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Best chronograph for the $$$?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by azar, Nov 10, 2007.

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  1. azar

    azar Member

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    I'd really like to pick up a chronograph, but I'm not sure which one to get. I believe in spending a bit more to get quality if the cheap stuff is just... well, cheap. On the other hand, there are plenty of stories of people accidentally blasting their first chronograph, so I'm not opposed to getting the entry-level stuff if it still works well enough.

    Which chrony would you recommend getting? The ones I've heard of before are:

    Shooting Chrony F1/F1 Master, Alpha/Alpha Master, Beta/Beta Master, Gamma/Gamma Master
    Competition Electronics ProChrono Digital, PAL
    Oehler Model 35 Proof Chronograph
    Pact XP Model 1, MKIV Championship, Professional
    CED Millenium M2

    But feel free to recommend any that I have failed to list...

    Which ones are overpriced and which ones are the best values? Thanks!
     
  2. Ol` Joe

    Ol` Joe Member

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    Any of the units you list will serve. The main difference in in bells and whistles, although the Ohler is likely a bit more accurate due to the proof channel. I do believe the Ohler isn`t avilable anymore as they have stopped selling to the individual reloader.
    I prefer my pact due to being able to read it on the bench, but the others likely work as well. Although I have never seen too much difference in the accuracy of one over the other with a Pact and Shooting Chrony. Here is a post I made on this at another board..
    BTW it is not clear but the numbers are the average of 5 shots with each of 4 loads.
    http://www.24hourcampfire.com/ubbth...Words=Ol`+Joe&topic=0&Search=true#Post1729718
     
  3. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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  4. Eagle103

    Eagle103 Member

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    My only experience is with the Shooting Chrony F-1. It works great IMO and you won't find anything cheaper (around $70-80). No plans to "upgrade" here. I managed to shoot one of the rods with my snubbie but it keeps working. I replaced the metal rods with wooden dowels which stay together better and they'll sheer off if I pull another dumb one.
     
  5. azar

    azar Member

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    Every now and again you hear about people that couldn't get a reading from some of the cheaper ones. I'm sure you could probably find problems with any brand though.

    It's nice to get peoples opinions about them though. Especially those who have owned multiple brands.
     
  6. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    The Pact XP gets you a lot more than just a chronograph; it’s a ballistic computer and printer. The shooting chrony at $60 will get you just speed and works fine. What do you want and/or need, FWIW I never had a chronograph until I shot gun games, a dead deer is a dead deer (they don’t care about #’s).

    Edit:
    BTW: If you have a resource for an Oehler I'll be glad to get another, as they are A+ as well.
     
  7. dcloco

    dcloco Member

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    PACT - I have bought and tried all of the others, except for the Ohler.
     
  8. Clark

    Clark Member

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    I have shot a hole through a Shooting Chrony
    I have shot another hole through a another Shooting Chrony
    I shot a 9mm hole through a PROCHRONO.
    I am on my 4th chrono right now and it is another PROCHRONO.

    I think they are better than the Shooting Chrony, in that they have a more reliable trigger.

    http://www.grafs.com/shooting/product/162500


    Now when I go to the range, I get my rifle data first, in case I destroy the chrono with my poor handgun marksmanship.
     
  9. taliv

    taliv Moderator

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    i put a hole in a shooting chrony and they replaced it for free (didn't even charge me shipping)
    i put another hole in my CED and i had to pay for replacement parts.

    edit read this thread: http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=128584
     
  10. MutinousDoug

    MutinousDoug Member

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    The clock speed on all the chronograph electronics is the same so the only difference in accuracy should be the distance between skyscreens. Its' pretty easy to mis-align a Shooting Crony enough to affect accuracy and still trigger both screens. I believe the Ohler allows you to choose skyscreen distance (at least on their older models) and further apart is always going to yield better accuracy. Ohler also wins by keeping all your electronics save the screens behind the gun and their triggering area is larger than the others. I suspect you will eventually shoot your Chronograph. I killed my Shooting Crony by flinging gas checks into it. Still, you can buy two Chronys for the price of a Pact and then you'd be able to set up a proof channel!
     
  11. JNewell

    JNewell Member

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    Very happy with my Chrony Gamma. I really like the printer - call me lazy. Got it from Midway with my birthday discount when it was on sale - pretty great deal when all was said and done.
     
  12. taliv

    taliv Moderator

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    ced also allows you to select from several distances between screens


    how can you misalign it to affect accuracy?
     
  13. donttellthewife

    donttellthewife Member

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    If I had to do it over I'ld get one with a remote readout and controls so that I could operate everything from the bench. It's a pain to call a cease fire just so I can reset the thing. When I shot mine it was when another member asked me to chrony his 357sig, he was worried about hitting the thing and had me shoot his gun. I had the chrony on a camera tripod so when the bullet hit the sky screen rod it must have spun around 3 times before it hit the ground with parts flying every which way. The silence was only broken by the stifled laughter coming from the other lanes. Found all the parts and it still works. BTW the 357sig's FPS, really really fast.

    Oh yea, it's the F1
     
  14. azar

    azar Member

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    Thanks for the advice everyone. I like the idea of having the electronics separate from the unit itself. That way, if I do (or maybe -when- I do) shoot the thing, I just have to replace that part. So, the Pact was looking good there. Not too unreasonably priced, about $130, and much cheaper than the CED Millenium 2. On Pact's webpage it claims:

    "The advantage of using skyscreens over the little throw away down-range-box chronographs is that the chronograph itself sits safely next to you, where you can easily read the display and operate the controls. And of course when your buddy (never you) misses and hits a skyscreen, it can be repaired for a few dollars by simply replacing the damaged plastic pieces."

    But a replacement skyscreen from MidwayUSA costs $70! That's the price of a new Shooting Chrony F1! Are there other repair parts, maybe individual pieces, that I could order from them? Because if I have to pay $70 for an entire new set of skyscreens I'm not sure it's worth the extra money or not...
     
  15. Don't Tread On Me

    Don't Tread On Me Member

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    Alpha Master.


    Watch for sales on Midway and elsewhere. It can be had for $99 and sometimes $89. It has a remote (which is a must-have imo). Cheapest, yet good quality chrono for the lowest price with a remote.



    When you're on the line and the chrono needs a reset or you can't read the fps because of the angle of the sun, you'll wish you had the remote.
     
  16. Silverbullit

    Silverbullit Member

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    I just purchased a Chronograph myself.

    Of the above listed I have tried all exept the Pact (For some reason nobody has one here where I live, wich is Northern Sweden.) Even tried a couple not mentioned above.

    The Prochrono is very easy to deal with, but I thought like you and decided to put in the difference to the better choice.
    I got the CED M2, and I am very very happy with my choice. But it was very expensive.

    It can be hooked up to my computer and I can download the entire strings I have shot. It has many calculations and a big fat screen that is clearly visible. On top of that the little sucker even speaks out loud telling the readings onscreen.
    Also I can purchase several add-ons that sounds interesting.

    Yes I am very happy with my CED M2. (And it costs double up here in Sweden, and I am still happy...)

    If I would have taken another of the above, I would have taken the ProChrono. It is very easy to use as you have it up in a jiffy, easier than the CED M2 to assemble and use. That would be why id choose that as second choice and not due to the cheap pricetag.
    But if you have the dough without starving like me if you get the CED M2, I still think, after I bought mine and tried it, that it is the best choice.

    Hope that was to some help, and that my poor english was understandable.

    Stay loaded mates,

    /Silverbullit

    PS. Is it humanly possible to hit the scyscreens from 2-3 yards??? The last +100.000 rounds I did in PPC the worst hit traveled 30centimeters from the center of the 50 yard target and that was a real freak shot. Put up a beansack and take real good aim, and unless god strikes your bald spot with the bolt of lightning just in the moment that trigger breaks, you should be fine... Dont worry
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2007
  17. Hunter0924

    Hunter0924 Member

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    I have a Pro Crono and a CED. Both are nice chronographs but I prefer the CED even considering the additional expense.
     
  18. azar

    azar Member

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    I think right now it's a toss up between two; the Pact Model 1 XP and the Shooting Chrony Alpha Master (although I haven't eliminated the Beta Master quite yet either). The Alpha Master records one shot string from 2 to 32 shots, so it's a bit limited in that respect (the Beta Master up to 6 strings of 10 shots each). But Pact's webpage doesn't say what how many strings, or what size of strings it can record.

    Can someone who has a recent model Pact Model 1 XP tell me it's capabilities in recording shot strings? Also, is there a printer available for the Pact or do you have to purchase the Pact Professional instead if you want printing capabilities?
     
  19. eflatminor

    eflatminor Member

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    CED

    I have the CED M2 and like it just fine. It breaks down easily and comes in parts and the computer is separated by a long cord so you won't shoot the expensive part. If you do shoot the supports, they're easily replacable. There are plenty of options on the computer you'll probably never use but for basic fps and power factor checking, it works fine. Easy to set up too. I like it.
     
  20. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I recently bought a PACT Model 1 XP and I'm very happy with it. It's accurate, works under a wide range of conditions and it's very easy to use. It comes with their Glint Guard2 Bullet Detection System which is the same system used on their very expensive units. I feel it's real advantage is that the electronics are on the bench with you so when you shoot it all you need to do is replace the sensors, not the Chrono itself!! :p It's list price is $129.95 but I bought it on sale from Midway for $109.95. Unfortunately the sale is over so it's back to $130. http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=369265&t=11082005
     
  21. azar

    azar Member

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    Questions about the Pact

    For those of you who have the Pact, which model do you have? The basic Model 1, the Championship, or the Pro?
    Can you attach a printer to the basic Model 1 or is only available on the Pro?
     
  22. Silverbullit

    Silverbullit Member

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    Yo Azar, about those strings up to 32 shots youre impressed with...

    The "CED M2" takes strings from 1 up to 500 shots,
    it also records more than 1000 velocities.
    Thats far superior to all the other together!

    And Printer???

    You just plug the cable in your USB port when you get home,
    then you can print it on a real printer instead.
    And of course you can edit and fix a printout in whatever way you prefer, and you can calculate and edit freely online,
    copy and paste for your mates etc...
    As you have it all in text instead on a small piece of printout-roll that you have to write by hand letter by letter.

    Of course it is expensive, but nothing beats it either in functionality nor accuracy...

    Thats were I put my buck!

    /Silverbullit
     
  23. Don't Tread On Me

    Don't Tread On Me Member

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    The Alpha is one string up to 32 shots. The higher models allow more strings as well as memory so you can take it home and recall the strings.


    I don't bother with that. I shoot the string, and while the gun is cooling down, I write down the string on a piece of paper. I have it organized. A small paper pad with sections for bullet and powder type.charge then I just write in the individual velocities. I have an Excel spreadsheet that does ES, AV, SD and all the other goodies. I keep all my data on my private website so I can pull it up from anywhere. At the range, I just want the velocity. I'll deal with trajectories, SD's and other info later when I have more time to think about trends in my load development.

    The only thing I'll look at usually is Average on the chrono (just hit the button and it brings it up) when I am getting close to max to determine if I should go ahead and shoot the next string up.


    If you want to save money, that's the way to go. If you want more convenience, there are a lot of options. Chrono's with printers that give you all the stats on a string as well as trajectory for a given zero. You can print it out and sight in right there at the range once you've found your pet load.


    Spending more money on a chrono gets you more features, not more accuracy. Their sensors are all pretty much equal in their ability to determine velocity.
     
  24. azar

    azar Member

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    Silverbullit,

    I think you misunderstood my post. I wasn't impressed with the fact it could record up to 32 shots. In fact, quite the opposite.

    The Alpha Master records one shot string from 2 to 32 shots, so it's a bit limited in that respect.

    Besides, as nice as the CED M2 is, it's not the only one that can record that many velocities. The Shooting Chrony Gamma has a 500 shot memory (divided into 50 numbered strings of 2 to 10 shots each). The Shooting Chrony Beta can be upgraded to 1000 shot memory for U.S. $15.00 plus S & H. I'm just not sure I can justify that much money right now. Reloading can get quite expensive if you let it. :D But I do appreciate your feedback.

    DTOM,

    Thanks, that is something to consider too. It's nice to have those extra features, but when it comes down to it a computer is pretty good at calculating things like average velocity, extreme spread, standard deviation, etc... :) The only thing it can't do is record those velocities for me. Good point.
     
  25. caymangone

    caymangone Member

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    I bought the PACT XP Professional that has the built in printer. At first, I was getting alot of erroneous readings. Wasn't sure what was going on. On another day, it worked great. I think its a little picky about the lighting conditions. I've never owned any other chrono so I can't give you a comparison. I love the features of the unit though. Gives about every stat you would want. Up to 20 shots in a string plus it will calculate ballistics. Having the display and printer right there at the bench with you is a definite plus.
     
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