Do I need a chronograph?

J E Custom

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2004
Messages
10,676
Location
Texas
Sorry, J.E., you posted while I was typing. We seem to be saying similar things and I didn't mean to steal your thunder.

No problem. I like to hear others views on the topic even if it is similar. Sometimes the best Ideas are in the little things done by others. 👍

I have made subtle changes that only netted me .020 in group size improvement but two or three of these can move accuracy into a new accuracy standard for the rifle.

J E CUSTOM
 

HBoothe

Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2020
Messages
20
Location
Texas
So I am a new Reloader. Started in January. Feel pretty confident in my process and have been seeing great results.

I love shooting tiny little groups! I do not currently shoot long long range, I am wanting to develop loads that are as small and consistent as I can. I only really have availability to a 100 yard range, which sucks.

So, my question is do I purchase a Magnetospeed Sporter for Data and to check load consistency or not? Will it save on components?

Pros, cons and opinions?

Thanks everyone for always being helpful!

Steve

Yes, you do.

If nothing else it can help you identify how consistent your loads are shooting (ES and SD of MV). It's nice to see how much MV you give up (or gain) as you adjust powder. It's one way of measuring the performance of your load. Short of a strain gauge, it is, in my opinion, the only other scientific measure we have of our loads. "Pressure signs" on the cases and groupings are subjective measurements.

Varying components can vary the MV quite a bit and the chronograph will show that to you.

I had a Caldwell Ballistic Precision. I didn't like it. I took it apart, flipped the LCD upside down, used the lighted sky screens, and mounted it upside down on a rigged up pod so it would consistently read bullets. Not happy.

After seeing a friend use his Competition Electronics ProChrono Digital I bought one. I like it much better and it was about the same price, if I recall correctly.

FWIW

--HC
 

softtail103

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LRH Team Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2009
Messages
145
Location
Eastern Washington
I’m all done with mine. Used 3 time got what I needed. MagnetoSpeed V3 Ballistic Chronograph $300.00 Shipped.
 

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7070yshot

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2020
Messages
56
Location
Liberty Hill, TX
So I am a new Reloader. Started in January. Feel pretty confident in my process and have been seeing great results.

I love shooting tiny little groups! I do not currently shoot long long range, I am wanting to develop loads that are as small and consistent as I can. I only really have availability to a 100 yard range, which sucks.

So, my question is do I purchase a Magnetospeed Sporter for Data and to check load consistency or not? Will it save on components?

Pros, cons and opinions?

Thanks everyone for always being helpful!

Steve

1. you absolutely unequivocally need accurate velocity measurements.
2. you need other data as well if you are going to shoot past 500y with any accuracy or precision especially on animals.
3. gear needed, Labradar, or I’ll sell you my sporter, NiB 100$. Labradar is the best however, a Kestrel 5700 Elite or a Garmin 701 with external temp sensor. Why?Because you have to record date/time/temp/station pressure/humidity/latitude location/altitude/ density alt/ and DoF (direction of fire in degrees)
These are absolutely critical to making those shots if not you’ll have a submoa group of misses or worse a wounded animal.
It’s a journey my friend and not a cheap one. If “good enough” shows up in your thoughts then measure what good enough is. Missing a target poi estimation by 1in at a thousand yards is good enough, missing by 9in is not, IMHO
 

robpiat

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2009
Messages
95
I am at the point where I’d be ok going out there without a target but with the chronograph. While low sd doesn’t always translate to the best groups it translates to consistency and finding a range of tolerance. My favorite loads rifles are the tolerant ones, not the fussy ones even if they shoot tiny groups. I like knowing that everything doesn’t have to be perfectly measured and managed and it’ll still print groups.

the two items I bought that I’m not as enamered with using - annealer and concentricity gauge. They are both fine tools and I don’t doubt they have a purpose but they haven’t moved the needle for me.
 

Fotis

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Joined
Jul 25, 2001
Messages
1,841
Location
CHEYENNE, WY

thank me later. I could not live without one. I have several except the magneto speed. I do not want anything attached to my barrel messing with the harmonics and POI changes. Also pretty useless for handguns.
 

redleg1013

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2012
Messages
196
The short answer is, it depends.
The chronometer is definitely a useful tool that provides empirical data to validate the results on the target.
Now bear in mind that when I started we were pretty financially poor and I was working with a Lee Classic Loader for a 30-06.
I worked up a load using an Audette ladder and seating depth adjustment that shot just over an inch at 300 without the benefit of a chronometer. I was able to use math to determine and verify that that load would be money with a 200 yard zero, and that any deer within 300 yards would be on the table.

If you're wanting to not have to trudge back and forth over varying distances to build your dope, then a chronometer, or at least access to a chronometer, would be justified to generate a starting point.

My point is that one CAN generate a good, accurate load, and build a dope table without a chronometer, but it takes work; even with a chronometer you have to verify the data generated from a ballistics computer to become dope.

Arthur Pejsa's works are worth looking into, if you can find them, as he passed a couple of years ago and are no longer in print.
 

Ranger1994

Active Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2019
Messages
42
Location
North Carolina
Definitely recommend a chronograph. Magneto Speed is what i have and feel its a great one, but as others have stated,, it may change your poi. I think JE and others have also nailed the reasons why you need it. To me it's a very useful tool to have in my toolbox.
 

Marc Gauthier

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Joined
Jan 11, 2019
Messages
59
Location
Sept-iles, Quebec, Canada.
Useful, not necessary. Let me explain: adjust to 100 yards, and then shoot 200 yards for example. The height difference and ballistics software will give the actual speeds. - My grain of wheat. Sorry for my bad English.
 

jrg

Active Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2013
Messages
28
Anyone that reloads and likes extreme accuracy (Little Bug Holes) needs a chronograph !!

The reason a chronograph is needed, Is the chronograph is unbiased and doesn't know when you are having a bad day. Everyone has there own way of using a chronograph while load testing, and here is mine.

First I select the bullet style and weight I would like to use based on the barrel twist.
Second, I look at load data that has powder charges that are near maximum pressure and near 100 % case density. Then I load in the middle of the powder charges listed using the same primer listed.

Now I am ready the test using the chronograph. I don't worry about the accuracy at this point because I am looking for a stable/consistent load velocity. The lower the SD's the
the better more the components are compatible with each other.

Once I find a low SD load (Consistent combination) I can then change one component or measurement (like bullet seating,) at a time. I like and use the magneto speed because I start looking for the best Load first and then If I think it may effect the accuracy I will take it off. Most of my rifles have heavier contours and the Magneto speed has little if any effect on the barrel and the accuracy because of it's weight (Ounces).

This process of looking for one thing at a time has reduced the number of rounds needed to arrive at an accurate load to less than half, and normally Will take less than 25 test loads.

I also have a Oehler 35P to chronograph while checking or zeroing point of aim and giving velocities at the same time if needed.

By using a chronograph for load development, It is not a hit and miss operation and It tells you the effect of any change you make, with out the human factor.

J E CUSTOM


I agree with J E, I use Heavy contour barrels & have found little to no change in accuracy, Having said that, I don't use My Magnetospeed to shoot groups, but rather to gather information, SD, ES & FPS.
 

mikemo4032

Active Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2014
Messages
36
Add my name to the yes column. I would only add that I have used the optical, MagSpeed and Lab Radar and would advise anyone who even thinks they may go down the long range precision game to buy once, cry once and get the Lab Radar.
 

JTComfort

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2017
Messages
108
Location
Arlington, VA
So I am a new Reloader. Started in January. Feel pretty confident in my process and have been seeing great results.

I love shooting tiny little groups! I do not currently shoot long long range, I am wanting to develop loads that are as small and consistent as I can. I only really have availability to a 100 yard range, which sucks.

So, my question is do I purchase a Magnetospeed Sporter for Data and to check load consistency or not? Will it save on components?

Pros, cons and opinions?

Thanks everyone for always being helpful!

Steve

I began shooting precision rifle several years ago with a .308 (maybe not the most "precise" option, but a great learning platform). At first I used a friend's LabRadar and I quickly saw the value of the data you could collect quickly and easily and how much that data informed my choices for ammunition, projectiles and reloading tweaks. Using a chronograph is critical to knowing what's going on once the projectile leaves the muzzle of YOUR rifle. Velocity is everything when understanding trajectory - someone else's data will not apply to you universally. Others have pointed out "accuracy" at 100 yards can be achieved with wide swings in sd/es and "minute of steel" accuracy out to 400 yards can be misleading. Consider your purposes and study ballistic charts to understand what an "average" ballistic arc looks like for your caliber and ammo specs. If killing a bull elk at 300 yards or ringing IPSC plates out to 500 yards with a .308 is your game, you probably don't need a chrono to be successful and have a lot of fun. My .308 will shoot an 8" kill zone, point blank out to 283 yards and I can confidently ring a full sized IPSC out to 450 w/o dialing a correction. Beyond that there are holds or dial-ups to consider - I know that the rifle is .3moa accurate and my DOPE tells me that my wind holds and dial-ups are good out to 1200. But to achieve precision - .moa/sub-moa at 600, 800, 1000+, - requires good reloading practices and as well as good data. BTW - LabRadar is top-drawer.
 

J E Custom

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Joined
Jul 29, 2004
Messages
10,676
Location
Texas
Not advertising for magneto speed, but I recommend it for many reasons. It is very reasonably priced and allows some to purchase it that would not be able to justify a more expensive Chronograph. It is also user friendly and does not rely on and outside conditions like the quality of light required for many designs. (It will work it total darkness). It is also very accurate and easy to install without shutting down the firing line for safety.

In my opinion, It is the best "Starter" chronograph available.

Just My Opinion

J E CUSTOM
 

Blackhawk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2018
Messages
252
Location
South Western Florida
So I am a new Reloader. Started in January. Feel pretty confident in my process and have been seeing great results.

I love shooting tiny little groups! I do not currently shoot long long range, I am wanting to develop loads that are as small and consistent as I can. I only really have availability to a 100 yard range, which sucks.

So, my question is do I purchase a Magnetospeed Sporter for Data and to check load consistency or not? Will it save on components?

Pros, cons and opinions?

Thanks everyone for always being helpful!

Steve
The Magneto Speed Sporter or V3 attaches via a strap just south of the muzzle of your rifle.
It can become a little tricky in order to obtain a solid tight fit between the magneto speed and your rifle barrel. Even at best you may have to reposition your Chrono after every string of 5 or more shots, as it will move slightly.
It however does a terrific job at recording your shot strings indicating your ES and SD as well as each shot in the strings & MV.
Not sure about the sporter version as I own the V3 and with this unit you can remove the micro SDcard and download all the information to a spreadsheet on your computer. In this manner, you can perform an analysis at home.
You must be mindful when setting up to use the 1/4" X 1/4' square aluminum rectangular rod to ensure proper clearance between the chronograph at the barrel's muzzle, otherwise, you will destroy your chronographs reader.
With all that out of the way you do not need to purchase any add ons ( much like the costlier lab radar) as it is ready to use in bright sunlight, or overcast weather. I have even been caught in a drizzle with no adverse reactions! ( Some less expensive units rely on diffuser panels and must be set up downrange say at 10 yards and can only be used in bright sun while others rely on a transfer of information via a phone cable) With the Magento Speed, there is nothing else to do once you plug in both jacks you are good to go. It can be set up right at your shooting station without any downrange trips to place a chronograph on a tripod. (something else you must purchase)
Once you get the hang of the Magneto Speed Sporter Chronograph and all its virtues for the price point and ease of use you won't go wrong.
As I have stated in other posts the is no better way to determine your ES and SD numbers than with your chronograph. It will yield a wealth of information that is instantly available to you. (and I mean on the spot)
This is more so during your load development using items like the Satterlee Test.
Oh, sure you can measure each target for bullet placement with a caliper or ruler however you cannot determine your ES and SD numbers accurately without your MV and that will require the use of a Chronograph.
Simply stated without a chronograph, you will not be able to obtain an accurate rendition of either your ES or SD numbers notwithstanding your MV for each shot as well.

Remember:
Your Chronograph (no matter which brand) is your friend!
 
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