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Chronograph

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by ArchAngelCD, Jul 21, 2007.

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  1. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I'm looking for a good Chrono but I'm not able to spend a lot of money on one right now. I know you usually get what you pay for but I'm wondering if anyone could suggest a good Chrono that won't break the bank?

    I see different models available online that range from $60 up to and over $300. I just want something that will work reliable and give true readings without all the bells and whistles.
     
  2. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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  3. dakotasin

    dakotasin Member

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    i run a competition electronics pro chrono and like it quite a bit.
     
  4. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    I bought the Chrony F1, bare bones basic chrono, worked just fine - right up to when I shot a skyscreen off of it. Oops.
    $60+ at Sportsman's Warehouse.
     
  5. xsquidgator

    xsquidgator Member

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    Question about using these chronographs - how far away does the firearm's muzzle need to be in order to use the chrono? I borrowed a friend's new Gamma chronograph which up til now he's only tried with his paintball guns. Trying it yesterday, it gave readings ok when I set it up outside (with the diffuser screens) and .22LR. I set the chrono up on a tripod about5 feet in front of the firing line, so that it was out in the daylight. Pretty good sunlight, too, not overcast or anything.

    But I kept giving error after error when I tried .38 and 9mm. Also, it was only showing about 1200 fps for the 22 when I did that, isn't that several hundred fps on the slow side for 22LR out of a rifle (standard unmodified Ruger 10/22)?
    The errors were either an Err2, meaning the 2nd photocell saw the bullet but the first did not, regardless of where I shot inside the loops, or an Err9, which the book says means general problems with lighting.

    Anyone got any ideas about what this thing might not be liking? I have a feeling this thing is uber-sensitive. A guy in the next lane was shooting an AR-15, and I'm guessing the pressure wave of the boom from each of his shots made the chrono I was using go nuts, too - it generally gave off an error message every time he pulled his trigger. If I can get out to the range today and try it, maybe I'll try putting it perhaps 10' in front of me to minimize the effects of smoke and muzzle blast on the chrono. If this is the case, I don't know if I'm going to be able to do rifle at all, the blast from the front end of rifle is going to be heftier than even a 45!

    I'm also glad I borrowed this thing instead of buying one first!
     
  6. brickeyee

    brickeyee Member

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    Try closer to 10-15 feet.
    The shock wave from the powder gases is traveling faster than the bullet and can trigger a sky screen.
     
  7. Hawk

    Hawk Member

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    I've had decent luck with the "Shooting Chrony" I picked up at Sportsman's Warehouse. I heard we all shoot at least one chronograph so thought starting with a relatively inexpensive one was prudent.

    The specific model they had was the "Master Beta". If anybody is wondering if Shooting Chrony is in dire need of a marketing guy to review their naming conventions, entering "Master Beta" into evidence should do it.
     
  8. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Consumer grade chronographs are very sensitive to light conditions. I bought a CED because the old club PACT was just too finicky to depend on. But I still did not get complete reliability until I got the IR illuminators. Best conditions for a chrono without them seems to be an overcast; a bright blue sky is not the best background, even with diffusers over the detectors. They are also subject to "microphonics" the shock wave of muzzle blast triggering them instead of the bullet shadow. I set up with the start screen at least 10 feet out.

    By the way, xsquidgator, 1200 fps is darned good for .22 lr.
     
  9. brickeyee

    brickeyee Member

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    "..."microphonics" the shock wave of muzzle blast..."

    Far ore likely is the blast wave actually altering the light intensity enough to trigger.
    If you are close to the screens with a subsonic round you can read the speed of sound very nicely as the shock wave travels over the sensors.
     
  10. xsquidgator

    xsquidgator Member

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    Interesting... I went out today and tried the Master Gamma chronograph again, this time at a distance of at least 10' (as long as the phone cord cable would go between the chrony and the remote control). Same thing, .22LR works just fine, nothing else works, with or without the diffuser screens in place.

    I am intrigued by the experiences you guys relate with the other chronos... I may consider one of those. This gamma one (they appear to go for about $180ish from what I can see) isn't impressing me so far.

    Thanks for the info about 22LR velocity, someone at the range pointed out to me that the Federal ammo has typical speeds on the box, and 1230 fps at the muzzle is what the box says so I guess that's all right. now if I could just see if ANY of my reloads are close to what they're supposed to be!
     
  11. Jim_M

    Jim_M Member

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    Last edited: Jul 22, 2007
  12. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Where do you think they get those $50 reconditioned Chronys?
     
  13. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    I've been using a Pact Model 1 for the past 18 years. The above is one reason I prefer the Pact. The sensors and sky screens are the only parts on the tripod. The electronics are with me on the shooting bench. And as yet, I haven't shot mine yet. I did nick the front sensor though...
     
  14. JNewell

    JNewell Member

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    Lots of threads on this in the archives...I personally have had very good luck with the Chrony.
     
  15. BigJakeJ1s

    BigJakeJ1s Member

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    If the blast is strong/close enough, ceramic capacitors in the sensors can suffer from a piezo effect, generating stray voltage pulses due to compression. Otherwise, the compression of the air in the shock wave alters it's dielectric constant, resulting in a lensing effect that can affect light reception by the sensor as it passes. Either way, you end up with something besides the bullet tripping the timers.

    Andy
     
  16. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    That's interesting...Not sure why, but interesting...:D
     
  17. pinkymingeo

    pinkymingeo Member

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    A set of diffusers for the F1 only costs ten bucks. How do I know? Don't ask. My range has light colored dirt that reflects badly, and the S. Florida sun is bright. My chrony works great until about 10:30 AM this time of year. Then the light and reflections cause errors. I could drape the ground with a dark tarp and put a piece of cloth over the diffusers, but it's easier just to get the job done early in the morning. Cooler, too.
     
  18. Clark

    Clark Member

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    I have had two Shooting Chonys.
    I shot the first with 45Colt.
    I shot the second with 9mm.

    The Pro Chrono PAL I have now is better.
    Trips every time.
    Faster and easier to set up.
     
  19. USSR

    USSR Member

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    Ah Yes, the 11 AM sensor meltdown. When I go to the range now (always in the morning), I automatically tape a very large target above the diffusers over the entire chrony to block out that late morning direct sunlight. Works like a charm.

    Don
     
  20. IDriveB5

    IDriveB5 Member

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    I went with the Shooting Chrony. I would suggest that whatever you get has a remote LCD display. It makes testing a boatload of rounds much quicker.
     
  21. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    Pact Model 1...
     
  22. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    But.....we like doing it the cheap.....I mean, the hard way. :D
     
  23. brickeyee

    brickeyee Member

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    "ceramic capacitors"

    Not all ceramics are piezoelectric, and there should not be any on the sensor lines anyway.
    The biggest problem with the sensor design is making sure you have enough speed and that the parasitic capacitance in the circuit is minimized.

    I built a ballistic chronograph 25 years ago when they cost many hundreds.
    Worked fine.
    I did have to use more than a single photo transistor since I could niot easily get a cylindrical lens.
    Nothing like an old Z-80 processor for doing multi-precision math to compute the velocity from the counter value.
     
  24. BigJakeJ1s

    BigJakeJ1s Member

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    True, some ceramic capacitor designs suffer more than others. Also true, they shouldn't be on the sensor lines (unless in series near the receiver for DC blocking), but some chronographs have all of the electronics in the same box as the sensors.

    Andy
     
  25. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    There is sensitivity to muzzle blast all over the system. The old PACT Model 1 at my club had to have something - I just put a gun case on the bench - between the box and the gun to avoid funny readings.
     
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