Went to our local indoor range yesterday (2-2-2014) and put my new Magneto Speed chrono to the test. Let me tell you that this piece of equipment is an absolute joy to use. It took all of 3-4 minutes to get it set up and then I sent three rounds of Federal Tactical 168 gn hp's down range and then compared the recorded readings to what is printed on the box. The Magneto Speed displayed readings around 50 fps faster than what is posted by Federal but since I don't know what barrel length they used to test with I am going to assume that their info is pretty close. My gun has a 26" barrel and I imagine that what federal uses may be a bit shorter hence the increased velocity readings from my gun.
After those three foulers, I proceed to to fire five groups of ten rounds each. Each group of ten was .5 grains hotter than the proceeding one ranging from 43.0 gns to 45.0 gns of Varget behind a Hornady 168 gn A-Max bullet. The Magneto Speed recorded every shot, displayed all the info recorded and stored it on the micro SD card perfectly. It couldn't have been any better. The display backlighting worked great and the recorded info was very easy for these old eyes to see even without the backlighting.
As a test of how easily we ( my buddy Ron and I) could switch the unit back and forth between his gun and mine, I would remove it from my .308 after each ten rounds and Ron would put it on his 300 Win Mag and he would shoot his string while I would let my barrel cool. We did this until we had fired everything we brought with us to test and experienced no problems of any kind.
Back at home I removed the micro SD card from the display unit and using the adapter card supplied by Magneto Speed, I proceed to import the stored info into my MS Excel program. Worked like a charm and I was able to manipulate all the fields and customize them to my liking.
To sum it all up, I would have to say that if you are the least bit serious about becoming a proficient long range rifle shooter you REALLY do need one of these. It's just a great tool and I believe that it is worth every bit of the $260.00 I paid for it.
Mike's Reloading Bench
The Armory Clubhouse
Do you really need a chronograph? Well, I guess you don't "really" need one but if you want to know exactly what the ammo you are loading is doing and if you want to be able to use a ballistic calculator and get truthful, useable information that will enable you to place your first round on target at extended ranges then yes, you really need one.
OK, which type should I get? Well, I guess that depends on what you want to do with it and where you want to do it. Do you want to measure the velocity of pistol and revolver rounds or are you only going to measure rifle and shotgun rounds? Maybe you want to be able to do them all.
Just like most things in life you have choices and if you are a reasonable, rational person you generally make your choices based on doing what solves your need or problem after weighing all the options presented to you. The same scenario would apply to the purchase of a chronograph.
When I bought my first chronograph I wasn't aware that there was a newer design available that did not use the conventional "photo screens" that you have to shoot through. I just did my normal research looking for the best one at the best price and when I finished I sent in my order. Thing is, I'm not interested in measuring the pistol rounds I load because my buddy Ron and I are just weekend paper punchers and as long as the bullets get to the target and poke a hole through it we are happy. The rifle thing is a whole different story. Although we are not competitive shooters (yet) we do want to be able to apply the proper dope to our scopes without wasting a bunch of ammo just trying to get on paper. The ProChrono digital I have now allows us to obtain the info we need to develop accurate dope charts but it is not the handiest thing to use. Setting it up is a pain. First, you must wait for the firing line to go cold. Second, you need a sturdy tripod to set it on. Third, you must get it proprely aligned and set at the correct distance from the muzzle of the gun. Fourth, you are at the mercy of the weather when it comes to whether or not it records properly or at all. Fifth and certainly not least, is the possibility that you may suffer a brain fart and shoot the poor defensless thing. Don't laugh, it happens more than you think and by some highly skilled individuals. The good thing about my ProChrono is that you can shoot anything across it. It's for that reason that I will most likely keep it around despite all the other issues.
Enter the Magneto Speed barrel mounted chrono. This is a rifleman's dream. Just strap it on the barrel, plug in the cord from the chrono to the readout and fire away. No worries about the weather, firing line condition, tripods or the possibility of shooting it. Pop the thing out of the box and in a couple of minutes you are good to go indoors or out, sun or no sun, windy or calm, hot or cold. Makes no difference. Only down side is that it won't work on pistols with any kind of architecture that resembles a 1911. For Ron and I that is a non-issue.
I have read some reviews of the Magneto Speed where the writer states that because the unit is attached to the barrel, they felt it would upset the barrel harmonics and for that reason they didn't like it because it would alter where the bullet strike occurs. Now, why the hell someone would want to try and shoot bug holes while doing velocity testing escapes me but I guess they are out there. This thing is a tool, not an accuracy attachment! Anyway, I am very excited to get to try the Magneto Speed as soon as it arrives. The major benefit for Ron and I is that we will be able to gather data on our loads at our very local indoor range and not have to drive for an hour and deal with the weather to get to our not so local outdoor rifle range.
The great thing about using a chrono of course is the data it provides to the handloader. Using the data gives one the ability to make small adjustments with powder charges, primer selection, bullet seating, case prep and a bunch of other things and then be able to actually measure and compare what those adjustments resulted in, good or bad. Without the data you are just guessing. Just think how cool it is to be able to range a target, put the dope on your scope, load and lock a round of known performance, squeeze the trigger and place that round right where you wanted it. This all comes into reach with the help of the chronograph. Yeah, you "really" need one......or two!
Mike's Reloading Bench is not afilliated with Lee Precision.
More coming so stop back often.
Choosing a Chronograph
Magneto Speed V1
As we get more range time with the Magneto Speed chrono I will post more about how it performs for us. At this point I am pretty much going on what I have discovered about it through forum posts and various videos I have seen. If it lives up to what I have seen and read so far I am sure I will be very happy with it.
That's all for now.
Update Feb 3, 2014