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Old 05-27-2020, 02:32 PM
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Default new chronograph

My wife gave me a chronograph for my birthday and I used it for the first time this morning. Wow! did I ever get enlightened!. I had always just gone by data and velocities shown in various reloading manuals, knowing, of course, that there are a lot of variables and those just give you a general idea. Still, I was surprised to see that some of my handloads that I thought would be faster than those listed in the manuals were actually a lot slower and vice versa.

One thing for sure is that I will be adjusting some of the loads I normally use for some of the shooting I do.
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Old 05-27-2020, 03:21 PM
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A chronograph is a real eye opener isn't it. They are so useful in many ways I had never dreamed of. Things like bullet seating depth and crimp, can be experimented with and the tell tale chrono will let you know what is or isn't working. Ken Waters wrote a lot about how helpful a chronograph could be and he was using the old Oehler brand with the sky screens mounted on a 2x4 and you then used a tarage table to decode the readout. We are really lucky to have them today that are a bunch easier to use and priced such that anyone really into experimenting with handloads can afford one. It's fun to check factory ammo out of your own firearms too.
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Old 05-27-2020, 03:22 PM
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Once you own a chronograph you'll never want to be without one again.
Over estimating the velocity of their handloads is common of those who
don't own a chronograph.
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Old 05-27-2020, 04:55 PM
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If you have a rifle that shoots pistol caliber ammo such as a model 92 or Henry, run some loads through your revolver and then run the same loads through the rifle and see how much velocity you gain from the longer, non-vented barrel. I've seen with my Rossi 92 gains of 400-500 ft/sec with 357 Mag reloads.
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Old 05-27-2020, 09:36 PM
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Without a chronograph you're guessing at velocities. It may be an educated or informed guess but it's still guess work.
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Old 05-27-2020, 09:43 PM
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Oehler 35P here for over 25 years.
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Old 05-27-2020, 10:23 PM
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I hate to pop anyone's bubble but............

That is one sure way to prove that all the Major ammo makers.....................
speak with forked tounge !!

It is a great tool for rifle and handgun loads but I used the heck out of it for my ATA trap loads, when I did a lot of shooting, many years ago.

Many "Comp shoots" have ammo spec's that have to be followed, otherwise you get a slap in the back of your head.

A very fun thing to own if you have the extra coins.....
Enjoy.
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Old 05-28-2020, 07:17 AM
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I bought a chronograph after I started shooting USPSA matches. When I started using a M1911 in 45ACP, I could shoot major power factor, which improved my scores. All seemed fine with my 200 grain LSWC handloads until I went to a regional match. Everyone had to give a few rounds to be test fired over a chronograph. The chronograph operator came back to me and took more ammo, randomly, from my ammo boxes. I was told this was not a good sign.


The chrono operator came back and said that my ammo just barely made major and that if it had been just a few feet per second slower, I would have been in minor caliber class. I purchased a Shooting Chrony and took it to my range. Yep, I was major caliber by just a few feet per second, so I upped the powder charge a couple tenths of a grain so that my ammo made major plus close to 5% over the minimum velocity.
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Old 05-28-2020, 07:21 AM
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As for ammo manufacturers lying about velocity, keep in mind they often use test barrels and fire in an indoor facility, so the velocity in those conditions is what they publish. Production barrels vary widely and conditions at a target range, plus the distance from the muzzle to the chronograph also vary greatly.
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Old 05-28-2020, 08:08 AM
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When you are working up loads watching for pressure signs...a chronograph is a excellent tool to use. If you see higher velocities from your loads than shown in the loading manuals for a particular caliber then you can be pretty sure that your pressures are running higher than those in the loading manuals regardless of what other pressure signs may or may not be present.
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Old 05-28-2020, 10:21 AM
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Various powders are temperature sensitive. Be sure to chrono in the weather you are planning to use your loads. Especially if going to a USPSA/IPSC shoot.
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Old 05-28-2020, 11:37 AM
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...important part of my shooting regime, only if I chrono primarily 38/357 loads. I did get an eye opener when chronographing 17 hmr ammo...they were statistically faster than what was advertised...probably because of our higher altitude (5,000 ft above sea level) and drier climate.

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Old 05-28-2020, 02:12 PM
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About temperatures and ammo.....

In February there was a Trap shoot and when it came time to shoot the Handicap round I grabbed a box of shotgun shells from the back trunk.

I had 6-7 "Bloopers" that cost me enough birds to not place , that day.
I learned that temp's around 28 degrees, do strange things to powder if left out in the cold too long.
I also don't use Red Dot powder for my "Winter loads" any more and use a full 3 Dram load in cold weather.

When deer hunting, my 1st round is kept in my chest, pocket to keep warm, if possible...... and I use MAGNUM primers.
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Old 05-28-2020, 02:54 PM
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Wink I am a recovering chrono freak.

I started shooting USPSA matches in 1990. I had a 625 revolver, 5"barrel and a loading manual. I made some 230gr loads into 45 Auto Rim brass that should have been major power factor. The RO at the match watched my bullets go down range visually because they were so slow. Bought a CHRONY soon after.

A year or two later I was shooting USPSA Nationals near Barry IL. My ammo samples for chrono testing were collected and stored overnight. The next morning after a very chilly night lowered my velocity readings significantly. I made major so close to the minimum it was amazing to me. I always put enough powder in my loads thereafter to give me a comfort margin. I also switched to Vihta Vouri powders because they're not temperature sensitive. I tested that claim using my chronograph.
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Old 05-29-2020, 05:54 PM
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Default Wild cat load!

Try working up a load for a caliber that "ain't in the books, no where"! I had a Kay-Chuk built on a 17-6 frame so this summer will be spend experimenting with modern powders and bullets over a chronograph from a caliber that was a wild cat 60 years ago!
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Old 05-29-2020, 06:10 PM
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Default I find that rifles.......

...can be loaded to match the specs put forth in books and tables. Handguns, however are a total **** shoot. For one thing those 'test barrels' they shoot them out of AIN'T guns. My Speer #9 had tests from 'real' guns, but they included a table that showed not only how much different makes varied, but also how the same make and model varied all over the place. A chrono is essential if you REALLY want to know how your guns are performing.
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Old 05-29-2020, 06:15 PM
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My wife got me one for Father's day, the midway USA box was rather obvious lol. I'm excited to see what my 1 month of my reloading endeavors have done
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Old 05-31-2020, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prairieviper View Post
My wife gave me a chronograph for my birthday and I used it for the first time this morning. Wow! did I ever get enlightened!. I had always just gone by data and velocities shown in various reloading manuals, knowing, of course, that there are a lot of variables and those just give you a general idea. Still, I was surprised to see that some of my handloads that I thought would be faster than those listed in the manuals were actually a lot slower and vice versa.

One thing for sure is that I will be adjusting some of the loads I normally use for some of the shooting I do.
This is why I have been using one since foil screen days, early 70s. Book data is so all over the place. A Chrono lets you know where you are & where you are going. I consider them essential reloading tools. Especially for loading off book where you have no data.
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Old 05-31-2020, 12:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevada Ed View Post
About temperatures and ammo.....

In February there was a Trap shoot and when it came time to shoot the Handicap round I grabbed a box of shotgun shells from the back trunk.

I had 6-7 "Bloopers" that cost me enough birds to not place , that day.
I learned that temp's around 28 degrees, do strange things to powder if left out in the cold too long.
I also don't use Red Dot powder for my "Winter loads" any more and use a full 3 Dram load in cold weather.

When deer hunting, my 1st round is kept in my chest, pocket to keep warm, if possible...... and I use MAGNUM primers.
There are a few powders that are inv temp sensitive. My fav 45acp & 9/40 minor is WST. Pressures actually go up as temps go down. Enough that if you develope your load at 40deg then shoot at 100, you might have some issues with reliabilty in minor loads or making min PF. I should switch but I love the way it shoots & just add 1/10gr for warmer weather matches.
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Old 05-31-2020, 01:07 PM
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Regarding revolver MVs, the chronograph will quickly reveal that each revolver (even those with identical barrel lengths) is a law unto itself. This is because of slight dimensional differences among them, especially in the cylinder-barrel gap.
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Old 05-31-2020, 01:47 PM
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We all have heard or have learned about pressures that can happen when the surrounding temperatures get higher.

I froze up my bolt action 22-250 on a 96 degree day with a load of BLC-2 powder. I did finally get the bolt to open, but I did learn a lesson.

A load does not need to be a 100% data load to mess up your weapon.
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Old 05-31-2020, 03:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevada Ed View Post
We all have heard or have learned about pressures that can happen when the surrounding temperatures get higher.

And my chronograph showed me the same thing about Blue Dot at lower temperatures, which I don't remember enough science to understand but which I have plenty of data to back up.
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Old 05-31-2020, 07:18 PM
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I have likened the purchase and use of your first chronograph as being same as the move from apprentice to journeyman in handloading. But, as in many other innovations, they are not the final word in much of anything about your handloads. What they are is a very good indication only of possible end results of your exterior ballistics. Every individual firearm is the final law unto itself as to what is going to result from reload combinations. The chronograph is not an absolute indicator of unproven changes in the handload receipt. The variations in even tightly controlled quality control and machine tolerances are legend among firearms engineers and technicians. All published handload combinations of caliber, bullet, powder, primer and brass case contain the admonition to 'start low and work up'. Great advice.

Sorry, but in my editing the above I have confused the issue. Published data from other sources of chronographed ballistics are not to be 100% trusted to expect the same results with your firearm, your handloads and your chronograph.

IMHO, To be able to understand chronograph data find and study everything one can obtain that was written by Dr. Oehler concerning chronographs. They are an outstanding advancement in the tools concerning ballistic performance.
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Old 06-01-2020, 05:34 PM
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For quite a few years, I used the basic entry level Chrony, and it was good enough for my purposes, albeit slow as you had to write down every velocity value on the LCD screen and calculate your own statistics on Excel. Then I put a bullet through it by accident about three years ago. I found a used Chrony Beta model on eBay, which is far advanced. It stores all velocities and calculates the statistics (spread, average velocity, and Standard Deviation), and I don't know why I didn't upgrade earlier. I think I paid only about $50 for it, but by appearances it had never been used. One of the better deals of my life.

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Old 06-01-2020, 07:48 PM
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Quote:
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For quite a few years, I used the basic entry level Chrony, and it was good enough for my purposes, albeit slow as you had to write down every velocity value on the LCD screen and calculate your own statistics on Excel. Then I put a bullet through it by accident about three years ago. I found a used Chrony Beta model on eBay, which is far advanced. It stores all velocities and calculates the statistics (spread, average velocity, and Standard Deviation), and I don't know why I didn't upgrade earlier. I think I paid only about $50 for it, but by appearances it had never been used. One of the better deals of my life.
WHAT!!!
You only payed $50 for it................
My new one cost $125.99


Nice pick up and yes they are a great tool for pistol/revolver loaders.

However, I have to add that getting the last 20fps out of a MAXIMUM rifle load powder ( per your rifle) is also a benefit, when I was young and STUPID.

I now know that a .27 or .30 cal. bullet going just 2,500fps will kill a deer just as dead as a factory load, that has lots of meat damage.

Also a great tool for making X-Lite trap loads for us old guys that don't need all that RECOIL , to break birds !!
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Old 06-01-2020, 11:25 PM
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Bought one last month, an eye opener. Shot some of my 45 LC loads to make sure they were not too hot for my 1924 Colt SAA. Trail Boss. I got 550fps out of one batch and 615 out of the other. I woulda guessed 750 -800
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