Are you tired of paying high ammunition prices so you are now doing your own reloads? That’s great but it then brings into question whether your bullet packing is getting you the velocity from those bullets that you need and desire. This is exactly why everyone like you who reloads their own ammunition should buy the best shooting chronograph they can afford. In this article, I will review several high-quality shooting chronographs and tell you a little bit more about what to look for when buying one.
Summary: Top 5 Shooting Chronographs
Editor’s Rating (out of 5.0)
Shooting Chronograph Buying Guide
Here are the key features of shooting chronographs to focus on when buying a new one:
- Type of mounting system
You will see two different types of mounting systems on the shooting chronographs that we will review. These are:
- Barrel mounted
This is a very simple type of setup where the shooting chronograph is mounted directly to the barrel of the weapon you are test firing the projectile velocity for. The chronograph will attach to the barrel by means of a strap that holds it securely in place. The big advantage with this type of mounting is that it can be used at a shooting range.
- Tripod mounted
This is the most common mounting system used by shooting chronographs. They can be attached to any type of tripod that mounts a standard camera. The drawback with this type of system is that you have to shoot through the chronographs sensors in order to get a reading. Tripod mounted shooting chronographs generally produce very accurate velocity readings.
- Ease of setup/operation/clear display of data
Some model shooting chronographs can take some time to set them up before you can use them. That is not the ideal situation by any means. Look for a chronograph model that sets up easy and once its setup has a very straightforward mode of operation.
Be familiar with how any shooting chronograph you are thinking about buying displays its data too. In order for you to best use the data you gather when shooting, your chronograph model should display the recorded data in an easy to read and interpret form.
Let’s face it. Inaccurate results will defeat the purpose of why you chose to use a shooting chronograph in the first place. Make sure you are familiar with the accuracy of the readings on any shooting chronograph you are thinking about buying. Anything less than plus or minus 1% is unacceptable.
- Velocity range
You have to be very careful here. Some shooting chronographs are not made to be used with all different types of weapons. For instance; some chronographs are just made for use on paintball guns. You certainly would not want to mistakenly by a model like that to test your hunting rifle with because the velocity is too high to be recorded. So be sure the velocity of the chronograph you will buy can record the type of projectile velocity the weapon you are shooting produces.
Shooting Chronograph Reviews
Here is a very accurate and simple to use chronograph model. It securely straps to the barrel of any gun and will measure that weapons bullet velocity with an accuracy of 99.5% or more. That is the perfect way to test your reloads or to help you accurately adjust your shots when shooting long distances.
Magnetospeed has just recently made some design changes to this model that have really improved the way it works. Users have raved about how well the new sensors work on this shooting chronograph.
This model is especially nice if you want to measure the velocity of your bullets at a shooting range. You cannot use a downrange chronograph at a shooting range for obvious safety reasons so that makes this the only type of range acceptable chronograph.
- Barrel mounted
- Newly redesigned sensor
- Only type of chronograph that can be used at a shooting range
- 5% accuracy
- Rapid fire mode
- Velocity range is 5 – 7,000 fps
- The adapters have cheap plastic on them
- Attachment strap could be better
This is a very accurate down range shooting chronograph. It is also very simple to operate and can be used to check the velocity of the projectiles fired from a wide range of weapons. This chronograph model can be used in conjunction with not only rifles and pistols but also with shotguns and arrows.
The Competition Electronics ProChrono Digital Chronograph could not be simpler to setup and use. Once in place its operation can be controlled with a few simple presses of its buttons. It can also record data in up to a 9 shot firing string.
Best of all it comes with a very detailed and easy to understand user’s manual and it has a very convenient USB port. You can use the USB port to transfer the data you accumulated in your tests to be further analyzed at a later time.
- Pushbutton operation
- USB port for transferring and storing data
- Works in up to 9 shot strings
- Velocity range of 21 – 7,000 fps
- Accurate within 1%
- Can be used for rifles, pistols, arrows and shotguns
- Cannot be used at shooting ranges
- Does not pick up every shot on higher caliber rounds
Here is a very accurate shooting chronograph model. It’s great for long distance shooters that require very accurate velocity calculations when shooting this Shooting Chrony product is accurate within (+/-) .5 FPS.
It’s a unit that can measure the velocity of different projectiles from a wide variety of weapons due to its ability to measure objects travelling between 30 and 7000 FPS. It is easy to set up and it’s durable too because it’s made of tough 20 gauge steel.
This unit mounts easily on any tripod you can mount a camera on. It’s also very lightweight (2 ½ pounds) and compact so it is easy to take out in the field to a remote shooting site with you. The single 9v batter that comes with it lasts a long time too.
- Measures velocity from 30 to 7000 fps
- Extremely portable 2 ½ pounds
- Made of sturdy 20 gauge steel
- Plus or minus .5% accuracy
- Tripod mountable
- Powered by a single 9v battery
- Bunny ear sensors do not store in the unit
- Manual could be made easier to understand
This is the second Shooting Chrony product on our top review list of the best chronograph models. This one is not quite as nice as the Shooting Chrony 7000129 Beta Master but it cost less than that model too. It is great for checking reload velocities for all different caliber weapons.
It accurately measures each shot you take (+/- .7%) that is between 30 and 7000 FPS. The velocity of the last shot will be displayed in easy to read 1/2” high numbers and stays on the readout until your next shot is taken.
It is tripod mountable and takes just a few minutes to set up. You can also take it with you anywhere very easily thanks to its lightweight 2.2 pound sheet metal construction. There is even a built-in gun cradle if you don’t want to risk shooting through the antenna sensors from further away.
- Lightweight and portable
- 30 to 7000 fps velocity measurements
- Includes printer and remote control jack
- Built-in barrel cradle
- Velocity is displayed until next shot is fired
- Large ½” LCD-readout
- Printer sold separately
- Only single shot velocity capable
This shooting chronograph is a very affordable model to say the least. Caldwell has done a nice job with its design. It will nicely measure the speed of any bullet shot through it that travels between 5 and 9,999 FPS. The accuracy of this unit is also a more than acceptable (+/-) .25%.
It sets up easy and comes tripod mounting ready. There is even some extra wide sunscreens included in the package to help ensure you get accurate readings when shooting outside.
This unit can also be interfaced for use with your smart phone thanks to its included 15 foot audio jack cable. There is even an included carry bag to help you easily transport the unit into the field with you.
- Measures 5 to 9,999 fps
- +/- .25% Accuracy
- Extra wide sun screens
- Tripod mounting compatible
- Carry bag included
- Not great for reading pistol velocities
- Interface software could be better
All of the models we reviewed make excellent bullet velocity measuring devices but there was one among them I liked the best. That was the Magnetospeed V3 Chronograph.
This shooting chronograph has a nice barrel mounted design and it features 99.5% accuracy too. It can handle both very high and very low velocity measurements too. That makes it ideal for use with air pistols, shotguns and high powered rifles too.
What really sets the Magnetospeed V3 Chronograph apart from the others is the fact it’s allowed to be used at most shooting ranges because you don’t need to go downrange and compromise safety to set it up.
It’s definitely a model shooting chronograph worth taking a serious look at if you are in the market to buy a new one.
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