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Old January 24, 2006, 03:56 PM   #1
bchboy1206
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Join Date: October 11, 2005
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Starting to reload, should I get a chronograph

I have been searching on a few different boards and I havent found answers to my question so I figuered I would ask here.
My eqiupment is on the way and I will probably start my first loads this weekend, would it be a wise idea to spend the money on a chronograph?

I will be reloading 45 ACP for possible IPSC, .308 for target about 300yds and out to 500+ in the near future, and .223 for target up to 300 yds.

What are the pros, cons, and alternatives for a chronograph

Thanks in advance
Jim
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Old January 24, 2006, 04:14 PM   #2
Dave R
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The only cons are the cost of the chronograph, and the few minutes of extra set-up time at the range.

The big advantage is that you can see exactly how fast your loads are going, how consistent your velocities are, etc. Good for comparing factory loads with handloads.

Its also a good safety tool, as excessive velocity (beyond the loading manuals) usually means higher pressures. Helps you approach max loads more safely, if you're looking to go there. Also helps you approach min loads safely, if that's your aim.

I reloaded for a while before I got a chrnongraph, then really enjoyed it once I got it.
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Old January 24, 2006, 07:11 PM   #3
bchboy1206
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Hmmm, I believe I could really use one but how much I will really use it is the question. Sportsmans Guide has a F1 Chrony, which as far as I can tell will only give FPS and the rest is doing my own math for $62.00 and I have a $10.00 coupon or I found a CED Mellinium for $170.00 that does it all, puts it on my computer and also talks to me...

Man these decisions are going to make me go broke.

PS thanks for the great info and please keep it coming...


Jim
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Old January 24, 2006, 07:50 PM   #4
jcims
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Fast forward 6 months. Nice warm July evening, blue skies, gentle breeze, and there you sit...frustrated and deflated, because you can't get anything better than a 5 inch group at 300 yards out of your finely tuned .308. Man, that walk is getting longer every time, with the same old story at the end.

You tape up the last target for the evening, hoping beyond reason that you will somehow print the magic 3 inches this time around. As you cozy up to your rifle, a nagging wiggle in the bench has you thinking that you would do better with a more stable platfom. However, as you crack off the final five rounds, the truth is written in ethereal smoke:

2614 - 2638 - 2674 - 2651 - 2644

As far as i know, the chrony is the most direct method of measuring the consistency of your handloads. You can weigh powder charges and gauge your flash holes and mic every cartridge for OAL, but all of those variables add up to one in the end...fps.

You need the chrony.
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Old January 24, 2006, 08:09 PM   #5
bigautomatic
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A chronograph should be one of the top things on your list. It can do a lot more than simply tell you projectile speed. Learn how to understand what it is telling you, and your homegrown loads will put factory ammo to shame. JCIMS is right. if you don't hace consistency in every step, you will never see tight groups.
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Old January 24, 2006, 09:21 PM   #6
bchboy1206
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Thanks for the replies, I went ahead and ordered the F1 Chrony. I think that should meet my needs for now and if I dont use it I could always sell it later on but I am sure I will use it alot.

Thanks
Jim
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Old January 24, 2006, 09:27 PM   #7
jcims
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To actually give you some practical advice, i bought the F1 Beta. I think the remote is very helpful...the cool thing about the F1's though is you can always add it later if you didn't grab it this time around.
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Old January 25, 2006, 01:05 AM   #8
gschwertley
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Get a chrono?

I loaded for nearly 20 years before I got a chrono. Now, wonder why I waited so long. It enhances your knowledge of the science many fold.

In my opinion, reloaders fall into a couple of basic categories. One group pretty much sticks with what I call "formula" reloading, just using the data from the books and being satisfied with that. Ah, that next group consists of the ones who experiment a lot, cast their own bullets, are always looking for answers, and are often not satisfied.
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Old January 25, 2006, 12:36 PM   #9
Dave R
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Just a few fun things I have done with my Chrony...

-Compare 7.62 NATO milsurp ammo with my handloads, to develop a duplicate
-Chrono my son's paintball gun
-Chrono Speers plastic training bullet, which I shoot in the garage (400fps)
-Chrono my pellet gun
-Check the velocities of different .22lr loads in my .22 rifles. See which is fastest, as well as most accurate.
-Check velocity loss in different barrel lengths. Pretty interesting stuff. Example, one .22lr load runs almost 1,200 fps in one rifle, and only about 800fps in a revolver. One .308 load is 2,800fps in a 22" barrel and 2,550 in a 17" barrel.
-Check velocity for handloads of different bullet weights. How much slower is a 55gr than a 45gr out of a .223?
-And, of course, check velocity consistencies in handloads.
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Old January 25, 2006, 01:02 PM   #10
Plated
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Quote:
Just a few fun things I have done with my Chrony...

-Compare 7.62 NATO milsurp ammo with my handloads, to develop a duplicate
-Chrono my son's paintball gun
-Chrono Speers plastic training bullet, which I shoot in the garage (400fps)
-Chrono my pellet gun
-Check the velocities of different .22lr loads in my .22 rifles. See which is fastest, as well as most accurate.
-Check velocity loss in different barrel lengths. Pretty interesting stuff. Example, one .22lr load runs almost 1,200 fps in one rifle, and only about 800fps in a revolver. One .308 load is 2,800fps in a 22" barrel and 2,550 in a 17" barrel.
-Check velocity for handloads of different bullet weights. How much slower is a 55gr than a 45gr out of a .223?
-And, of course, check velocity consistencies in handloads.
Nice list Dave R....

I have not purchased one myself yet, and you have opened my eyes to a few more useful aspects of a chrony...its all about the "itch" to know more and load better.
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Old January 25, 2006, 04:43 PM   #11
Leftoverdj
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A chrony saved my butt at least once. What was supposed to be a mild load of a milsurp powder equivalent to BL-C(2) sent a 165 grain bullet from a .308 over the chrony at 2900 fps +. Bolt lift was normal and the case showed signs of high, but not excessive, pressure.

A drastic load reduction showed that my lot of powder was H335 burning rate or a hair faster. My "Mild Load" had been way over Max, had to have been to have given me 300 fps more than I was expecting. Gauges showed the action to be still within tolerances, but I doubt that would have been the case had I put 20 or so of that load through it.
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