Chronograph Recommendation

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by Jesse17, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. Jesse17

    Jesse17 Member

    Apr 21, 2011
    I bought a Chrony F-1 chronograph a month or two ago and the dang thing was trying to tell me WWB .45 acp was in the 400's fps. and my reloads were in the 800's and 900's (which is what I expected on the reloads). I asked the dealer at my LGS (in Ace Hardware) and he said it was just the cheap WWB ammo I was getting from Wally World. So I took it out a second time and this time it was again reading in the 300's and 400's fps. With the occational few reading at 3000+ fps. :eek: and my reloads were reading from 500 - 900 fps.

    Obviously the chrono is to blame, and I'm going to try to return it tomorrow. What I'm wondering is if you guys can recommend a reliable, easy to use, economical chrono? I really didn't like the erector-set feel of the Chrony F-1. The bonnets are each 3 pieces that snap together and each support rod is two pieces. More than once I've had the whole thing 'blow up' on me and fling rods and bonnets all over the place.

    I don't much care to get too fancy, I just want something that isn't a PITA to haul to the range and set up, and is reliable.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2012
  2. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2009
    SW Fort Worth
    RCBS has a good one, but I'm suprised you're having problems with your F-1. Chrony makes a great reliable product; this one must have just been a very rare dud. Where did you buy it from?

  3. Jesse17

    Jesse17 Member

    Apr 21, 2011
    I got it from Ace Hardware. We only have one LGS other than Ace and the Ace carries nearly everything the 'gun shop' does and for better prices.
  4. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2009
    SW Fort Worth

    Our Ace also has a firearms dept and they're good guys to deal with. It shouldn't be any problem to have them check it out or take it back.

    Here's the link for the RCBS chronograph.
  5. Frogtop

    Frogtop New Member

    Jan 24, 2012
    NE Tenn
    I use an Oehler 35P and recommend it highly. It does take a few minutes to set up at the range but you can be confident with your results as the it uses three sky screens, one being a check for the other two. It does cost a bit more than some but it is used in many police agency labs and has been the standard for quite some time. It is now again avaliable.
  6. Jesse17

    Jesse17 Member

    Apr 21, 2011
    Thanks, I just ordered the RCBS one from Amazon for $125.33 + $8 shipping.
  7. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

    Oct 24, 2007
    ND, USA
    I've had very good luck with the Shootin Chrony brand.
    I've used a friend's F-1 before and have had an Alpha for several years and replaced it with a Beta Master after it decided to play catch with a bullet.

    I'd guess you've got a lighting issue where you're shooting, but it is possible that there is a problem with the photocells too. Contact them and I'm sure they will make things right with your unit. They have a very friendly customer service department the couple times that I've called them.

    Otherwise, PACT makes several very good models. The 1XP is the cheapest...about the same price as the RCBS.
    All of the PACT units uses the same style remote skyscreens as Oehler, so you can have the head unit on your shooting bench where you can get at the buttons.

    I have used an antique Oehler 33 before too and it was tops.
    If you want to spend a bit more for a good chrony, the 35P is an excellent unit.

    In fact you can use Oehler screens with any of the PACT units and vice versa.

    Something else to keep in mind when you're shopping...
    Once you've tried a remote display, you quickly get spoiled to having it right at your fingertips instead of across the firing line.
    If you're at home, it's not a problem but if on a public range it comes in real handy not having to wait between relays to go fiddle with your chrony.
  8. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA
    Any chronograph that uses photocells for triggers can have "problems" triggering correctly. A common problem is the sky above the unit. Since it uses the sky as a backdrop, clouds and other thing like swaying tree branches or shadows can screw it up. Then there is the concussion of the firing of the cartridge. Sometimes the environment you are shooting in reflects it back and screws up the triggering. Sometime getting the chronograph too close to the gun can cause the concussion to mess up the reading.

    I suggest you drag out the instruction and follow them exactly as to setting up the chronograph. It may be you and not the chronograph. These Chrony brand units have been around for decades and have a very good record. There biggest problem is that shooters miss the hole and shoot the chronograph but they have a very liberal replacement plan.

  9. carver

    carver Moderator Supporting Member

  10. The Duke

    The Duke New Member

    Mar 11, 2006
    NW Louisiana
    Chrony makes good stuff....Id get one of their tech's on line and see if he may help...

    When I first got my PACT I was getting bizzare velocity readouts...Called the company on cell from the range and we tried a few different things....
    Turned out that it was 'operator error' :eek::eek::eek: and nothing to do with the machine...
  11. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA
    I just read an article where the only way the author could get his chronograph to see his bullets of choice was to coat the bullets with a red marking pen. I am not suggesting you do this but only that chronographing is not necessarily as easy as it may seem. The environment, the lighting, and other things can impact the chronograph's ability to "see" the bullet. Some experimentation in you particular case MAY be required (??).

  12. Texxut

    Texxut Member

    Feb 1, 2009
    I've been using that chrony for many years. A good machine. The advice you've received is all good. I'll add mine. Whenever I'm going to use the crony, I always take a .22 with me. I test my setup with the .22 and if it sees the tiny bullet, it'll usually see whatever else I'm testing. 22s are cheap and I don't waste my test ammo getting setup. I then clear the machine and get to testing.
  13. cycloneman

    cycloneman Well-Known Member

    Dec 16, 2008

    The chrony has to be open (unfolded) completly for it to work properly as well as other issues that can be a problem. Like how close is the gun being shot to the chrony?
  14. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

    Oct 24, 2007
    ND, USA
    I too remember reading American Rifleman and G&A articles back in the early 80s (the Oehler 33 days) that suggested using a black marker to color the bullets for contrast to the sky/diffuser.
    I've never done that myself but you did mention a good point LD.

    I have taped a white plastic grocery bag over the top of the entire skyscreen area a few times to help eliminate shadows. Had to eliminate a few funky shadows on partly cloudly days. Pretty sure that would work on an indoor range with multiple lights.
    And speaking of lights...flourescent, mercury/sodium vapor, or metal-halide lights royally mess with the screens too. Too much flickering from the lights.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2012
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