PUBLISHED: 14:31 12 June 2015 | UPDATED: 14:31 12 June 2015
The editor is quick to try a new chrono that may answer his needs
My shooting friends and colleagues will tell you that I always have another question about airgun ballistics, no matter how many answers I find. I’ve researched many aspects including some groundbreaking work on terminal ballistics that disproved many long-held beliefs. Because of this, it’s no surprise that I’ve observed another situation for which I have a new grand theory. The problem is, I’ve been unable to test the idea because I needed a reliable chronograph that can be used downrange, even out to 50 yards. My trusty Skan chrono serves me very well as my everyday test machine, but it simply cannot be used at long range. I asked the manufacturers and received a very stern ‘No’.
Up and running
As you can imagine, when I saw the chrono on test I quickly called Edgar Brothers’ PR department and asked for a test unit, which came the very next day. Assembly is much like other chronos I’ve used, so it took only a couple of minutes before I was up and running. The tripod supplied is lightweight and folds up very small to fit inside the carrying case. Speaking as the team photographer, I know from experience that for a tripod to be stable it needs to be big and heavy, so I took care with the one supplied. On uneven ground or on a windy day I’d weight it down for safety’s sake. In its favour, it’s highly adjustable in terms of height, making it very practical.
The kit is comprehensive and has everything you need to take to the range, except for one 9v PP3 battery and four AAs. I applaud Caldwell for choosing common battery types, making getting replacements as easy as finding the local corner shop. The neat carrying case looks too small to accept it all, but each component has its own space and internal dividers stop parts rubbing together.
I was very pleased to see that the first .177 pellet I fired across it registered, as did all the others that followed. Now, that might sound a little daft, but I’ve had a lot of bad experiences with chronos’. Many have been totally flaky, reading well one minute and refusing to work the next. The Caldwell was rock-solid throughout my test.
Two things caught my eye with this system. The first is that instead of relying on ambient light from the sky, the Premium Kit version replaces the sky screens with two banks of infra-red LEDs, so that the sensors have a clean, consistent source to work from. A friend of mine tried to make something like these years ago with white LEDs, but with no luck. It seems that Caldwell has matched the sensors to the IR LEDs perfectly, giving reliability that’s second to none. This, for me, is a huge step forward and makes this machine worth buying just for that one reason.
The second thing I like is that you can download an app to your phone, which then becomes your data logger, calculating energy, shot-to-shot variation, maximum and minimum velocity, averaged over a shot-string of your choice. Unlike some, this app downloaded first time with no hassle.
After reading the velocity at muzzle, I then placed the chrono downrange at 25 yards and shot again. Much to my delight it continued to read perfectly. Remember, this was swapping position from a sheltered area beside my house, to the end of the garden. No hassle, no glitches, just clean readings every time. This opens a door, allowing me to test my new theory at my convenience, not just when the weather is perfect. Out of interest, my Daystate Huntsman Regal was launching 8.44 grain JSB Exacts at 770 fps and at 23 yards that had dropped to 670, a number that exactly calculates to their published ballistic coefficient of 0.0210.
This reinforced my belief that this is a chrono I can rely upon. I expect you’d like to know what my mad, new ballistic theory is. Well, tough luck. Until I can start putting some meat on the bones I’m keeping it to myself. Better to stay quiet and let people think you’re a fool, than open your mouth and prove them right. However, be assured that if I can substantiate my theory, Air Gunner readers will be the first to know!