Newbie chronograph question


May 21, 2003, 03:04 PM
Is it a necessary piece of equipment? What are the pros and cons? Other then measuring projectile velocity. What other uses do the serve?

My shooting is purely recreational. No IDPA or any other competitions. I burn 200-300 rounds per week just having fun and another 200 or so rounds in serious practice.

Just got into reloading about a month ago. Right now and for the forseeable future will only be loading .45. My first 50 reloads ( on my own. Dad taught me some basics and helped me load 50 rounds about a month ago) went boom and nothing blew up. The load was 5.3gr W231 under Speer 200gr TMJ SWC. Cases were mixed and primer was WLP. Accuracy was muach better than anything I have done with factory ammo. I am shooting full size 1911.

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May 21, 2003, 03:14 PM
Well, it's not necessary if you intend to stick with published load data. It is interesting data though.

One thing, make sure if you buy get one with remote 'electronics' (ie Shooting Chrony 'master' versions). As others here will tell you, one day you'll shoot the chrony and the sensors are much cheaper to replace than the electronics..

I shot mine, still haven't replaced it either.. But, I've already worked up 3 IDPA .357 loads (which was the purpose) I don't need one..want one for sure, but waiting for the right deal ;-)

May 21, 2003, 04:00 PM
No ...... certainly ain't ''necessary'' but ........... a very useful thing to have on hand .. and Chrony's are so cheap.

I haven't used mine in ages (laziness!) but if I need to assess new loads ... for MV and consistency ..... it'll come out.

A tip I would throw in .. to help avoid shooting the thing up! ......... keep a few pieces of dowel handy that will fit the bores of what you use ...... then when all but set up on your sandbags ..... place suitable dia dowel in muzzle to show bullet path .... to make sure high enough etc ....... then remove and shoot.

OR .. with rifle ........... sorta ''bore sight'' it onto a target area downrange ....... to ensure bullet path suitable .. then settle in and shoot at pre determined area.

May 21, 2003, 04:38 PM
With just pistols it is rather useless. Especially if you dont shoot competitions. Even then it is rather useless for IDPA. Rifle is a different matter since you can use it to chart drop at far yardages and such. THey are fun to mess with but the published data will guide you close enough.

May 21, 2003, 05:01 PM
But even for pistols, isn't velocity another indicator of pressure for a given bullet? I mean, if I get 150 FPS more than the reloading manual says then might I not consider that load to be pushing up the pressure beyond the load's intent?

Or do you only go by case deformation to indicate approaching overpressure?

Desert Dog
May 21, 2003, 07:19 PM
If you are experimenting with unpublished load data running hot loads, the chronograph is a necessary piece of equipment... for rifles AND pistols. I gauge my heavy .45 Colt loads by velocity when I am working up with a new powder.

The other item you can verify with a chrono is sufficient crimp. If you have adequate crimp and all other things being equal, you should have a lower standard deviation...

I consider the chronograph to be as essential to reload testing as paper targets...


May 21, 2003, 08:23 PM
Penforhire ........ to a degree yeah, I think excessively high MV figures could give cause for some suspicion but do not IMO entirely cover all bases. Barrel length is a factor to include in the analysis too of course.

Overall, the MV figure AND critical case inspection should allow you to make a good judgement ..... actual MV alone can depend on powder burn speeds also ..... and if a fast powder then possible that pressure peak could be excessive when bullet seems a tad fast! Then case inspection will (should) tell a lot.

As ever ... work up loads from a safe level.

May 29, 2003, 09:41 AM
Chronograph will greatly increase yr comfort level.

I started with RCBS master reloading kit, reloaded for rifle, and stayed with Speer bullets and loads in the Speer book.

Then I began reloading for pistol, and to control expenses began trying various bulk bullets; precision (coated), rainier and west coast (plated). Load data, such as could be found, left more questions than it answered.

The critical issue is peak pressure, which cannot be measured with equipment available to us. Exit velocity readings provide some measurable result which help relate the input variables both measurable (bullet weight, powder weight, oal, barrel length) and semi-imponderable (bullet shape, bullet hardness, powder burn rate) to consider with such published data as is available to deduce a maximum safe load.

Then there are minor questions such as: what powder load gives the minumum spread or standard deviation in exit velocity; is there a measurable difference in exit velocity between cartridge case makes?

I have a Chrony F-1, the minimum model; readout on the face of the box (not remote) and no port for download to computer. I am happy with it.

May 29, 2003, 11:28 PM
Even some published data can be off. I have come accross a few loads that were much hotter than what the book sais they shoudl be, most had other pressure signs as well. Have had a few that failed to come up to published standards as well. I went and loaded up a bunch of .45 ACP loads with a 230 gr. LRN bullet, picked a load right in the middle of the spectrum without checking first. When I went out and tryed em they are 75 fps over what listed max is!

Different lots of components can cause things to change, sometimes dramadically. spend the money, if you do much playing around with different stufff you will be glad you did.

May 30, 2003, 02:29 AM
I've had a ProChrono for several years, which so far I have avoided shooting.:D

They are good for checking factory loads - one lot of Winchester Factory ammo in .25-06 was only going about 2750 fps, 300 fps less than claimed.

May 30, 2003, 04:54 PM
Shooting your loads through a chronograph is the best way to know "for sure" what your loads are doing in your gun. I don't shoot competively, either, but enjoy the peace of mind mine gives me. IMO, the kind people who go through the trouble of reloading their own ammo would want to take out as much of the "guess work" as possible.

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