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Chronograph Doesn't Work Most of the Time

03lover03lover Member Posts: 67 ✭✭
The chronograph I am using is ridiculously fussy about the sky conditions for proper operation. It seems to be triggered by just about everything. Muzzle blast is one and I was told to put sand bags on the cables to cover the plugs to the computer. I have been told to turn the sky screens to about a 45 degree angle left or right, that may work. I'm tired of trying everything but tip this thing upside down.

This chronograph has the diffusers mounted over them, supposedly for better performance and less failure to operate properly. It has cables that connect to the computer/display box that also will run a printer. When I bought this chronograph, the person I talked to said, "don't buy one of those silly little boxes that you set out in front of you, they don't print out, they can't be read from the shooting bench and so on". Buy this set up and you will be in business just like the pro's.

About the only time this professional piece of junk wants to work is with a bright overcast sky. On days when the sky is blue or mostly blue, you may just as well leave the thing in the box. I have talked to the manufacturer so many times we are on a first name basis. I have tried every suggestion given to me and it is still hit or miss. More miss. I figure I fire about (100) ROUNDS OF AMMO FOR EVERY (10) rounds that are actually clocked by the chronograph. I learned long ago to never set the chronograph up and start firing your test loads. Now I always fire a similar load enough times to be sure the darn thing will work.

I also get the impression it is working at times, at least it gives me readings for each shot that look to be in the proper range, but I am not sure that is always true. For example, on a day when things seemed to be going good I ran ten rounds of 185gr, cast SWC with 4.5gr. of Win 231 through my Dan Wesson 1911A1. I got an average velocity of 794.1 fps. That seemed about right. Two weeks later I believed the unit was working OK and ran that same load through my Smith & Wesson model 25 target revolver using Auto Rim brass. I fired ten rounds and I always expect to see a little drop in velocity due to the barrel cylinder gap. Well, figure this one out. The average velocity was 1191.8fps. The 1-3/8 additional inches of barrel on the S&W can't account for that difference. To make matters worse the SD was only 3.4 and the ES was only 12.8. It doesn't get much better than that.

I am very close to using the two sky screens and the computer for target practice. I would like to ring the neck of the idiot that sold me on this thing and condemned the Crony. I have seen a number of Chrony's in operation and they don't seem to be particularly fussy. They work when mine won't.

What the heck is going on with my chronograph? Are there Chronographs out there that actually work when you take them to the range without checking to see if you have that one sky condition that occurs about once every two weeks?

Any help or suggestions for a chronograph manufactured by who ever that actually works without praying to the sun god.and waiting for weeks to get an answer, will be appreciated. I am not mentioning my brand of chronograph, I don't believe in publicly insulting the manufacturer

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    1911a1-fan1911a1-fan Member Posts: 51,193 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:About the only time this professional piece of junk wants to work is with a bright overcast sky. On days when the sky is blue or mostly blue

    take the screens off, their not needed unless you are in the mentioned conditions
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    perry shooterperry shooter Member Posts: 17,390
    edited November -1
    Hello I to have been less then pleased with testing using a Chronograph . and tried a number of things before I got results that I trusted. With a 22 pistol I had great results from the start I was using a Ransom Rest and this combination still works great However a 45 ACP needed a lot of tweaking to work . The best results came with the Screens about 20 yards away from the pistol. I was interested in seeing if the odd flyer in 30 shot groups showed up in velocity out of the norm. I also wanted to see if a group with vertical stringing was because of Velocity. What I did find was with any given bullet the smallest groups came with the same velocity no matter what powder type was used if the pistol and barrel stayed the same. each brand /type of bullet had a sweet spot and if the barrel twist was the same "Most 1911 barrels have the same twist" most all best loads were best loads in all pistols tested . another thing learned was slow heavy bullets printed higher at 25 and 50 yards then light fast bullets. Try moving the screens out at a longer distance Ransom rest helps and accurate pistols are also a + to keep from hitting the screens[:p][:p] However if you do shoot the screens this will give you an excuse to replace the unit. Cheers Karl
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    dtknowlesdtknowles Member Posts: 810 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I have a Chrony and while I don't have as much trouble as you indicated you were having with your Chrono, who's manufacturer you failed to mention, it is not without its issues. I don't have the printer but expect I will get one. The Chrony almost always gives me a velocity reading but it often faults on days with variable light and has to be reset. I am also often sceptical of the readings on various days. I have tested ammo on different weekends and had lower velocity readings with higher powder charges. I expect that to get a chronograph that will give accurate readings every time in variable lighting would be very expensive.

    Tim
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    bpostbpost Member Posts: 32,664 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    You are among friends here.....

    What is the brand/ model of your problem child????

    My Chrony can be a pain but I do have some tricks that stop the nonsense.
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    Hawk CarseHawk Carse Member Posts: 4,373 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I bought a new chronograph because I was tired of fooling with the old club unit. It had similar aggravating faults, some days I just had to quit wasting ammunition trying to get velocities.

    Then I bought the infrared illuminators and almost all the problems went away. If you don't want to pay for those, you can build your own artificial illuminators with those long tubular incandescent bulbs as used in store showcases... if you have ac at the range.
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    03lover03lover Member Posts: 67 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by bpost1958
    You are among friends here.....

    What is the brand/ model of your problem child????

    My Chrony can be a pain but I do have some tricks that stop the nonsense.


    I have a "PACT".
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    gunnut505gunnut505 Member Posts: 10,290
    edited November -1
    I too, have a PACT chronograph, bought years ago with stand, skyscreens, etc.
    The only time I had any trouble with it, I had the screens on and was getting ready to test some 300 Win Mag rounds.
    Following the recommendations, I placed the setup 12' away from the end of the muzzle, and blew both screens about 40yds downrange.
    I have since discontinued use of the screens, and find that on a bright, sunny day; if you place the chrony perpendicular to the direction of the Sun, it works very well.
    I've also discovered that it doesn't like anything but Duracell batteries.
    I'm surprised that Pact didn't offer to check your unit out after all your calls; they've been great with my BBK scale(having sent it back twice for strain gauge replacement since '97) and hints for the chrono as well.
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    B17-P51B17-P51 Member Posts: 2,215 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Before you reluctantly admitted that you owned a PACT (Should be POS) product, I would have bet the farm on it. I sadly own one of their scales and have hopefully dissuaded many people from purchasing any of their products simply by showing them the crappy performance of it. I have never spoken badly of their line of gear and have never had to. I just set it up and watch in delight as the same bullet changes weight each time it is placed on the scale. (MAGIC?) Send it back to the factory? I made that mistake once. Got it back worse than before with a bill for $10.00. I can offer no advice but a hearty GOOD LUCK.[:(]
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    bpostbpost Member Posts: 32,664 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I have a chrony with remote. Bright sun was a problem for me too most shots would not register. What solved the problem was a plastic grocery bag. [:I]

    I cut the bag at the seam and taped it over the top of the screens and the south side of the unit, it seems to be a perfect diffuser for bright sun [:)]. Now even in full sun it reads every bullet fired [:D]. It may look a bit ugly but it works.
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    ChetStaffordChetStafford Member Posts: 2,794
    edited November -1
    The only real problem I have had with mine is my weatherby will blow the screens off of it about every 5 shotsMine is a shooting chrony master made by the same company that make the F-1 chrony
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    03lover03lover Member Posts: 67 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by B17-P51
    Before you reluctantly admitted that you owned a PACT (Should be POS) product, I would have bet the farm on it. I sadly own one of their scales and have hopefully dissuaded many people from purchasing any of their products simply by showing them the crappy performance of it. I have never spoken badly of their line of gear and have never had to. I just set it up and watch in delight as the same bullet changes weight each time it is placed on the scale. (MAGIC?) Send it back to the factory? I made that mistake once. Got it back worse than before with a bill for $10.00. I can offer no advice but a hearty GOOD LUCK.[:(]


    Interesting. Friday 5/18/07 I received a Pact Powder Scale and Dispenser. The box was smashed in a bit at one corner. Inspection of the contents didn't show a physical damage to the scale or dispenser.

    I set the scale up and went through the calibration process. It went well, but, I noticed every time my hand was within a couple of inches or less of the scale, the numbers started running all over the place. Wow, I didn't know I had that sort of power. I didn't even touch the darn thing. Then I checked the scale with the 20.0 gram weight, it was right on the money. I went to my Lyman scale weight check set and was surprised to see that everything from 1.0 grains to 10.0 and all weight combinations up to 60.5 grains were running 0.2 to 0.4 tenths of a grain light.

    I checked the Lyman weights on two balance beam sacles and they were all right on the money.

    Instead of returning this Pact unit for replacement, I have now requested a return for refund.

    I see Lyman and RCBS offer similar powder scale and dispenser systems. Is there a chance that one of these will actually work correctly? I would like to hear from those of you that are using powder scale and dispensing systems to learn which brands are reliable.
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    sandwarriorsandwarrior Member Posts: 5,453 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    03lover,

    I've not heard how good or bad a pact is. But the amount of times you have had to call the company I would have sent it back. I have a chony F-1, with the remote that sits up on your bench with you while the actual chonograph is ten feet downrange. It hardly ever gets an error message where I have to reset it. The screens for this one have been a little problematic but I just went to the two pieces of plastic instead of the three per screen and that problem is solved. I have to use them in all light conditions. But I don't have to turn the chrony or anything like that. I sometimes doubt what I see on the chrony but for the most part it is very right on when I get the velocity then compare drops betwen 100-300 yds then go home and run that on a calculator with given conditions that day and find it is all right in the ballpark of what I expected...or better than I expected.
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    MIKE WISKEYMIKE WISKEY Member, Moderator Posts: 9,986 ******
    edited November -1
    all 'photo cell' chronograhs 'see the shadow' of the bullet as it passes over the screen. bright ligh and a shiney bullet dosen't leave much of a shadow. easy fix is to use a black magic marker on each bullet.
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    fire for effectfire for effect Member Posts: 121 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Here is an interesting tid bit for you. We have built a 1000 yard range out in the country. During the winter the ground we shoot on is used for grazing cattle, so we put up an electric fence around out building, to keep the cattle away. We were having a very difficult time getting out Crony cronograph to work until one day a guy turned off the Electric fence. Turns out, The electric fence was causing interference with the cronograph.
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    03lover03lover Member Posts: 67 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by fire for effect
    We were having a very difficult time getting out Crony cronograph to work until one day a guy turned off the Electric fence. Turns out, The electric fence was causing interference with the cronograph.

    How close was the electric fench to the Chrony?
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    AllenoAlleno Member Posts: 275 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I have a PACT powder dispenser/scale combo that is a turd as well. Its been back to factory 3 times! Yes they fix it for free, but it never really works that well.
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    jonkjonk Member Posts: 10,121
    edited November -1
    My Chrony F1 was the cheapest Midway had and I think that it has given me a false or error reading perhaps 5 times out of a few hundred bullets fired over it. I'm happy.
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    fire for effectfire for effect Member Posts: 121 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by 03lover
    quote:Originally posted by fire for effect
    We were having a very difficult time getting out Crony cronograph to work until one day a guy turned off the Electric fence. Turns out, The electric fence was causing interference with the cronograph.

    How close was the electric fench to the Chrony?


    The Electric fence Battery and Electronics package was probably 6' to 10'away, while the electric fence itself was twenty feet away..
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    stargazerstargazer Member Posts: 6 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    New to forum, first post. I know the thread is a few weeks old but I just got myself a PACT XP1 with IR screens to replace the forever error reading F-1 Chrony I had. I tried the IR screns outside with a CO2 pistol at 9 PM one night and it read every time. Pact fails to mention the IR screens use a small 6 volt plug in the wall xfmr! I used 4 AA's in a holder for the battery test but they ran down quickly. I made a regulator and use a small 12 volt gel cell now and the IR screens run for hours. I tried out the IR screens the other morning when the sun was very low. 10 foot away with my 686 and Marlin 1894 in .357 magnum it read almost every round perfectly. I had maybe 2-3 non reads out of 50-60 rounds fired over the IR screens that morning. After suffering so many error readings from the box it was a relief to finally get a string of shots to average my reloads. The extra bucks for the IR screens was worth it to me. [:)]
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    owen219owen219 Member Posts: 3,799
    edited November -1
    Solution! I have a CED Millenium Chronograph on Gunbroker now for beginning bid of $75.00, item # 85018637. The auction ends on 11/19/2007. I have used it under many conditions and never had the first problem with it. It's like new. It will resolve your frustrations. It will take up to 220 shots in a string and will do 20 strings. Selling due to health problems. It is under accuracynut. owen219
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    dcs shootersdcs shooters Member Posts: 10,969
    edited November -1
    My Lyman 1200 DPS II checks right on the money with the check weights.
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    Grunt2Grunt2 Member Posts: 2,525 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I have a Chrony and have never had any problems...
    Retired LEO
    Combat Vet VN
    D.A.V Life Member
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    specktoutspecktout Member Posts: 6 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    I have a ProChrono made by Competition Eletronics, and it works great, never a problem on sunny or overcast days
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    5mmgunguy5mmgunguy Member Posts: 3,853
    edited November -1
    I have an old Oehler (sp?) works great!!!
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    scrubberguyscrubberguy Member Posts: 219 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I have an original chrony, the red one, and when I first got it, it to produced some consistant errors. I had 44 mag loads doing 3300 FPS!

    Fotunately a close friend had had the same problem with the exact same machine several years earlier and had discovered that the screens could be triggered by the muzzle flash/muzzle blast. His cure? I glued a small piece of balsa wood to each of the metal rods used for the plastic "sky screen" covers and then, using common push pins, I put two wedge shaped pieces of construction paper in front of each sky screen slot. Left off the covers and damn! The thing has worked right every time all the time! Distance from muzzle to Chrony has to be a minimum of 12 feet!

    I always check it when I first set it up by firing a 22 pistol across it with standard velocity ammo. This should give you numbers in the 900 FPS range. If you get to high a reading somethings triggering the screen early.[8D]
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