December 19th, 2019

How NOT to Ventilate Your Costly Chronograph — Set-UP Tips

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.

If you are using a LabRadar or Magnetospeed, your chrono shouldn’t be in the line of fire, but for those will conventional chronos, here’s some good advice…

Double Check Your Aim Point and Trajectory BEFORE You Shoot
The lesson learned here is that you should never change targets (or aim points) without checking your bullet’s flight over the chronograph. We like to align the barrel so the bullet exits a good 6-8 inches above the electronics (check your manual for recommended shot height).

In addition, we always boresight the barrel so we can see the actual target through the bore. Then, with gun UNLOADED, bolt removed and action clear, we look back down the barrel so we can see daylight through the bore, with the gun set on solid rests. If you look through the middle of the “V” formed by the sky screen supports and you can’t see light shining through the barrel’s bore, you probably have a set-up problem and you should re-align the rifle.

accurateshooter.com target chrony shoot chronograph damage chrono

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.

After you have used the laser boresighter to get the rifle centered up in the chrono’s “sweet spot”, confirm with a test shot or two (see photo). Even when using an in-chamber laser boresighter, it is not uncommon for the bullet’s actual point of impact to be different than the laser’s dot location.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
February 17th, 2019

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 6 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 »
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 »
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

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
May 17th, 2015

Embarrassing Moments: Shooting Chrony Bites the Dust

“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 below, the problem is obvious.

accurateshooter.com target chrony shoot chronograph damage 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.

(more…)

Permalink News, Tech Tip 12 Comments »
August 20th, 2012

LED Lamp Kit Improves Shooting Chrony Low-Light Performance

Here’s good news for owners of Shooting Chrony Chronographs — you can purchase a Chrony LED Lamp (CLL) upgrade kit that allows your Chrony to work indoors. In addition, the new LED illuminators will enhance outdoor performance in uneven or shaded lighting conditions. The CLL kit costs $87.95 and can be ordered directly from the Shooting Chrony Website, or from vendors such as MidwayUSA.com.

Shooting Chrony LED Lamp

Why the LED Illuminator Kit Is Needed
Shooting Chronys are popular “entry-level” chronographs. They are inexpensive to purchase and they stow compactly with their signature “folding box” design. This Editor used a Shooting Chrony (Beta Master model) for a few years with generally good results. However, I quickly learned that the Shooting Chrony gave the most reliable readings in diffuse mid-morning light with mildly overcast skies (thin cloud layer). The unit did not like to work in the late afternoon with the sun at a low angle. Likewise, uneven, shady conditions caused problems. In summertime, the ultra-bright, noontime summer sun, directly overhead, seemed to “over-power” the diffusers, causing errors. So, I learned to do my speed tests only when conditions were most favorable for the Shooting Chrony. Now, admittedly, not all Shooting Chronys are so temperamental — I’ve seen a few that worked great in bright overhead sunlight. But most Shooting Chronys do seem to struggle with shady conditions or low-angle sunlight.

LED Lamp Kit Components and Accessories
To improve Shooting Chrony reliability in all light conditions, Shooting Chrony offers a $87.95 LED kit (Item #110) that comes with LED-equipped 14″ white diffusers mounted on 16″ wire support rods. The LEDs provide a constant, consistent light source, so you can shoot in the late afternoon and evenings. The kit includes a 120V/220V AC Adapter, output 12VDC @500mA. If AC power is not available, you can run the LED Lamp with an optional 12v dc “Power Station” battery pack (Item #111, $47.95), or you can draw 12v current through an available cigarette lighter-style adapter (Item #112, $10.00).

Shooting Chrony LED Lamp

LED Kit Users Say It Works
We haven’t tested the LED kit ourselves yet, but here’s what one kit buyer had to say:
“If you shot in poor light, you are going to miss velocities no matter what chronograph you are using. You go to all the work of assembling your handloads, set up the chronograph, and then shoot at the target through the detectors… only to get ‘Err 2′ or ‘Err 9′ and use up most or all of the carefully assembled handloads without getting any velocity data. The Chrony LED Lamp assembly has been perfect. Bright sun/no clouds, hazy/cloudy, or shadows/shade makes no difference — all the readings come through without a single ‘Err X’ code. Current draw is also surprisingly low. With the C.L.L. on for five straight hours, the battery pack still shows a full charge.”

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