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Posted: 9/25/2011 12:37:38 PM EDT
I'm getting into reloading a bit more and while I always follow the charts on reloads I'd like a way to double check my loads so I don't turn one of my guns into a glock grenade or worse.

I'd like a nice cheap yet accurate/good chronograph to take to the range with me. My budget isn't very big but I don't want to end up with some innacurate junk which would defeat the purpose of what I want the chronograph for.

I don't need many frills and options, my main goal is cost and accuracy. I can carry along a notepad to write on so the graph won't really need any type of internal memory or cool flashing lights and buzzers.

So my question is, does anyone know of an accurate budget one? It's mainly for testing handguns but I'd also be using it up to 30-06 so it would need to be able to test to that speed, unless there's a really nice one for handgun range speeds that's really cheap, then I'll just have to justify buying a rifle one at a later date .
Link Posted: 9/25/2011 1:38:53 PM EDT
I would suggest PACT Model 1 with IR screens on the lower end. Then on the higher end CED Millenium. What ever you spend money on, always have a known constant to check accuracy if you start getting strange numbers...and most off keep spare fresh battery with your chrono...can save the day at the range.
Link Posted: 9/25/2011 4:19:28 PM EDT
competition electronics pro chrono around 100 and its worked good for me.
Link Posted: 9/25/2011 4:32:55 PM EDT
I am in the same boat as you, looking at chronys. I have pretty much decided on the CED pro digital w/ the usb software
Link Posted: 9/25/2011 6:43:31 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/25/2011 6:47:37 PM EDT by Still_learning]
Do not buy PACT. Mine was crap, the Club's was crap. Everyone I know who has one thinks they are crap. Even the electronic timers they make are crap.

CED Millenium.

Oehler Research.

Don't go cheap. Buy a good one or do without. The cheap ones are not accurate or reliable or repeatable.

Almost all of them have trouble with lighting, even on bright sunny days. The skyscreen designs are just too wimy, IMO. CED includes instructions on how to make an improved set of skyscreens for thei unit (or any other) that they cannot afford to sell/ship with the unit.

The CED unit comes with a USB interface to download the info into your PC. This is worth having. Otherwise, you have to punch in the info manually.
Link Posted: 9/25/2011 6:55:08 PM EDT
Originally Posted By jbusaf:
competition electronics pro chrono around 100 and its worked good for me.


on sale now at midway. Works for me everytime
Link Posted: 9/25/2011 7:47:11 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/25/2011 8:00:45 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 6:30:50 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/26/2011 6:31:23 AM EDT by Green_Canoe]
Originally Posted By AeroE:
By the least expensive Chrony and write the results down as you go.

SNIP



This is my thought as well. My wife gave me a Chrony many years ago and I've been plenty happy with it. I do live in fear everytime I bring it out that I might blow its brains out but that does make me a little more careful before each shot. I've checked my Chrony against a friends CED by interleaving the screens and the results so close as to be statistically the same.

The real reason I like the Chrony is the value for my useage pattern. I'm the sort of guy that develops a load for a particular firearm and then loads that exact load forever. So when I got my Chrony I spent my first year checking out all the loads for the various firearms I owned then I only used it when I developed a new load for a firearm. So this means it might get it out once a year.

Last year I had it out once. This year not at all. I'd rather not have too much money tied up in something that might sit a couple years between uses.

(Disclaimer: I realise there are some people out there who make load development a hobby or have other requirements that I don't and for them a more full featured chonograph might be a good value.)
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 4:16:11 PM EDT
I had a PACT for about a decade and i had no complaints.
I current have a shooting Chrony Beta Master and I also have nonreal complaints.

The menus are easier to navigate on the PACT but the Chrony is a lot more compact and portable.

Both work just fine and I agree there is no need to spend more than $150-$200 on something you may only use occasionally.
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 6:53:26 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 7:25:40 PM EDT
I also have the Pact 1 unit. I did nip the top of one of the sensors, but never have shot one of those to the point it was inop. Now ask me about the support for the sky screen. Or ask me about the one support that I grazed but it was still functional. The only problem with the actual controller brains is that it does not like the blast out of the brake of a 50 BMG rifle. Talked to a well informed tech at Pact and he suggested that I put the controller under the bench and try it like that. See I was getting some very high (5000 fps) and low (400 or so) readings when it was on the bench and receiving the shock wave / blast. But once it was under the bench I would get what might be considered ES readings. In short, I am happy with my Pact crono.
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 7:45:57 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/27/2011 2:36:17 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Wash-Ar15:
Originally Posted By jbusaf:
competition electronics pro chrono around 100 and its worked good for me.


on sale now at midway. Works for me everytime


Ditto
Link Posted: 9/27/2011 2:48:02 AM EDT
I have a Chrony Beta Master (computer sits on the bench). I got it on sale @ Midway for $119. It works great for me, but I've never owned/used any other, so take that for what its worth.

I DID have a problem with it at one time (Showed only ERR2). I sent it back and they fixed it pronto and returned it to me for free.


Link Posted: 9/27/2011 5:29:53 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Still_learning:
Do not buy PACT. Mine was crap, the Club's was crap. Everyone I know who has one thinks they are crap. Even the electronic timers they make are crap.

CED Millenium.

Oehler Research.

Don't go cheap. Buy a good one or do without. The cheap ones are not accurate or reliable or repeatable.

Almost all of them have trouble with lighting, even on bright sunny days. The skyscreen designs are just too wimy, IMO. CED includes instructions on how to make an improved set of skyscreens for thei unit (or any other) that they cannot afford to sell/ship with the unit.

The CED unit comes with a USB interface to download the info into your PC. This is worth having. Otherwise, you have to punch in the info manually.


Sir, FWIW I used a Pact PC2 for many years it worked fine when lighting was adequate. Chronograph sensors have to "see" the bullet go by and accordingly the shooter has to be aligned with the sensors to facilitate the sky screen sensors seeing the bullet go by. If the shooter doesn't do this it is not the fault of the chronograph.

When my PC2 died Pact offered me a discount on the Pro XP which has the IR sky screens. As long as you have an external power source for the IR sky screens the unit works flawlessly regardless of ambient lighting conditions but the shooter still has to be aligned with both of the sky screen sensors.

I've used and continue to use a number of PACT products including an electronic powder scale and powder dispenser combo which work quite well. In fact I've had my scale/ dispenser combo now for about fifteen years and it works as well as the first day I got it. Your experience with the Pact chrono is unfortunate and I would have contacted them regarding possible repairs, I'm certain they would have responded positively.

Lastly one comment about shooting the chrono: as already mentioned "there's only two types of chronograph users, those that have shot the sky screens and those that will! The Pact sky screen parts are cheap and easily replaceable, I carry spares in my chronograph bag. JMHO, 7zero1 out.

Link Posted: 9/27/2011 5:35:09 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/27/2011 5:44:06 AM EDT by SteelonSteel]
+1 to a lot of comments here

A chronograph tells you little about the pressure in the rifle. You gauge that by examining your brass and primer, noting your bolt lift. Etc. Now if you couple those observations with chronograph readings for a certain load, you may be on to something.

I'm not saying don't buy one but just be aware of what it can do for you.
Lots of good stuff;
- you can see when powder additions yield little extra gain
- you can see when your standard deviation (of velocity) gets less or more consistent as you work up
- you get a "real" velocity number to plug into ballistic trajectory programs
- you can get velocity readings on horse flies at the range, (f'ers have tripped my my screens (usually just one screen for an error msg) more than once)
- great for comparing v (velocity) on a load in different temps so you know how your rifle/load is reacting instead of guessing. Test those Hodgdon extreme powders yourself and compare them to other brands on 40 degree temp swings. See if the hype and expense is worth it to you.

FWIW, I have a CED Millenium II and like it. At the time, Oehler wasn't making commercial units only lab type units. I have used some Chrony brand ones and they were ok but had a hell of a time with sun and clouds. (The CED unit certainly isn't immune to them either)


I've never shot my screens (yet). As a former mortarman I put my head down by the barrel and look at the screens, with the mortar it was mask and overhead cover you looked for interference before firing a shot. That said, I'm damn nervous letting people shoot over my equipment.
Link Posted: 9/27/2011 5:36:26 AM EDT
I have a (now ancient) Oehler 35 chronograph.

I bought it in Texas from Oehler itself.

It usually does fine but there are certain lighting conditions that spoof the unit so it won't work.

Has there been any real development in chronographs? Is a new CED system better or should I just keep on keeping with my 35?

You guys aren't kidding about shooting sky screens. Friends seem particularly prone to slaying their share of my sky screens.
Link Posted: 9/27/2011 5:46:04 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/27/2011 5:48:00 AM EDT by SteelonSteel]
Cheese, I usually give the preshoot warning; "if you shoot the unit, you pay to fix it". It might be a D move but it seems to work so far.



I wouldn't upgrade if I had an Oehler 35 that worked. I just think the CED works better than the chrony's with clouds/sun due to the better diffusers.
Link Posted: 9/27/2011 6:40:47 AM EDT
Originally Posted By SteelonSteel:
Cheese, I usually give the preshoot warning; "if you shoot the unit, you pay to fix it". It might be a D move but it seems to work so far.



I wouldn't upgrade if I had an Oehler 35 that worked. I just think the CED works better than the chrony's with clouds/sun due to the better diffusers.


I have had to rescind chronograph privileges for a few friends. I do the testing for them. One succeeded in hitting all three sky screen bases (where the sensors are) with one round.

If you are going to screw up you may as well make it epic.

My 35 is a good unit and the third screen seems to make a difference.

Thanks,
Cheese

Link Posted: 9/27/2011 7:18:56 PM EDT
Originally Posted By scatterbrains:
I am in the same boat as you, looking at chronys. I have pretty much decided on the CED pro digital w/ the usb software


That's exactly what I've been using and if I shot it or something........I like it so much I'd get another one again. If you want to shoot around florescent lights at the range get the IR screens with it. They work very well.....
Link Posted: 9/28/2011 5:36:00 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Wingman26:

Originally Posted By Still_learning:
Do not buy PACT. Mine was crap, the Club's was crap. Everyone I know who has one thinks they are crap. Even the electronic timers they make are crap.

That's funny, I've got one, and I know of 3 or 4 others who have the Pact Model 1 XP, all of us like them.

The most important point about chronographs is to get one that the sky screens are separate from the computer, the computer sits on the bench out of the line of fire. There are two types of chrony owners, those who have shot their screens, and those who are about to, if the brains are attached to the screens, you will destroy your chrony, and have to buy a new one, when they are separate you can fix the screens for a very reasonable price.

Don't blow your brains out!

http://www.wingman26.com/images/shooting/chrono3.jpg

Good advice. With a separate computer the cost to replace the sensor box on my Shooting Chrony Beta Master was only $49. And yes, they do get hit so remember not to loan your chrono even to your friends (luckily, he made good with the replacement).



Another good idea is to use plastic soda straws instead of the metal rods. Easily and cheaply replaced if hit (yes, you will) and they won't crack the housing when hit like the steel ones can.


Link Posted: 9/28/2011 7:25:27 AM EDT
Originally Posted By McGap:
Originally Posted By Wash-Ar15:
Originally Posted By jbusaf:
competition electronics pro chrono around 100 and its worked good for me.


on sale now at midway. Works for me everytime


Ditto


I was thinking along the same lines as you when I was researching chronos. I found the chrono these guys recommend on the same sale at Midway and love it. It does more than I thought I needed, and I still have the abillity to upgrade to the IR sky screens and remote with printer if I want to at some point. I highly doubt that you will regret this one: ProChrono Digital at Midway USA
Link Posted: 9/28/2011 8:32:47 AM EDT
I love my CED M2

I also have a PACT that is about 20 years old. It works great, when it works.
Link Posted: 9/29/2011 8:12:55 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/29/2011 4:15:11 PM EDT
I am a member in good standing of the "I blew away my Chrony" club. I went out with a scope mounted up on a carry handle. The Chrony was only 15 feet away. The parallax error caused by the scope being so high above tha barrel and compounded by the Chrony being so close, meant doom for the Chrony. Oh well, it was only $89 to replace it.
Link Posted: 9/29/2011 5:39:08 PM EDT
Originally Posted By AeroE:
I still haven't shot my chronograph.

When I set it up, first I start by setting the unit next to the rifle's muzzle, adjust the height, then compensate for the place where I plan to set the tripod. At the range where I generally shoot, the ground is a couple of inches lower than the concrete slab.

I double check the safety of the firearm, remove the bolt if possible.

Then I get in front of the gun with the chronograph and sight down the marked sticks to get good vertical alignment with the gun. After that, I have to get behind the gun to recheck the height, but mostly to verify the horizontal alignment and azimuth alignment of the chronograph sky screens. Easy, and a Chrony can detect a bullet 5 to 6 inches above the top surface of the case, so it's easy to go a little conservative on vertical adjustment.

A Chrony is not tolerant of poor alignment of the bullet crossing the screens; if you shoot on a target with good alignment then switch to one on the next frame over, the bullet probably doesn't cross the far (down range) screen and an error will result. Pretty fundamental, but it's a common error because the shooter didn't think the problem through.

Your experiences are fairly similar to mine.
I have lately been setting my older cheap Chrony (Beta.?; no wires, velocity display on the front of the unit, red color, etc.) up right in front of the 50-yard targets at our local range. There is a depression right in front of the benches which makes it hard to get enough tripod height at 15' from the bench.
An 18" laser level set across the unit and pointed back to my benchrest simplifies perfect alignment of the Chrony, and my spotting scope lets me read the display screen from the bench if I'm shooting irons or a low-magnification scope. I make sure the rifle is zeroed before shooting.

I've never shot my Chrony and don't expect to, either.
I shot three weeks ago over another shooter's Oehler and got nearly identical readings from the Chrony with the same load on the same day.

So, it works for what I do...
Link Posted: 9/29/2011 5:40:31 PM EDT
I like the pro chrono when you shoot it theyll replace it at half the cost of a new one ask me how I know
Link Posted: 9/29/2011 5:48:41 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Andrew7934:
I like the pro chrono when you shoot it theyll replace it at half the cost of a new one ask me how I know


Thanks Andrew. Now I don't feel so alone...

Link Posted: 9/29/2011 5:59:44 PM EDT
Originally Posted By AeroE:
I still haven't shot my chronograph.

When I set it up, first I start by setting the unit next to the rifle's muzzle, adjust the height, then compensate for the place where I plan to set the tripod. At the range where I generally shoot, the ground is a couple of inches lower than the concrete slab.

I double check the safety of the firearm, remove the bolt if possible.

Then I get in front of the gun with the chronograph and sight down the marked sticks to get good vertical alignment with the gun. After that, I have to get behind the gun to recheck the height, but mostly to verify the horizontal alignment and azimuth alignment of the chronograph sky screens. Easy, and a Chrony can detect a bullet 5 to 6 inches above the top surface of the case, so it's easy to go a little conservative on vertical adjustment.

A Chrony is not tolerant of poor alignment of the bullet crossing the screens; if you shoot on a target with good alignment then switch to one on the next frame over, the bullet probably doesn't cross the far (down range) screen and an error will result. Pretty fundamental, but it's a common error because the shooter didn't think the problem through.




Yup. Kinda like woodworking. Measure/check twice before you shoot once.

Link Posted: 9/29/2011 7:31:45 PM EDT
Originally Posted By k1rod:
Originally Posted By Andrew7934:
I like the pro chrono when you shoot it theyll replace it at half the cost of a new one ask me how I know


Thanks Andrew. Now I don't feel so alone...



GUYS!
I hope I can explain this to you in a way in which you can understand what I'm trying to tell you..

See, it's like this:
When they tell you to test your handloads by shooting them through a chronograph, what they really mean is to shoot OVER it!'
Not through it.

( I know that isn't what they SAY, but trust me here...)




Link Posted: 9/29/2011 7:33:02 PM EDT
Originally Posted By KRONIIK:
Originally Posted By k1rod:
Originally Posted By Andrew7934:
I like the pro chrono when you shoot it theyll replace it at half the cost of a new one ask me how I know


Thanks Andrew. Now I don't feel so alone...



GUYS!
I hope I can explain this to you in a way in which you can understand what I'm trying to tell you..

See, it's like this:
When they tell you to test your handloads by shooting them through a chronograph, what they really mean is to shoot OVER it!'
Not through it.

( I know that isn't what they SAY, but trust me here...)






ROFLMAO
Link Posted: 9/29/2011 7:50:07 PM EDT
Originally Posted By KRONIIK:
Originally Posted By k1rod:
Originally Posted By Andrew7934:
I like the pro chrono when you shoot it theyll replace it at half the cost of a new one ask me how I know


Thanks Andrew. Now I don't feel so alone...



GUYS!
I hope I can explain this to you in a way in which you can understand what I'm trying to tell you..

See, it's like this:
When they tell you to test your handloads by shooting them through a chronograph, what they really mean is to shoot OVER it!'
Not through it.

( I know that isn't what they SAY, but trust me here...)






Some tech support guy at a chrono factory somewhere has gotten that call.

"Hi, I shot through this here chronograph but it didnt work, it just exploded man, WTF!?"
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