September 27th, 2018

Gear Review: MagnetoSpeed V3 Tested by UltimateReloader

Gavin Gear Magnetospeed V3 Chronograph ultimatereloader.com

MagnetoSpeed’s technology has completely changed the market for firearms chronographs. With a MagnetoSpeed barrel-mounted chrono you can quickly and easily record muzzle velocity (MV) without having to set up tripods or walk down-range. The compact MagnetoSpeed chronos are easy to set up and transport. With the full-featured V3 model, everything you need comes in a small fitted case. In the top photo are the components used with the MagnetoSpeed V3 Kit:

1. V3 Bayonet sensor
2. Display and control unit
3. Bayonet spacers (plastic and rubber)
4. Cords and mounting hardware (left), suppressor heat shield (right)
5. Alignment rod (square cross-section)
6. Rail adapter (sold separately)

Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com recently reviewed the MagnetoSpeed V3 and came away impressed. Gavin explains the a good chrono is essential: “If you want to load and shoot precision ammunition, you need the tools that will produce and validate the precision of your loads. A good chronograph is one of those tools! In this post I’m going to introduce you to the MagnetoSpeed V3 chonograph, the high-end electromagnetic chronograph which fills out the top slot in MagnetoSpeed’s equipment portfolio.”

In this 11-minute video Gavin reviews MagnetoSpeed’s top-of-the-line V3 Chronograph. He shows what ships with the unit, how to set it up for both rifles and pistols, and then he puts it through its paces showing how it captures velocity data. Gavin says he will follow-up with future videos showing how to link the MagnetoSpeed V3 to your mobile phone and how to log velocity data for future reference. To learn more about this high-tech chrono, visit UltimateReloader.com.

READ Full MagnetoSpeed V3 Review on UltimateReloader.com »

Gavin Gear Magnetospeed V3 Chronograph ultimatereloader.com

Permalink Gear Review, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
July 30th, 2018

Get Smart — Read FREE Applied Ballistics TECH Articles

Want to improve your understanding of Ballistics, Bullet Design, Bullet Pointing, and other shooting-related tech topics? Well here’s a treasure trove of gun expertise. Applied Ballistics offers three dozen FREE tech articles on its website. Curious about Coriolis? — You’ll find answers. Want to understand the difference between G1 and G7 BC? — There’s an article about that.

“Doc” Beech, technical support specialist at Applied Ballistics says these articles can help shooters working with ballistics programs: “One of the biggest issues I have seen is the misunderstanding… about a bullet’s ballistic coefficient (BC) and what it really means. Several papers on ballistic coefficient are available for shooters to review on the website.”

Credit Shooting Sports USA Editor John Parker for finding this great resource. John writes: “Our friends at Applied Ballistics have a real gold mine of articles on the science of accurate shooting on their website. This is a fantastic source for precision shooting information[.] Topics presented are wide-ranging — from ballistic coefficients to bullet analysis.”

READ All Applied Ballistics Articles HERE »

Here are six (6) of our favorite Applied Ballistics articles, available for FREE as PDF files. There are 31 more, all available on the Applied Ballistics Articles Webpage.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
July 16th, 2018

New Mobile App for LabRadar Chronograph

LabRadar chronograph doppler mobile app android apple ios firmware update

Love your LabRadar chronograph? Or wish you owned one? Well now the LabRadar is even better. The makers of the advanced, Doppler-radar LabRadar system have introduced a versatile new LabRadar Mobile App that works with iOS (Apple) and Android systems.

The Mobile App lets you control the LabRadar remotely with your smartphone or laptop. This makes it easier when you position the LabRadar beyond arms reach (such as when using a suppressor). The App also makes it much easier and faster to change settings, display shot data, and download test results.

LabRadar Android Mobile App:
LabRadar chronograph doppler mobile app android apple ios firmware update

Initial feedback on the LabRadar Mobile App has been very positive, though it took some guys a couple tries to get everything working right. Android users — be sure to turn on your “Location Services”. You’ll find a full discussion of the LabRadar App, with set-up tips, on our Shooters’ Forum. Read HERE.

LabRadar iOS (Apple) App, iPad Version:
LabRadar chronograph doppler mobile app android applie ios firmware update

Here’s a recent review from a LabRadar owner using an Android phone: “[This App] makes the LabRadar exponentially more useful without additional cost. Firmware update to 1.20 was uneventful and quick. No issues running this on a Samsung Galaxy S9+. Shot series can be reviewed on the phone while disconnected from the radar. While connected you can change the radar settings from within the App. Great features and flawless execution.”

LabRadar Mobile App Functionality
With the new Mobile App, you can control your Labradar from your smartphone or tablet with its Bluetooth connection. Manage, store or delete the information in your series as you wish. View your data and summaries displayed in list or table formats. Even view a graph of speed vs. distance.

– Control your LabRadar from your smartphone or tablet
— Display Single Shot Stats: Velocity, Energy, Power Factor
— Display Shot Series Stats: Average, ES, SD, Hi/Lo Shot
— View Velocity by Distance as Graph and List
— Arm, disarm, and change your settings

How to Install and Use LabRadar Mobile App

First get the LabRadar App for your mobile device. Download the Android App from Google Play. Get the iOS (Apple) Version from the Apple App Store. You may also need to update your LabRadar Firmware.

labradar mobile app android google play labradar mobile app apple Ios

Firmware Update to Enable Bluetooth
LabRadar owners may need to upgrade their chrono’s Firmware to allow the unit to communicate with the Mobile App. The latest firmware will enable the Bluetooth connectivity on your LabRadar device. Download the new Firmware v1.2.2 by following the link below.

1. Go to http://www.mylabradar.com/download/
2. Select: Labradar Firmware v1.2.2 (English) Mobile App Ready.
3. Copy the FWA and FWB files to a SD card (or use the USB cable method).
4. Insert the SD card in your Labradar and turn it on.
5. On your Android Device, make sure your location services is enabled.
6. IMPORTANT — Do NOT PAIR your Bluetooth device to the Labradar! When using the mobile App simply connect to your Labradar from within the App.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product, News No Comments »
June 20th, 2018

Chrono Comparison Test: LabRadar, Magnetospeed, & Oehler 35P

labradar chronograph test magnetospeed V3 oehler 35P 6mmBR Ackley BRA

We see comparison tests of cars, cameras, and other hardware. But how about chronographs? What could we learn by setting up three different chronographs, and running a 20-shot string over all three at the same time. One of our Forum members, Randy S. (aka AAA) did that very test with three of the best chronographs you can buy: LabRadar, MagnetoSpeed, and an Oehler model 35P. The MagnetoSpeed was attached to the barrel of an F-Class rig, with the LabRadar placed on the left side of the shooting bench. The Oehler 35P was positioned about 23 feet downrange. The photo above shows the set-up. A 20-shot string was recorded with the results in a spreadsheet.

AAA talks about this interesting experiment in a Shooters’ Forum Thread. Here is his report:

Comparison Testing Three Chronographs

We all have our favorite chronograph. Each gives a number, but how would that number compare to the same round fired with another chronograph? I wanted to know so a friend and I set up the following test with three chronographs: LabRadar, MagnetoSpeed V3, and Oehler Model 35P.

For the test we fired Berger 105gr VLDs over the three chronographs simultaneously. The test rifle was my 6mm BR Ackley (BRA) F-class rig with fire-formed brass and 200 rounds on the new barrel.

Chronogaphs Tested
LabRadar
MagnetoSpeed V3
Oehler Model 35P
Temperature: 86 deg. F
Elevation: 854 feet
Cartridge: 6mm BRA (105gr Berger VLD)
Time between shots: 45 seconds

To start off, five rounds were fired to make sure all systems were recording and to warm the barrel. Then the test was 20 shots fired across all three instruments with 45 seconds between shots. The Oehler was set 7.5 yards from the muzzle so 12 FPS was added to the recorded value.

We were using the internal trigger on the LabRadar. The manual says the Vo indicated is the actual muzzle velocity when using the internal trigger, but not if using the Doppler. The 12 FPS Oehler adjustment (back to MV) was based on the Berger Ballistics Calculator.

Results of the Triple Chronograph Shoot-Out:

labradar chronograph test magnetospeed V3 oehler 35P 6mmBR Ackley BRA

LR-M is FPS variance between LabRadar and MagnetoSpeed V3. LR-O is FPS variance between LabRadar and distance-adjusted Oehler 35P. You can see all three chronos were very consistent. SD was identical with the LabRadar and MagnetoSpeed. CLICK HERE for spreadsheet.

The tester, Randy S. (aka AAA) says: “Judge for yourself, but I was impressed by all.”

Comments by Forum Members
Our Forum members expressed interest in this Triple Chronograph test. Some confirmed that the LabRadar and Magnetospeed give very similar FPS numbers, based on their own tests:

“Great test and thanks for sharing. I’ve tested my MagnetoSpeed and LabRadar together and results are always within 2-4 FPS of one another.” — Big D

“Very happy to see your numbers support my decision to buy a MagnetoSpeed. Had read reports comparing it to the Oehler and the numbers I get seem to be supported by my long range shooting results. Many thanks for taking the time and effort [to perform] this comparative test. Always good to get actual test results.” — Texas10

“I did a 4-shot test with my MagnetoSpeed and another shooter’s LabRadar a couple of days ago. The results were within 4 fps with the LabRadar being optimistic.” — Pat Miles

Forum Member Powderbreak studied AAA’s original spreadsheet from the chronograph trio test, then figured out the shot-by-shot FPS variance between the machines. He concluded that all the machines performed very well. Powderbreak posted:

Analyzing the Triple Chronograph Test — What Can We Conclude?

AAA did a great job of comparing the 3 chronos. What conclusions can be drawn?

1) I have not checked the manufacturer’s claims of accuracy, but the three chronos are very close to one another. There is no way for us to determine the actual true velocities, but we do not need to do so. Any of the chronos would be more than adequate for an accurate shooter.

2) The resolution of the three chronographs is actually pretty astounding. One foot per second (FPS) is a resolution of 0.033%.

3) AAA did a great job of reloading a very consistent round. With an extreme spread of 33 fps out of 3014 for 20 rounds, that is only 1.09% total spread of velocities.

4) There is a closer velocity match between the MagnetoSpeed and the LabRadar, but that does not mean the Oehler is less accurate. There is simply an offset between the Oehler and the other two. This could be due to the greater distance, the location, or the internal working of the Oehler.

5) Believe your chronograph, it is probably the most accurate reloading tool that you own.

Brian Litz of Applied Ballistics carefully explained the operation, set-up, accuracy and comparison of AB’s chronographs in his books. [Those books] are well worth the money, and give great insight into the workings of chronographs.” — Powderbreak

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Tech Tip 6 Comments »
June 18th, 2018

Bargain Finder 143: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Brownells — Smith & Wesson SD9VE 9mm, $249.99 with CODE

Smith Wesson SD9V 9mm carry pistol handgun bargain brownells

The two-tone Smith & Wesson SD9VE 9mm pistol features contrasting stainless-steel slide and barrel. Weighing just 22.7 oz, this DAO pistol ships with two 16-round magazines, offering plenty of fire-power. Overall length is 7.2″ with a 4″-long barrel. Both front and rear sights are drift-adjustable. This is a nice medium-sized pistol that shoots well. The Smith & Wesson SD9VE is on sale now at Brownells. Sale price is currently $259.99 with a $10 handling charge. SAVE MORE: During check-out at Brownells.com, you can use code “M8Y” to receive $20 Off and get FREE delivery. That lowers your net cost to just $249.99 shipped to your FFL.

2. Natchez — Weaver 6-24x42mm V-Series Scope, $359.99

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder deals Weaver Varmint scope 6-24x40mm

The Weaver 6-24x42mm Classic V-Series scope is a smart, affordable choice for a high-volume varmint rifle, such as a prairie dog rig used from a portable bench or “war wagon”. The 6-24X zoom range provides plenty of magnification for long shots on prairie dogs. The handy Ballistic-X reticle provides multiple hold points (zero at 100 and use the lower dots for longer ranges). The front objective parallax control isn’t trendy, but it IS precise and very reliable. For a rifle that might shoot 400 rounds in a day, the simplicity and reliability of front parallax is a plus.

3. Cabela’s — Steel Gong with Frame, $69.99 (Free Ship with Code)

RCBS Chargemaster lite powder scale dispenser sale Amazon

Everyone likes shooting gongs. There’s nothing like hearing that satisfying “clang” when you hit your target, and seeing the gong swing. Ring now, Cabela’s has a great deal on a complete 10″ Gong Target System with frame. The 10″-diameter, 0.55″-thick AR500 steel gong produces sound and movement with each hit. This kit comes complete with AR500 gong, hardened steel chain, S-hooks, and powder-coated steel frame. You can put the frame together without tools, so this Gong system is easy to set up and take down. This week this Gong System is on sale for just $69.99, a $30.00 savings. Plus shipping is free when you use CODE FREESHIP during checkout.

4. LabRadar Chronograph — $50 Off, Sale Ends June 24

LabRadar Radar Doppler chronograph summer sale $50 off chrono lab-radar Bruno shooters Creedmoor

If you’ve been wanting to get a LabRadar Chronograph, now’s a good time. You can now save $50 on this very advanced piece of technology — probably the most sophisticated chronograph system ever offered to the general public. That’s notable because you almost never see this discounted below the $559.95 MAP price. You can save $50.00 on this unit now through June 24, 2018. This is a factory-authorized, once-a-year Summer Sale. The sale extends through 6/24/2018. You can get the LabRadar from top vendors including Creedmoor Sports, Bruno Shooters Supply, and Midsouth Shooters Supply.

NOTE: LabRadar has just released new software that permits control from a mobile device via Bluetooth. CLICK HERE to download. The latest LabRadar firmware will enable the Bluetooth connectivity.

5. Amazon — Midland Walkie-Talkie Set, $61.34

Midland walkie talkie handheld radio par set pack charger FRS GMRS VHF

Walkie-Talkies are “must-have” items for long-range shooting. The 50-CH Midland GXT1000VP4 Two-Way Radio set is Amazon’s #1 Best Seller among FRS/GMRS Handheld Radios. Priced under $65.00, this Midland two-unit kit includes earbuds plus both 12V and 120V chargers. This Midland set features 50 Channels with impressive range, so they’re good for hunting. These units include Vibrate Alert and 9 Levels of VOX for Hands Free Operation. There’s also a handy, Rapid Weather Scan feature.

6. Whittaker Guns — Howa Mini Action .223 Rem, $349.99

Howa Mini Action .223 Rem varmint rifle

This is hard for a varmint hunter to resist. You can get a complete Howa .223 Rem rifle for $349.99 — about the price of a replacement barrel blank for a Remington. This little gem has a smooth, short-throw Mini Action with Howa’s excellent two-stage trigger. The .223 Rem is a fine choice for prairie dog work, with good barrel life and great factory ammo options. Yes we’d prefer a heavier barrel for extended shooting sessions, but this is still a great price on a fine little rifle.

7. Amazon — RCBS ChargeMaster Lite, $186.99

RCBS Chargemaster lite powder scale dispenser sale Amazon

Need a good, modern electronic scale/dispenser? The modern ChargeMaster Lite offers good performance for the price — now $186.99 at Amazon and $187.49 Brownells. But at Brownells, with Code NCS you can get $15 off and free shipping — lowering your net cost to $172.49! That’s a killer deal — other retailers are charging up to $260.00 for this machine. Once calibrated, we found the ChargeMaster Lite’s dispensing to be very accurate. RCBS claims +/-0.1 grain. This newer machine is a bit easier to program than the original ChargeMaster. Verified purchasers have been happy, but with one complaint: “You cannot turn off the beeping. The [original ChargeMaster] has a way to mute the beeping. This one does not.” Take note.

8. Amazon — NRR 31 Muffs and Eyewear Kit with Case, $29.99

NRR 33 ear muffs eyewear shooting case ear plugs

Here is a great combo package that offers complete eye and ear protection for shooters at the range. The Ear Muffs feature a 6-piece noise filtration system that effectively blocks low, mid, & high range frequencies, giving them an impressive NRR 31 noise reduction rating. The muffs ship with a nice zippered case that also holds the supplied safety eyewear. This kit also comes with ten (10) NRR 33 foam earplugs. You can order the kit with either clear eyewear or smoke-tinted lenses.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Handguns, Hot Deals, Optics 1 Comment »
June 18th, 2018

Gun Science: Engineers Plot Shots with Accelerometers

Texas Waterloo labs Youtube accelerometer gun .22 LR pistol test triangulation
A team of Texas engineers uses the principle of convolution to plot shot impacts. By triangulating data from multiple accelerometers, each shot’s exact point of impact can be plotted with great precision.

Waterloo Labs is a group of engineers from National Instruments and other self-declared “nerds” from Austin, Texas. These folks conducted an interesting demonstration using electronic accelerometers to plot bullet impacts from a suppressed Ruger MKIII .22LR pistol. The accelerometers respond to vibrations caused when the bullets hit a drywall target backer. By triangulating data from multiple accelerometers, each shot’s exact point of impact can be plotted with great precision. These point-of-impact coordinates are then fed into a computer and super-imposed into a Flash version of the Half-Life video game (which is projected on the drywall board). The end result is being able to “play” a video game with a real firearm.

triaxial accelerometerDo-It-Yourself Electronic Target System?
Now, we are NOT particularly interested in shooting Zombies in a video game. However, the technology has interesting potential applications for real shooters. Waterloo Labs has published the computer code, used to triangulate bullet impacts from multiple accelerometers. Potentially, a system like this could be built to provide display and scoring of long-range targets. Sophisticated electronic target systems already exist, but they use proprietary hardware and software, and they are very expensive. The Waterloo Labs experiment shows that shooters with some computer and electronic skills could build their own electronic scoring system, one that can be adapted to a variety of target sizes and materials.

In addition, we imagine this system could be utilized for military and law enforcement training. The walls of structures used for “live-fire” room-clearing exercises could be fitted with accelerometers so the bullet impacts could be plotted and studied. Then, later, the impact plots could be combined with a computer simulation so that trainees could “replay” their live-fire sessions, viewing the actual location of their hits (and misses).

Credit The Firearm Blog for finding this Waterloo Labs project.
Permalink - Videos, Handguns, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
June 10th, 2018

LabRadar Chronograph Summer Sale — Save $50.00

LabRadar Radar Doppler chronograph summer sale $50 off chrono lab-radar Bruno shooters Creedmoor

If you didn’t catch our Deals of the Week last Monday, here’s another “heads up”. If you’re thinking of getting a LabRadar chronograph, now’s the time to buy. You can save $50.00 on this unit now through June 24, 2018. Take note — these devices are controlled with MAP pricing, so you won’t see other discounts. This is a factory-authorized, once-a-year Summer Sale.

This sale is notable because you never see this discounted below the $559.95 MAP price. The sale extends through 6/24/2018. You can get the LabRadar from top vendors including Creedmoor Sports, Bruno Shooters Supply, and Midsouth Shooters Supply.

Bart Sauter Ray Gross LabRadar Benchrest Review Chronograph Bench tripod

About the LabRadar Chronograph
The LabRadar is probably the most sophisticated chronograph system ever offered to the general public. It is extremely precise yet easy to deploy. The LabRadar’s Doppler Radar technology offers many advantages compared to the traditional analog chrono — no tripods needed, no ambient light required, works on any type of projectile, no matter what caliber or speed. The LabRadar records all shot velocities, then calculates velocity extreme spread (ES), average velocity, and standard deviation (SD). It can also export all your shot data to your computer or laptop. And very soon a new LabRadar Mobile App will be offered that will let you control your LabRadar with an iOS or Android smartphone.

The LabRadar Ballistic Velocity Doppler Radar Chronograph can track a wide range of devices, calibers, and projectiles. It works with airguns, handguns, rifles — even suppressed weapons. (It can even time arrows fired from bows.) A key advantage of the LabRadar is that is can be set to the SIDE of your rifle — you don’t need to go downrange to set up screens on a tripod. You can put the LabRadar right on the bench. Ace shooter and bullet-maker Bart Sauter even uses his LabRadar during matches.

Bart Sauter Ray Gross LabRadar Benchrest Review Chronograph Bench tripod

Full LabRadar Field Test/Review by Ray Gross

If you are considering purchasing a LabRadar Chronograph system, we strongly suggest you read the very thorough and informative LabRadar Review by Ray Gross, past Captain of the USA F-TR team.

Bart Sauter Ray Gross LabRadar Benchrest Review Chronograph Bench tripod

Permalink Hot Deals, Tech Tip No Comments »
June 4th, 2018

BargainFinder 141: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. LabRadar Chronograph — $50 Off, Sale June 8-24

LabRadar Radar Doppler chronograph summer sale $50 off chrono lab-radar Bruno shooters Creedmoor

If you’ve been wanting to get a LabRadar Chronograph, now’s a good time. You can now save $50 on this very advanced piece of technology — probably the most sophisticated chronograph system ever offered to the general public. That’s notable because you never see this discounted below the $559.95 MAP price. Now Read Carefully — this Sale Pricing is available starting Friday June 8, 2018. The sale extends through 6/24/2018. You can get the LabRadar from top vendors including Bruno Shooters Supply and Creedmoor Sports. Remember the $509.95 Sale Pricing starts Friday, June 8th. But you may want to call your favorite retailer and reserve a LabRadar unit today.

2. CDNN — Winchester XR Rifle $289.99 with $50 Rebate

Winchester XPR Rifle Rebate discount Summer sale

We like the Winchester XPR as an affordable, entry-level hunting rifle. The three-lug bolt has a short throw, the mags seat easily and the rifle balances well. CDNN is offering the XPR for just $339.99. That’s a great price, but it gets even better. Winchester is offering a $50.00 factory rebate, lowering your net cost to just $289.99. That’s less than you’ll pay for a new custom barrel! This CDNN deal is available now for five popular chamberings: .243 Win, .270 Win, 7mm08, .308 Win, and .30-06. Winchester’s $50 Factory Rebate applies to any new Winchester XPR rifle purchased from May 25 through July 15, 2018. For more info, visit rebates.winchesterguns.com.

3. Cabela’s Armor Xtreme Plus Single Long-Gun Case — $119.00

cabela's rifle case 52

Many match rifles have barrels 28″-30″ long, and a brake/tuner can add even more length. It can be difficult to find a hardshell case that is long enough but also affordable and not too bulky. Cabela’s has a rifle case that fits the bill — the new Armor Xtreme Plus Single Long-Gun Case. This measures a full 52″ long INSIDE. Waterproof, dustproof, and O-ring sealed, this case meets airline requirements, with a pressure-release valve to equalize pressure during air travel. This case, which has a Lifetime Warranty, was recommended by a Forum member: “I own several Cabela’s Armor Extreme long gun cases — very solid and I really like them. The double case is really heavy and bulky for just a routine range trip with one rifle. The older single model is 48” x 8.5” on the inside. Cabela’s changed the single rifle design to make it longer and wider — it is now 52″ x 11.5″ inside – just right for me.” This Cabela’s case weighs 13.5 pounds, and external dimensions are: 53.5″ L x 14″ W x 5″ H.

4. MidwayUSA — Vortex 6-24x50mm HS LR for $399.00

Vortex HS deal bargain Viper 6-24x50mm Sportsman's News

Vortex HS deal bargain Viper 6-24x50mm Sportsman's NewsThe Vortex Viper HS features side-focus parallax, low-dispersion glass, and a BDC Reticle (shown at right) that has hold-over marks. That can be useful in the varmint fields. (Do your own testing to find the distance settings of the hold-overs with your cartridge and velocity.) The Viper has a 30mm main tube and weighs 21.4 ounces without rings. Max elevation and windage travel are both 42 MOA — plenty for typical varmint applications. At 6X power, the 100-yard Field of View is 17.8 feet.

This Viper HS scope comes with the full Vortex VIP lifetime warranty. MidwayUSA’s $399.99 price is a very good deal. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) is $699.00.

CLICK HERE for video of 6-24x50mm Vortex Viper HS LR model. This is NOT the same as the basic Viper HS, but it shares many features.

5. GunBuyer — Mossberg 12ga Tactical Shotgun, $309.99

Mossberg model 500 20

A strong argument can be made that the best home defense firearm is a 12 gauge shotgun. This Mossberg 500 is a reliable 12ga pump-gun with useful upgrades including ghost-ring sights and barrel heat-shield. This Model 500 Tactical boasts an 8-shell capacity and weighs 7 pounds unloaded. Order now from GunBuyer.com for $309.00.

6. Brownells — Howa Barreled Actions on Sale, Starting at $259.99

Memorial Day Sale Brownells Monday deals sale

Right now, Brownells is running a big sale on Howa Barreled Actions, in a wide variety of chamberings. You may want to pick up one of these barreled actions, which start at $259.99. We like Howa actions — they are smooth, and they feature an excellent two-stage trigger. Howa also offers a unique Mini Action, which is great for a small-caliber varmint rig. Here are some of the Howa Barreled Actions currently in stock at Brownells. NOTE: This is just a partial sample — there are many other varieties:

.223 Rem, 20″ Heavy Barrel, $399.99
6.5 Grendel, Mini Heavy Barrel, $389.99
6.5 Creedmoor, 24″ Heavy Barrel, $399.99
6.5 Creedmoor, 26″ Heavy Barrel, $429.99
7mm-08, Std Cerakote, $579.99
7.62×39, Mini Light Barrel, $259.99
.308 Win, 20″ Heavy Barrel, $289.99
.308 Win, 24″ Heavy Barrel, $299.99
.30-06 Sprg, 22″ Sporter Barrel, Cerakote, $349.99
.300 Win Mag, 24″ Heavy Barrel, $279.99

7. Cheaper Than Dirt — Browning .22LR Ammo, $19.95 for 400 Rds

.22 LR 22LR rimfire ammunition ammo best price

The “good old days” are back. You can now buy 400 rounds of Big Name, American-made .22 LR Rimfire ammo for under twenty bucks. That’s just five cents ($0.05) per round. Right now Cheaper Than Dirt is offering Browning Performance Rimfire (BPR) 40gr LRN rimfire ammo for just $19.95. That works out to just five cents ($0.05) per round. Send 100 rounds down range for the price of a Big Mac at McDonalds.

8. Amazon — Jialitte Scope Bubble Level, $11.99

Scope Optic bubble level 30mm 1

If you shoot long range, you need a scope level. This nicely designed Jialitte Scope Bubble Level is fully CNC-machined to close tolerances for a good fit. It features a 30mm milled inside diameter, plus an inner insert ring so it will also fit 1″-diameter main tubes — that dual-diameter versatility is a nice feature. We also like the way the unit is nicely radiused, and has a low profile in the middle. User reviews have been very positive. You could easily pay $35.00 or more for a 30mm scope level. Purchasers have praised this product — almost all verified buyers have rated this five stars.

9. Midsouth — Hornady 17 HMR Ten Boxes for $84.99

Hornady 17 HMR week deal varmint V-Max ammo ammunition sale

Varmint hunters take note. Here’s a great deal on premium 17 HMR ammo. Midsouth is selling 500 rounds of Hornady 17 HMR ammo for $84.99. That works out to just $8.50 per 50-rd box — the best price we’ve seen in a while. Loaded with 17gr V-Max bullets, this ammo is accurate — expect about 1 MOA at 100 yards in a good rifle. The V-Max bullets are effective on small varmints out to 200 yards.

10. Amazon — First Aid Kit, $16.99

Preparify First Aid Kit Amazon $16.99 bandages tourniquet hunting

Every hunter or shooting sports enthusiast should have a first aid kit available during hunts and trips to the range. This handy Preparify First Aid Kit is 7.9″ x 6″ x 3.1″, so it’s small enough to stow in a backpack, range-bag, or glove-box. It contains 35 products (100 pieces) including: scissors, lancets, tweezers, tourniquet, CPR mask, emergency blanket, splints, safety pins, cold pack, cleaning wipes, sterile pads, bandages, whistle, first aid booklet (and more). Everything is visible in clear pockets, with space to add a few extra items. A best-selling product on Amazon, this compact first-aid kit is a good value at $16.99.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals, Optics No Comments »
May 8th, 2018

New Mobile Apps for LabRadar to Be Released Soon

LabRadar chronograph doppler radar chrono mobile app iOS iphone smartphone android phone

LabRadar owners can celebrate. New mobile-friendly control software is coming soon. Gunsmith and Benchrest Hall of Famer Thomas “Speedy” Gonzalez had some interesting news from the NRA Show in Dallas. He learned that the creators of the LabRadar chronograph systems will soon offer Mobile Apps that can run on your iOS or Android smartphone or tablet. This new software will make it much easier to control the LabRadar, and offer enhanced data editing functionality.

New LabRadar iOS and Android Mobile Apps Coming Soon…

LabRadar chronograph doppler radar chrono mobile app iOS iphone smartphone android phoneSpeedy says: “I just got back from the NRA show in Dallas, Texas. The coolest thing I personally saw at the show was at the LabRadar booth. They had the Beta versions of their new LabRadar Apps for the iPhone and Android phones. These Apps let you control all LabRadar functions from your phone as well as your tablet via Bluetooth connection. The new Apps will also allow the LabRadar owner to store and edit his or her data from a much larger and user friendly screen.”

That’s good news. We particularly like the ability to edit LabRadar data on a tablet. Speedy added: “This is going to revolutionize this great product and make it [much more] user-friendly.”

The new LabRadar Mobile Apps will be available free for LabRadar owners. If you own a LabRadar, be sure to register your LabRadar on the LabRadar Website. That will ensure you are notified via email as soon as the software is available. To register, look for the text link at the top right of the LabRadar homepage. It says “Register your LabRadar “. Click the link then fill out the data form.

LabRadar chronograph doppler radar chrono mobile app iOS iphone smartphone android phone

Permalink New Product, Tech Tip No Comments »
April 3rd, 2018

Don’t Kill the Chrono! Setting up Chronos to Avoid Stray Shots

chronograph placement, shooting chrony, chrono, advisory, tech tip

There is nothing more frustrating (or embarassing) than sending a live round into your expensive new chronograph. As the photo below demonstrates, with most types of chronographs (other than the barrel-hung Magnetospeed), you can fatally injure your expensive chrono if it is not positioned precisely.

When setting up a chrono, we always unload the rifle, remove the bolt and bore-sight to ensure that the path of the bullet is not too low. When bore-sighting visually, set up the rifle securely on the sandbags and look through the bore, breech to muzzle, lining up the barrel with your aim point on the target. Then (during an appropriate cease-fire), walk behind the chronograph. Looking straight back through the “V” formed by the sky-screens, you should be able to see light at the end of the barrel if the gun is positioned correctly. You can also use an in-chamber, laser bore-sighter to confirm the visual boresighting (see photo).

Laser boresighter chronograph

Adjust the height, angle and horizontal position of the chronograph so the bullet will pass through the middle of the “V” below the plastic diffusers, no less than 5″ above the light sensors. We put tape on the front sky-screen supports to make it easier to determine the right height over the light sensors.

Use a Test Backer to Confirm Your Bullet Trajectory
You can put tape on the support rods about 6″ up from the unit. This helps you judge the correct vertical height when setting up your rifle on the bags. Another trick is to hang a sheet of paper from the rear skyscreen and then use a laser boresighter to shine a dot on the paper (with the gun planted steady front and rear). This should give you a good idea (within an inch or so) of the bullet’s actual flight path through the “V” over the light sensors. Of course, when using a laser, never look directly at the laser! Instead shine the laser away from you and see where it appears on the paper.

chronograph set-up

Alignment of Chronograph Housing
Make sure the chrono housing is parallel to the path of the bullet. Don’t worry if the unit is not parallel to the ground surface. What you want is the bullet to pass over both front and rear sensors at the same height. Don’t try to set the chrono height in reference to the lens of your scope–as it sits 1″ to 2″ above your bore axis. To avoid muzzle blast interference, set your chronograph at least 10 feet from the end of the muzzle (or the distance recommended by the manufacturer).

chronograph laser sky screens

Rifles with Elevated Iron Sights
All too often rookie AR15 shooters forget that AR sights are positioned roughly 2.4″ above the bore axis (at the top of the front sight blade). If you set your bullet pass-through point using your AR’s front sight, the bullet will actually be traveling 2.4″ lower as it goes through the chrono. That’s why we recommend bore-sighting and setting the bullet travel point about 5-8″ above the base of the sky-screen support shafts. (Or the vertical distance the chronograph maker otherwise recommends). NOTE: You can make the same mistake on a scoped rifle if the scope is set on very tall rings, so the center of the cross-hairs is much higher than the bore axis line.

Laser boresighter chronograph

TARGET AIM POINT: When doing chrono work, we suggest you shoot at a single aiming point no more than 2″ in diameter (on your target paper). Use that aiming point when aligning your chrono with your rifle’s bore. If you use a 2″ bright orange dot, you should be able to see that through the bore at 100 yards. Using a single 2″ target reduces the chance of a screen hit as you shift points of aim. If you shoot at multiple target dots, place them in a vertical line, and bore sight on the lowest dot. Always set your chron height to set safe clearance for the LOWEST target dot, and then work upwards only.

Other Chronograph Tips from Forum Members:

When using a chronograph, I put a strip of masking tape across the far end of the skyscreens about two-thirds of the way up. This gives me a good aiming or bore-sighting reference that’s well away from the pricey bits. I learned that one the hard way. — GS Arizona

A very easy and simple tool to help you set up the chronograph is a simple piece of string! Set your gun (unloaded of course) on the rest and sight your target. Tie one end of the string to the rear scope ring or mount, then pull the string along the barrel to simulate the bullet path. With the string showing the bullet’s path, you can then easily set the chronograph’s placement left/right, and up/down. This will also let you set the chrono’s tilt angle and orientation so the sensors are correctly aligned with the bullet path. — Wayne Shaw

If shooting over a chrono from the prone position off a bipod or similar, beware of the muzzle sinking as recoil causes the front of the rifle to drop. I “killed” my first chronograph shooting off a gravel covered firing point where I’d not given enough clearance to start with and an inch or two drop in the muzzle caused a bullet to clip the housing. — Laurie Holland

Permalink - Articles, Shooting Skills, Tech Tip 5 Comments »
February 10th, 2018

Chrono Report — Using the LabRadar from Bench and Prone

Bart Sauter Ray Gross LabRadar Benchrest Review Chronograph Bench tripod

Bart Sauter of Barts Custom Bullets owns a LabRadar chronograph. He was curious to see how his loads performed in actual match conditions, so he brought his LabRadar to a match and set it up right on his benchtop. What he learned was quite surprising. For one thing, Bart found that tuning for the best accuracy (in the conditions), was NOT simply a matter of maintaining velocity. Read all about Bart’s experience in this AccurateShooter Forum Thread.

Bart has competed in short range Benchrest matches with the LabRadar on the bench! Bart observed: “The benches were quite close, but the LabRadar was able to pick up my shots even with the other guns going off very close to it. This is a pretty impressive piece of gear.” Bart’s LabRadar unit had no trouble picking up shots when set on the bench, a bit behind the muzzle. Bart noted: “Yes it can go a long way back. You can be a lot farther behind the muzzle then advertised. At home I could get back up to around 8 feet and pick up the bullet. It’s more sensitive about the side distance. I had mine on level 4. You can also point it at your buddy’s target and get his velocity.” Bart set his LabRadar to be triggered by the sound of the gun.

RAV battery pack Amazon.comLong-Life Battery Power
Powering the LabRadar at the range is not a problem. Bart used a portable battery pack that can power the LabRadar for a long time: “I bought a RavPower battery pack from Amazon.com. It was the most powerful compact cell phone charger they had and [it costs about $30.00]. It was able to run the LabRadar for two full days without recharging and still had juice.”

The LabRadar is a pretty expensive piece of kit, but there’s nothing else like it on the market. Bart notes: “The LabRadar itself is about $560.00. The stand is $29.95 for the bench mount and the padded carry case is $39.95. So you’re around $630.00 plus shipping.”

High-Quality Portable Base for LabRadar

Labradar Swivel base

If you want to use your LabRadar when shooting prone, there’s a smart new accessory you should consider buying. Matt Owens, one of our Forum members, has created a new, compact base for the LabRadar that works better than the flat, orange baseplate offered by the manufacturer. This $75 folding base is especially useful when shooting prone (see photo above). Matt, aka “Arkcomatt”, explains: “The folding base will fit in the LabRadar case with the unit. No more having to take apart! Just fold the legs. It takes up less room on the bench and allows you to get it closer to the rifle. It is very stable and holds up very well in high winds.” Forum member Peterson1 agrees: “This is more stable than the Labradar base for my use–off a concrete BR bench, yet takes up less space. Also easier/quicker to set unit up and aimed at target. Never take the unit off for transport in LabRadar case.” ORDER BASE HERE.

LabRadar base swivel base chronograph unit

Forum Member SkiUtah02 uses the base with optional spiked feet: “I bought my base with spikes for the feet to put into the ground. I removed the rubber feet, and screwed in the four spiked feet, [and mounted] an old photography lighting stand swivel head to the base! Worked perfectly. Thanks Matt!”

Full LabRadar Field Test/Review by Ray Gross

If you are considering purchasing a LabRadar Chronograph system, we strongly suggest you read the very thorough and informative LabRadar Review by Ray Gross, past Captain of the USA F-TR team.

Bart Sauter Ray Gross LabRadar Benchrest Review Chronograph Bench tripod

Permalink Optics, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
November 17th, 2017

LabRadar Chronograph on Sale for $499.95 ($60 Off)

labradar base unit arkcomatt stainless folding

The high-tech orange LabRadar represents the state-of-the-art in personal chronographs. It is extremely accurate, versatile, and you don’t need to go down-range to set it up. Some shooters have even used one during a benchrest shooting match (see below). LabRadars are used by many top shooting champions and the LabRadar chronograph has earned very positive reviews from respected testers such as Ray Gross, USA F-TR Team Captain.

Labradar Benchrest Bart Sauter

Lab-Radar Discounted for First-Time Ever — Save $60.00
Since its introduction a couple years ago, the LabRadar has been in high demand. And the manufacturer has enforced a “no-discount” policy. Now, for the first-time ever, you can get a LabRadar unit for a reduced price: $499.95. This reduced price, $60 off normal retail, is available now through December 3, 2017. Many vendors are offering the LabRadar at this discounted price including Bruno Shooters Supply, MidwayUSA, and TCK LLC. Other vendors Applied Ballistics and Midsouth don’t show the discount yet, but you can call and ask.

New High-Quality Portable Base for LabRadar Chronograph

If you currently own a LabRadar, or plan to buy one soon, there’s a smart new accessory you should consider buying. Matt Owens, one of our Forum members, has created a new, compact base for the LabRadar that works better than the flat, orange baseplate offered by the manufacturer.

labradar base unit arkcomatt stainless folding

Matt, aka “Arkcomatt”, explains: “These are machined from aluminum and put together with stainless steel screws. The rubber feet are held on with screws also. No more coming off. The legs have nylon washers between them and the base for smooth operation. The screws are torqued and thread locker applied. One of the best things is, with the standard attachment, it will fit in the case with the unit. No more having to take apart! Just fold the legs. It takes up less room on the bench and allows you to get it closer to the rifle. It is very stable and holds up very well in high winds.” ORDER BASE HERE.

labradar base unit arkcomatt stainless folding

labradar base unit arkcomatt stainless folding

This folding base unit costs $75.00 + $7.50 for shipping (USPS). In addition, Arkcomatt now offers a swivel (ball) mount and stainless spike feet (for ground use). The swivel unit costs $10 and spikes are $20 per set. The 1.4″-long spikes screw in the sames holes as the rubber feet.

labradar base unit arkcomatt stainless folding

Forum Member Praise Arkcomatt’s LabRadar Folding Base:
You can read user reviews of the Matt’s LabRadar base in this Forum Thread.

Bullet-maker Bart Sauter has one of these bases now and he endorses it: “These bases are great for the LabRadar. Stable and compact — completely grab and go!”

Forum member Peterson1 agrees: “This is more stable than the Labradar base for my use–off a concrete BR bench, yet takes up less space. Also easier/quicker to set unit up and aimed at target. Never take the unit off for transport in LabRadar case. Only negative — you can’t trade in the factory LabRadar base toward purchase of this base. So buy smart the first time!”

Forum Member SkiUtah02 uses the base with optional spiked feet: “Met up with Matt at the Sierra Cup and bought my base with … spikes for the feet to put into the ground. Just had a chance to test it today and it worked great. I removed the rubber feet, and screwed in the four spiked feet, added a threaded-rod-coupling nut onto the bolt so that I could mount an old photography lighting stand swivel head to the base! Worked perfectly. Thanks Matt!”

labradar base unit arkcomatt stainless folding

Permalink New Product, Tech Tip 4 Comments »
September 17th, 2017

MagnetoSpeed V3 Chrono Review by UltimateReloader.com

Gavin Gear Magnetospeed V3 Chronograph ultimatereloader.com

MagnetoSpeed’s technology has completely changed the market for firearms chronographs. With a MagnetoSpeed barrel-mounted chrono you can quickly and easily record muzzle velocity (MV) without having to set up tripods or walk down-range. The compact MagnetoSpeed chronos are easy to set up and transport. With the full-featured V3 model, everything you need comes in a small fitted case. In the top photo are the components used with the MagnetoSpeed V3 Kit:

1. V3 Bayonet sensor
2. Display and control unit
3. Bayonet spacers (plastic and rubber)
4. Cords and mounting hardware (left), suppressor heat shield (right)
5. Alignment rod (square cross-section)
6. Rail adapter (sold separately)

Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com recently reviewed the MagnetoSpeed V3 and came away impressed. Gavin explains the a good chrono is essential: “If you want to load and shoot precision ammunition, you need the tools that will produce and validate the precision of your loads. A good chronograph is one of those tools! In this post I’m going to introduce you to the MagnetoSpeed V3 chonograph, the high-end electromagnetic chronograph which fills out the top slot in MagnetoSpeed’s equipment portfolio.”

In this 11-minute video Gavin reviews MagnetoSpeed’s top-of-the-line V3 Chronograph. He shows what ships with the unit, how to set it up for both rifles and pistols, and then he puts it through its paces showing how it captures velocity data. Gavin says he will follow-up with future videos showing how to link the MagnetoSpeed V3 to your mobile phone and how to log velocity data for future reference. To learn more about this high-tech chrono, visit UltimateReloader.com.

READ Full MagnetoSpeed V3 Review on UltimateReloader.com

Gavin Gear Magnetospeed V3 Chronograph ultimatereloader.com

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review 10 Comments »
March 22nd, 2017

Chronograph Testing — Tips from the USAMU

USAMU Marksmanship Unit Velocity Chronograph Testing Sample Sizes

Each Wednesday, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit publishes a reloading “how-to” article on the USAMU Facebook page. This past week’s “Handloading Hump Day” article, the latest in a 7-part series, relates to chronograph testing and statistical samples. We highly recommend you read this article, which offers some important tips that can benefit any hand-loader. Visit the USAMU Facebook page next Wednesday for the next installment.

Chronograph Testing — Set-Up, Sample Sizes, and Velocity Factors

Initial Chronograph Setup
A chronograph is an instrument designed to measure bullet velocity. Typically, the bullet casts a shadow as it passes over two electronic sensors placed a given distance apart. The first screen is the “start” screen, and it triggers an internal, high-speed counter. As the bullet passes the second, or “stop” screen, the counter is stopped. Then, appropriate math of time vs. distance traveled reveals the bullet’s velocity. Most home chronographs use either 2- or 4-foot spacing between sensors. Longer spacing can add some accuracy to the system, but with high-quality chronographs, 4-foot spacing is certainly adequate.

Laboratory chronographs usually have six feet or more between sensors. Depending upon the make and model of ones chronograph, it should come with instructions on how far the “start” screen should be placed from one’s muzzle. Other details include adequate light (indoors or outdoors), light diffusers over the sensors as needed, and protecting the start screen from blast and debris such as shotgun wads, etc. When assembling a sky-screen system, the spacing between sensors must be extremely accurate to allow correct velocity readings.

Statistics: Group Sizes, Distances and Sample Sizes
How many groups should we fire, and how many shots per group? These questions are matters of judgment, to a degree. First, to best assess how ones ammunition will perform in competition, it should be test-fired at the actual distance for which it will be used. [That means] 600-yard or 1000-yard ammo should be tested at 600 and 1000 yards, respectively, if possible. It is possible to work up very accurate ammunition at 100 or 200 yards that does not perform well as ranges increase. Sometimes, a change in powder type can correct this and produce a load that really shines at longer range.

The number of shots fired per group should be realistic for the course of fire. That is, if one will be firing 10-shot strings in competition then final accuracy testing, at least, should involve 10-shot strings. These will reflect the rifles’ true capability. Knowing this will help the shooter better decide in competition whether a shot requires a sight adjustment, or if it merely struck within the normal accuracy radius of his rifle.

How many groups are needed for a valid test? Here, much depends on the precision with which one can gather the accuracy data. If shooting from a machine rest in good weather conditions, two or three 10-shot groups at full distance may be very adequate. If it’s windy, the rifle or ammunition are marginal, or the shooter is not confident in his ability to consistently fire every shot accurately, then a few more groups may give a better picture of the rifle’s true average.

(more…)

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip No Comments »
March 5th, 2017

Big Boomer Load Dev — .375 Caliber 400 Grainers at 3290 FPS

.375 Lethal Magnum Big Boomer KO2M Paul Phillips Applied Ballistics
Serious ammo — .375 Lethal Magnum rounds loaded with 400gr Cutting Edge Lazer bullets. One wag posted “They look like SCUD missiles.”

In the Extreme Long Range (ELR) game, great ballistics are paramount, but you also need excellent accuracy. The top ELR shooters campaign large-caliber rifles that boast truly remarkable accuracy, considering the massive cartridges they’re shooting (with 160+ grains of powder). These big boomers, such as the .375 Lethal Magnum shown above, can really hammer.

The winner of the 2016 King of 2 Miles (KO2M) event was Mitchell Fitzpatrick, shooting a .375 Lethal Mag cartridge, as part of Team Applied Ballistics. Another member of that squad, Paul Phillips, is also campaigning a new rifle chambered for the .375 Lethal Magnum. Paul was recently doing load development for his new beast, which features a McMillan stock, Nightforce scope, and Phoenix Bipod. Among his barrels for this rig is a massive, 38″-long Bartlein.

.375 lethal magnum

“I had a great time today doing load development at Applied Ballistics LLC laboratory with Bryan Litz, Bill Litz, and Mitchell Fitzpatrick. I was testing loads for my .375 Lethal Mag built by Lethal Precision Arms LLC. The last several test groups were sub half-min at 300 yards. Next testing is at 1800 yards.” — Paul Phillips

For this test, Paul’s load featured 400gr Cutting Edge Lazer bullets launched at a blistering 3290 FPS with Hodgdon H50BMG powder. Looks like Paul got his load dialed in “good and proper”. He fired a 0.9″ group at 300 yards, and the Oehler System 88 chronograph showed a very low Extreme Spread (ES) of just 5 FPS. That’s impressive even for just three shots.

A little snow on the ground can’t stop the Applied Ballistics testing team…
.375 Lethal Magnum Big Boomer KO2M Paul Phillips Applied Ballistics

Look carefully and you’ll find the powder charge weight — a bit more than you’d load in a 6PPC…
.375 Lethal Magnum Big Boomer KO2M Paul Phillips Applied Ballistics

Bryan Litz inspects the .375-caliber barrel with bore-scope.
.375 Lethal Magnum Big Boomer KO2M Paul Phillips Applied Ballistics

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition 7 Comments »
January 4th, 2017

Chrono No-Nos: Remember this Device is a Tool, Not a Target

accurateshooter.com target chrony shoot chronograph damage chrono

“Shooting Chrony” is a product name. “Shooting Chrony” should not describe (post-mortem) what you have been doing to your chronograph. Sooner or later all of us may make a mistake, and ventilate our chronograph. With luck, the bullet just “wings” your chronograph, and the damage is minor. But if you hit the unit smack dab in the middle, you may have to retire your chrono for good.

A while back, Forum member Jeff M. (aka “JRM850″) experienced a “low blow” that put his Shooting Chrony out of commission. With tongue firmly in cheek, Jeff started a Forum thread entitled Chronograph Not Picking Up Shots in Bright Sunlight Anymore. Looking at the photo at top, the problem is obvious — he ventilated his Chrono.

This was Jeff’s first chrono kill in 23 years of use, so we shouldn’t be too critical. Jeff explained: “I didn’t realize a friend was shifting from a 300-yard target to 100 yards.” The agent of destruction was a low-traveling 58gr V-Max running at 3415 fps. What happened? Well, when one is shooting at 300 yards, the trajectory will be higher than at 100 yards. We should say, however, that this may have been a low shot, or the 100-yard aiming point may have been placed lower to the ground (closer to the bottom of the target frame), as compared to the 300-yard aiming point.

Other Forum members offered some sarcastic responses:

Try it on an overcast day – it might work again.

It looks like the V-Max performed just about as advertised.

Aww…a little duct tape and some Super Glue and you’re good to go.

(more…)

Permalink Shooting Skills, Tech Tip 8 Comments »
December 1st, 2016

6.5 Guys Review $180.00 Magnetospeed Sporter Chrono

Magnetospeed Sporter Chrono Chron Chronograph Grafs.com 6.5 Guys

The 6.5 Guys have been testing the bargain-priced Magnetospeed Sporter chronograph. This compact chrono offers great utility at an affordable price — you can buy the Sporter for under $180.00. Strapped on your barrel, the MagnetoSpeed Sporter records velocities accurately without requiring any hardware to be placed downrange. Everything is self-contained at your shooting station, so you no longer have to waste time setting up tripods and aligning the bullet path through old-fashioned chrono skyscreens.

Watch Video Review of MagnetoSpeed Sporter by the 6.5 Guys:

The 6.5 Guys give the MagnetoSpeed Sporter two thumbs up:

“Optical chronographs have been in use for decades but can be cumbersome to deploy and don’t work well in certain weather conditions. The folks at MagnetoSpeed have addressed these shortcomings with a completely different technology that is extremely compact, cost effective, convenient to use, insensitive to weather conditions and, best of all, accurate.

We’ve been using the MagnetoSpeed since V1 and the only reason we use our optical chronographs is for situations where we cannot hang the bayonet from the gun barrel. This is the most convenient, accurate, and portable chronograph system that we have come across. You’re also less likely to damage your MagnetoSpeed when compared to optical chronographs (which seem to attract bullets). There are also a number of useful accessories available. As discussed in the video, the XFR adapter and associated smartphone application allows users with MagnetoSpeed Sporter and V3 displays to download their current (un-archived) shot series to their Android or iOS device.”

READ FULL MagnetoSpeed Sporter REVIEW on 6.5Guys.com

CLICK HERE for MagnetoSpeed Sporter specifications and operating instructions.

magnetospeed sporter

magnetospeed sporter

MagnetoSpeed Sporter in Stock Now at Grafs.com for $179.99

Deals of Week RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Kit

Priced at just $179.99 at Grafs.com, the Magnetospeed Sporter model costs less than half as much as Magnetospeed’s V3 models. This chronograph attaches directly to your barrel so you don’t have to go downrange to position tripods and set up skyscreens. For most people, the Sporter model contains all the features they need. READ Magnetospeed Sporter Review.

Permalink Gear Review, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
September 18th, 2016

Why MVs Supplied with Factory Ammo May Be Unreliable

muzzle velocity applied Ballistics MV chronograph

Why You CANNOT Rely on the MV Printed on the Ammo Box!
When figuring out your come-ups with a ballistics solver or drop chart it’s “mission critical” to have an accurate muzzle velocity (MV). When shooting factory ammo, it’s tempting to use the manufacturer-provided MV which may be printed on the package. That’s not such a great idea says Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics. Don’t rely on the MV on the box, Bryan advises — you should take out your chrono and run your own velocity tests. There are a number of reasons why the MV values on ammo packaging may be inaccurate. Below is a discussion of factory ammo MV from the Applied Ballistics Facebook Page.

Five Reasons You Cannot Trust the Velocity on a Box of Ammo:

1. You have no idea about the rifle used for the MV test.

2. You have no idea what atmospheric conditions were during testing, and yes it matters a lot.

3. You have no idea of the SD for the factory ammo, and how the manufacturer derived the MV from that SD. (Marketing plays a role here).

4. You have no idea of the precision and quality of chronograph(s) used for velocity testing.

5. You have no idea if the manufacturer used the raw velocity, or back-calculated the MV. The BC used to back track that data is also unknown.

1. The factory test rifle and your rifle are not the same. Aside from having a different chamber, and possibly barrel length some other things are important too like the barrel twist rate, and how much wear was in the barrel. Was it just recently cleaned, has it ever been cleaned? You simply don’t know anything about the rifle used in testing.

2. Temperature and Humidity conditions may be quite different (than during testing). Temperature has a physical effect on powder, which changes how it burns. Couple this with the fact that different powders can vary in temp-stability quite a bit. You just don’t know what the conditions at the time of testing were. Also a lot of factory ammunition is loaded with powder that is meter friendly. Meter friendly can often times be ball powder, which is less temperature stable than stick powder often times.

3. The ammo’s Standard Deviation (SD) is unknown. You will often notice that while MV is often listed on ammo packages, Standard Deviation (normally) is not. It is not uncommon for factory ammunition to have an SD of 18 or higher. Sometimes as high as 40+. As such is the nature of metering powder. With marketing in mind, did they pick the high, low, or average end of the SD? We really don’t know. You won’t either until you test it for yourself. For hand-loaded ammo, to be considered around 10 fps or less. Having a high SD is often the nature of metered powder and factory loads. The image below is from Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting: Volume II.

muzzle velocity applied Ballistics MV chronograph

4. You don’t know how MV was measured. What chronograph system did the manufacturer use, and how did they back track to a muzzle velocity? A chronograph does not measure true velocity at the muzzle; it simply measures velocity at the location it is sitting. So you need to back-calculate the distance from the chrono to the end of the barrel. This calculation requires a semi-accurate BC. So whose BC was used to back track to the muzzle or did the manufacturer even do that? Did they simply print the numbers displayed by the chronograph? What kind of chronograph setup did they use? We know from our Lab Testing that not all chronographs are created equal. Without knowing what chronograph was used, you have no idea the quality of the measurement. See: Applied Ballistics Chronograph Chapter Excerpt.

5. The MV data may not be current. Does the manufacturer update that data for every lot? Or is it the same data from years ago? Some manufacturers rarely if ever re-test and update information. Some update it every lot (ABM Ammo is actually tested every single lot for 1% consistency). Without knowing this information, you could be using data for years ago.

CONCLUSION: Never use the printed MV off a box of ammo as anything more than a starting point, there are too many factors to account for. You must always either test for the MV with a chronograph, or use carefully obtained, live fire data. When you are using a Ballistic Solver such as the AB Apps or Devices integrated with AB, you need to know the MV to an accuracy down to 5 fps. The more reliable the MV number, the better your ballistics solutions.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »
July 10th, 2016

Powder Comparison Test: H4350 vs. IMR 4451

Hodgdon H4350 IMR 4451 temperature powder test

Many Forum members have been looking for a good substitute for Hodgdon H4350 powder, which remains hard-to-find in many parts of the country. One of the best alternatives is IMR 4451, part of IMR’s new Enduron line of powders. Last year, top F-Class shooter Rick Jensen did a comparison between H4350 and IMR 4451, shooting the two powder in a wide range of temperatures. His data suggests that both powders show good temp stability.

Powder Comparison Test: H4350 vs. IMR 4451

Rick Jensen, Captain of the U.S. F-Open Rifle Team, has tested some of the new IMR 4451 powder. Rick and other team members were looking for a good powder that could replace Hodgdon 4350 which is difficult to obtain currently. The makers of IMR 4451 claim that it is not sensitive to temperature and that it delivers competitive accuracy. So far, Rick’s tests, done with a .284 Winchester and 180gr Berger Hybrids, appear to confirm those claims. Rick posts:

“I did a little informal powder comparison of H4350 versus the new IMR 4451. Rifle used was a Kelbly Panda with a 30″, 1:8.75″ twist 5R Bartlein barrel [chambered in .284 Win]. All charge weights were 50.0 grains using CCI BR2 primers. I was very impressed with this new powder and I believe it to be equal to H4350 as far as temperature sensitivity.

I did not test for accuracy but I will tell you my groups were pretty much equal between the two and all were in the .2-.3 MOA range. I will defiantly be shooting more of this powder in the weeks to come, assuming the supply chain will allow. It looks very encouraging to finally have a alternative to H4350 that we might actually be able to buy.”

Hodgdon H4350 IMR 4451 temperature powder test

Chronograph Results with Temps from 23° F to 101°
Here are chronograph results of a comparison test between IMR 4451 and H4350. Rick’s rifle was cleaned and allowed to cool between each test. Five fouling shots were fired before each test. Important: Note that for both Test #1 and Test #2, the powder order is reversed in the mid-temp fields (IMR 4451 first, then H4350). For the low and high temp entries, H4350 is listed first.

Hodgdon H4350 IMR 4451 temperature powder test

Here are the IMR 4451 fired cases, displayed Left to right, coldest to the hottest (in terms of case temp when fired). All charge weights were the same: 50.0 grains.

Hodgdon H4350 IMR 4451 temperature powder test

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April 26th, 2016

How NOT to Ventilate Your Chronograph — Set-Up Tips

chronograph placement, shooting chrony, chrono, advisory, tech tip

There is nothing more frustrating (or embarassing) than sending a live round into your expensive new chronograph. As the photo below demonstrates, with most types of chronographs (other than the barrel-hung Magnetospeed), you can fatally injure your expensive chrono if it is not positioned precisely.

When setting up a chrono, we always unload the rifle, remove the bolt and bore-sight to ensure that the path of the bullet is not too low. When bore-sighting visually, set up the rifle securely on the sandbags and look through the bore, breech to muzzle, lining up the barrel with your aim point on the target. Then (during an appropriate cease-fire), walk behind the chronograph. Looking straight back through the “V” formed by the sky-screens, you should be able to see light at the end of the barrel if the gun is positioned correctly. You can also use an in-chamber, laser bore-sighter to confirm the visual boresighting (see photo).

Laser boresighter chronograph

Adjust the height, angle and horizontal position of the chronograph so the bullet will pass through the middle of the “V” below the plastic diffusers, no less than 5″ above the light sensors. We put tape on the front sky-screen supports to make it easier to determine the right height over the light sensors.

Use a Test Backer to Confirm Your Bullet Trajectory
You can put tape on the support rods about 6″ up from the unit. This helps you judge the correct vertical height when setting up your rifle on the bags. Another trick is to hang a sheet of paper from the rear skyscreen and then use a laser boresighter to shine a dot on the paper (with the gun planted steady front and rear). This should give you a good idea (within an inch or so) of the bullet’s actual flight path through the “V” over the light sensors. Of course, when using a laser, never look directly at the laser! Instead shine the laser away from you and see where it appears on the paper.

chronograph set-up

Alignment of Chronograph Housing
Make sure the chrono housing is parallel to the path of the bullet. Don’t worry if the unit is not parallel to the ground surface. What you want is the bullet to pass over both front and rear sensors at the same height. Don’t try to set the chrono height in reference to the lens of your scope–as it sits 1″ to 2″ above your bore axis. To avoid muzzle blast interference, set your chronograph at least 10 feet from the end of the muzzle (or the distance recommended by the manufacturer).

chronograph laser sky screens

Rifles with Elevated Iron Sights
All too often rookie AR15 shooters forget that AR sights are positioned roughly 2.4″ above the bore axis (at the top of the front sight blade). If you set your bullet pass-through point using your AR’s front sight, the bullet will actually be traveling 2.4″ lower as it goes through the chrono. That’s why we recommend bore-sighting and setting the bullet travel point about 5-8″ above the base of the sky-screen support shafts. (Or the vertical distance the chronograph maker otherwise recommends). NOTE: You can make the same mistake on a scoped rifle if the scope is set on very tall rings, so the center of the cross-hairs is much higher than the bore axis line.

Laser boresighter chronograph

TARGET AIM POINT: When doing chrono work, we suggest you shoot at a single aiming point no more than 2″ in diameter (on your target paper). Use that aiming point when aligning your chrono with your rifle’s bore. If you use a 2″ bright orange dot, you should be able to see that through the bore at 100 yards. Using a single 2″ target reduces the chance of a screen hit as you shift points of aim. If you shoot at multiple target dots, place them in a vertical line, and bore sight on the lowest dot. Always set your chron height to set safe clearance for the LOWEST target dot, and then work upwards only.

Other Chronograph Tips from Forum Members:

When using a chronograph, I put a strip of masking tape across the far end of the skyscreens about two-thirds of the way up. This gives me a good aiming or bore-sighting reference that’s well away from the pricey bits. I learned that one the hard way. — German Salazar

A very easy and simple tool to help you set up the chronograph is a simple piece of string! Set your gun (unloaded of course) on the rest and sight your target. Tie one end of the string to the rear scope ring or mount, then pull the string along the barrel to simulate the bullet path. With the string showing the bullet’s path, you can then easily set the chronograph’s placement left/right, and up/down. This will also let you set the chrono’s tilt angle and orientation so the sensors are correctly aligned with the bullet path. — Wayne Shaw

If shooting over a chrono from the prone position off a bipod or similar, beware of the muzzle sinking as recoil causes the front of the rifle to drop. I “killed” my first chronograph shooting off a gravel covered firing point where I’d not given enough clearance to start with and an inch or two drop in the muzzle caused a bullet to clip the housing. — Laurie Holland

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