Looking to buy my first chronograph. Getting the bug to check my reloading data vs the book. And put my own data into ballistics program to make drop charts. Looking to spend up to $150. Any brands to stay away from?
A little bit more, but the Magnetospeed Sporter would be an excellent choice from what I have read.
I have one coming this week and will be able to post some reviews later. This is to replace the Prochrony Digital I just recently purchased. I would say stay away from that particular unit in my experience.
I like the CED M2. The best value in optical chronos - for those of us who won't use a magnetospeed. More parts to assemble, but also more accurate than an integrated optical chrono due to the larger separation between sensors.
You can buy a light source for use indoors. Sensitive to interference from overhead fluorescent lights (because of the long cables, I guess). All sensor head parts are replaceable, in case you shoot one.
Mine likes the shade. I attach a piece of dark T-shirt material to the top of the sunscreen when using it in direct mid-day sunlight.
What was the problem? My Prochrono Digital works well. It tends to increase SD/ES a bit for SD values below 10. I assume that's because it has a short separation between sensors. Prefers shade, like most optical chronos. Otherwise, very accurate average readings (I tested it against the CED M2) - no real complaints.
Buying a chrono is one of the best things you can do to improve your shooting. Great decision.
Before I get to a specific recommendation, let me say that consumer electronics, which all of them are, is generally crap, sometimes with phenolic PC boards and who knows what else. The circuit designs can be poor with poor margins, etc. Some are better than others and once in a while you will find quality commercial electronics. With that caveat I would advise you to spend an extra $50 and get the CED M2. They run around $200. The CED is commercial electronics but it is pretty decent. Nevertheless, after many years of regular use the cables broke. I replaced mine with some very similar audio headphone cables form Radio Shack which have held up much better. This involves taking the heads apart and a little soldering which is easy to do.
The Magnetospeed will change point of impact which is a deal breaker for me plus I don't like having to move it from rifle to rifle if I take more than one to the range which I usually do.
When you get your chrono, keep in mind that for any optical chrono you need to align in pitch and yaw or it will read low. I use a bore sight laser to align mine. The Magnetospeed has an advantage here in that installing it aligns it. A very nice feature.
Chronographs are a great tool: But a pain in the *** to set up and make sure you have everything lined up, you can search youtube and watch people shooting the front of the chronograph.
I have done some tricks to help with line up, strings, lasers, 550 cord
I have a F1 Chrony and has worked for years without problems.
with all that said: you would like to collect as much data on your loads as possible. I like to shoot at different targets at different distances.
So i ordered at New Chronograph.
Taken the Prochrono Digital out 3 different times under various conditions and was unable to get it to read or if it did read it was very very low numbers. I have called their CS dept a couple of different times for troubleshooting. I have tried all of their recommendations and still does not function correctly.
Therefore, it appears to be way more finicky than I am willing to expend anymore time with hence, the ordering of a Magnetospeed.
I bought the Caldwell ballistic precision chrono and just used it today. Weather was overcast and then turned into bright sun and it worked with no problems in both. Also you can download an app to your phone, and with the included cable, the app records every shot and does your stats on them for you! Best of all it is about $75. I had 0 problems with connecting my phone despite what reviews you might read...actually I had 0 problems overall. I think sometimes people just don't read the directions.
Also, the velocities I was getting were right in line with what I would expect, both with the handloads I was shooting and arrow speeds from my bow.
Save the money and buy a good one once, I have a number of 100-150 dollar units and their all just not worth the frustration and inaccuracy! The only two I have ran that I own or would own are the Magneto speed or the Labradar, both give accurate results, easy set up and use and don't suffer from the issues others do.
Personally if money was tight the Magneto speed sport is a very solid option to give you good numbers that you can work with.
I have two MagnetoSpeed Chronographs. The V2 and the Sporter.
You will read that the MagnetoSpeed changes the point of impact when compared to the shots fired without the bayonet attached. That's true. But it doesn't change the group size. A Chrono isn't intended to be used as a sighting accuracy instrument. It's purpose is to provide MV information. No chronograph I have ever used (and I've used a bunch of 'em) provides more consistently accurate MV information than the MegnetoSpeed. It is a bit of a hassle to remove it from one rifle and put it onto another one. It takes an incredibly long two or three minutes. About as long as it took to remove the second rifle from its case. But the open frame chronographs need to be leveled so that they're on the same plane as the bullet path. They are sensitive to atmospheric conditions including direction and intensity of sunlight. Their accuracy can be affected by the distance they're planted in front of the muzzle. They're often bulky and troublesome fo set up.
In your situation I'd pick up the MagnetoSpeed Sporter for the rifle(s) and buy a used open frame model for the bow. That'd be a win/win IMO.
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Competition Electronics. Had one that worked perfect (lost it in Katrina), now have one I got new off of Ebay for $84.00. Also bought a camera tripod for $19.00 that has a bubble level on it to make sure it's level. No complaints- worked every time.