Chronograph selection help

2ndson

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May 14, 2020
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Can't comment on the Magnetospeed since I've never used it (people that have really seem to like them), but went through a similar decision process and just couldn't get my head wrapped around something that had to be attached to the barrel. Ended up with a LabRadar and absolutely love it. Set up is simple, works with rifles and pistols and it has been bullet proof reliable.
 

Dragoon300

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Optical chronographs are not a reasonable choice for accuracy or reliability. Labradar is expensive and can be finicky, most users add a third party switch. Magnetospeed in my opinion is a neccessary piece of kit. It is decent as it comes, but mounting off the barrel is best. I heard they are going to offer a mount soon. I made my own and shoot with it for all my load development, groups included. I fact, I never had accuracy issues with my heavy barrels, just the strap loosing from heat and concussion. But still, these are made to take with you and check velocity where you are shooting, anywhere in the world. And they are reliable, accurate, and affordable.
 

Bdubose

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Feb 23, 2018
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Texas
I use the Magneto Speed V3 in load development with great success. Here's how:
1. Research typical speeds others have settled on with similar bullet rifle combination.
2. Load a 10 round Satterlee test a bit below and above that expected speed to find a velocity node that will produce desired ES/SD
3. Now do seat depth testing without chrono at that velocity, and may even move up/down in the velocity node to fine tune.
4. Chrono after desired load is achieved to test ES/SD.

I have 2 issues with Lab Radar - it misses shots periodically and the price point. My Magneto has never missed a shot.

I know guys that swear by the Lab Radar, but they use it constantly and have overcome the learning curve.
It is a great tool, but I do load work up infrequently so I can't justify it.
 

eric1115

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Dec 20, 2017
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Optical chronographs are not a reasonable choice for accuracy or reliability. Labradar is expensive and can be finicky, most users add a third party switch. Magnetospeed in my opinion is a neccessary piece of kit. It is decent as it comes, but mounting off the barrel is best. I heard they are going to offer a mount soon. I made my own and shoot with it for all my load development, groups included. I fact, I never had accuracy issues with my heavy barrels, just the strap loosing from heat and concussion. But still, these are made to take with you and check velocity where you are shooting, anywhere in the world. And they are reliable, accurate, and affordable.

I thought it was a super convenient and accurate way to get speed data when I used my friend's.

What soured me, and maybe letting this experience carry too much weight, was the following: did the ladder, found a flat(ish) spot in the curve, tested a few seating depths. Got a ⅜ moa load that held to ½ moa at 600 (all with magneto attached). Good SDs. Super stoked. Everything I've read and heard says group tends to grow with magneto on. Took the magneto off and go to test my awesome, maybe ¼ moa load now that the barrel is bare. First group 1" at 100. Second is 1¼". Thinking maybe I'm having a bad day or something is funky with the gun, I put the magneto back on to see and shot another ½" group. Nice, now I have 41 rounds left out of that batch of 50 that are 1 a minute at best load.

Obviously I can (or at least should be able to) learn from that and not repeat all the mistakes I made, but it left such a bad taste in my mouth that I think I want to be able to shoot real life groups and gather speed data at the same time. It seems like with the magneto I'll have to shoot close to double the round count to get a load dialed in and mapped out, but maybe there's something I am overlooking.

I think a mount that allows it to not touch the barrel would be ideal, and would solve most of the issues I have with it. Thanks for your input!
 

eric1115

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Dec 20, 2017
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I would consider the ProChrono. It's what I used before going to the Magnetospeed. the Prochrono works great with pistols, bows, and pellet rifles too! I still use mine from time to time. It seems to do better with changes in sunlight vs other opticals I have used.

Thanks for your input! Do you get pretty consistent readings in a single session?

Have you had any regrets going to the magnetospeed? I'm still fairly inexperienced at load development, only been handloading for about a year and it seems every time I solve a known unknown it reveals a couple more previously unknown unknowns. If everyone else starts out thinking the same thing (gather group and speed data at the same time) but it doesn't work out in real life, I'd rather skip that step.
 

RWE

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Oct 12, 2009
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177
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Kentucky
I am looking to add a chronograph to my load development process. I have borrowed a magneto speed from a friend a couple of times and the more I use it the more I think I may not want to go that route.

I think what I want is a old school traditional chronograph. The magneto speed has enough impact on group sizes for me that I don't feel like I can use it to get group and speed data at the same time. I'm also interested in using it for pistol loads, but that is far down the list of priorities.

Hey Eric, I have used an optical type for many years and within the last year picked up a magneto speed. I would suggest that you spend some time with an optical type for a while in varied environmental conditions prior to making the choice.

Accurate velocity data is very important for load development. Find a load with low velocity spread then you are done with the chronograph for load development. Work on seating depth for groups - you won't need a chronograph for groups. Once you find "the load" confirm velocity as needed.

If I was buying an optical, which I would not, it would be the upside down model with the lighted diffuser panel.

If I was buying anything, I would buy another magnetospeed sporter. But that is me, have fun!
 

eric1115

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Dec 20, 2017
Messages
64
I can only offer my experience with optical Chronograph, I use the Pro-Chrony, I have only had issues when the sun has set real low, like thirty minutes from dark, it has measured everything without issues for me. If you set it up correctly, you will not have problems, I do not go to a public range, so setup for me is not an issue. I use the sky screens on mine all the time, they do make lighted sky screens, so you could use indoors or if available power outside, that would probably allow you to work it in twilight hours. Mine only cost 99.00 at the time, it has worked on everything from a pellet gun, crossbow and all of my rifles.
Thanks for the input! It seems like people with that one are saying it works reasonably well, and the people who had Caldwell's are telling me to get a magneto!
 

Kmccord

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Nov 30, 2016
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Reilly Springs, TX
It all depends on how much you want to spend, no different in annealing cartridges, you have the AMP people, you have the propane people, and you have the Salt bath people. The end result will be the same, if you plan to use it everyday on multiple rifles or developing loads for other individuals all the time, then invest in the higher end model. If you are doing it for yourself, only some of the time, is it going to sit in a closet majority of the time, get the optical variety, you won't be disappointed. In the end you are going to verify with drops at longer yardage whether you buy the high end or the low end on the Chronograph.
 

Dragoon300

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I thought it was a super convenient and accurate way to get speed data when I used my friend's.

What soured me, and maybe letting this experience carry too much weight, was the following: did the ladder, found a flat(ish) spot in the curve, tested a few seating depths. Got a ⅜ moa load that held to ½ moa at 600 (all with magneto attached). Good SDs. Super stoked. Everything I've read and heard says group tends to grow with magneto on. Took the magneto off and go to test my awesome, maybe ¼ moa load now that the barrel is bare. First group 1" at 100. Second is 1¼". Thinking maybe I'm having a bad day or something is funky with the gun, I put the magneto back on to see and shot another ½" group. Nice, now I have 41 rounds left out of that batch of 50 that are 1 a minute at best load.

Obviously I can (or at least should be able to) learn from that and not repeat all the mistakes I made, but it left such a bad taste in my mouth that I think I want to be able to shoot real life groups and gather speed data at the same time. It seems like with the magneto I'll have to shoot close to double the round count to get a load dialed in and mapped out, but maybe there's something I am overlooking.

I think a mount that allows it to not touch the barrel would be ideal, and would solve most of the issues I have with it. Thanks for your input!
I know it is a huge pain to have that happen.
I'm convinced the Magnetospeed is the way to go, but is best used with a mount. There are a couple mounts available, and some guns are more suitable to this than others, but the Magnetospeed using my mount fits most, and works incredibly well. Mine is mounted on a pic rail, there is absolutely no POI shift or grouping changes, so if you can get a mount that works for you, you will be happy, I'm sure.
20210720_164057.jpg
 

eric1115

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Dec 20, 2017
Messages
64
A sharpie marker helps a lot with an optical chronograph. Just put the tip against the case mouth and spin the cartridge. Once the marker dries you're ready to shoot.

The dark ring around the bullet has dramatically reduced the errors I had with my Chrony and Pro Chrono. I was suggested this trick by John Barsness, and I'll bet I have less than 1% errors now regardless of lighting conditions. My optical chronographs always worked better on overcast days or if really sunny like most days in CO I rigged up a larger diffuser to shade the eyes, but now I just use the factory diffusers regardless of the light conditions.
Thanks for the tip! I've never even heard of doing that, but it makes sense.
 

asd9055

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Nov 15, 2013
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Texas
I know it is a huge pain to have that happen.
I'm convinced the Magnetospeed is the way to go, but is best used with a mount. There are a couple mounts available, and some guns are more suitable to this than others, but the Magnetospeed using my mount fits most, and works incredibly well. Mine is mounted on a pic rail, there is absolutely no POI shift or grouping changes, so if you can get a mount that works for you, you will be happy, I'm sure. View attachment 289220
Yep, that would eliminated the barrel harmonics and POI change effect. Great idea
 

misterc01

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Feb 15, 2019
Messages
665
Location
Florida Panhandle
I have a Chrony and a Caldwell. Right now for they are "close enough" until I can afford a Labrador. I have used them in tandem, and then switching the orde, r and they give me consistently close speeds, so I am not in all that big a hurry to make a change. Also where I shoot, they use a Silver Mountain system and between them and mine, I am confident in my velocities.
 

just_jon

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Dec 1, 2019
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Newville, PA
I love my LR, but I also use a pro-chrono DLX around for rifles that exceed the LR speed limit of 3900 fps. Like others have said, opticals can be a PITA sometimes, but LR should be taking notes regarding user interface of the competition. Things as simple as being able to name series and adding notes (rifle, primer, bullet, charge, CBTO, etc.). When I look at DLX data on the app six months from now, i can see all shot string info and don’t have to refer to my notes from LR to find out what series 023 was.
 

340PR

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Nov 18, 2018
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Tennessee
Started with the Pro Chrono. lighting issues as mentioned before, not to mention set up.. The light issue can be solved by adding LED light bars available. results are not nearly as accurate/consistent as either V3 or Lab Radar.
Ran the V3 and Lab radar concurrently for an 8 month period. Overall difference was a 4fps spread (Lab read faster), and reliability (lab reported 80%, vs 99.6% on V3).
I developed an "off barrel" mount, that took care of the velocity vs. group issue.
Was going to sell the Lab, but found a microphone attachment, and now get 95+% readings.
Still prefer V3, due to my setup and ease of use (total setup is about a minute).
Hope this helps.
 
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