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1/22/2020 12:12:56 PM
Posted: 7/20/2008 6:09:57 PM EST
How important is a chronograph in working up loads? Do many of you guys use them, if so what chronograph do you use? How do they help you in working up your loads?
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 6:36:39 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/20/2008 6:41:23 PM EST by n8pgp]
a chrony' will let you see variations in velocity in a particular load. to put it simply (as I have a simple mind) loads that have large variations in velocity from shot to shot won't group well at longer distances. the slow ones drop quicker, and at 500+ yards this will make a big difference in where the bullet hits the target.
You are looking for consistancy from round to round, without a chrony, it's difficult.
I am not saying you NEED a chrony to make safe loads, but if you want to make some long range tackdriver ammo, a chrony is most helpful.
I bought a Shooting Chrony Alpha model on sale for $79 a couple years ago.
Basic chrony, no frills, works good.

ETA-- I will say 70% or more on this board use a chrono. it will also let you compare the velocities given in the loading manual against what your loads are doing to verify you are in the ballpark.
eg: manual says with xxx grains of powder, this should go 3000 fps, load goes 4000!
yikes! something's not right.



my $.02
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 8:52:02 PM EST

Originally Posted By AmericalJoe:
How important is a chronograph in working up loads? Do many of you guys use them, if so what chronograph do you use? How do they help you in working up your loads?


Pact Model 1, but others work fine.

Reloading and not owning a chrono is like trying to obey the speed limit without a working speedometer.

Just ain't gonna work.

Chris
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 9:19:45 PM EST

Originally Posted By ChrisGarrett:

Originally Posted By AmericalJoe:
How important is a chronograph in working up loads? Do many of you guys use them, if so what chronograph do you use? How do they help you in working up your loads?




Reloading and not owning a chrono is like trying to obey the speed limit without a working speedometer.

Just ain't gonna work.

Chris


I agree.

Master chrony here
Link Posted: 7/21/2008 3:01:08 AM EST
What is "working up loads"???

If accuracy is your goal, a chronograph is useless! All you need is a ruler.

If a specific velocity is your goal, then a chronograph is indispensable!

If accuracy and a minimum velocity is your goal, then you need a chronograph.

And if curiosity is eating at you, you need a chronograph.

A chronograph measures velocity and nothing else.
Link Posted: 7/21/2008 4:52:15 AM EST

Originally Posted By Parrot32:
What is "working up loads"???

If accuracy is your goal, a chronograph is useless! All you need is a ruler.

If a specific velocity is your goal, then a chronograph is indispensable!

If accuracy and a minimum velocity is your goal, then you need a chronograph.

And if curiosity is eating at you, you need a chronograph.

A chronograph measures velocity and nothing else.


Sir, with all due respect your response confuses me. I'm not sure if you are trying to be facetious or what point you are trying to make.

As an answer to the original question in this thread I use a PACT PC2. Not only does it measure the muzzle velocity of the bullet leaving the muzzle of my rifle but it also calculates the standard deviation (SD) and extreme spread (ES) as well as other comparative properties of the different velocities. There seems to be a direct relation between groups of bullets that have a low SD and ES that somehow represents smaller groups on target. Additionally, given the actual muzzle velocity and using a ballistics program one can determine the terminal velocity at various distances down range as well as the bullet drop at those distances.

If knowledge of the measured velocity were the only goal I would say a chronograph is an expensive toy. However if one understands what one can do with that knowledge there's a whole dimension of reloading and ballistics to be learned. How you use the information is what's important, if you are only curious save your money.

One point further: For IPSC shooters there is some advantage to competitors given the knowledge of MV. They still use a Power Factor for the determination of major and minor classifications. It's helpful to know before you take your ammo to the match that it will make the major catagory if that is the class you intend to compete. JMHO, 7zero1.
Link Posted: 7/21/2008 9:39:07 AM EST
7zero1, I am sorry I have confused you.

I have been reloading and target shooting for 40+ years now. My first chronograph used metallic screens and counted clock cycles in Octal which then had to be converted. One of my first uses for a PC was a conversion program to get those cycles back to FPS.

My current chronograph will also calculate AVG, ES & SD also however a chronograph only measures velocity! Those other things can be calculated with or without a chronograph.

You may infer anything you want by rolling the numbers but when you put a ruler to the group, your numbers have little meaning. I have seen far too many poor groups with great SD's and ES's to waste my time trying to chase them down. But as I said, curiosity is a legitimate goal.

For the example you cited, IPSC shooters, it would be useful. But that is what I said if velocity or minimum velocity was your goal.
Link Posted: 7/21/2008 9:44:55 AM EST
I always use a chrono to see how my loads are doing....everything is a variable when you shoot/reload...

Another reason to get a cheap chrono that works...I hit my second chrono last week end...this one is still working however...



Link Posted: 7/21/2008 10:15:30 AM EST
[Last Edit: 7/21/2008 10:17:53 AM EST by airgun1]
A chronograph is not necessary but sure is nice to have. It is nice to know what kind of velocity your reloads are getting. This is important when computing drop at longer ranges and energy levels at various ranges. Some guns, powder, and bullets just don't do anything close to what the book says they should be doing.
Link Posted: 7/21/2008 12:15:37 PM EST

Originally Posted By Parrot32:
7zero1, I am sorry I have confused you.

I have been reloading and target shooting for 40+ years now. My first chronograph used metallic screens and counted clock cycles in Octal which then had to be converted. One of my first uses for a PC was a conversion program to get those cycles back to FPS.

My current chronograph will also calculate AVG, ES & SD also however a chronograph only measures velocity! Those other things can be calculated with or without a chronograph.

You may infer anything you want by rolling the numbers but when you put a ruler to the group, your numbers have little meaning. I have seen far too many poor groups with great SD's and ES's to waste my time trying to chase them down. But as I said, curiosity is a legitimate goal.

For the example you cited, IPSC shooters, it would be useful. But that is what I said if velocity or minimum velocity was your goal.


Sir, FWIW when I go to the range to test loads I just take the rifle, ammo, chronograph and a few other ancillary items. I don't have a lap top. When I test my loads I fire for groups through the chronograph sky screens that way I can tell immediately if a particular load groups well, just I usually notice at the same time the SD and ES are also fairly low. Neither number is a make or break factor in load choice, as you mention group size and velocity is what I'm seeking. Also, I consider any sub MOA group acceptabe for accuracy purposes in high power competition. What the chronograph does based on measured velocity it points to loads which are the most consistant.

Not that it really matters but I started shooting as a preteen. That means that I have well over forty years experience in the shooting sports you young whipper snapper! Ha, 7zero1, out.
Link Posted: 7/21/2008 5:13:44 PM EST

Originally Posted By Parrot32:
If accuracy is your goal, a chronograph is useless! All you need is a ruler.


I beg to disagree.

Velocity spread (ES and SD) makes or breaks the vertical at 600 yards +. ANd you simply cannot determine ES and SD from the pattern in the target.
Link Posted: 7/21/2008 5:29:01 PM EST
Consistently made ammo is a pursuit all its own. Just because a my weapon of mine fails to shoot a specific combo accurately, doesn't mean another gun will not. It's good to know your parameters and just because one combo groups poorly, doesn't mean you throw the baby out with the bathwater. You are able to rule out fabrication issues with a Chrono, which you can't do without one, should things start to go south.

I realize that guns favor specific loads a lot of times, but there is ammo that is inherently ACCURATE over a wide range of weapons and FGMM 168 comes to mind. There's a reason it is and undertanding the verifiable/quantifiable data helps us to that end.

Chris
Link Posted: 7/21/2008 9:13:49 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/21/2008 9:22:15 PM EST by FriscoPete]
A chronograph is the finest tool I use in working up loads. I am able to compare my loads with factory (read: safe-pressure in my gun) loads that have been shot from my particular rifle or handgun and work up to that velocity if I desire. Or at least compare them to what an average of reloading handbooks are getting from that load as far as velocity.
This is normally more important for someone working up hunting loads or handgun loads than for someone who only pursues accuracy on a range. It also is a real aid to those loading for autoloaders.
And unlike a standard tenet of "Conventional Reloading Wisdom," I have every once in a while seen accuracy come with loads that were overboard in pressure - a recent .223 TAC experiment that with the aid of the chronograph told me the "accuracy" load was too hot before most other pressure signs were readily apparent.
It will also tell you when your handloads are TOO SLOW! This can be very dangerous when loading light .38 Special e.g., or other slower loads because you can stick one in the barrel and fire the next load into that bullet causing major damage!!

Knowing velocity also aids in inputting REAL data into any computer ballistic program, which is nice for getting a better handle on exterior ballistics.

I would agree with Handloader Magazine writer John Barsness in his June 2008 article: 10 GOOD TOOLS

A chronograph does many things for the handloader. Obviously it indicates just how fast the bullet is going, but it also tells us how consistently the bullet leaves the muzzle. This may or may not have any bearing on accuracy, at least at "normal" ranges, and holes in the target are the ultimate measure of consistency. But when things are perking right, the chronograph is one more indicator of consistency.

More importantly, a chronograph is one of the great indicators of handload safety. Handloading lore is full of high-pressure "signs," such as hard bolt lifts, flattened primers, bolt-face marks on the case head etc. With a chronograph you shouldn't ignore those signs, but you can generally avoid them. A chronograph will tell you when you're approaching the practical maximum velocity for a certain bullet and powder combination. If you stop there, you'll normally avoid ruining any brass or stressing your fine firearm...


I use the legendary Oehler 35P chronograph, but sadly this flagship of chronographs has been discontinued as Ken Oehler has retired and sold the company. They only make commercial stuff now.
Link Posted: 7/22/2008 5:17:43 AM EST
I love my CED. One of the benefits when working up a load with it is I can plug the velocities into my Excel spreadsheet and the graph will quickly tell me when I am getting diminishing returns on velocity for a set increase in powder. It's right there and easily visible. I know that I am approaching maximum and before long I'll be killing the brass instead of launching the bullet faster.

I also like not guessing at my loads velocity. I know my 168gr Hornady A-Max load moves at 2540fps from my DPMS 18" barrel. No guesswork needed. I plug my numbers into the ballistics section and I have accurate drop tables and come ups. I know my 55gr .223 load moves at 2970fps from my 16" AR.

What don't I like? Answering the six people who come up to ask me what that is every time I deploy the chrono at the range.

Link Posted: 7/22/2008 7:18:53 AM EST

What don't I like? Answering the six people who come up to ask me what that is every time I deploy the chrono at the range.

So true!!! Actually I mostly get just puzzled looks and blank stares.
Link Posted: 7/22/2008 5:21:02 PM EST
The informatiom you guys gave me was very usefull. It gives me a lot to think about. I guess I will be getting a chronograph, now I just have to decide which one. Thank you all.
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