|Web Clavin Extraordinaire|
So my 15+ year old Shooting Chrony seems to be on death's door (due in no part to have its sun shade supports shot several times, I'm sure....) and I am considering replacement options.
What is the group's opinion of Magneto Speed chronographs? Price seems decent, but I don't see how it can be used with a pistol (which I chronograph from time to time, but far less often than rifle).
What's good in the current Chrony lineup?
Both the Magneto Speed and Chrony are all fine in my price range.
I could afford a Labradar, which seems so much easier to use, but I don't know if I can justify the purchase price.
I'm interested in ease of setup most of all. I suppose gizmos that can hook it to an iPhone or iPad are swell and all, but I'm most concerned with how quick I can get it to the range, up and running, and not burn precious rounds trying to ensure I get everything aligned for a reading (hence why Magneto Speed seems swell in my book).
Chuck Norris put the laughter in "manslaughter"
Educating the youth of America, one declension at a time.
I had no interest in the MagnetoSpeed when it attached to the barrel and would affect precision/accuracy. I don’t like the idea of burning expensive ammunition just to get velocity information. I believe I understand now, though, that there are adapters to attach the unit to the rifle stock and largely eliminate that problem.
I have a LabRadar and it’s far more convenient to use than my Oehler units that I’ve owned and used for decades, but not perfect. It’s a little fiddly to set up, but gets easier with practice. The most common complaint I’ve read about the unit is that sometimes it doesn’t react to the shot, and that was why I got an aftermarket triggering device that attaches directly to the gun and is triggered by the recoil. I don’t believe that would work with a handgun even with an accessory rail, and it gives a lot of false triggers just by operating the bolt of a rifle.* They require resetting the unit by pushing a button, and that’s a nuisance. I occasionally get totally spurious reading for reasons I’ve never figured out, but they can be deleted from a string with no real effort.
I have used the LabRadar with just the muzzle blast trigger, including with handguns, and that has usually worked fine.
Added: One unique feature of the LabRadar is its ability to measure downrange velocities as well as at the muzzle. I’ve posted before how well its measurements at various distances (to 100 yards) match those predicted by different ballistics solvers like Applied Ballistics and JBM. That may not have much practical usefulness, but when they match closely it does sort of validate both the solver and the chronograph.
* After posting that it occurred to me that changing the sensitivity of the unit’s trigger might help. Must try that the next time.
|Casuistic Thinker and Daoist|
If you can afford it, there is no reason not to get a Labradar. You'll be able to justify the expense the first time you use it...and then wonder why you didn't get it sooner.
All it takes for set-up in a mount (I use a tripod), aim it at a target area, turn it on and start shooting. My shooting partner has it linked to his iPhone and it makes setup and reset easier...plus it automatically records everything. What is especially nice is that it isn't affected by your source of light...and you can use it at an indoor range
No, Daoism isn't a religion
Lots of experience with both the Magneto V3 and LabRadar. The advantage to the LabRadar is using it for other then rifles. The disadvantage to the LabRadar is not nearly as consistent as the Magneto V3. The LabRadar as sigfruend mentioned sometimes doesn't pick up shots, as well as sometimes very high and low velocity readings. Seen this many times with friends LabRadars. Kind of negates the wasting ammo thing! And Yes, they know how to set them up. And now with a few manufacturers offering cantilever clamps that attach to pic rails on handgaurds instead of the barrel for the Magneto, no longer "wasting" ammo with the Magneto.
This video sparked one of my shooting buddies to come up with DIY Magneto cantilever mount.
Of the commercial mounts I've seen, handled, used.... this one is very nice.
* To clarify my experiences, I’ve never gotten what were obviously incorrect readings for fired shots. What does occasionally occur are readings that appear on the display screen without firing a shot (and without being around other shooters). Not only is a shot not fired, the readings are usually much lower than what I’ve been getting for the shots fired. E.g., 900-2100 fps when shooting a load in the 2700+ fps range. As I say, I don’t know what causes that malfunction and they can be deleted from the shot string when reviewing them, but it is something to be aware of.
When using the LabRadar it’s necessary to pay attention to ensure it’s in the reading mode, and not merely turned on. I’ve lost some data because I either forgot to turn it to the reading mode or didn’t notice that it had timed out. The time out feature is evidently to conserve battery power, but it’s fairly short even at the longest setting (three minutes—?). It doesn’t time out if shots are fired frequently enough to keep it active, but stop for a bit to change targets or for some other reason and it automatically goes back to the standby mode. The external battery pack lasts a long time, so I wish I could increase the time out, but it’s limited.
|With bad intent|
Ive noticed with my Labradar that barrel placement is key.....and "arming" they system. Once I verify those 2, mine is 99% trouble free. The phone app is nice as well so I dont have to touch the unit once I have it setup. Also, purchase a rechargeable USB power block.
Labradar all the way. The magnetospeed changed my POI so much that I’d have to chrono loads then see how they actually shot.
For orienting the LabRadar properly, I found this aftermarket accessory to be useful, and I put a short section of brass tubing through the “sight” to narrow the field of view even further. Since I purchased the MK accessory it seems that similar aids have proliferated, including optical sights and even mounts for red dots. Search for “labradar sight.”
The crude aiming notch on the unit itself seems to work okay, but one of the aids is more confidence-inspiring when trying to ensure that all data is collected.
As I mentioned, the recoil trigger works well, and the only time I’ve lost a reading when using it was when I didn’t have it secured on the rail properly and it came loose without my noticing it.
|quarter MOA visionary|
A few threads with more discussion:
FWIW, I still use my Magnetospeed but always intriqued by the Labradar.
There are plenty of issues with the Labradar but you can't argue with it being easier to setup and use over the MagnetoSpeed.
Not any accuracy advantage as far I have seen.
But still I may move over someday but maybe not.
|Like a party |
in your pants
I have been contemplating buying a chronograph to aid me in reloading. I need one that is good for handguns and rifles.
Any other suggestions?
I have a magnetospeed and am happy with it though the lab radar looks interesting. My chronographijg is still in it's infancy. The magnetospeed does not pick up airsoft though I have not tried paintball yet. Sounds dumb til you need it.
Does anybody still use the Pact chrono? I have one that still works, just a pain in the butt to get setup. The stuff i chrono at home is pretty much the same as Magnetospeed at the range.
I’ve long been curious about the accuracy of the small, stand-alone chronographs like the PACT and similar models. Oehler recommended at least a 4 foot separation of the detection screens for the 35P which was generally considered the gold standard hobby level chronograph for a long time, and IRRC, there was even a provision for an 8-foot separation for maximum accuracy.
Precisely accurate results probably don’t matter for most shooting applications, but can become important for long range work. I know that the Applied Ballistics people used the Oehler chronograph at one time, but switched to the LabRadar. I recall reading that they used two of those units and expected their readings to be within 6 fps of each other to be considered valid. I’m reminded of the old saying that a man with one watch knew what time it was, whereas a man with two watches was never sure.
|With bad intent|
Why I dropped the magneto in favor the labradar...plus it can do handguns and bows
I started with a Chrony system -- it didn't last all that long. Good riddance.
LabRadar is a good choice if MV data for pistols is required. MagnetoSpeed probably would do it, but would take quite of bit of futzing.
The previously listed threads on chrono devices list why LabRadar doesn't work for me. At long-distance precision rifle matches I've seen both MagnetoSpeed and LabRadar units used to confirm MV. Off and on I see reading problems with LabRadar units. I haven't seen issues with MagnetoSpeed ("MS") units.
It takes me maybe a minute to set up my MS unit. Most of my suppressors have the same diameter outer shell, so they require the same shims -- the smallest plastic and the medium rubber. No big deal.
When I chrono loads, I test on multiple targets and multiple distances. I just point the rifle at different targets and shoot. There's no need to reposition or re-aim the chronograph to get readings.
Even hanging out from the end of suppressors, I find minimal effects on point of impact. There is no change of POI on my M24-countour bolt actions. There is no POI change on my 18" to 24" barrel ARs, which have DCM or heavier profile barrels. My 16" AR-15s have smaller diameter barrels, and I suspect the POI drops by about a 1/4 MOA. But it's hard to tell, as I rarely produce 1/4 MOA groups with my ARs.
The MS unit drops the POI of my sporter-profile 22lr by a touch under 1/2 MOA. I suspect there will be a small change of POI with many skinny rifle barrels.
Then there's the question as to whether the MS changes the harmonics of a barrel enough to mess with accuracy. I keep some pretty meticulous records on all my rifles, mainly muzzle velocities by load and accuracies at distance. I've always thought that a MS unit dangling off the muzzle has to do something wonky to accuracy. Over the past 2 days I've looked carefully at my notes by rifle. For every center-fire rifle, a good portion of a given load's best precision has occurred while using a MS. Distances vary from 100 yards to 600 yards. I really can't find a pattern where a barrel with a suppressor shoots better than a suppressor & MagnetoSpeed. This changes my way of thinking about the MagnetoSpeed.
The only case where the MS seems to produce less accurate results is my Kimber 22lr with its thin-profile, unsuppressed sporter barrel. Interestingly, this is not the case with my JP 22lr upper -- with a medium-profile barrel and a TBAC suppressor. Some of the best accuracy the JP has produced is while using the MS unit.
Bottom line -- LabRadar has a definite advantage for handguns, non-suppressed firearms, pencil-profiled barrels, fixed shooting positions & fixed targets. MagnetoSpeed works for the way I shoot, using my rifles.
I've been using a MagnetoSpeed V3 for a year and a half or so now. It's been light years more reliable than either of my previous optical chronographs (one of which was admittedly killed by a bullet). The optical ones always seem to be hit-or-miss as far as reliably getting readings goes. Could be clouds overhead, could be shadows, who knows. My last one, a Shooting Chrony, sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. When it works it's nice, but I can't count on taking it to the range and having it work.
There are two drawbacks to the MagnetoSpeed. One is that I can't do chronographing and group testing at the same time, so I spend more ammo than I would otherwise during load development. The other is, depending on the diameter of the barrel, I have to reconfigure the mounting spacers when I switch rifles. Especially if I switch from a suppressed rifle to an un-suppressed one, or vice-versa. The measuring arm on the thing isn't long enough to reach past the suppressor when the can is mounted (with the chrono mounted on the barrel), so you have mount the chrono on the can, which requires changing all the spacers. So far I haven't got a can hot enough to melt the chrono mount. Also, one of my ARs has a long enough handguard that there isn't enough barrel sticking out in front of it to mount the chrono on. An adapter to mount the chrono on a rail might fix that, but I haven't got around to looking into it seriously yet.
And yes, as far as I know you can't use a MagnetoSpeed on a handgun. That doesn't bother me as I don't care enough about handgun velocities to bother with it. If for some reason I do need to know, I figure I'll take the old Shooting Chrony out and hope it's feeling cooperative that day.
I did consider the LabRadar, but at the time it seemed like a lot of people were having problems getting them to trigger reliably, placement of it relative to the muzzle, and whatnot other issues. And it was significantly more expensive. I understand a lot of that has been fixed now, but too late for me to justify owning both the MS and a LabRadar.
Try four watches! Friends and I had two Magneto's on a barrel and two LabRadar set up. Read single digit difference between them.
Yet to have a velocity/BC track dead nuts. Have to "true" my dope. Shooting at steel to 5-600yds and on paper at 850 and 1000yds. All this starts with a dead nuts zero shooting multiple times getting up and down between each shot.
Thinking about how many shots I take through a Magneto on a 3000+/- barrel life. Guessing 50, maybe as high as 70? Mostly just chrono after working up a load and then towards the end of predicted barrel life. Prior to Covid was shooting out two barrels a year for the last several years. So my cost as a re-loader not terrible in the scheme of things. Prefer the convenience and ease of the Magneto.
I do get a POI shift with the Magneto. It is a very predictable .2 MIL low, .1 MIL left with 26" Heavy Palma's and a can. Still groups very well, still useful training, practice.... seen so many refrigerator groups posted well outside my Magneto POA/POI shift
Resurrecting this thread....
I had myself talked into a Labradar. But it seems they have gone into permanent out of stock - they haven't been available for at least the past 6 months, possibly a year. So the "runner up" is the Magnetospeed V3, which can be found fairly easily.
I'm looking to be able to use it on multiple rifles, mounting it to Pic rails on the handguards so as to avoid barrel harmonics interferences. Offgrid recommends the Grays mount above. Anybody have experience or thoughts on the Wiser? It looks as if his 2022 redesign compensates for some earlier design limitations (cant of support rod, etc.), and it's a little less expensive. Any other mounts?
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- Dave Barry
"Never go through life saying 'I should have'..." - quote from the 9/11 Boatlift Story (thanks, sdy for posting it)
|Casuistic Thinker and Daoist|
Brownells has the Labradar Lite in stock
No, Daoism isn't a religion
I wish that model had been available when I bought my LabRadar. I have no desire to connect it to my phone even if it weren’t for all the evident hassle of trying to get that to work properly.
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