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Caldwell vs Prochrono

18733 Views 46 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  Waterloo Kid
Let me start by saying I don't have a chronograph and have been guesstimating load velocities based on forum posts.

While at the range a couple,days ago the range officer mentioned he had a chronograph and was willing to set it up and let me clock my loads. Since I was the only person at the range I took him up on the offer.

The velocity on two loads that are being considered for an upcoming Hog Hunt were measured and came in about 60 to 100 fps below what was expected.

95gr TTSX with 29.2gr H322 @ 2.330 OAL gave 2680 fps from 20" ARP chambered triad barrel.

110 Accubond with 28.8gr H322 @ 2.330" gave 2540 fps from 20" ARP chambered triad barrel.

That brief experience with a chronograph has hammered home the value of a chronograph.

Some googling has led me to consider an entry level chronograph; either the Caldwell Ballistic Precision or the Competition Electronics Prochrono. Both units have features that appeal, but at the range I shoot at the ability to plug the Caldwell into my phone or tablet to capture data and start new strings is a major advantage. It would require a cold range to physically touch the chronograph to change functions on the Prochrono. The Competition Prochrono functions can be accessed with an add on blue tooth adapter at a cost about equal to the chronograph 馃. Of course paper and pencil can record the info so the extra cost of the blue tooth adapter is not an absolute neccesity.

The reviews of the Prochrono are more plentiful because it has been around longer, and perhaps are slightly better. Another plus for the Prochrono is the "Made in USA" label.

Reading between the lines on the Caldwell reviews makes me think most of the negatives are the result of user error.

Does anyone have experience in either or both machines and an opinion of what direction to take?


BTW, do the velocities of the two loads listed above sound like they are in the ballpark? The range officers chronograph was an older red Chrono, and I am wondering if the actual velocities are higher than reported.

Originally the 95gr TTSX load was developed with AA2200 and was accurate with 30gr @ 2.295" OAL. But, the load was developed with temps in the high 80's with the primers showing the load was near max. When shooting again with temps in the low 40's, the accuracy fell off and the primers showed no signs of pressure.

28.8gr H322 was accurate with the 110 AB's at both temps, so a load for 95 TTSX with H322 seems to be a good idea.

29.2gr H322 with the 95gr TTSX @ 2.330 is slightly compressed in Hornady brass without any signs of high pressure. This load grouped under an inch at 100 yds with temps in the low 40's.
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I highly recommend the Magneto Speed sporter. It mounts directly to the muzzle which doesn't require a cold range to mount and also has capability to connect to your smart phone with an app and email the info to your home computer. It is quite reasonably priced as well. I switched to one recently and have never looked back.
I bought a Caldwell Ballistic Precision to replace my Shooting Chrony F1 that I shot. I got the Caldwell kit which came with chrony, tripod, light kit and carrying case for everything. The unit itself functions fine and velocity readings are on par with known loads shot through my F1. I have had issues with the app, however. I have not been able to plug it into my iPhone and show a readout or log the data. I would just have to read it off of the unit's display and write it down. I reloaded the app, read the instructions several times and after 3 range trips it still hasn't worked. I haven't been back to the range with it in a few months so haven't really been able to work on it anymore. The chrono itself works great and is accurate, but it would be nice to log the data and figure up average, ES and SD quickly and easily and as advertised. The kit itself is nice to have everything needed and in one carrying case for not much more money. But if I were to do it over I would front the money and get a Magneto speed, either sporter or V3, for it's ease of use, quick setup and the ability to chrono loads indoors without all the hassle.
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Also to add, if you notice I said I shot my previous chronograph. The old saying goes it's not if you shoot your chronograph but when. With the magnetospeed, you are much less likely to hit it.
Had not looked at the Magnetospeed, probably because it look different than what was considered a chronograph.

Questions: Can the results be downloaded to a tablet or phone without extra hardware?

Here is am Amazon link to one that might get the nod.

https://www.amazon.com/Magnetospeed...id=1481295140&sr=8-2&keywords=magnetospeed+v3

How much space between handguard and flash supressor is needed to mount the unit?
Had not looked at the Magnetospeed, probably because it look different than what was considered a chronograph.

Questions: Can the results be downloaded to a tablet or phone without extra hardware?

Here is am Amazon link to one that might get the nod.

https://www.amazon.com/Magnetospeed...id=1481295140&sr=8-2&keywords=magnetospeed+v3

How much space between handguard and flash supressor is needed to mount the unit?
The XFR adapter is needed to connect to phone or tablet. Amazon has them at 36 but midway and others have them for $25. https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias=aps&field-keywords=magnetospeed+xfr+adapter
https://www.midwayusa.com/product/853040/magnetospeed-xfr-interface-for-v3-and-sporter
Follow up question as I look into the Magnetospeed.

It appears that the display unit captures the data and does the calculations during the session.

Once at home, can the display unit be turned on and the data reviewed? If so, it would negate my desire to interface with a smartphone.
That is correct, it will store them until you erase them.
I have had my eye on the Magneto for quite some time only for the "hot range" setup ability. I just read the Magneto V3 instructions and it says that shot string info can be stored on an "included" micro SD card. Can this not be then be used on a PC to download the data instead of having to email each string from the cell phone app? This is the main reason that I have stuck with my ProChrono all these years. 9 strings of up to 99 shots per string, then plug chrono into PC and it generates all the reports and graphs with all of the info that you need. I also use the remote switch so I can switch strings, or review info from the bench.
I have had my eye on the Magneto for quite some time only for the "hot range" setup ability. I just read the Magneto V3 instructions and it says that shot string info can be stored on an "included" micro SD card. Can this not be then be used on a PC to download the data instead of having to email each string from the cell phone app? This is the main reason that I have stuck with my ProChrono all these years. 9 strings of up to 99 shots per string, then plug chrono into PC and it generates all the reports and graphs with all of the info that you need. I also use the remote switch so I can switch strings, or review info from the bench.
I am sure it can but the sporter model doesn't have that capability. The V3 is usually right at an extra $100 but it does all kinds of stuff. Just depends on whether that stuff is something you need or not. As I recall, you don't have to email each string. I may be wrong but I think you can email all that is stored. I haven't had mine long so maybe someone who has used it a little more could chime in.
I have the Caldwell and have complained about it quit a bit but I have found like you said most errors have been user error on my part.
I now use a bore sight and piece of paper to adjust the unit until the shot will travel three to four inches above and center of the unit, in bright sunshine I'v taped poster board or cardboard to the sun shades to block some or to much sunlight; sometimes I have to turn the phone off and back on to get it to connect to the unit and I have had to reload the app. before. Be sure the battery is good and keep a spare on hand, LOL,,, now that I have all that down pat the unit seems to work fine.. I do like the way it keeps up with results and that you can take a picture of your target to see groups along with the data, I just wish I could plug it directly to my laptop and not have to email the data, down load and store in file....
I am sure it can but the sporter model doesn't have that capability. The V3 is usually right at an extra $100 but it does all kinds of stuff. Just depends on whether that stuff is something you need or not. As I recall, you don't have to email each string. I may be wrong but I think you can email all that is stored. I haven't had mine long so maybe someone who has used it a little more could chime in.
The info on the Magnetospeed website indicates the xfr adapter works with the Sporterized and V3 models and list the functions it does.

I guess I am sold on the Sporter even though it is about twice what I wanted to spend. The ability to not have to have a Cold Range to set up outweighs the change in poi for load workup. An extra few rounds to measure velocity before shooting for group size is insignificant compared to the time it takes to get several cold range periods. If only the back yard wasn't in city limits.....

Back to my first post regarding velocity of the loads listed, do those fps readings sound like they are in the ballpark for the bullets and powder charges used?
The info on the Magnetospeed website indicates the xfr adapter works with the Sporterized and V3 models and list the functions it does.

I guess I am sold on the Sporter even though it is about twice what I wanted to spend. The ability to not have to have a Cold Range to set up outweighs the change in poi for load workup. An extra few rounds to measure velocity before shooting for group size is insignificant compared to the time it takes to get several cold range periods. If only the back yard wasn't in city limits.....

Back to my first post regarding velocity of the loads listed, do those fps readings sound like they are in the ballpark for the bullets and powder charges used?
Your Accubond readings are close. I ran 30 gr H322 with Hornady brass and the Accubond and got 2640 fps from an 18" PSA barrel. H322 is an accurate powder, but doesn't make a lot of speed.
The info on the Magnetospeed website indicates the xfr adapter works with the Sporterized and V3 models and list the functions it does.

I guess I am sold on the Sporter even though it is about twice what I wanted to spend. The ability to not have to have a Cold Range to set up outweighs the change in poi for load workup. An extra few rounds to measure velocity before shooting for group size is insignificant compared to the time it takes to get several cold range periods. If only the back yard wasn't in city limits.....

Back to my first post regarding velocity of the loads listed, do those fps readings sound like they are in the ballpark for the bullets and powder charges used?
Midway has it on sale right now for $159. You have to add it to the cart to get the sale price. https://www.midwayusa.com/product/896627/magnetospeed-sporter-chronograph
Midway has it on sale right now for $159. You have to add it to the cart to get the sale price. https://www.midwayusa.com/product/896627/magnetospeed-sporter-chronograph
Earlier this afternoon I had (past tense) a $20.00 coupon at Cabela's.

This evening that coupon has been used and I have a Magnetospeed Sporter. Out the door with tax @ $170. Just about a wash with the Midway price with shipping figured in.

Thanks for all the feedback and advice.
Your Accubond readings are close. I ran 30 gr H322 with Hornady brass and the Accubond and got 2640 fps from an 18" PSA barrel. H322 is an accurate powder, but doesn't make a lot of speed.
In my brass, 30gr of H322 pretty well fills the brass up to the top of the neck. With a bit of light tapping on the case it will settle to about the bottom of the neck.

That seem like a lot of compression. Does it have a tendency to bulge the brass when seating the bullets?

I did try up to 29.2gr of H322 with the 110 Accubonds, but 28.8gr was more accurate.

Thanks for the feedback on being in the ballpark with the measured velocity.
That is the same load I was using and yes it did compress some but from what I understand it is ideal situation if you can have the right charge and be slightly compressed. I looked in my book and didn't keep any record of MV for the load. I am the worst about keeping load records.
Pretty much the same story. Shot my F1 and got the Caldwell. I didn't get the deluxe lit kit though. App works fine for me on iPhone6 but the the Caldwell leaves much to be desired.

SUPER picky on the lighting. Heavy overcast day: No reading. Sun comes out when the shades are off (because of overcast): no reading.

In my humble opinion; in 2017, outdoors, during daylight hours and no precipitation: A CHRONO SHOULD GIVE A READING! :a13:

When it works its great though. Love the Excel file management. Big upgrade from the ol' green Leaderbook scratch paper

Pretty frustrated with the lighting aspect though (1hr ride to the range)

I bought a Caldwell Ballistic Precision to replace my Shooting Chrony F1 that I shot. I got the Caldwell kit which came with chrony, tripod, light kit and carrying case for everything. The unit itself functions fine and velocity readings are on par with known loads shot through my F1. I have had issues with the app, however. I have not been able to plug it into my iPhone and show a readout or log the data. I would just have to read it off of the unit's display and write it down. I reloaded the app, read the instructions several times and after 3 range trips it still hasn't worked. I haven't been back to the range with it in a few months so haven't really been able to work on it anymore. The chrono itself works great and is accurate, but it would be nice to log the data and figure up average, ES and SD quickly and easily and as advertised. The kit itself is nice to have everything needed and in one carrying case for not much more money. But if I were to do it over I would front the money and get a Magneto speed, either sporter or V3, for it's ease of use, quick setup and the ability to chrono loads indoors without all the hassle.
In my brass, 30gr of H322 pretty well fills the brass up to the top of the neck. With a bit of light tapping on the case it will settle to about the bottom of the neck.

That seem like a lot of compression. Does it have a tendency to bulge the brass when seating the bullets?

I did try up to 29.2gr of H322 with the 110 Accubonds, but 28.8gr was more accurate.

Thanks for the feedback on being in the ballpark with the measured velocity.
I was using a drop tube, but yes, it still compressed some. Not enough compression to bulge the case though. I was loading to 2.295". Was getting less than 1" groups with that load.
The only thing is that with the magnetospeed you're going to have to go about things a little differently. Find your most accurate load without it and then chrono it. It mounts to the barrel and will affect accuracy. With a standard chrono you can do it all at the same


Just realized this was talked about a little bit above. So those of you with a magnetospeed how does it affect your barrel. Does it just change the point of impact, does it just affect accuracy, or changes both accuracy and point of impact?

Personally, I really want a magnetospeed. I don't normally have a whole lot of time when I hit the range and the hot range install/removal ability really fits the bill.
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