Reload but do not chronograph?


PDA






utbrowningman
November 12, 2012, 03:49 PM
I do small amounts of realoading for my .30-06 and soon will for my son and his .30-30. In time I'd like to add .38 and 9mm. I do not have a chronograph no do I see one on the horizon. I still see value in reloading as I have the brass and a single stage press and it is cheaper in the long run. Am I really missing out on final performance if I don't have a chrono? Paper bullseye results will give me accuracy answers but not velocity numbers.

If you enjoyed reading about "Reload but do not chronograph?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Steve2md
November 12, 2012, 04:02 PM
You'll need the velocity numbers to get hollowpoints to their optimum speed for expansion, but otherwise, I don't find them necessary. The proof of accuracy, in the end, is on the paper, not in the chrony numbers

Reloadron
November 12, 2012, 04:10 PM
I loaded for years without a chronograph before my wife got me one for Christmas one year. The chronograph amounts to a "nice to have" but I was loading good accurate ammunition long before the chronograph found its way to me. Again, a nice to have but far from essential for making good loads.

Ron

cpt-t
November 12, 2012, 04:18 PM
utbrowningman: I think I know what you are saying, and I am the same way. I have been reloading on my own since 1963, but helped my Grandpaw and His old friends when I was a kid. I am not a real High Tech reloader just load what the books recomend. And I have yet to buy a chronograph, Don`t get me wrong they are really nice to have but I have yet to buy one yet. I reload most everthing my Son and I shoot, about 25 or 26 calibers at this time. If I am missing something I have yet to discover my short commings. But like I said I am a low tech type person.
ken

eam3clm@att.net
November 12, 2012, 04:18 PM
The only way I see a chronograph as a must have is when using military surplus powders, since they seem to vary from lot to lot.

bds
November 12, 2012, 04:27 PM
As others posted, for me accuracy is everything and holes on target speak volumes.

More consistent chamber pressures will lead to more consistent muzzle velocities and SD numbers which will ultimately lead to tighter shot groups.

oneounceload
November 12, 2012, 04:28 PM
For me, reloading is about accuracy first and foremost. The manuals can give you an idea of approximately where you are, but the chrono will nail it down exactly. That said, I would rather have something going a little slower and having the groups all be cloverleafs, than going faster with fist size groups at the same distance

cfullgraf
November 12, 2012, 05:18 PM
I loaded for years without a chronograph before my wife got me one for Christmas one year. The chronograph amounts to a "nice to have" but I was loading good accurate ammunition long before the chronograph found its way to me. Again, a nice to have but far from essential for making good loads.

Ron

I agree.

morcey2
November 12, 2012, 05:40 PM
To me, velocity is everything. Not maximum velocity, but consistent velocity. I'm fairly new to the reloading game, but I think a chronograph is important, although not an absolute necessity.

I build guitar amps and, while it's possible to build an amp without a voltmeter, it's nigh unto impossible to diagnose a problem without one. That's how I view a chronograph. When everything is working, they're just a nice way to verify that. When something goes wrong, such as POI has changed significantly with the latest batch of rounds that are theoretically identical to the previous batches. That's when you need a chrony. I just use it all the way along the process. I even chrono the powder coming out of the thrower. :)

Now, if I can just keep from shooting it for another couple of months.

Matt

James2
November 12, 2012, 08:42 PM
Not necessary. Reload and enjoy!

KevinR
November 12, 2012, 08:55 PM
I have reloaded for 20 years, it was fun, but then I purchased a Shooting Chrony for $80. I can't believe what I was missing. Its a lot more fun when you can see what that charge of your favorite powder is doing. The Chrony opens up so many other doors. You will love it if you purchase one.

StretchNM
November 12, 2012, 08:55 PM
They are nice to have and will reveal alot. Just when you think your loads by the manual are giving you "approximately this much velocity", the chronograph will surprise you. With that said, I have to agree with the others: neat to have but unnecessary.

Utbrowningman, you'll probably have one before long. Until then, you're not missing out on a lot.

918v
November 12, 2012, 09:00 PM
I chrono my loads after I get my accuracy.

gamestalker
November 12, 2012, 09:01 PM
I too reloaded for years before buying a chronograph and didn't have any issues building good effective and accurate ammunition, both handgun and high powered rifle. Now that I own one, I use when I'm doing a new load developement, but other than that it pretty much stays in the box.

GS

ColtPythonElite
November 12, 2012, 09:06 PM
I loaded nearly 20 years without a chronograph only to learn I didn't need one once I got it.

Certaindeaf
November 12, 2012, 09:17 PM
I've never had one either. I gather they're super reasonable now.

Walkalong
November 12, 2012, 09:20 PM
Posted by Reloadron
I loaded for years without a chronograph before my wife got me one for Christmas one year. The chronograph amounts to a "nice to have" but I was loading good accurate ammunition long before the chronograph found its way to me. Again, a nice to have but far from essential for making good loads.

Ron
Posted by cfullgraf

I agree. Same here. Useful, and fun, but not essential with a good reloading manual for the bullet you are using.

jr_roosa
November 12, 2012, 09:44 PM
I think I saved my gun with one. I found a "safe" load from a manual to be way too hot in my 1911. I would have beat the hell out of my gun with that load.

J.

beatledog7
November 12, 2012, 09:49 PM
I don't have a chronograph because the ranges here do not allow them. I think one I joined recently might, so maybe I'll get one soon.

bds
November 12, 2012, 09:50 PM
for me accuracy is everything and holes on target speak volumes.

More consistent chamber pressures will lead to more consistent muzzle velocities and SD numbers which will ultimately lead to tighter shot groups.
Having said that, chrono is essential in proving your loads meet USPSA/IDPA minimal power factor requirements.

Hondo 60
November 12, 2012, 10:03 PM
Is it a necessity?
Probably not to every reloader, but to some? ya (see bds's answer above)

Personally, I don't think I'd like to try any new loads with out one.
It's not a be all, end all, but it sure is peace of mind to me.

Mike 27
November 12, 2012, 10:40 PM
I would not mind having one but still haven't picked one up either. I would like it for my bow and my reloads but just haven't found it a must yet.

GaryL
November 12, 2012, 11:46 PM
I went for a long time without a chronograph. I was able to get an estimate of my 30-06 load velocity by simply using ballistic tables knowing the BC of the bullets I was using. At best it's an estimate. But without the chronograph you can't verify which published loads more closely match your load with different components, or a plot curves vs charges to see if something odd is happening. So it's a useful tool, not a necessary one.

Considering how many hand loaders have gotten along ok with Lee dippers and no scale ....

cfullgraf
November 13, 2012, 12:44 AM
For me, a chronograph fits the category...

"Tough to justify when you do not have on but can't live without it once you have one".

Sport45
November 13, 2012, 01:31 AM
I'll bet there are a whole lot more successful reloaders that don't have chronographs than there are that do have them.

Not that they're bad or anything. Just that they are something of a luxury rather than a necessity.

I have borrowed one from time to time but never could justify buying one. The one I borrowed was used more for regulating my sons airsoft guns than anything else.

Ehtereon11B
November 13, 2012, 01:47 AM
I have one buried around somewhere. Haven't even taken it out to use yet. I mostly load hunting cartridges right now and the chrono won't play into much on FTX bullets. I'll probably dig it out eventually when I start playing with HP handgun rounds and have a story to tell of shooting the rods off.

utbrowningman
November 13, 2012, 01:52 AM
Well, sounds like the concensus is not mandatory; good if you have one; and just fine if you don't. Maybe someday as a "nice to have".

bds
November 13, 2012, 02:41 AM
I now shoot mostly at indoor ranges where you can't set up chronos. So even if I wanted to, I can't set up chrono testing unless I drive longer to outdoor ranges and weather is not too hot/cold/wet.

So until I can schedule outdoor chrono testing, I determine the most accurate loads using holes on target (tightest consistent shot groups) and verify muzzle velocities/SD numbers when I can.

joneb
November 13, 2012, 03:21 AM
chronogragh ? Can't wait to shoot one :D

Look at the target and listen to your gun.

blarby
November 13, 2012, 04:05 AM
Nice to have.

Far from essential.

Basic math and a load book will give you the rough data you need for about 90% of things.

Now, if things aren't working the way they should- they can be a great diagnostic tool.


Much like a BHN tester..... Many folks have them who aren't actively enriched by their possession, other than to say its another tool they have.

rskent
November 13, 2012, 08:31 AM
I use mine about once a year. Only for my match rifle ammunition. Its nice to see that everything is running well.
Truth is that I havenít changed my loads in several years so I probably don't need to.

A friend of mine put a bullet through the face of his chronograph. Priceless. :o

kerreckt
November 13, 2012, 08:56 AM
I'm in the "nice to have" camp. I have reloaded for 30 years and use published data for my recipes. It wasn't until I started reading websites such as this one that I considered needing one.

huntershooter
November 13, 2012, 09:12 AM
For "long range" hunting, a chrono is a necessity.
Without knowing velocity you'll have no clue as to trajectory at extended ranges.

Certaindeaf
November 13, 2012, 10:25 AM
^
Well I don't know about that. I don't think military snipers all run their rigs over a chrony but what they do do is see where it actually hits for that rifle.

Baryngyl
November 14, 2012, 02:38 AM
A friend of mine put a bullet through the face of his chronograph. Priceless. :o
I am going to get a crono in the next month or so, before I use it the first time I plan on having a angled piece of steel that sits in front of it to protect it.


Michael Grace

erikk8829
November 14, 2012, 07:15 AM
Reloaded for about 45 years without one and did fine. Then one day I was given one and that went great for a year or two till I put a 55gr from a 220 swift dead center @ about 4Kc end of story:D

huntershooter
November 14, 2012, 07:43 AM
Military snipers have ballistic reticals (mildot) that are built to accommodate SPECIFIC ammo.
There is no need to chrono their load(s), that has already been done for them.

KevinR
November 14, 2012, 07:59 PM
I reloaded 357's for a long time. I would have never known that my rifle could push a 158gr SJSP to 1700FPS if I did not have a chrony. I also had no idea that barrel length had such an adverse effect, until I started using a chrony. The chrony took my hobby and firearm purchases to a entirely different level. I highly recommend a chrony.

jmr40
November 14, 2012, 08:23 PM
I'm going against the grain here. I loaded for several years without one, wouldn't dream of trying to load without one now. You can get a serviceable chronograph for $100 and it is money well spent.

If nothing else it is a safety issue. You use the chronograph speeds to let you know if you are approaching a dangerous load. If a load manual says 50 gr of powder X is a max charge and should be giving you 2800 fps don't believe it. Start low and chronograph your loads. When your chronograph says you are at 2800 fps you are shooting a max load at the max safe pressure in that rifle. In my gun that may take 50 gr. of powder X. But in your gun you may reach 2800 fps with only 47-48 gr of powder. Wth another gun 50 GR of powder may only produce 2700 fps and it would be perfectly safe to go up slightly on the powder charge in that rifle.

Without a chronograph you could be 2-3 grains below book max and still have an overpressure load and have no idea.

rayatphonix
November 15, 2012, 09:13 AM
I reloaded for some time without a chronograph and was able to come up with better loads than I could get with factory ammo. However, once I bought a chronograph I was better able to understand what was happening with my loads and I can now arrive at a new recipe quicker. It's also made my loads much more consistent. While it's certainly not a requirement, it's a fantastic learning tool that taught me more about reloading than booke ever did.

I also agree with JMR in that it tells you when you're approaching dangerous points in your loads. It's helped me know when to back off and try something else several times.

jaguarxk120
November 15, 2012, 03:33 PM
The chronograph is a great tool when developing loads of a wildcat cartridge.

Many times a shooter has a fire breathing monster wildcat rifle that someone built claiming that it will out shoot anything on the planet and to find out that burning all that extra powder he's almost as good as a 300 Winchester Magnum.

Samething with handguns, super performance loadings just don't meet up to standard factory stuff.

A chronograph has taken the wind out of many a shooters sails (boasting).

wanderinwalker
November 15, 2012, 06:53 PM
I put the chronograph in the "good to have but not essential" side of things, for most reloading.

It does however reveal interesting things. Like how one of my 4" .357s is 100-fps slower than the other. Or that my 9mm load with Power Pistol and 115gr JHPs run 1250-fps even .4gr below max. Or that the average velocity loss from the 4.5" G-17 to the 3.5" G-26 is about 100-fps, hardly the "significantly neutered" performance many think short-barreled pistols produce.

And it once got me to switch powders for .223 with 69gr match bullets, because the velocity was nowhere near what the book listed with the original powder.

The chrony also told me that my .44 Magnum rifle (20" barrel) was the equal to a sabot-slinging .50-caliber muzzleloader, roughly 1700-1800 fps with 240/250gr bullets. (Kind of takes the wind of people who look down on pistol caliber carbines but hunt happily with 100gr of Pyrodex and a 240gr sabot thinking they have a "200-yd muzzeloader".)

Cleftwynd
November 15, 2012, 07:03 PM
I agree with wanderinwalker, it sure is revealing! I even chrony factory ammo now as it is interesting to see how inflated their claims are, lol.

jmr40
November 15, 2012, 08:24 PM
I agree with wanderinwalker, it sure is revealing! I even chrony factory ammo now as it is interesting to see how inflated their claims are, lol.

It isn't telling you how inflated their claims are, it is telling you how loose the tolerences are in your gun.

Factory ammo is chronographed in guns with chambers and barrels cut to the absolute minimum specs. Close tolerences mean higher pressures and faster speeds. That is the speeds they actually got with their guns The closer your guns specs are to the minimum, the closer your speeds will be to their claims. This is why you often see different guns shoot the same ammo 100 fps or more faster than another identical gun.

This is a good thing. They know that if their loads are safe in the test guns, they will be safe in shooters guns with less tight specs.

MachIVshooter
November 16, 2012, 12:00 AM
Just when you think your loads by the manual are giving you "approximately this much velocity", the chronograph will surprise you.

Yup. Load data has proven to be off by a considerable margin with my gun vs. theirs. I've seen variations in excess of 200 FPS both directions. That changes trajectory quite a bit!

I'd been "apprentice reloading" for years without one, but got one at the same time I picked up all my own gear a decade ago. I can't imagine not having one now.

There's really no reason not to, with serviceable units from $100. I have a Chrony Gamma Master. It's on it's 3rd sensor & housing unit (one time me, one time my friend), but at only $70, it's not that big a deal when you do the inevitable. There are two types of chronograph owners: Those who have shot their chrono, and those who will shoot it ;)

cfullgraf
November 16, 2012, 12:07 AM
There are two types of chronograph owners: Those who have shot their chrono, and those who will shoot it ;)

Right, i have had two chronographs expire from lead poisoning.

1stmarine
November 16, 2012, 01:46 AM
The only reason for the chrono is if you want to know your own numbers. If you follow the reloading manuals and compare to others with the same barrel/rifle using the same bullets and powder loads most likely your speed spreads will be in the same neighbor.
If you can get accurate loads and get them to be consistent one after another that is the most important part. The proof that you are doing that will be the printed groups in the paper target.

JLDickmon
November 16, 2012, 09:24 AM
For me, reloading is about accuracy first and foremost. The manuals can give you an idea of approximately where you are, but the chrono will nail it down exactly. That said, I would rather have something going a little slower and having the groups all be cloverleafs, than going faster with fist size groups at the same distance

there ya go.. woodchuck or bear, the animal doesn't care if miss them at 1,600 fps or 2,400 fps..
they're pretty underwhelmed with any result except for terminal accuracy and repeatability.

Hondo 60
November 16, 2012, 09:26 AM
Just be aware there's only 2 kinds of chronograph users.

Them that's shot it & them that's gonna shoot it.

renegadeshooter1
November 16, 2012, 03:05 PM
i've never used a chrony and this may seem dump but are they hard to use and are they really a must

cfullgraf
November 16, 2012, 05:31 PM
i've never used a chrony and this may seem dump but are they hard to use and are they really a must

Chronographs are not a must. You can make safe, accurate loads without them. Folks have been doing it for decades.

But, it adds some more information on your firearms and reloads. Entry level chronographs are under $100 so cost is no where near the hurdle it was 20 or so years ago.

I use my chronograph only when developing some new load. Most of the time, it sits on the shelf.

Lennyjoe
November 16, 2012, 06:05 PM
Like others, I use it when developing new loads. It has served me well when using 800X in 10MM loads. Also developing a 180gr Nosler Partition load for my -06.

Finally, I use it for developing loads for my 6.8 SPC.

I like to see what the SD is for the powder and load combination that I'm developing. Also helps to see which powders are more sensitive to weather temps. To me, that is pretty important in my hunting loads.

Reloadron
November 16, 2012, 06:30 PM
i've never used a chrony and this may seem dump but are they hard to use and are they really a must
I covered my view way back in post #3.

Using a chronograph is relatively easy and they come in many flavors from useful and inexpensive to holy crap I can't believe how much it cost, really depends on features.

Yes, in many cases it is not a matter of "if" you will shoot it but when you will shoot it. I managed to shoot one of my screens on my Ohler old 35P. Ohler was really great and I bought several extra screen pieces. I also got a new print head. Mine was a gift from my wife about 15 years ago. Can't believe what that chronograph would run me today.

The chronograph did open new doors but as I mentioned I loaded a good many years sans a chronograph. When I got mine I was really into making consistent match loads and the chronograph played a key roll in clearly showing me just how consistent my loads were. It was again, a nice to have.

So to answer your question, yes they are very easy to use and no they are not a must.

Just My Take
Ron

Salmoneye
November 17, 2012, 08:16 AM
My Chrony is over 20 years old and has now given up the ghost...

Do I miss it?

Yah...But more for 'bragging rights', and personal love of minutia clogging my brain than any real tangible benefit...My loads still go bang, and hit generally where I am aiming...

I am in no hurry to send it in for a refurb or upgrade...Yet...

dragon813gt
November 17, 2012, 08:28 AM
No chronograph here. About the only reason I'd like to have one is to see the standard deviation for a load. It would be nice to know what the velocity is of a random flyer as well. But I don't see myself buying one anytime soon. I have a lot more molds to buy first :)


Brought to you by TapaTalk.

partyboy424
November 17, 2012, 03:53 PM
I use one (F1 Chrony $80 special) because I shoot USPSA and need the bullets to go a certain speed for points. When I make up plinking ammo though, realy no point. I'll load up a couple batches from starting load to midway, whichever one makes the gun fuction gets a couple hunderd made. Could really care less if it's going 700FPS or 950FPS, as long as it feels good and hits what I'm aiming at.

TrueTexan
November 17, 2012, 09:29 PM
Asking for some info and help I am thinking about buying a chronograph. I reload for pistol 45acp and 38/357. Question is which one to buy? I googled and read reviews seems one said this or that one is great other say it is crap. I shoot on outdoor range looking for one that has a remote so when it is shot I don't lose everything. Like to keep cost under $150.

Hondo 60
November 17, 2012, 10:22 PM
jmr40 - speed does NOT equal pressure.

Unless you have pressure testing equipment, (which I don't) I would NEVER recommend someone load over what the mfg lists as max.

For safety sake, I don't think I'd follow your logic.
I'm not trying to start a flame war, but just very concerned.
Do you have the proper testing equipment to prove me wrong?

cfullgraf
November 17, 2012, 10:29 PM
Question is which one to buy? I googled and read reviews seems one said this or that one is great other say it is crap. I shoot on outdoor range looking for one that has a remote so when it is shot I don't lose everything. Like to keep cost under $150.

i have used several Chrony's and now use a CED M2. Both brands all of the units worked fine. Other brands work well as well.

All of the chronographs have some idiosyncrasies that cause erroneous readings. Once you learn those, you will get excellent results. Most of the problems have to do with the sensors missing a bullet due to sun light, no sun light, reflections off the ground, reflections off the bullet, and more. The Chrony instructions, at least, have some good trouble shooting aids in this department.

With my M2, I have added the infrared lights and now have fewer sensor errors. It is less sensitive to ambient light issues.

The units seem to perform better with a fresh battery. I would only change batteries when things did not seem right, maybe every fourth or fifth use over the period of a year. Battery life depends on how much you use the chronograph so it is prident to keep a fresh spare on hand.

The price the unit will determine what extra features you get. The basic Chrony, or other basic unit, with a pencil and paper will get the raw data and maybe some calculations (average, high, low, extreme spread, etc) but you will have to write them down.

The more expensive units calculate more, remember strings and maybe even printing out the data.

Getting a unit where only the sensors are in harms way is a good thing but repairing/replacing pieces is not inexpensive. Not as expensive as a whole chronograph, but not just a few bucks either. A sensor array usually gets damage when the operator gets rushed or sloppy. So, take your time. Remember that rifles have an offset between the sight and the barrel.

I have shot out two Chrony's. I still have the third but use a CED M2. The M2 allows for direct downloading of the data to a computer, which I like.

But, a pencil and paper helps keep the purchase costs lower.

Hope this helps.

cfullgraf
November 17, 2012, 10:47 PM
jmr40 - speed does NOT equal pressure.



Right, but a chronograph does provide some important information that can help to indicate that the pressure is rising.

I have one rifle that routinely has a velocity 10 percent higher than the Sierra Bullets manual with the same powder charge as listed. The rifle is basically the same as what Sierra Bullets used to develop their data. With the chronograph information, I decided there was too much powder in my loads even though there were no other signs of high pressure.

I reduced the powder charge until the velocity matched the data's velocity.

(The rifle is a good indication of the variability between rifles.)

Also, when working up loads, if the velocity takes a bigger jump with an increase in powder than with previous steps, it is an indication that the pressure is also rising at a faster rate.

I hope this makes sense.

Hondo 60
November 18, 2012, 02:33 AM
a chronograph does provide some important information that can help to indicate that the pressure is rising.

Yup, I agree, that's why I have one.

robbieg19
November 18, 2012, 03:45 PM
I bought a chrono 2 days after buying a reloading press. For me it is a necessary tool. I load for idpa and need to be sure my ammo meets power factor. Without it I would be forced to load near the max range to be sure My ammo is legal. With it I am able to adjust my loads to near the bottom of the power factor for softer shooting loads. I know a long range shooter (1000yds) that chronos his loads at different temps and uses the data at matches to help with scope adjustments.

showmebob
November 19, 2012, 04:05 PM
I loaded for 3 years without one. Now that I own one, I test all new loads for speed/consistancy.

Soft 357 loads for the DIL, want to make sure they are fast enough not to stick in the barrel.

New 40 load with all components according to the bullet manufacturer, mid range load was over maximum speed buy a fair amount. I pulled the test loads above mid range levels.

Using a chrony will allow you to pick a charge to obtain a certain velocity if that is what you are "shooting" for.

Using platted bullets, you can make sure you aren't exceeding design velocity standards.

Totally necessary? NO. Worth having YES IMHO

45crittergitter
December 1, 2012, 05:42 PM
I highly recommend a chrono for information and safety. You can learn what your loads are really doing instead of just believing the book, which rarely knows what YOUR load in YOUR gun is doing.

xfyrfiter
December 1, 2012, 07:24 PM
If you are relying on the chrony to tell you when a load is unsafe, you should be seeing some pressure signs in your brass also. I watch for flattened primers first, and if i see that then i will load down.

45crittergitter
December 19, 2012, 06:52 PM
Negative. By the time you see overpressure signs in your brass or bolt lift, etc., you are probably WAY over.

mtrmn
December 19, 2012, 09:52 PM
I have one, but rarely have the time/patience to go through the PITA to set it up and get it to work. Usually once I've found my accuracy load, THEN I'll chrony it and get the specs. Half the time MY chrony comes back with error messages etc and I have limited range time as it is.

cfullgraf
December 19, 2012, 10:52 PM
Yes, the sensors can be frustrating at times. The position of the sun and sometimes the surrounding environment can cause problems.

Take some extra cardboard with you and some masking tape so that you can add shields to keep the sun off the window to the sensor.

Tilt the bar into the sun to help shade the sensor with the diffusers.

Sometimes a black ring around the bullet helps the sensor see the bullet. Bring a Sharpie with you.

Muzzle blast can cause false readings. Get the sensors a little farther away from the muzzle.

Sometimes the ground can give false reflections.

Make sure your battery is fresh.

Hope this helps.

Texmex247
December 19, 2012, 11:01 PM
I spent a year reloading for a few cartridges the old fashioned way, without a chronograph. Since I bought one, I can't imagine being without it. I don't really need it every time I go shoot but for load development, it is an absolute necessity. It would be like driving a new racecar without a speedometer to not have one now.

mtrmn
December 19, 2012, 11:52 PM
That sharpie idea is something I haven't tried....and my shooting range is in the woods with spotty sun/shade that moves with the sun and wind blowing the trees. Maybe shading the whole thing will work.

cfullgraf
December 20, 2012, 12:31 AM
Make sure the diffusers have an unobstructed view of the sky and shade the sides.

Or get infrared lights.

I recently got the lights for mine and many problems have disappeared. It also allows you to do more aggressive shading if necessary.

FROGO207
December 20, 2012, 08:35 AM
I reloaded a lot of years without one then got a crony. Was just getting used to how it worked and shot the darned thing. Someday when the funds are there again I will get a remote type so it will be a smaller hit if (when) I do shoot it again. It was fun to see the results but I still load safe accurate ammo without it IMHO.

joed
December 20, 2012, 09:21 AM
For a long time I did not chrono any of my loads. About 10 years ago I started checking the performance, it was eye opening.

A .22-250 load that loading books said does 3700 fps turned up doing 3400 fps. That's .223 velocity and a big difference for a cartridge that should be moving much faster. Noticed the same thing with a .308 that I have. This is the first reason I always check velocity now.

I also noticed in each new manual the charges seem to be getting lower. Why would less powder be needed from the last time it was tested? I do not trust the people doing the testing anymore either.

Sure, you don't need a chrony to load but think of the chrony as an auditor.

bds
December 20, 2012, 10:56 AM
a chronograph ... it is an absolute necessity. It would be like driving a new racecar without a speedometer.
For quite a while, track and offroad race cars did not have a speedometer (and most still don't). They have tachometer as the primary gauge along with other engine monitoring gauges and lights. Speedometer is a "nice to have" gauge but not essential for racing as track/lap times are more important and commonly used. Most track races and other races like the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pikes_Peak_International_Hill_Climb) and Baja 1000 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baja_1000) are not scored by the highest speed attained but by the lowest elapsed time. In a sense, faster you are on the track/course, lower the track/elapsed time will be.

Many shooters successfully reloaded long before chronographs were available. Although muzzle velocity readings and low SD numbers provide meaningful information in determining accurate loads; for most reloaders, they are able to obtain accurate loads using published load data and accurate scales (and of course, holes on target). If your loads produce more consistent chamber pressures, this will result in more consistent muzzle velocities, which then will translate to smaller shot groups, similar to lower track/elapsed times reflective of faster race cars.

I agree that for some shooters, they are essential for measuring velocities to determine match load power factors or when working near max load data. But I disagree that they are "absolute necessity" for most shooters who are not shooting matches or max loads.

mtrmn
December 20, 2012, 01:14 PM
Thank you all for the suggestions (esp cfullgraf) on getting my Chrony to cooperate better. I will have to try these next time I get the chance.

NWcityguy2
December 20, 2012, 01:47 PM
The #1 thing that keeps me from buying a chronograph is I don't shoot at ranges where bullet drop becomes a significant factor. You can troubleshoot problems without one by using the scientific method as well. Thats what I use personally. Not many people are willing to admit it, but for a lot of what we do "close enough is good enough".

Also, the only thing a chronograph is going to tell you is velocity. Using one to test pressure goes hand in hand with a number of other mis-informed ideas, like going over published velocities means you are over maximum pressure, that "book maximum" is consistent book to book or that there is even some consistent relationship between velocity and pressure.

readyeddy
December 20, 2012, 06:59 PM
A chrono is not a necessity since you can go with the velocity numbers in reloading manuals, but it's nice to have so you can make sure.

Then once you figure out your muzzle velocity you can input the data into a ballistic calculator. http://biggameinfo.com/BalCalc.aspx

The calculator will give you your bullet drop data and most importantly your maximum point blank range.

35 Whelen
December 20, 2012, 09:38 PM
I used to think a chronograph was a luxury until I used one. I find it indespensible now and especially nice for handgun loading as velocities can vary greatly due to the many different styles of bullets available.

35W

cfullgraf
December 20, 2012, 10:04 PM
A chrono is not a necessity since you can go with the velocity numbers in reloading manuals, but it's nice to have so you can make sure.


You cannot guarantee that the velocities listed in the manuals will match. There are too many variables and differences between the user's equipment and lab's equipment. A chronograph will verify if the data does or does not match.

Sierra Bullets uses an Colt Match Target (20" barrel, A2 look alike) for testing their 223 Remington service rifle loads.

My Service Rifle match rifle (20" barrel, A2 look alike) gets 200 fps higher velocity with the same bullet and powder charge, about 10 percent faster.

Without a chronograph, i would not know and I would miss longer range targets using the published book values.

joed
December 21, 2012, 07:51 AM
You cannot guarantee that the velocities listed in the manuals will match. There are too many variables and differences between the user's equipment and lab's equipment. A chronograph will verify if the data does or does not match.

Sierra Bullets uses an Colt Match Target (20" barrel, A2 look alike) for testing their 223 Remington service rifle loads.

My Service Rifle match rifle (20" barrel, A2 look alike) gets 200 fps higher velocity with the same bullet and powder charge, about 10 percent faster.

Without a chronograph, i would not know and I would miss longer range targets using the published book values.
+1 as in my case it was 300 fps slower then the loading manual said. Sure you can survive without a chrony but you really don't know how it's performing.

If you enjoyed reading about "Reload but do not chronograph?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!