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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello-
I've been reloading for about a year now and am fairly comfortable with things. Up until now I've been gauging my powder charge, by trying to match the felt recoil of my reloads with factory ammo. Although it's worked fine in the past, I'd like to replicate factory loads with more precision. It seems to me to do this I'd need a chronograph which I don't yet own. Here are some questions.
1. Is a chronograph a -must own- item for reloaders?
2. What is the most popular/best buy unit available?
3. Can a chronograph work indoors with very little distance between the firearms and the unit? Currently, I only have access to an indoor range and would literally have to set it up inside the shooting stall. Is this possible or is there a recommended/required distance necessary between the two?
Thanks everyone for the input.
P.S. - Ecstatic about the reopening of the reloading forum.:rock:
 

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Maybe you mean a chronograph?

1. A chronograph is a must have for ME. I test pistol ammunition for power factor, rifle ammunition to get into ballistic charts for Long Range sight settings, and black powder ammunition for consistency which translates to better accuracy for those low velocity rifles.

2. The Shooting Chrony is about a hundred bucks and will give velocity about as well as the more expensive units, just without the bells and whistles.

3. The usual recommendation is for the start screen to be ten feet from the muzzle so as to avoid confusing the sensors with muzzle blast. You can sneak up on it with a pistol but I don't know if one would work inside the usual stall of an indoor range. Fluorescent lighting as is common indoors will confuse one, too.
 

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I've use a chrony for years, and wouldn't reload without it. Mine is an older Pact model, and it still works just fine.

For indoor use I place the skyscreen (sensors) at least 15 feet away, so the powder blast doesn't affect the readings. Lighting is critical in it's placement and brightness. Flourescent lights will make the chrony malfunction - I guess they flicker, fooling the sensors. But it can work. Here's a link to Pact where you'll get lots of good info on their products: http://www.pact.com/main.html
 

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I've only used mine indoors...either 1/2 hr before a club meet or by arrangement w the owner on a slow morning, I set the chrony up on a tripod or a pair of sawhorses (an old barrel, a stack of ammot cans, whatever is stable) in front of the booth. As long as the place is relatively quiet, they don't mind a trip or 2 in front of the stalls to setup and dismantle.

The only 'bell & whistle' I think is mandatory is a remote readout...it stays on the bench beside you and can be reset/restarted at will...also means only 2 trips in front of the stall and you won't be accidentally shooting the unit as sometimes occurs with the readout built into the base of the screen holder - altho it seems to always be "a friend" that does that, never the owner.
/B
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Jim- I'm an idiot!...and very embarrased. Yes, I mean chronograph.
Thanks for all the good info guys. It looks like I might be stuck for now, because there's no way....NO WAY my local range would let me anywhere beyond the firing line. I wish they would, it would save me the fee of an outdoor range/shooting club I'm thinking about joining. Until then, I think I'm going to have to be content without. In the meantime, I will take a look around and see what's out there. Thanks again.
 

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I just bought one a few weeks ago. Got a chrony F1 master and it was an eye opener. I started loaded .5 grain lower as a result and may go further.

The remote read out is real handy and I'm glad I got that. Makes it much easier.

It's a good idea to get one, especially if you are wanting to tune your loads.
 

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Join an outdoor range. I bought a Chrony F1 master and it opened a whole new world for me. I was testing everything from bullets and arrows to pellet guns. Unfortunately I shot my first one with a 357 sig. Chrony make good equipment, but was no match for that bullet. I thought, well I will just get along without it. Within two months, I bought another one. Now I am real carefull to aim high enough.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I do want to take things to the next step with my reloading and it seems like the chronograph is it. I guess that's the excuse I needed to join the outdoor sportsman's club. The only sour points are that it's 22 miles from my house when my indoor range is down the street and charges $275/year plus 10 hours work for membership. On top of that, you need to know someone in the club and there's a waiting list. Ouch!:mummy:
 

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I have found a CED (Has an infrared upgrade that is must have for indoors and on overcast cloudy days) chrono invaluable in my reloading.

Trying to match the perfromance of factory ammunition by feel is hit and miss at best. Perceived recoil is not cut and dry. Different powder, bullets, primer can all affect this. You can have a reload that has less percieved recoil than factory and still be a hotter round. This is heavily dependent on the recoil impulse and how it is applied.

Chrono's also allow you to load to specific power factors if you get involved in action sports. One more of many benefits is it lets you see trends in your ammmo and how seatingdepth crimp etc affect your reloads.

One example was where I was working up a load in my glock 35. I started at the min recommended load and made batches of 20 at .2 grain increments. I chrono'd the rounds noting High,Low,Avg velocity as well as Extreme spread and standard deviation. At a point I started getting large SD, ES readings and large avg velocity jump. I correlated this to a jump in pressure for the round. Without the chrono I wouldn't have stopped and backed down a little.


As for the inside range problem... Talk to the owner and offer to bring the chrono in after/before hours for you both to use. If they run IDPA indoor matches join up and offer the same there. The rules of not going past the Firing line are thre for normal idiots that show up. When the above tactics are used they almost always work. One example is an outdoor range I used that did not allow movement or shots faster than 2 sec apart. I shoot IDPA/IPSC and wanted to practice. I demonstrated my gun handling and how I could keep hits on paper at a rate faster than one every 2 secs. He wanted to learn more and long sotry short I can now go before the range opens to public or on the down day and practice any way I like.

Oh well I got long winded but I wouldn't give up. Just try a different door.

Steven
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Steven-
Good advice.
I know trying to match my reloads to factory rounds is imprecise at best, which is why I wanted to look into the chronograph.
What I was getting at in regards to the local range not being very flexible with their range usage stems more from legal liability. Everyone here seems to be pretty wound up about safety and rules, which is great, but sometimes they prevent good thinking people from using their god given common sense. That being said, you've inspired me to give it a shot. I can't say I'm expecting much, but I'll email the owner tomorrow.
As far as CED, is that a brand or type of chrono?
I appreciate your "long windedness." :biglaugh: Great info. Thanks.
 
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