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Old January 11, 2022, 07:13 PM   #1
Django11
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Looking to invest in a chronograph

I’m looking to invest in a chronograph to be used while testing new loads. I have used a few different kinds but never owned one. My friend has a Labradar and I would be interested in one of those but I haven’t seen one in stock anywhere in months. I’ve been intrigued by the Magnetospeed but I’m concerned that since it would be attached to the barrel of my gun, it would affect accuracy, which would be a dealbreaker. The other one I’ve been eyeing is the Caldwell G2 Precision chronograph. Id be interested in hearing any and all suggestions and experiences. Thanks in advance.
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Old January 11, 2022, 07:38 PM   #2
MarkCO
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I have owned all three, no longer own the Labradar. Too fragile for me.

The Caldwell is really not bad at all. But I use the MS the most. I do attach to my barrels, and sometimes off the handguard. I don't see much shift in the groups at 100, never more than an inch, and the group size does not change. At least on the 50 or so rifles I have used mine on.
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Old January 11, 2022, 07:58 PM   #3
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Why would a difference in accuracy matter? Will you be shooting with it mounted on the barrel all the time?

Why not shoot a few for accuracy, then a group for velocity, or vice versa?
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Old January 11, 2022, 08:37 PM   #4
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currently own a magnetospeed sporter and a ProChrono. Owned a Labradar for a month before I returned it to Brownells. Like MarCo I found it too delicate and buggy. I like both the units I own but if Something were to happen to my ProChrono I think I would pick up a Caldwell G2. I really like that setup.

No matter what you decide on get a sturdy tripod. Spend a few bucks on a heavy duty one.

One of the big issues with the Labradar is that any vibration affects the accuracy of the readings as well as any changes in the angle between it and the bullet path. If you find a Labradar don't go with the flimsy baseplate. Rig up something heavy that braces the unit from wind and vibration. Also buy a external trigger and external battery. You will also need to rig up a sighting device for it. You can get some ideas by Googling.

I am hoping one day they will come out with a better designed Doppler radar chrono, either a Labradar II or some competitor. Nice idea but the original is poorly designed
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Old January 11, 2022, 09:08 PM   #5
ligonierbill
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I use the LabRadar exclusively now, but it is expensive. Unless you run lots of loads, too expensive. The Magnetospeed works well. Can't install it on all guns, but if you shoot at a public range, you don't have to set up downrange. But for a useful tool for relatively little money, it's hard to beat a good optical chronograph. Get one with the electronics separate from the screens so you have less to replace if you hit it (not that any of us have ever done that ). They can be fussy about the light at times, but it rarely gave me trouble.
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Old January 11, 2022, 09:41 PM   #6
kmw1954
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I have only used a Magnetospeed attached to the pencil barrel of my Savage model 10.

Started with it just to gain an idea of where I am at with my loads. So my practice is to shoot ladders for groups and then with the chrono to establish an average speed. When it's on the gun I am not shooting for group size. Even though at 200yds I can't tell my targets apart with or without on this Savage.
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Old January 11, 2022, 10:19 PM   #7
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I have a standard caldwell. Never had the chance to try the magnetospeed, Labradar or g2 model. It's a great tool and we'll worth having. Depending on the work your doing you might consider the budget model and save some cash.

Caldwell precision +/- 0.25%
Caldwell g2 +/- 0.25%
Labradar says 0.1% accuracy
Magnetospeed between 0.5% to 0.1%

There are pros and cons to all the systems.
Caldwell precision is cheap, uses cheap 9v, reasonable accuracy. Sun shade optional Not effected by other shooters
G2 same accuracy, good for indoor use. Rechargeable battery. Not sure how to replace it when it eventually dies. Expensive. Not effected by other shooters sun shade required, larger size.
Labradar, great precision. Multiple distances. Expensive. Fickle. Problems if other people are shooting.
Magnetospeed Expensive. Easy mounting and portability. Worst precision. Effects harmonics when shooting. Easy set up. Not effected by other shooters

It's your money, your obviously prepared to shell out for the labradar. The important thing is to get what meets your needs and or wants.
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Old January 12, 2022, 05:42 AM   #8
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I have Magnetospeed and Oehler 35P. I'm member couple gun clubs and sometimes setting up 35P during cease fire can be problem. I can set up Magnetospeed at home and lot got Labradar for that reason
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Old January 12, 2022, 06:13 AM   #9
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I use my labradar VERY hard in a wide variety of conditions and have done so for years, the only thing I avoid using it in is high winds when it might wave around like a sail or fall over. weighting a tripod helps, but movement still makes it hard to acquire the bullet. It has lots of quirks that demand attention--but it is still the most useful instrument I have for generating solid ballistics data.
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Old January 12, 2022, 09:18 AM   #10
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Ive had the Caldwell basic model for about 5 years, works pretty good, only misses a few with errors.
The other day I turned it on and my android pad to start shooting, but the pad said no communication with the chrono, no matter what I tried it would not connect . I had to write the numbers down on a piece of paper and do calculations when I got home.
I was upset about it, so I called Caldwell and at first he wasn't going to do much because they usually replace them if you have them less than 2 years, but I got an email the next day from them stating I have a brand new Caldwell premium kit on its way to me.
I used it yesterday and all is working fine now, I guess something in the old chrono was broke, but I am back in business and I thanked Caldwell for being so generous.
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Old January 12, 2022, 10:21 AM   #11
Jim Watson
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I mostly use a Pro Chrono Digital, an early one with wired remote - that does not work and did not last long after warranty repair - because of its simple setup and large window.

I have a CED Millenium I with IR illuminators and vocoder. The readout is convenient to let me know that each shot registers but I am not paying much attention to the number except to notice if it is something ridiculous. Nothing downrange but the sensors and illuminators, the brain box is on the bench out of the line of fire. But there sure are a lot of cables.

I can get out on a weekday to chronograph and not have to manage setup around other shooters. If I were a weekend shooter, I would have to give a Labradar a try.
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Old January 12, 2022, 11:00 AM   #12
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Can you borrow your friends Labradar or go to the range with him? I have one and it sits in the garage 99.99% of the time. They're nice to have but not really something you end up using that often.
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Old January 12, 2022, 12:40 PM   #13
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I've used a PACT chrono for at least 30 years - but I got tired of going through the process of setting the whole thing up and having the muzzle blast knock the first sky screens off. It came with a wireless printer but I quit using that; it was easier to keep track with a pencil and paper. I changed to a Magnetospeed and I like the ease of setting it up, but it won't work on any of my rifles with the B.O.S.S. It's difficult to get the strap tight enough and the unit will move upon recoil so you have to be sure to watch that or your velocity will not be accurate.
As others have said, don't worry about accuracy; shoot for desired groups first, then shoot for velocity. You are not going to hunt with the chrono attached.
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Old January 12, 2022, 01:02 PM   #14
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Can you borrow your friends Labradar or go to the range with him? I have one and it sits in the garage 99.99% of the time. They're nice to have but not really something you end up using that often.
I don’t understand comments like this. I’ve owned my Labradar for three years and use it a minimum of twice a month. Zero issues with it, it does what I purchased it for. It replaced an Oehler M33 I used for thirty years, the M33 was no more reliable for me and of course was a royal pain to set up. The Labradar is dead nuts easy and is hardly “delicate”. The ability to save ammo by shooting for both group and velocity at the same time put it ahead of the clamp-on devices, particularly in today’s world of terrible component availability.

The only modifications I’ve made were a cheap tripod - a $20 rechargeable 20,000 mAh battery velcroed to it (one charge lasts at least three trips to the range) - and an SD memory card. No need for an aftermarket “sight” to align the unit to the target, the factory notch works fine with my eyes anyway.

I find the downrange velocities are handy to determine the actual BC of my bullets at my velocities - some BCs are close to what the maker states, some are not. Of course like any chronograph the Labradar does have some limitations, which a potential buyer must understand prior to purchasing one.

The Labradar isn’t for everyone. I guess that some folks are too lazy to learn how new technology works, are clumsy, or just don’t care much about ballistic data. No harm in that, and a more simple chrono is better for them. But then I wonder why they spent the money on the Labradar….




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Old January 12, 2022, 02:47 PM   #15
Django11
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Thanks for all the insight. I’m not really interested in barrowing or working out a time to use a friend’s chronograph anymore. I simply want to be able to use one when I want to use one without the fuss or worry if something happened to it while I was using it. I don’t really have to worry about company at the range for the most part so settling up and worrying about others is pretty far down the list of concerns. As far as the accuracy thing is concerned, I’m not interested in spending twice the money and using twice the components and twice the time if I can get something good to avoid all that.

Right now, I’m leaning toward the Caldwell G2. Hopefully the extra cost is justified as apposed to this cheaper models and provides some nice features. It’s also available.
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Old January 12, 2022, 03:37 PM   #16
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Labradar cross-correlated with quickload is the best ballistics research combo for reloaders IMO.
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Old January 12, 2022, 04:35 PM   #17
hounddawg
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Good choice on the Caldwell, looks like it comes with a sturdy tripod already so that will save you $75 - 100 bucks right there.

a review - https://www.chuckhawks.com/caldwell_G2_chronograph.html


Also a tip, pickup a laser boresight like one of these https://sightmark.com/collections/boresights then epoxy a disk magnet like this to the base https://www.homedepot.com/p/Master-M...6234/203613121. When setting first get the rifle aimed to the middle of your target then pop the boresight onto the muzzle and use a piece of card board in front of the laser beam to make sure the chrono is set to the correct height and you will shooting straight through and level.
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Old January 12, 2022, 05:54 PM   #18
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Oehler 35

Have a friend that got rid of his Labradar because it was too fragile. I've owned Oehler 33 and currently a 35. They are rock solid. I gave away my 33 still working and bought a 35 when they became available again a few years ago. Price, in the absence of value, is not a consideration.
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Old January 12, 2022, 10:57 PM   #19
Bart B.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Django11 View Post
I’ve been intrigued by the Magnetospeed but I’m concerned that since it would be attached to the barrel of my gun, it would affect accuracy, which would be a dealbreaker.
Yes, putting any weight on the barrel front end will effect accuracy. The bore axis at the muzzle will vibrate at a lower frequency and bullets will leave the muzzle at a different angle spread that can cause accuracy problems.
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Old January 13, 2022, 09:19 AM   #20
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I would never use my magneto speed sporter for charge development how ever after load development it comes in handy for that quick check. Mine stays in my range bag for checking when the temperature changes or after seating depth changes and occasionally for doing comeups when changing range if it is a load I have not used in a while.
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Old January 13, 2022, 10:47 AM   #21
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The effect of the MS that I've seen reported most often is POI shift rather than groups getting bigger, but this is on guns that are not exactly shooting bugholes. If you have a cloverleaf shooter and add one of those to the muzzle, I would expect both POI shift and groups enlarging. However, every shooting system is a law unto itself, so I would not be surprised if someone, somewhere found his unit actually tuned his barrel to a better muzzle swing phase and shrank his groups. I don't have one, so I can't offer any personal experience with it.
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Old January 13, 2022, 03:14 PM   #22
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Not sure about the comments on the Labradar being fragile. I have used a Labradar for a couple years now and it works perfectly every time. Linking it to a phone app makes it easy to work. The only downside I have with it is you really need an external power source when using it as it does use up a lot of power.
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Old January 13, 2022, 04:01 PM   #23
stagpanther
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There is one feature on the labradar I would say is definitely "under engineered" and that is the USB cable connector port, I had to bend my back after it became so loose the power wouldn't stay on. No bigly, but room for improvement.
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Old January 13, 2022, 04:28 PM   #24
ligonierbill
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Yep, I had to replace the external power connector on mine. But it has performed flawlessly for the several years since.
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Old January 13, 2022, 04:48 PM   #25
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I just recently got a MagnetoSpeed to replace my 8 year old Chrony. I use chronographs to check loads for my customers, primarily when they spent a lot of money on a scope and want to get custom turrets. I use a chrono about once or twice a year, so it's not a high use item, the primary reason I got a new chrono is I was tired of my old chrono blowing over in the wind or getting rained on while setting it up. Since the MagnetoSpeed doesn't have sky screens or panels it is more convenient than the older Chrony. So yes, I got it because I'm lazy.
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