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Lets talk Chronographs

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Lennyjoe, Jan 17, 2005.

  1. Lennyjoe

    Lennyjoe Well-Known Member

    Now that I am into reloading I am in the market for a decent chronograph.

    So whats the best deal going and what should I look for as far as accessories, performance and maintenance.

  2. 45lowrider

    45lowrider New Member

    Hi Lenny,

    I've been using a Pro Chrono for the last year, and have been pleased with its performance. I'm not much into printer capabilities, as I transfer my targets and chrono info to my load software (Point Blank) when I get home.

    That's a nice feature of the Pro Chrono, you can shut it off at the range, and it keeps all data in memory. Nine strings of 99 shots each.

    Around $90.00.

  3. Lennyjoe

    Lennyjoe Well-Known Member

    Educate me on point blank if you would.
  4. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

    Lenny - I bought a Shooting Chrony quite some time ago - the basic F1 IIRC it is called. That was then about $60. It served me well and I just wrote down data.

    I then a year or so ago bought a printer off a member here - and with this added it has become a very useful tool. The printer does the printout and calc's for usual aspects like SD Hi, Lo etc. Can't interface it with puter but I think there is the highest model in the range which can.
  5. JNewell

    JNewell Well-Known Member

    I just went through the process of looking at chronographs. I looked at the Oehler, Pact and Chrony models and a few others. The Oehler is nice, but big and expensive. I'm already carrying too much stuff from the truck to the line. The PACTs seem nice, but I wanted a printer, and as far as I can tell they use thermal paper and also run the printer from the same batteries that the chrono uses, so battery life seemed like a potential issue. I liked the small footprint of the master Chrony models on the bench and their very compact storage. If the batteries in the printer die, the chrono will still be going strong and I can save the data and print it out later. If you go with a Chrony, I'd strongly recommend either getting the cheapest version, or getting one of the master models with the control head that sits on the bench -- easier to read and less expensive when/if you shoot the screen unit downrange.

    Here's a good article on these: http://www.realguns.com/Commentary/comar44.htm
  6. 1911user

    1911user Well-Known Member

    Another option is the Pact chrono/timer for about $200. It's a versatile shooting timer (mainly for action/timedl shooting) and a high quality chronograph in the same unit. The skyscreens (and mounting bar, optional) are seperate and only needed for chrono work. You only have to add a camera tripod for the mounting bar (holds both skyscreens). If you are into shooting and need a timer also, this can be a good deal. I think the model is Mark 4.
  7. Lennyjoe

    Lennyjoe Well-Known Member

    Oh yea, forgot to meantion one other thing.

    I'm also gonna be using it to check my arrow speed for my hunting/tournament bow so window size might be an issue as well.
  8. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

    Haven't measured Lenny but the Chrony I'd say is approx 4 or so inches wide at base of rods ... and perhaps 12 inches at the top ... and height? .... probably 10 inches from screens to unit. Of course, lower light, screens can be taken off - but then you'd not want to shoot too much higher even so - to register properly.

    Shoot straight! :p
  9. 45lowrider

    45lowrider New Member

  10. 30Cal

    30Cal Well-Known Member

    I recommend getting one with replaceable screens. It's only a matter of time before you hit one. If you shoot at a public range, you'll also want to be able to read the display, so something that sits on the bench is nice.

    I picked up a Pact Model1 on ebay for $50. Love it!

  11. Lennyjoe

    Lennyjoe Well-Known Member

    good info so far.

    Pointblank seems to be missing a file in their download. Winzip wont let me open it up. Might be my puter.
  12. Tacoma

    Tacoma Well-Known Member

    If all you want is basic readouts for occasional testing, the F-1 Chrony will still do the job. I bought a refurbished one from the factory a few years back for $35. I still see them on Ebay for around the same price. It's been a fun and informitive tool that works well with everything from air pistols to highpower rifle. It's drawback is that it does no recording or calculations of averages etc. Still , it allows me to record what I want and factor out and WAY out shots using a pencil;-) I considered a more advanced unit but concluded it was not used enough ( once loads are developed) to justify for my needs. Of course, your needs/ wants may differ. Just throwing out the info FWIW.
  13. Deavis

    Deavis Well-Known Member

    I bought the Pact Pro last year and while I'm fairly pleased with the performance, I think it leaves something to be desired.

    1) Pact does not have their act together and released this product before they completed everything

    I waited 4 months for the chrony to show up after ordering it, 8 months for range bag to show up and I'm still waiting on the download cables/software to connect the device to my PC. This device was advertised in the Midway catalog as available. I told them that I would write the drivers for them in not time if they told me their preferred transfer method and format. The guy thought I was joking and assured me they were working on it.

    2) The unit has a few software bugs

    If you delete the first data point in a string, the entire string becomes corrupt. I haven't mentioned this to them but plan to when I call for an update on the download cable. In addition there is no easy way to exit a string review without veiwing every shot in the string once you are into the individual shots. I experienced multiple resets when navigating the menus but haven't pinned down where in their state machine the problem arises.

    3) The printer and paper is poorly supported and executed.

    They tried really hard to fit a small printer in the package but the printer is very slow and is painful to work with at times. The line feed function is very poor and sometimes feeds the paper unevenly as it exits. The paper also does not automatically advance enough to tear it after printing, you must advance it many lines to remove the printout without cutting it in the middle of the text. Feeding paper in is not extremely difficult but it isn't very easy either. Lastly, the paper roll is completely usupported along its axis and is free to rattle around and make the unit sound as if it has a broken part in it.

    4) Their brochures are innaccurate when it comes to the sky screens

    If you look at their brochures, they show these very nice looking skyscreens. The sky screens have a nice curved top with a sort of filter in them for the light. What you actually get is this piece of opaque white plastic with notches cut out to assemble with the black side guides. I've seen about 3 different pictures of different setups and none of them were exactly what I received. I was told the white plastic was the latest revision.

    5) The instructions are adequete but poorly put together

    I'm not asking for the moon, but the instructions looked like they had been copied on a memiogrpah machine. They contained all the information you needed to use the device but were simply not professional at all. In addition there was no mention of the non-existent download cable or possible upgrades to firmware.

    6) The ballistic computer

    No comments except you better have the instructions because the tiny screen doesn't leave much room for full length prompts

    7) The tiny screen

    First, it isn't backlit which is ridiculous. You can get very low power LCD screens that are backlit these days for cheap. It makes reading it hard when you are under cover and there are any shadows.

    Take my criticism with an open mind, this chronograph rarely misses a shot and only if the light is low or if it is late afternoon with clouds (bad angle). They warn you about that and give instructions to work around it. The unit is very nice looking and hasn't given me any trouble yet.

    I should mention that I am a EE myself and spent time designing small systems like this and have fairly high standards. However, considering how many awesome uC options are out now with integrated LCD controllers, flash memory, and comm units I think they could have done a better job. I haven't taken it apart to see what they used but if I don't get a cable soon it might get hooked up to a logic analyzer and mapped! :D
  14. stans

    stans Well-Known Member

    I bought a Shooting Chrony F1 a very long time ago. Only thing I can say is the old ones had a pretty small area through which you had to shoot and I did shoot the sky screens once. I have found that mine does not really like sky screens and seems more reliable without them. And don't use an old battery as the voltage drop wreaks havok with a chrony.
  15. Poodleshooter

    Poodleshooter Well-Known Member

    You don't HAVE to use the skyscreens on Chronys, though they do make recording more consistent. If you shoot without skyscreens on a cloudy, overcast day, the chrony will give results just as good as it does with the skyscreens attached. That's also the only option for using a firearms chrony with arrows.
    Whatever you buy, make sure that the electronics are NOT in the line of fire. Chrony Master models are what I use. They fall in the low end of the price spectrum.
  16. lvl1trauma

    lvl1trauma Active Member

    I have used the Pact PC2, Oehler 35, and the Chrony Beta that someone gave me for christmas. Of them all, I probably dislike the Oehler the most. Yea, yea, I know- all of the gun rags use them. Maybe they are supposed to do a better job measuring bullet velocity but I sure as heck haven't had a problem with the other two. The skyscreen bracket is really cheezy to the point I have already broken one. I guess this is why they sell replacements at Midway. Also, It won't measure small, fast bullets such as a 22/250 or even the 257 Roberts. I called Oehler and they said to paint the bullets black with a magic marker. You mean I have to do that with the "best" chronograph out there? It didn't work. It is very difficult to transport due to the width of the skyscreen brackets. Like I said before, I have already broken one. It is also the hardest to set up becuse of the three cables from the skyscreens getting all jumbled up.

    The jury is still out on the Chrony Beta. It is really compact but the instructions certainly leave something to be desired. Also, much like the Oehler, there are only one or two buttons you use to look at all of the data. This is something I really dislike. The Chrony uses a telephone-type connection from the skyscreens to the actual chronograph itself. It loves to come out which turns everything off because the battery is under the first skyscreen. I haven't measured the skyscreens but they seem like they may be the smallest of the three. The skyscreens themselves are three piece and snap together prior to use. Looks like they will wear out over time.

    As far as the Pact PC2 goes- well it is (was) my favorite until some jerkwad stole it when I was loading my stuff into my truck at the range. Guess I just take too much stuff. Not sure if they still make it. Anyway, it had a great mounting system for the skyscreens and it attaches positively to the tripod. It was really user friendly and never missed a shot. I mean never. It was my first chronograph I and I didn't realize how nice it was until I got the Oehler and the Chrony. I kept everything in a 30 inch or so Doskocil case so it travelled well. Easy to set up also. Guess I need to get another one. I just hope the Professional is as good.

    My advice is I don't care who touts the Oehler- don't get one. Bring on the flames...

  17. Lennyjoe

    Lennyjoe Well-Known Member

    I have the Shooting Chrony F1 on my wish list at MidwayUSA. :)

    Anyone got a good copy of the Pointblank program? I tried downloading it off the website but Winzip showed a file missing from the download and it wouldnt install it.
  18. Deavis

    Deavis Well-Known Member

    All this talk about crummy chronys, especially my own rant, has convinced me to build my own. Beta testers, sign-up now! :neener:
  19. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

    Beta tester here! :p

    Must say - my F1 and printer have done all I want.
  20. BluesBear

    BluesBear member

    HUH?!?!?! :confused:

    Did you mean to say you don't have to use the DIFFUSERS?

    Skyscreens are what senses the bullet.
    Back in the old days we actually used screens that the bullet had to penetrate to start and stop the chrono.
    You had to replace them after so many shots and they were expensive.
    In the 1970s Skyscreens became affordable and reliable enough for us poor folk to use. And unless you shot them or burned them out with direct sun they'd last almost forever.

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