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Old March 17, 2005, 11:35 PM   #1
woodland
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Help with chrono decision

Ok. I am going to get a chronograph. I have looked at web sights, read opinions, and searched on here. I still haven't quite made up my mind.

Now, a note about me, I have a tendency to want the "best model" I can get. Seems like whenever I get a lesser model of something, I always end up wishing I had just got the "big" one.

Right now I am leaning towards the Chrony Gamma Master. I like the idea of having the printer, and also the timer feature. And the remote, too. Plus, I found a place I can get it for $165, and free shipping.

So, any reasons to not go with this one? Pros, cons?
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Old March 17, 2005, 11:47 PM   #2
rwilson452
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Gamma vs. Beta

If you feel the timer function is worth the extra cost, go for it. I just upgraded my Alpha Master to a Gamma master but on further reflection I would have been just as happy with the beta. I already had the printer. The printer is a good feature. I would suggest the master version over the standard version. Having the controls at your fingertips is much better. I bought a cheap tabletop tripod to mount the master unit on so it is readily readable and steady to use. As you may have already noted the only difference between the beta and gamma versions is the number of shots in memory and the timer function. I don't really expect I will ever need to record 500 shots in an outing. I will reiterate the master version is well worth it.
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Old March 18, 2005, 10:26 AM   #3
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Thanks, rwilson452.

I see they have a 1000 shot memory upgrade. How could one possibly need to record 1000 shots? I think I will order the Gamma Master today. $165 seems like a real good price. That includes the printer, also.

Almost ready to push the button...
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Old March 18, 2005, 12:17 PM   #4
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Keep in mind that some day you will put a bullet through one of the skyscreens and it will need to be replaced. On some chronographs, this is a cheap mistake; not so on others.

Ty
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Old March 18, 2005, 12:36 PM   #5
CaseyC
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The "gold standard" of chronographs is the Oehler Model 35. Around $200. With the "proof" screen (a third sky screen) it is around $225. The heart of a chrono are the screens. Although there may be a difference in quality in brands concerning the crystal and counter mechanism, the technology is no biggie.

Most of the bullet companies use Oehlers to develop their published loads. The big ballistics labs use chronographs that rather...pricey (tens of thousands of dollars). Usually two or three chronographs are used in tandem--one in front of the other (and velocities are adjusted to account for the chronos distance from the muzzle. When they use a third chrono to triple check--that chrono most often is a Oehler M35 with the third proof screen.

The proof screen allows the chrono to "read" each shot twice as it passes through. If the two readings don't agree within a certain percentage, the M35 will alert the user.

The Oehler Sky Screens are the best in the business, and that is where most shooters will encounter problems under less than ideal conditions. They seem to be significantly less affected by low angle light, cloudy days, muzzle blast, misalignment of the moon and stars, etc.

I have owned/own four different brands of chronogarphs (one of them the old paper screen type). One of them is a Chrony from the early 90's. It resides in a cardboard box under my reloading bench and hasn't seen the light of day for almost a decade.

Check out Oehler's website. I didn't get the printer option, my three ring binder has worked fine for 25 years. A close-behind-second-choice would be the CED Millineum. I beleive the CED now has a option to download your date onto a PC through a USB port.

I had no idea Chrony's cost $165--that seems like a lot for what a guy is getting.

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Old March 18, 2005, 01:30 PM   #6
Norm Lee
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Chrono decision

It's tough to beat the cost/benefit ratio of a reconditioned basic Chrony at about $60.00. Of course you'd have to be able to use a pencil. Maybe even have to set up a spreadsheet for mean, extreme spread and std deviation.

Cheers,

Norm
Now on my third one
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Old March 18, 2005, 02:58 PM   #7
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I was faced with the same decision not too long ago....I ended up getting the
Competition Electronics ProChrono Digital model. Set me back one Franklin at Gander Mountain. Shot quite a few rounds over it and have not had a glitch yet. I like the ability to hold 9 strings of 99 shots each. Figures Hi, Lo, Avg., ES, and SD. I just wish it had a remote. After a day of shooting, I just turn it off, go home, and turn it back on to review the data when I have the time to study and analyze it. Eventually I plan to get the remote which also includes software to download everything to my PC. Works for me. Whatever you get, enjoy it. I found it fascinating to see what velocity I was actually getting vs. what the manuals said I should be getting.
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Old March 18, 2005, 08:09 PM   #8
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I'll prolly get flamed for saying this, but telling the truth is more important to me than getting flamed.

There are two kinds of chronograph.

1. Oehler- the best, used by virtually all commercial reloaders, government agencies and ballistic laboratories

2. The second rate chronos. i.e., everything other than Oehler.

Oehler is the most expensive, but darn well worth every penny. Why shoot an $800 rifle, topped with a $450 scope, loaded with ammo made on $1200 worth of reloading equipment, and test it with a $150 chronograph?

To me, that would be like buying a $2000 match rifle and putting a $39.95 Wal-Mart special scope on it. Just doesn't make sense to me!
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Old March 18, 2005, 09:46 PM   #9
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Chronograph

It is really hard to beat the convenience and extreme reliability of a 3 ring hard drive powered by a ball point pen and muscle.
Don
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Old March 18, 2005, 11:19 PM   #10
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Both a Ford and a Lincoln will get you from point A to point B, but if you get in a wreck the Lincoln will cost more. Have you ever been in an accident?
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Old March 19, 2005, 02:08 AM   #11
novus collectus
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My rifles cost $100 each and I have a $39 scope from Wal-Mart and I use surplus ammo. Why would I by a $225 chrony when I can buy one for $70? Chrony would cost as much as 4/5 of my rifle collection all put together.
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Old March 19, 2005, 03:29 AM   #12
texfar
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Chronograph

Woodland, I have a Pact that I used for quite a while(still have) then made the jump to the Oehler 35P with a 4 foot rail on two stands. I can tell you, like you have previously read, that the instrument is worth every cent I have in it. It is made in Austin, Tx. which is 45 minutes from my door. Great instrument, great folks there for support if required, assistance etc. I have virtually no miss reads with their sky screens, which was the biggest problem that I had with the Pact. Get the Ballistic Explorer soft ware with it for 70 bucks or so and you are set. I use it all the time. Go to their website for a look see. Can be found at oehler-research.com.
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Old March 19, 2005, 03:41 AM   #13
texfar
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Might add Woodland, that I am a very serious loader and the MV is only one reading that catches my eye. I wanted the dependability and accuracy with the Oehler name so when I use SD (standard Deviation) in my loading uniformity and load trouble shooting along with its other features I know that I got what I got! Not knocking other Chronographs cause I have had them. That is why I have what I have now.....an Oehler.
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Old March 19, 2005, 08:45 AM   #14
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Oehler? That's so 10 years ago...

There is really only one chrony if you want the best that todays technology affords - Competitive Edge Dynamics "CED Millennium":



Yes, it's even proven more accurate that Oehler, but that's just the beginning. The capabilities of this thing go so far beyond what any other chrony manufacturer builds. From the software that's built to interface and accept the data, to the infrared skyscreens that you will rarely ever have a missed shot in any lighting conditions (including 100% dark) to the voice announcement, etc., etc., etc.

It's more expensive than any other chrony out there, but there's a reason for that. Check around and read reviews and you'll see that this unit is the most preferred according to people that don't worry about a budget, even when pitted against the Oehler.

Here's the manufacturer:
Competitive Edge Dynamics

And here's the primary licensed seller of their products:
Recreational Software

And here's a short review I've done on it, complete with pics:
Handloads.com

When it comes right down to how well each chrony manufactures unit actually does their job of measuring the speed of a bullet, they all are really about the same. But when you want additional capabilities and a more enjoyable experience I doubt you'll find a better unit in this day and age. Here's a pretty good, very recent article by John Taffin of American Handgunner magazine (March-April 2005) judging four different chronys, including the CED Millennium - good reading:

But which one?
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Old March 19, 2005, 10:07 AM   #15
Northwest Cajun
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I have the green Chrony, about $80.00 from midway.
Tips;
Use wood dowles instaed of the steel rods to hold up the sky screens.

Tape a mark 5-6 inches up on the dowles so you know to stay above that line.

You dont need sky screens on clowdy/ overcast days, but leave the dowles there so you know where the sensors are

Take along a .22 rifle and use it to help set up the chrony, If you only have 10 rds of centerfire to test, you may use up half getting it set up right.

A piece of saran wrap instead of the skyscreens works well on rainy days.

Cajun
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Old March 19, 2005, 10:27 AM   #16
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Chrono Decision

Good question......I very recently bought a Chrony Beta Master, My income is a bit limited for purchasing Ohlers and the more expensive types. Used it twice now, once with .22s
for familiarization and yesterday with 30-40 Krag reloads.

It revealed which particular load I tested was the best average in velocity and with a math calculation the muzzle energy. That I was in a safe area of chamber pressure noting that from velocity and that the crimped rounds with less measured powder was something I did not need to do.

(22.0 grs. 2400 behind a 170 gr. lasercast gas checked bullet averaged 2044 fps.)
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Old March 19, 2005, 02:56 PM   #17
woodland
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Thanks, everyone

Now I have lots to chew on! Thanks for all the links. I have been checking in to all of them.
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Old March 19, 2005, 06:53 PM   #18
texfar
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Nortronics, just went to the CED site. Pretty cool instrument and it IS NOT more expensive than a Oehler 35P. A lot for the price. Maybe when I get more bucks, I can get one of those too! Ha.....thanks for the link in your post!
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Old March 19, 2005, 07:14 PM   #19
CaseyC
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30cal wrote:
"Keep in mind that some day you will put a bullet through one of the skyscreens and it will need to be replaced. On some chronographs, this is a cheap mistake; not so on others.

Ty"

The last time one of my bullets hit a chrono was 1981. Even then, it just "ticked" the binder clip that held the paper/metalized screens. It still works (if I only had paper screens) That is one of the nicest things about the Oehler Sky Screens-they are less critical about placing the bullet close to the "eye" (kind've like eye relief on a scope).


Drinks wrote:
"It is really hard to beat the convenience and extreme reliability of a 3 ring hard drive powered by a ball point pen and muscle.
Don"


I probably have 4000-5000 shots recorded in my 3 ring binder--it would take the rest of my life to transfer it all onto a computer Besides, my TI-83 calculator has more computing power than all the models of chronogaphs put together. I have a great SD program entered into it.


Novus wrote:
"My rifles cost $100 each and I have a $39 scope from Wal-Mart and I use surplus ammo. Why would I by a $225 chrony when I can buy one for $70? Chrony would cost as much as 4/5 of my rifle collection allput together."

In your case, I would go ahead and buy the Chrony


Nortonics wrote:
"Oehler? That's so 10 years ago..."

The CED and RSI guys have been quite vocal (and aggressive) in their advocacy while promoting the Millenium and Pressure Trace over the Oehler. Indeed, the CED/RSI have some important updated features that interface well with computers. The Pressure Trace system is better than the current Oehler M43. But observing a Millenium in action and talking to other people--I still think the Oehler Sky Screens are less critical. Besides, Oehler needed the competition

Casey
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Old March 19, 2005, 08:42 PM   #20
Peter M. Eick
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I certainly like the positive answer and the confidence that the 3 sky screens of the Oehler 35p gives. Yes it is old technology, but it is realible, tells me when something goes wrong and works in nearly any conditions. Finally it has long cables and when (not if) I blast it someday, it is easy to replace the sky screens since all of the electronics is sitting on the bench printing the results.
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Old March 20, 2005, 03:56 AM   #21
klgreene
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Chrony

Woodland.......Just remember (especially w/ chronographs) you get what you pay for, and in my opinion the Beta or Gamma Master Chronys are the best buy....That is if your pockets are like mine...(not too deep)...Quality and dependability at an affordable price.

Just food for thought!
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Old March 20, 2005, 10:59 AM   #22
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Quote:
...to the infrared skyscreens that you will rarely ever have a missed shot in any lighting conditions (including 100% dark)...
Ummm, if it works even in 100% darkness, why does CED say it doesn't, and offers an "Indoor Lighting Set" as an option?
____________________________________

Indoor Lighting Set (MC004)

All chronographs require incandescent light, which is normally provided by the sun. However, when used indoors, additional lighting is required. This indoor light set is custom designed to fit the CED Millennium Chronograph skyscreen arms. The strong metal frame provides additional protection for the light bulbs. Includes an on/off switch and custom 11.75" long bulbs that provide a full complete shooting window. Available in 110V or 220V models.
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Old March 20, 2005, 12:23 PM   #23
woodland
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Thanks to all for all your suggestions. After looking at many models, and brands, I have decided, that the Oehler looks like it is the at the top of the heap. However, I do have a limited budget, so I am going to go with the Chrony, as it seems to have more features, for the money. I am sure I will move up to something like the Oehler in future times, but for now, it looks like the Chrony will do everything I want, for a price that I can afford at the moment.

Hopefully I wont regret this decision. I'll let you know what I think of it when it shows up.

Thanks again to everyone. It is really great to have a place like this to get so much information from.
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Old March 21, 2005, 08:01 AM   #24
Nortonics
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Quote:
From Jbar4Ranch: Ummm, if it works even in 100% darkness, why does CED say it doesn't, and offers an "Indoor Lighting Set" as an option?
'cause you're looking at the Indoor Lighting Set (MC004). My reference is to the Infrared Screen Set (MC012).

Quote:
(MC012): With incredible accuracy, the Patented Infrared Screen Set eliminates the need for sunlight when using the CED Millennium Chronograph system, and gives you the freedom to record velocities under any lighting condition, or if you choose, no light at all! Connects to the standard sensors that come with the basic system, and uses its own AC power source or optional NiMH battery pack. The Infrared Screen Set includes Infrared Screens, side-arms, AC Adapter, and instructions.
Check both here:

CED Millennium Chronograph and accessories
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Old March 21, 2005, 09:46 AM   #25
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Oops, I scrolled right past that, sorry. That looks like a great setup, maybe it's time to replace my two PACT Model 1's.

My first PACT is a "Pre-Model 1" from about 25 years ago, and uses a sealed lead-acid battery. It has no provision for diffusers over the skyscreens, and is a REAL PITA to get to register unless light conditions are ideal. The second one has a different skyscreen design with a "wide angle lens" mounted over the eye and diffusers mounted over them, and works much better. I also bought the optional infra-red thermal printer for it when I bought it, but there are still a lot of times when it misses a shot or several.
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