1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Chrono really necessary to new pistol reloader?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by bp78, Jan 21, 2007.


Is a chrono necessary for pistol reloading?

Poll closed Apr 21, 2007.
  1. YES, get one when you start.

    18 vote(s)
  2. NO, not really necessary

    66 vote(s)
  3. N/A, just show me the results so far...

    10 vote(s)
  1. bp78

    bp78 Well-Known Member

    I'm preparing to start reloading and am curious how necessary a Chronograph is in the process.

    I'll be reloading pistol cartridges for IDPA, no big matches so I'm not concerned about missing PF (power factor) by a few FPS. All shooting is usually well within 25yds so accuracy isn't too big a concern either.
  2. snuffy

    snuffy Well-Known Member

    After reading your question, I voted no. For your loading it won't make a difference, but if and when you load rifles, they are very usefull. Still not a nessessity, but very usefull.
  3. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Well-Known Member

    Snuffy has it nailed. They are useful, but not necessary unless you are going for the utmost accuracy possible. They are handy for the causual reloader though. I have and use mine to work up loads for special jobs...And just for general curiosity and knowledge.:)
  4. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    They are handy to gauge powders against each other for velocity vs recoil. Not a must. For accuracy all you need is to shoot loads on target and check them against each other. The Chrono will let you know what velocity you really have. Sometimes the books are not accurate. Different guns, temp, etc, etc.
  5. Eagle103

    Eagle103 Well-Known Member

    I say buy one just to satisfy your curiosity as to what your loads are doing. For as cheap as they are now I don't know why not. I got mine for under $70 and it works great.
  6. DaveInFloweryBranchGA

    DaveInFloweryBranchGA Well-Known Member

    Not necessary, but really affordable these days. That said, I would base it on how much and what type I'm reloading. The more advanced reloading you do, the more you'd want such a device.

  7. Rico567

    Rico567 Well-Known Member

    Put your money elsewhere until you've got some mastery of our great pastime. At some point (you'll know when) it becomes almost essential for load development. And, as has been mentioned, these days it's not like it's that expensive. My PACT 1, which I paid a whole $80 or so for, fills all my needs very well.
  8. Primersinmyshoe

    Primersinmyshoe Well-Known Member

    I voted yes because I was reloading for a sport that had a power factor that I had to meet. Another reason to have a chrony is to take the guesswork out of your load development. Just because the manuals say you'll get a certain velocity doesn't mean you will get the same results.
  9. Starter52

    Starter52 Well-Known Member

    I voted no. Just because they're cheaper does not make them necessary. I've been reloading for years, but I'm not in a hurry to buy a chronograph. Like Rico says, put your money somewhere else.
  10. hossfly

    hossfly Well-Known Member

    Necessary??? No.

    Would I be without one??? No.
  11. 3rdpig

    3rdpig Well-Known Member

    It's not necessary when you're starting out as long as you've got powder measure, scale, good reloading data (and you use it!) and a good eye for signs of over pressure.

    But at some point you're probably going to want one. Not only can it provide valuable data that makes your reloads better, it's also a fun tool to use and adds another level of enjoyment to reloading. At least that was true in my case.
  12. Black Snowman

    Black Snowman Well-Known Member

    Unless you have a chrono there's a lot of things you're just guessing at, but if the ammo is for short range target shooting, all that really matters is that it's accurate and safe. The time I would recommend a chrono is if you ever want to work up near-max loads or very light loads.

    I've hit the point where additional powder resulted in no more velocity before hitting max loads before. In those cases I was able to back off the powder charge and get the same performance and better accuracy while making my powder last longer. Admittedly, these are in large magnum rounds and some rifles. Also I've found points where just a small reduction in powder results in a huge drop-off in velocity. Sometimes to an unsafe level (possiblity of rounds stuck in the bore). When you're pushing the boundries either direction, you reall need all the info you can get.

    For normal target ammo it's not critical, but still nice. It can wait, but when you feel like experimenting, then it's time to go shopping for one.
  13. nitesite

    nitesite Well-Known Member

    I voted yes because I feel I have an extra margin of safety by using one. And because it completes the circle of care, craftsmanship, caution, and curiosity that is involved in reloading.

    I guess another thing that swayed me is that I load 10mm Auto for pistol. If I did just .38Spl and .45ACP and other low-pressure cartridges I might have voted no.
  14. 45crittergitter

    45crittergitter Well-Known Member

    I'd say it's the only safety gauge you have.
  15. JackOfAllTradesMasterAtNone

    JackOfAllTradesMasterAtNone Well-Known Member

    I said no... But, It wasn't long after I started reloading that I bought one.

    For less than $100 you can get more piece of mind of what your loads are doing. If they're consistent. If you've got good groups on the target, but a few fliers, the Chrony might just tell you you've got a variation of velocities. Then it's up to you to figure the rest out.

    It's a tool to make sure you're meeting are are below a specific power factor for competition shooting.

    If you bought that magnum rifle to hunt Moose or Grizzley or Elk, if you're reloading, it's nice to know if you're getting that "Magnum" performance out of your reloads.

    Put it this way...

    How many Cresent wrenches are in my tool box? Several, of same and different size. Along with socket sets of deep, 12pt and 6pt, 3'8" and 1/2" drive. Some for the impact driver. Are they all Necessary? No, but they are most helpful when working in my shop.

  16. Clark

    Clark Well-Known Member

    When I put more LIL'GUN in a 357 mag case and it got louder and kicked harder, I thought I was getting more velocity.
    The chrono said I was getting less.
    So I stopped adding the extra LIL'GUN.
  17. jmorris

    jmorris Well-Known Member

    Not necessary, I reloaded for 17 years without one. Now I have two and one stays in the truck, so they are nice to have/use. They can give you info you can't get from a book (what is your load doing in your firearm). If you were thinking about one just for IDPA you could pass. Someone is bound to have a chrono you could use after a match.
  18. KHawk

    KHawk Well-Known Member

    Not necessary unless you are going to use it to hold your targets! :eek: :eek:
  19. Numinous

    Numinous Active Member

    And all those over pressure signs you can observe from fired cartridges aren't safety gauges? What are you trying to say here? There are plenty of ways to gauge whether the load you've fired is safe to fire again.
  20. 45crittergitter

    45crittergitter Well-Known Member

    Any visual or tactile sign of overpressure, from primer appearance to brass condition are useless. By the time you can see or measure "too much," the loads are likely to be far, far over SAAMI pressure. Velocity is a fair, but imperfect measure. However, chronographs are objective and far easier to use than strain gauges.

Share This Page