The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Gear and Accessories

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old September 16, 2021, 10:55 PM   #1
hounddawg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 1, 2009
Posts: 3,944
First impression of Shotmarker Electronic Target

I have had a chance to use mine a few times and this is just a short report and my opinion.

I will not go into setup, there are a lot of videos out there for that. I will just say I have found it easy to setup, calibrate, and use in real life. The batteries are long lasting and after the initial charge recharge quickly. Connecting the sensors is easy and quick and the wireless has worked perfectly on both my Motorolla phone and a Samsung Tab tablet. There is wide variety of targets built into the software, al the NRA HP and F class as well as a lot of international and miscellaneous

I made two targets for use with the system, one for long range and one for short. In retrospect I would not bother with the short range. Up to 200 yards either a good spotting scope or any decent target scope works just as well in my opinion. It is capable of being used in short range load development but I prefer using paper targets and scanning them into OnTarget software. Iron sight users would probably find the short range applications a lot more useful than I do

However at 300 yards and out is where the ShotMarker shines. I have a spotting scope with ED glass that cost more than this system and is of limited use at 300 and beyond 300 is useless.

So far I have used the Shotmarker to zero my scope for a 800 yard match so that my first shot was dead on the waterline at the match Today I used it for some 300 yard load development and ammo checking. I also used it for practicing at 600 yards and I think anyone serious about learning mid and long range shooting should consider one. You see immediately where that shot hit and what effect the wind had on it.

Overall my impression is very positive, it is well made , well designed and a useful tool for anyone who want to go beyond 300 yards in their shooting
__________________
“How do I get to the next level?” Well, you get to the next level by being the first one on the range and the last one to leave.” – Jerry Miculek
hounddawg is offline  
Old September 17, 2021, 06:57 AM   #2
BobCat45
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 18, 2004
Location: East Bernard, TX
Posts: 406
Thank you for posting your review!

My club has been using the Shotmarker for all midrange and Long range matches for over a year. I've had a few issues where the target quit reporting and the match director switched us to a different target (they set up and designate "spares" in case of technical glitches) but in general I've been favorably impressed, even though I'm shy of new technology.

They are going to start using Shotmarker for XC and it will be interesting to see how they deal with the different target faces for the different ranges.

I do wonder how reliable the velocity measurements are. At a recent 300 yard match I had one shot that registered quite low on the target, but when I asked the Shotmarker guru for the data (he sent me an excel spreadsheet) that shot showed a velocity much higher than all the rest in that string. He told me that sometimes, if someone shoots on the neighboring target "at the same time" - the instrument gets confused and plots the impact in the wrong place, and gets the velocity wrong.

But if you are alone with one Shotmarker, that scenario is irrelevant.

Good to read about your experience with the Shotmarker.
__________________
Retractable claws - the *original* concealed carry

http://www.bayourifles.org
TinyURL.com/qgdojvh
BobCat45 is offline  
Old September 17, 2021, 08:16 AM   #3
hounddawg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 1, 2009
Posts: 3,944
@ Bobcat I would be a bit leery of using the Shotmarker in competition. As you may know each target needs to be calibrated before using for the first time. This only needs to done once but it needs to be done correctly. In reality I am not sure if it would make much of a difference. On the physical target I could put a orange dot in the middle of a blank piece of paper and use it as a aiming point while on my tablet the SM would be displaying a MR-63F or MR-65-F.

On the chrono issue, Adam MacDonald the designer/manufacturer does not recommend putting too much faith in the numbers. In his testing he had found that vibration can alter the numbers significantly. I am curios as to how the numbers will correlate with my optical chrono but if I really wanted to compare accurately I would use my Magnetospeed. It is the only hobbyist chrono that is not affected by external influences. I may just do that someday

Our club uses a Kongsburg system. Each target ran us close to $10K. On the plus side it has cut match times by 2 to 3 hours for 30 shooters doing four relays of three targets. Setup and teardown cuts into that time savings however. The target system seems to be finicky, sometimes requiring the setup guys to make three or four trips downrange tweaking connecting cables etc. The inevitable crossfires are usually caught immediately and corrected by the match director. Last match I had one hit not score at all on either my target or the target to my right, after checking my barrel for clear, all other shots did score correctly

As I posted in my OP I would recommend the system for private use for anyone who does mid to long range. I am not so sure about it's usefulness at close range or in a NRA competition. But for long range practice where there is no spotter pit, it is a wonderful in my opinion. If mine were stolen or destroyed I would order a replacement ASAP
__________________
“How do I get to the next level?” Well, you get to the next level by being the first one on the range and the last one to leave.” – Jerry Miculek
hounddawg is offline  
Old September 17, 2021, 10:35 AM   #4
BobCat45
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 18, 2004
Location: East Bernard, TX
Posts: 406
Thank you hounddawg for the clarification!

We are using the Shotmarker in competition and there is no fighting it. I am very conservative - some say pathologically so - and would rather pull targets, but am going with the flow since there is no club in my area that is scoring the old way. I was even miffed when they changed which hole you put the score value disk in (scoring in the pits), because it was not how I learned it originally.

The Shotmarker did cut the time for the matches significantly, but again that's not counting setup and takedown, and calibration. For XC the 300 prone rapid is pasted over the 200 standing/sitting, and I do not see how they can maintain calibration pasting a new target like that. The 600 is a separate frame, they will probably use the 600-MR targets, which are calibrated for 600 - but when they paste on a new face, the calibration can change if placement is not exact. That part is beyond me.

Our club raised the match fees from $15 to $40 for matches using the Shotmarkers, to help pay them off. I do not think $10k per target would be within our reach, unless we cut the number of active targets dramatically, making everyone sit around and eradicating the time savings the electronic targets bring.

There was a thread on another forum about setting up a drone camera near the target and having it broadcast the image to a tablet of phone by the shooter. To me, this would be a great thing for practice / testing, but I haven't done anything about it - if it had bearings and gears I'd be all over it like a cheap suit, but electrons and radio waves are over my head right now. But they say that learning new things keeps one young, so I need to do some reading...
Your point about trusting the instrument for private practice is well made.
__________________
Retractable claws - the *original* concealed carry

http://www.bayourifles.org
TinyURL.com/qgdojvh
BobCat45 is offline  
Old September 17, 2021, 11:34 AM   #5
hounddawg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 1, 2009
Posts: 3,944
Bobcat - The SM is calibrated to the middle of the target frame. In the setup you choose which frame the target is on. I have both a my short range and long range in memory and just choose which on I am shooting. Once a frame is calibrated there should be no need for recalibration. No matter what target you have pasted on it

On the drone camera, I tried it myself. The resolution at that time was too low for it to work but a year in the electronics world is a lifetime. A high res camera that transmits in digital would make it feasible. The one I tried was a analog system and at 850 yards the performance was spotty at best. Cheap though I made the system for less than $100 at the time. Then I tried the Caldwell target camera system. Once again, 720P resolution combined with a lack of being able to pivot the camera remotely and zoom in made it frustrating at best. For some reason the camera refused to transmit color and in greyscale it even harder to find the holes.

One of my range buddies has the Longshot target camera. It is worlds better than the Caldwell but for same price you can just get a Shotmarker

As far as I am concerned the Kronenbourg system is overpriced, but no one in club management asked me and as a user I am just glad we have it. We shoot in a swamp (literally) and pits are out of the question so before the electronic targets it was shoot sighters, ride down and paste, the ride back and shoot for score. Royal pain as far as time and the sometimes the wind tends to shift over 30 minutes
__________________
“How do I get to the next level?” Well, you get to the next level by being the first one on the range and the last one to leave.” – Jerry Miculek
hounddawg is offline  
Old September 17, 2021, 04:14 PM   #6
BobCat45
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 18, 2004
Location: East Bernard, TX
Posts: 406
Understood about calibrated to the center, I helped set them up when we first got them. But pasting the targets so the center point of the X ring coincides with the calibration point, within half a .224 bullet diameter, is sort of non-trivial. Otherwise people get robbed of Xs that are scored as 10s, and so forth.

Thank you for setting me straight on the camera idea. Right that electronic stuff is getting better and better faster and faster, but if the idea were really workable the market would be rich with options. I'll wait it out.

Short-sighted cuss that I am, I'm just hoping for no rain Sunday, we have a 600.
__________________
Retractable claws - the *original* concealed carry

http://www.bayourifles.org
TinyURL.com/qgdojvh
BobCat45 is offline  
Old September 18, 2021, 12:59 AM   #7
stagpanther
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 2, 2014
Posts: 9,278
Forgive a stupid question, but what is the purpose of this thing?
__________________
If you’re ever hiking in the woods and you get lost, just look up and find the brightest star in the sky and you’ll know which way space is.
I am NOT an expert--I do not have any formal experience or certification in firearms use or testing; use any information I post at your own risk!
stagpanther is offline  
Old September 18, 2021, 06:06 AM   #8
hounddawg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 1, 2009
Posts: 3,944
electronic target, think of it as a spotting scope that will allow you to see bullet holes at 1000 yards

https://autotrickler.com/pages/shotmarker
__________________
“How do I get to the next level?” Well, you get to the next level by being the first one on the range and the last one to leave.” – Jerry Miculek
hounddawg is offline  
Old September 18, 2021, 10:18 AM   #9
stagpanther
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 2, 2014
Posts: 9,278
Pretty interesting. But let's say a shooter(s) pile a whole bunch of shots into one physical target, how do you verify/archive physical evidence?
__________________
If you’re ever hiking in the woods and you get lost, just look up and find the brightest star in the sky and you’ll know which way space is.
I am NOT an expert--I do not have any formal experience or certification in firearms use or testing; use any information I post at your own risk!
stagpanther is offline  
Old September 18, 2021, 11:24 AM   #10
BobCat45
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 18, 2004
Location: East Bernard, TX
Posts: 406
That is one of the problems with the system. You can't, there is no physical evidence, the shot string saved in the computer is the only "evidence" there is.

And it can be vexing. I am not a very good shooter, and I shoot sling (bigger scoring rings than F-Class). But a number of the better F-Open shooters at our club shoot repeated 200-xX where little x is some number between 1 and 20. So match winner is based on X count, and the paper (and cardboard backer) are literally "shot to hell" by subsequent relays, so there is no telling - one either believes the Shotmarker or one goes home sore.

This has not happened at out matches yet, as far as I know, but I think we have a great bunch of people who embody the old term "sportsmanship" and are not about to get al in a lather on account of a dropped byte or bit or whatever. But The answer to your question is, once the next relay shoots there is no physical evidence and no recourse.

One other odd thing about the system is that even if it is working perfectly, if the paper target is displaced from the calibrated center, your actual physical no-wind zero is no good. You need to use sighters (unlimited sighters first match, but on the clock) to adjust your sights/scope to put the sight picture where the Shotmarker thinks the center is. That zero will work for that target, until the paper is replaced.

That's why I question using the system for across-the-course. Suppose the 200 yard standing/sitting target is perfectly placed per the calibration. In ordinary times we past the new 300 center over the 200, and it is never perfect but that does not matter because the shooter is shooting at the target he or she sees, and the scorer is looking at the bullet hole and deciding whether or not it touches the line. With this system there is nobody looking at the impacts but the system, and if the pasting was not perfect, your 10-ring sized group, which is centered in the 10-ring on paper, might leak out into the 9-ring on the Shotmarker. In this case there is actually physical evidence on the paper, but only until the next relay shoots; no pasting the old shots.

Sorry to go on and on complaining, it is really all good, just takes a while to get used to the new reality.

And I need to start doing more pushups and chin-ups to make up for not pulling targets two Sundays a month.
__________________
Retractable claws - the *original* concealed carry

http://www.bayourifles.org
TinyURL.com/qgdojvh
BobCat45 is offline  
Old September 18, 2021, 01:23 PM   #11
hounddawg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 1, 2009
Posts: 3,944
I have never seen anyone have a issue with the Kronenbourg system, quite frankly the electronics does a better job than paper of documenting the shots. In particular for F class at 300 where several shots can pile on each other. The target below is a 197 6X target from a 300 yard match. How many bullets went through that ragged hole on the left side of the 10 ring? What about the hole on the lower right in the ten ring? Are those X's or tens at the 9 o'clock and 4 o'clock positions. I have seen a lot worse, sometimes the entire X ring would be one ragged hole. We had one jacka** accuse a shooter once of shooting the XRing out the putting his remaining shots into the berm. This is in a little local club match, no money at stake, just a 10 cent plastic medal. I mean really, if this was for a National championship I could see being that serious but these are just Sunday fun club matches

Anyway I am not a range manager or match director so all that is superfluous for my concerns, for me the unit serves one purpose and one purpose only. It enables me to practice my shooting beyond 200 yards and see my hits. I only need to go downrange twice, once to set the target up and once to retrieve it. I can shoot two three, four, five or however many strings at the same aim point and save them to memory. That in itself makes load tuning of seating depths at long range a piece of cake. A good spotting scope with ED glass can cost into the thousands and you are still lucky to see a .243 bullet hole at beyond 300 even on a cloudy day.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 300 example.jpg (47.4 KB, 9 views)
__________________
“How do I get to the next level?” Well, you get to the next level by being the first one on the range and the last one to leave.” – Jerry Miculek

Last edited by hounddawg; September 18, 2021 at 01:28 PM.
hounddawg is offline  
Old September 18, 2021, 02:09 PM   #12
BobCat45
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 18, 2004
Location: East Bernard, TX
Posts: 406
The Kronenbourg system sounds like the cat's meow!

I have no experience with it and do not know anyone who has or has used one, but if I had $10k to buy one I think instead I'd spend that money to pay someone to hang out in the pits and mark my practice target for me. Improve employment statistics, social distance, and so forth...

The Shotmarker, with all it's idiosyncrasies, works well as long as one understands it. I think for your stated purpose it sounds perfect. For our club matches it works well enough, I am just resistant to change. There is an old Texas saying about someone who "would complain if you hanged him with a new rope".

...and, if someone is good enough to shoot out the X-ring, why would he bother to shoot rounds into the berm instead of just through the hole he'd already made in the X-ring?
__________________
Retractable claws - the *original* concealed carry

http://www.bayourifles.org
TinyURL.com/qgdojvh
BobCat45 is offline  
Old September 18, 2021, 02:39 PM   #13
hounddawg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 1, 2009
Posts: 3,944
Actually I find the Kronenbourg a lot more finicky to work with than the Shotmarker, at least the system we use. Kronenbeorg has several systems they sell.

The system we use works the exact same way as the Shotmarker in a the regard it has 4 sensors one on each corner of the target that determine shot placement. On the shooters end you have only the basic high power and F class NRA targets to choose from. You have to designate the caliber as .223 or .30 cal in the setup, there are no other choices. In our matches anything 250 or smaller is called 223 and anything between .250 and .30 is 30 cal. Target setup is much more complex and it only works with the Kronenbeorg tablet. There is no save or export option so if you want a pic of your target you have to use your phone to do so. The transmitter and receiver use antennas on poles that are line of sight and finicky to place. The battery packs for the target line and firing line weigh about 50 pounds each. Each target costs seven or eight times as much as the Shotmarker to purchase. Spare parts are expensive and must be imported. I think they are setting up a US distributer this year. Connectors have a very fine line between too tight and too loose and everything has to be connected in a certain order or you can damage the system. Coil the fiber optic connecting cables too tight and they are ruined. Other than all that it works fine lol.

Edit - I agree on the X ring comment. We have one or two members that take these little club matches a bit too seriously in my opinion. For me it is all fun whether I score a 197 or a 179, I still have a great time
__________________
“How do I get to the next level?” Well, you get to the next level by being the first one on the range and the last one to leave.” – Jerry Miculek

Last edited by hounddawg; September 18, 2021 at 02:45 PM.
hounddawg is offline  
Old September 24, 2021, 06:53 PM   #14
hounddawg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 1, 2009
Posts: 3,944
for those interested in the accuracy of the SM I did some load testing yesterday.
edit - I went in and redid the spreadsheet tp make it easier to read and recalibrated the Ontarget program which brought the group measurements more in line with the calipers and Shotmarker values
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Shotmarker.jpg (61.5 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg spreadsheet.jpg (62.9 KB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg target.jpg (78.6 KB, 3 views)
__________________
“How do I get to the next level?” Well, you get to the next level by being the first one on the range and the last one to leave.” – Jerry Miculek

Last edited by hounddawg; September 25, 2021 at 11:43 AM.
hounddawg is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:54 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2020 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Page generated in 0.05302 seconds with 11 queries