracy on was 458S, which is one of those cartridges that doesn't show signs until well over max.

So, I still think its a good idea.  You don't have to get a spectacular one, even a cheapie is good enough to keep you safe.

I have a LabRadar now. ZERO regrets.
Link Posted: 8/6/2020 9:49:36 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/6/2020 9:50:54 AM EDT by xXGearheadXx]
Originally Posted By AWZ1287:
Is a chronograph essential for reloading?

If so which one do you recommend?
View Quote


You can make ammo that shoots without one, but i vote yes.  

For handgun ammo, both defensive ammo and practice ammo that mirrors its performance you want to know how fast it's going.  Bullet performance on impact can vary widely depending on how fast it's going.  If you're making powder puff 800fps 124 defensive loads they may not expand like you'd want you were running them closer to factory velocities.  If you're a competitor, you need to make sure you're hitting power factor.

For rifle ammo, actual velocity + BC of the bullet plugged into a ballistics calculator will give you invaluable information on your holds for that particular load.  You still have to confirm (manufacturers pump their BCs higher than actual for marketing purposes) but it's a better starting point than having no data.    

Radar Chrony works fine.  Currently i use a CED millenium 2
Link Posted: 8/6/2020 10:01:50 AM EDT
If you want some match accuracy loads or reloading defensive ammo then yes.

If you’re like me and are just making plinking 9mm ammo then no
Link Posted: 8/6/2020 10:41:56 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/6/2020 10:45:24 AM EDT by Trollslayer]
Originally Posted By AWZ1287:
Is a chronograph essential for reloading?
View Quote


No, without question, it is not needed.

A chronograph does nothing to the quality of your reloading.  That is determined elsewhere.

You can create seriously excellent reloads by focusing on your performance and the size of your groups.
Link Posted: 8/6/2020 11:43:15 AM EDT
If you’re trying to shoot minute-of-deer they’re not needed at all.  Find your accuracy node and then validate the drop data out to 500.

If you’re trying to shoot half MOA all day, then they are required equipment.
Link Posted: 8/6/2020 1:51:03 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/6/2020 1:58:48 PM EDT by rg1]
Shows you which Manuals are realistic. Think your loads get 3100 fps while really only getting 2850 fps. Think your pistol loads get 900 fps while only 750 fps. You won't know until you have a chrono. Helps working up loads to show you what powder charges from the manual start to get into normal velocity ranges. Some start charges are so anemic they won't  reliably cycle and some max charges are hotter than you may want. Knowing rifle velocities helps you develop accurate drop charts for longer ranges. Not necessary but a very useful tool. After you've developed loads the chrono will eventually spend long periods in the closet though. So much time in the closet that you should remove the batteries. Buy a new rifle, switch bullets or powders, then dig it out of the closet and you'll be glad you have a chronograph.
Link Posted: 8/6/2020 5:20:30 PM EDT
For plinking, yeah, you can reload without a crony and make usable ammo... If you are a serious target shooter, hunter, long range shooter, you need a good crony..It is an easy way to verify your work on the reloading bench, it quantifies how good your process is, and what parts of your process needs work...It also allows you real time isolation of the problem with every shot you take..I won't reload with out one....
Link Posted: 8/7/2020 7:57:27 AM EDT
Needed, no.

Damn useful though, even a basic one like a Chrony Alpha.

One of my work buddies has invited me to shoot Pracitical Pistol with him.  Only way to know if the loads make Major is to chrony them.
Link Posted: 8/7/2020 11:34:50 AM EDT
I guess I will pick up a chronograph, though I have other stuff on my list I need to get first.

I will keep an eye out for deals, maybe wait till black Friday.
Link Posted: 8/7/2020 12:08:44 PM EDT
Here is yet another question where the answer is... it depends....

You can “get away” without one for the most part. That means if you stick with reloading manual powder ranges and recipes, and you are not chasing performance out at distance, you may never “need” or even want one.

You could even say that you could get away without one and chase performance at distance by just studying groups.

The reality is, many of us grey hairs started out without one and we even learned to shoot groups at 600 and 1000 by careful loading. I will add that this was the hard way. Being blind to the actual average and the velocity stats does waste more time and material over the long haul.

By having access to, or your own chronograph, your process development and load development runs much faster. Debugging goes way faster too.

Most of us are not trust fund babies so I completely understand the idea that each of us will trade off how the shooting budget gets spent. But if you plan on doing lots of load development for multiple guns and calibers, and it is at all possible, get access to a chronograph or buy one.
Link Posted: 8/7/2020 12:26:34 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/7/2020 2:26:33 PM EDT by Corporal_Chaos]
I started reloading about 13 years ago and just bought my first chronograph a couple weeks ago.  So no, they are not necessary.

I am looking forward to using it though.  I kind of like to geek out on data.

Plus, it will make it a lot easier for me to get on target at various distances when gathering dope for new rifle/scope/cartridge combinations.
Link Posted: 8/7/2020 12:52:30 PM EDT
PACT Model 1, here. I did buy it just as I started to reload.

Mostly used outdoor for rifle shooting.

I need to send it back in after 25 years and exchange it for a small fee.

Chris
Link Posted: 8/7/2020 1:08:46 PM EDT
Needed? No.

Helpful to have...yes.
Link Posted: 8/7/2020 1:16:17 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/7/2020 1:36:29 PM EDT by wildearp]
Labradar.  Not needed, until it is needed.  It can be a problem solver.  It is also fun, dammit!  Have some fun!

Link Posted: 8/7/2020 1:31:50 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By wildearp:
Labradar.
View Quote


The labradar looks awesome, but I don't know if I would use it enough to justify the price.
Link Posted: 8/7/2020 1:37:12 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/7/2020 1:40:36 PM EDT by wildearp]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By AWZ1287:

The labradar looks awesome, but I don't know if I would use it enough to justify the price.
View Quote
Save up for your next gun purchase.  Buy radar instead.  

Shown is a wildearp super modified c-clamp spotting scope mount sporting a stolen Bogen gimbal and a Manfrotto Magic arm:

Link Posted: 8/7/2020 4:03:35 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/7/2020 4:04:23 PM EDT by AWZ1287]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By wildearp:



Save up for your next gun purchase.  Buy radar instead.  

Shown is a wildearp super modified c-clamp spotting scope mount sporting a stolen Bogen gimbal and a Manfrotto Magic arm:

https://i.imgur.com/VyI2fPj.jpg
View Quote



I like that setup a lot, very nice mount!

The labradar is tempting, maybe I will see if I can make it fit in my budget.

At least I won't have to worry about shooting it by accident...

Link Posted: 8/7/2020 4:07:10 PM EDT
If you get a LR, make sure you get the accelerometer trigger. You'll thank us later.
Link Posted: 8/7/2020 5:08:09 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By -Obsessed-:
If you get a LR, make sure you get the accelerometer trigger. You'll thank us later.
View Quote


What's the accelerometer trigger?
Link Posted: 8/8/2020 2:11:45 AM EDT
It is an aftermarket part that plugs into the port for the LabRadar external microphone.

It is mounted on the gun with rubber bands, Velcro, or even tape. It does a more reliable job of triggering the radar than the muzzle blast.

https://jklprecision.com/product/labradar-trigger/
Link Posted: 8/8/2020 2:34:19 AM EDT
If you're following a manual to the letter, no you don't need one.

If you're... I dunno.. trying to work up a MK262 clone load, yeah, you definitely need one.
Link Posted: 8/8/2020 3:31:15 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Trollslayer:


No, without question, it is not needed.

A chronograph does nothing to the quality of your reloading.  That is determined elsewhere.

You can create seriously excellent reloads by focusing on your performance and the size of your groups.
View Quote


I've reloaded match ammo for 15+ years without one.

Group size mattered to me.  

Got my 308 dope by shooting at 100,200,300 etc. yards out to 1k.

Starting to reload 270 to match a commercial load, so I picked up a g2 a couple of weeks ago.

Only tested it so far.  My sons n-strike nerf gun shoots at about 47 GPS.
Link Posted: 8/9/2020 9:33:58 AM EDT
The labradar is a nice tool. The UI sucks though. The phone app is an improvement but it disconnects and fails a dozen times or more per session. The app has been out for 2 or 3 years now and hasn't been fixed. I guess they can't be bothered to support their $500+ chrono. Maybe they cheaped out on the Bluetooth hardware and it's unfixable?
Link Posted: 8/9/2020 10:51:57 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By gasdoc09:
The labradar is a nice tool. The UI sucks though. The phone app is an improvement but it disconnects and fails a dozen times or more per session. The app has been out for 2 or 3 years now and hasn't been fixed. I guess they can't be bothered to support their $500+ chrono. Maybe they cheaped out on the Bluetooth hardware and it's unfixable?
View Quote


There was a firmware update and an app update too if I recall correctly. I went from disconnecting every thirty seconds (aka unusable) to disconnecting an average of once per session. Not perfect, but it is a LOT better. I have the iOS version, not sure if Android version is better or worse.
Link Posted: 8/9/2020 3:41:36 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/9/2020 3:43:10 PM EDT by snakeyes711]
I loaded a few years without one. And found a deal on a Caldwell kit with tripod.  I chose it because i can shoot more through it. I've shot both rifle,  pistol,  compound bow, crossbow.  Hell, my kid was shooting nerf guns through it.  

It connects to an app and is super easy to shoot,  and save groups in.  It has all data you can enter,  and knows the pressure/temp. All that.  I'm pleased with it.

Here's an example. Attachment Attached File
Link Posted: 8/9/2020 3:41:57 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/11/2020 1:44:31 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By AWZ1287:

At least I won't have to worry about shooting it by accident...
View Quote
It is not an accident that downrange chrony gets shot.  It is a compelling force of the universe.  It is inevitable.
Link Posted: 8/11/2020 2:14:53 PM EDT
I bought a ProChrono years ago.  It's served me well, but I haven't used it in a while.  After I checked my .223 loads, found they were in the ballpark (just plinking rounds), and checked some 30-06, 30-30, and I think a couple pistol loads, I haven't really used it since.  I'm sure I would if I was developing precision loads.  Maybe once I get my 24" AR's upper receiver changed out.

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