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Which Chronograph works best all around.

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by roadgrader, Nov 23, 2012.

  1. roadgrader

    roadgrader

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    I searched but didn't find an answer. It could be my search fu is weak. It looks like reloading will require a chronograph to test my work ups. Any recommendations?
     
  2. Kentguy

    Kentguy

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    Nov 22, 2010
    Kent, OH

  3. Boxerglocker

    Boxerglocker Jacks #1 Fan

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    I too have and use the Competition Electronics ProChrono Digital Chronograph, highly recommend it.

    They routinely go on sale for $99 at Midway.
     
  4. I've used a PACT Pro for a number of years. No problems, no complaints. It's kind of like a Glock. It just works.

    http://www.pact.com/
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2012
  5. roadgrader

    roadgrader

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    DFW
    thanks for the quick response.
     
  6. Kwesi

    Kwesi

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    The one you don't shoot while testing. Seriously I chose the CED M2 IIRC because the electronics are on the table next to you (18' cable).
     
  7. Bullfighter

    Bullfighter

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    Cheapo Chrony user here. Doesn't spit out tons of data in various manipulations, but it has given me a speed for every projectile thrown over it and hasn't malfunctioned or missed a reading one time. My thoughts were to buy this one and if I really used it to buy a "better" one later. I haven't needed the better one yet.
     
  8. fredj338

    fredj338

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    PLus good screens. Unless you just want the occasional PF, forget the cheap Chrony line, even the expensive ones have the same crappy screens. The idea of shooting at the guts of a chrono seems like a bad one, so not a fan of the CE Pro. I have a Pact, same problem as the CHrony, pooor screens. The Oehler is top dog, but way spendy. If I were buying today, it would be the CED.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2012
  9. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

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    Agreed. There isn't much point in getting an expensive "Chrony" brand chrono. If you want something cheap that will give you velcoity readings and basic statistical data, the Chrony works and it used to be the only cheap option out there. There are others in the same price range now, but I haven't tried them to know if they are better or worse.

    If I was interested in all of the plug 'n play software spreadsheet producing one step downloading and tabulating type stuff that is out there, and willing to spend that kind of money, I'd get something with more user friendly screens.

    As it is, I'm happy with simple velocity and ES, SD, high, low, and Avg. that my Chrony spits out.
     
  10. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

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    Yes, but shooting the screens can be expensive too. I've posted my tips before, and they are nothing revolutionary, but I'll post them again for those who haven't seen them before. These tips were brought about by the mother of all invention, necessity. I have grazed my original Chrony several times. It had a lot of black tape on it when I finally killed it by centerpunching it with a round. When I got my new one, I decided not to make the same mistakes.

    First, don't use the steel rods that come with chronographs to support the diffusers if at all possible. With the Chrony brand, you can use bamboo grill skewers. I'd imagine they'd work with other brands but I don't know for sure. If you hit a metal rod, it will send a lot of the bullet's energy into the housing and do damage. The bamboo rods simply break away and cause no further damage.

    Second, have a target behind the chrono for an aiming point. If you don't, your eye will eventually drift to the chrono when you fire and the bullet goes where you look. I set a target up at 20 feet without the chrono in place. I make an aiming point on the target and fire a group. I fire as many rounds as I want until I'm comfortable and have a group. 5 rounds is usually enough, but fire 100 if you need to.

    Next, place the chrono directly in front of the target so that the group is in the sweet spot of the viewing area. Then, continue to shoot at the aiming point and your rounds will go through the screens and into the group. You must maintain your discipline and NOT look at the chrono. Pretend it isn't there. You are simply shooting a group at 7 yards which is easy to do.

    Also, you must have a tripod. You must be able to adjust the height of the chrono to your circumstances. If you have to bend or stand on your toes to shoot over a chrono that is on a milk crate or stepladder, you will eventually shoot your chrono.

    In these pics, I used a target that was left up at the range. If you look closely you can see the small group that is mine.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  11. PBR Sailor

    PBR Sailor

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    CONUS
  12. FullClip

    FullClip NRA Benefactor CLM

    I've got a Chrony Beta Master that seems to work for me. I haven't shot it yet, but my brother shot the one I gave him the first time he used it. (he's an idiot anyway. :supergrin:)

    It gives me velocity of each shot, average, deviation and all the stuff I need. I don't use it often enough and ain't a computer geek, so working the little computer type thingy confuses me unless I have the instructions with me. (I'm an idiot like my brother..:supergrin:)

    I will try WiskyT's tip on not using the steel rods. They are a pain in the butt.
     
  13. F106 Fan

    F106 Fan

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    ^^^^ This

    Richard
     
  14. njl

    njl

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    They all work much better before you put a round or two into them. :)

    Thanks for the reminder. Last time you mentioned this, I bought a 100pk (all I could find) but forgot to put any with my chrony. I just grabbed 4 and am about to test fit them. Do you cut off the pointy ends?

    I strongly agree here, and an added benefit is (if you can go hot/cold frequently enough) you can keep the targets for reference ("what sort of group did I get with this load? oh, here's the chrony target.").

    Here, we differ. I generally put the chrony target out at 7yds, but I put the chrony closer to me (2-3yds away). It takes a little extra setup time to get the chrony properly aligned such that shooting through it, I'm aimed at the bullseye, but having it closer to me leaves more margin of error without hitting the chrony/screens/uprights. For the setup, I put up a target first, step back to the shooting position, hold out my arms (don't even need the pistol), line up the shot, and then walk forward to adjust the chrony (elevation, rotation, inclination) to get it just right. It usually only takes a few iterations to get it just right.

    Agreed...mostly. Depending on setup, you might get away with using something like a Bogen Magic Arm...but those cost about as much as a half decent tripod and require something sturdy to clamp onto...so unless you already have one, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it. Ideally, the tripod should be inexpensive, but heavy enough to support the chronograph and not be affected by wind.
     
  15. fredj338

    fredj338

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    C chrono closer than 10yds is likely to produce errors do to muzzle blast. This is ture with any brand. The Chrony brand are fine for the occasional PF check but I liek to test ammo & get vel readings at the same time, the Chrony is a poor choice IME. Small, poor screens means a very small window to shoot over, why so many shoot theor Chrony. CED has very good sreens, Oehler still makes the best screens & if I do shoot one, it's only $15 to replace.
     
  16. njl

    njl

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    For pistol ammo, the chrony does just fine at just a couple yards. It certainly doesn't need to be out at 10yds. I don't think I go that far out even for rifle (M1 carbine, AR15) testing.

    BTW...I just got done modifying the bamboo skewers. The ones I had were a little long and a little too thin. I shortened them to just a bit longer than the non-extended chrony rods, and found that the torque put on them by the crony and screens would cause them to jump out of the chrony. A single layer wrap of duct tape fixed that. I'll try them out next time I use the chrony.

    Another tip for the chrony...carry a spare battery. If it's acting weird, doesn't want to give you readings, try replacing the battery. I shot my first one with my first AR reloads thinking I had to get the bullet closer to the eyes. Turns out my battery was about dead, and that's likely why it kept giving me ERR codes rather than good readings.
     
  17. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

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    I don't remember how much my tripod cost, but it is cheapo from a big box store. I've never had it blow over or any problems with it
     
  18. njl

    njl

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    I don't think I've had any trouble shooting through the chrony just a few yards away. I guess this might depend on the powder/load. i.e. if your loads have tremendous muzzle flash, it may need to be farther away.
     
  19. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

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    I've had lots of trouble like that. Even at 10 feet Like Chrony says I get messed up readings. I'm not talking about "Errors" either. I'll shoot a string that goes like this: 950. 975. 630, 940, and 965. When I move it farther out with everything else the same I get 1090, 1110, 1100, 1075, 1115.

    I can walk in closer and watch the velocity drop dramatically. I once walked in to contact distance and got a load down to 350fps that was running 1000 or so.
     
  20. Kentguy

    Kentguy

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    [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Vista-Explorer-60-Inch-Lightweight-Tripod/dp/B000V7AF8E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1353854753&sr=8-1&keywords=vista+explorer+60-inch+lightweight+tripod+with+tripod+bag"]Amazon.com: Vista Explorer 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod with Tripod Bag: Camera & Photo@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31U3BJ4Oa2L.@@AMEPARAM@@31U3BJ4Oa2L[/ame]

    I purchased this tri-pod, very nice unit (with carrying bag) for $20. light weight aluminum, two bubble type levels, lots of height adjustment ability, my Chrono fits perfectly on top.

    I always use a tri-pod/Chrono when I test ammo with a target of any kind just behind my set up - As far as targets go you can either use a traditional style or picture of your ex-wife/girl friend works great as well... Just kidding :supergrin:
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2012