Chronoscopes: Too much of a good thing?

Don't become a victim of 'chronoitis'.

Don't become a victim of 'chronoitis'. - Credit: Archant

A chronoscope is a great accessory – until you become obsessed with it

Dear Airgun Guru,

Last month I bought a chronoscope, and it’s had a major impact on my shooting, to say the least. I bought it, as most shooters do, to help keep me on the right side of the law, to test pellets, and to keep an eye on the performance of my hunting rifles. I’ve been hunting for over 20 years, I have my rifles serviced every year, and I’ve never had a major problem with any of them, until I bought the chrono. Now I find that two are producing just 11.2 ft.lbs., and the other two are varying in their output by up to 18 f.p.s. over 50 shots. All four rifles are non-regulated and still as accurate as they’ve ever been when I test them on paper targets, but my confidence in them has taken a knock and I’d like some advice on what to do next.

Thanks for any help you may be able to give me.


Well, Josh, I have plenty of good news for you, the first bit being that you’re neither the first, and certainly not the last, to suffer what has become known as ‘chronoitis’. This condition occurs when a shooter becomes obsessed beyond practicality with the readout from a chrono. Let’s be clear on this, Josh; using a chronoscope is a perfectly valid way of monitoring the output of your rifles, provided you do so in full appreciation of what that readout means in the real world.

Practical priority

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For instance, you say you’re less confident in your rifles, despite them performing exactly as they always have on your test targets. First, 11.2 ft.lbs. is perfectly adequate for despatching all of the accepted airgun quarry at the ranges true hunters deem acceptable for a sub-12 ft.lbs. rifle. That is simply a fact, and it’s been confirmed for many years. Only the irresponsible minority who falsely claim to be able to maintain the required accuracy at extreme ranges will dispute this fact, and frankly, if they can’t be educated, they should be ignored.

Most reliable data

Next, your rifles’ ‘inconsistency’ is causing no problems, as far as downrange accuracy goes, so you’ve proved to yourself, and done so where it matters most, that your rifles are providing all the performance you need. Please believe the real-world evidence you’re producing, Josh, because that’s the most reliable form of ‘readout’ you can get, I assure you.

Final thoughts...

By all means use your chrono to keep a check on your rifles’ output, but unless that output is climbing significantly toward the legal limit, or dropping steadily, there’s no need to be concerned. It’s the same with the ‘inconsistency’; until this becomes genuinely erratic and affects downrange accuracy, just carry on doing what has worked for your 20 years in the hunting field. Hunting is a practical, real-world discipline, and our approach to it should be the same. I hope that helps.