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Reload but do not chronograph?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by utbrowningman, Nov 12, 2012.

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  1. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    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.
     
  2. Lennyjoe

    Lennyjoe Member

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    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.
     
  3. Reloadron
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    Reloadron Member

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    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
     
  4. Salmoneye

    Salmoneye Member

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    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...
     
  5. dragon813gt

    dragon813gt Member

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    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.
     
  6. partyboy424

    partyboy424 Member

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    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.
     
  7. TrueTexan

    TrueTexan Member

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    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.
     
  8. Hondo 60
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    Hondo 60 Member

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    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?
     
  9. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    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.
     
  10. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    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.
     
  11. Hondo 60
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    Hondo 60 Member

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    Yup, I agree, that's why I have one.
     
  12. robbieg19

    robbieg19 Member

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    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.
     
  13. showmebob

    showmebob Member

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    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
     
  14. 45crittergitter

    45crittergitter Member

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    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.
     
  15. xfyrfiter

    xfyrfiter Member

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    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.
     
  16. 45crittergitter

    45crittergitter Member

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    Negative. By the time you see overpressure signs in your brass or bolt lift, etc., you are probably WAY over.
     
  17. mtrmn

    mtrmn Member

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    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.
     
  18. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    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.
     
  19. Texmex247

    Texmex247 Member

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    Chronographs and reloading

    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.
     
  20. mtrmn

    mtrmn Member

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    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.
     
  21. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    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.
     
  22. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    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.
     
  23. joed

    joed Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2012
  24. bds
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    bds Member

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    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 and 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.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2012
  25. mtrmn

    mtrmn Member

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    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.
     
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