Hunters or firearm enthusiasts who want to measure the velocity of the bullet traveling from their weapon can use a shooting chronograph to get the information.
Chronographs are modestly-sized devices that are portable enough to take with you to the gun range or an open area where you are planning on testing measuring the velocity of bullets traveling from your gun.
With so many chronographs available today, it can be difficult to make a proper assessment on what model will serve you in the best way. It is why we created a guide to help you learn about the best shooting chronographs of the year.
After much research and testing, we narrowed down our list to the top five shooting chronographs that are available today.
The 5 Best Shooting Chronograph For The Money
|Sportsman Supply Inc. Shooting Chrony 7000136 (|
|Magnetospeed Sporter Barrel Mount|
|Competition Electronics 538002-SSI ProChrono|
Our Top Picks
- 1 Top Pick: Sportsman Supply Inc. Shooting Chrony 7000136 – Best Chronograph For Shooting
- 2 2nd Pick: Magnetospeed Sporter Barrel Mount – Best Barrel Mounted Chronograph
- 3 3rd Pick: Competition Electronics 538002-SSI ProChrono – Best Shooting Chronograph 2018
- 4 4th Pick: Caldwell Ballistic – Premium Shooting Chronograph Kit with Tripod
- 5 5th Pick: ACETECH AC5000 – Best Shooting Chronograph For The Money
- 6 Things You Should Know Before Buying a Shooting Chronograph
Top Pick: Sportsman Supply Inc. Shooting Chrony 7000136 – Best Chronograph For Shooting
The Shooting Chrony 7000136 from Sportsman Supply Inc is the best shooting chronograph that you can buy. It is capable of measuring the speed of a projectile between 30 feet per second to 7000 feet per second.
Such a range means that you can use the chronograph with any type of real bullet, while it will also be useful for pellet guns and paintball guns. You could even use it to measure the speed of throwing a rock, if it is something you wanted to try!
The chronograph is powered by a single 9 volt battery, while the body is made of 20 gauge steel. It is very durable and should last you for years. It is still lightweight, as it is a little less than 2.5 pounds.
And the accuracy is very impressive, with the Shooting Chrony delivering a measure speed accuracy of 99.5 percent. It has a 1000 shot memory, letting you see the results of many shots in a row. There is even a rapid fire mode to measure up to 1800 rounds per minute.
- Impressive speed range of 30 to 7000 feet per second.
- Rapid fire mode ideal for enthusiasts.
- Excellent accuracy of 99.5 percent.
- 1000 shot memory for testing the same gun and ammunition many times.
- No solvent or lubrication oil
- Plastic patch holders
2nd Pick: Magnetospeed Sporter Barrel Mount – Best Barrel Mounted Chronograph
Featuring a simple, one-button display, the Magnetospeed Sporter Barrel Mount Chronograph is one of the easiest chronographs to use. Since you can mount it to your weapon, it adds an element of versatility.
It runs off a 9 volt battery, which is included with the product. The battery compartment is easy to access. If you are planning on long sessions, it is possible to swap out batteries to continue using the chronograph without an additional charge.
There are three sensitivity settings on the chronograph. The manufacturer suggests the tool is best used with contoured rifle barrels and long-barreled revolvers. The accuracy is between 99.5 percent and 99.9 percent, which is also very impressive.
The full kit comes with a Bayonet sensor, two spacers, a display unit and thumb unit, and a cam buckle. It is everything that you would need to mount the sensor to your gun and begin using it immediately.
An official speed range has not been listed by the manufacturer. But given this chronograph is meant to be used with specific guns, it is not the most versatile. It is strictly for enthusiasts who have contoured rifle barrels or long-barreled revolvers.
- Impressive accuracy of 99.5 percent to 99.9 percent.
- Barrel mounted design makes it easy to use in any environment.
- Battery is easily replaceable.
- Not very versatile.
3rd Pick: Competition Electronics 538002-SSI ProChrono – Best Shooting Chronograph 2018
Made in the United states by Competition Electronics, the ProChrono Digital Chronograph is an excellent option for someone who wants a stable and reliable shooting chronograph.
It can store information for 9 shot strings, up to 99 shots each. It will let you review the velocity and the shot string data right on the screen. And that data includes information such as average velocity, standard deviation and extreme spread.
When using the chronograph, you can delete a specific shot or the entire string with a simple click. If you have other accessories that you want to use with the chronograph, you can connect them using the built-in data port.
The ProChrono has a velocity range of 21 to 7000 feet per second, while it is only 2.1 pounds in weight. It requires a 9-volt battery to run and the accuracy is 99 percent.
- Very easy to use.
- Provides data on 9 shot strings, up to 99 shots each.
- Impressive range of 21 to 7000 feet per second.
- 99 percent accuracy is a little lower than our best pick.
4th Pick: Caldwell Ballistic – Premium Shooting Chronograph Kit with Tripod
With the best range on any of the shooting chronographs that we have covered, the Caldwell Ballistic is a great option for some enthusiasts. Those who are testing ammunition with a very high speed, or wanting to see how pellet or paintball guns operate, will love this model.
The stated accuracy of the model is 99.75 percent, but there are some customer reports suggesting it does not always live up to that standard. However, it is still a very impressive product.
The kit comes with everything you need to get the chronograph working, except a 9-volt battery. You will have to buy one separately, but they are readily available from online retailers. But you do get a tripod to mount the chronograph, which is useful if you are wanting to shoot while standing.
Using the Caldwell Ballistic is very easy, thanks to its LCD screen. You can even interface with a smartphone using an audio jack cable. When you use the related app, you can check out the velocity, log data, notes, weather conditions and other information.
- Impressive range of 5 to 9999 feet per second.
- Comes with a tripod.
- Can connect to a smartphone for added information.
- Rated accuracy of 99.75 percent can take a hit when in sunny conditions.
5th Pick: ACETECH AC5000 – Best Shooting Chronograph For The Money
Not everyone has an unlimited budget to buy a shooting chronograph. If you are curious about bullet velocity, but do not want to break the bank, the Acetech AC5000 is a solid option.
The AC5000 can measure the velocity in the range of 90 to 1200 feet per second. It is not the best range, compared to some of the other models. But it is enough for most gun owners.
There is a hole in the product that allows you to fit a tripod onto it. Users are encouraged to use an alkaline battery, as zinc batteries can have an impact on the accuracy. Low voltage will also cause lesser accuracy.
With a small LCD screen, this device gives you enough information to get an indication about the rounds fired and the velocity. There are 25 memory slots so you are able to see if there is any deviation as you keep shooting the same ammo with your gun.
- Easy to use.
- Compatible with a tripod.
- Velocity range is lower than other top models.
- No accuracy rating from manufacturer.
Things You Should Know Before Buying a Shooting Chronograph
Using a shooting chronograph is the best way to understand if your gun is operating as intended. While most people use shooting chronographs with real guns, they are also useful for testing paintball guns, airsoft guns and pellet guns.
How Does a Shooting Chronograph Work?
When a shooting chronograph is turned on, a high speed oscillator is activated. Think of the oscillator like a stopwatch. It turns on and off when the bullets you are firing pass through the photoelectric cells within the chronograph.
As the bullet passes through the first photoelectric cell, the timer is activated. When it goes through the second cell, the timer stops. Now the chronograph has the necessary information to tell you about the speed of the bullet, as it already knows the distance between those two cells.
Do I Need a Shooting Chronograph?
Many individuals may wonder if they need a shooting chronograph. And it is a legitimate question, because it is not a tool that everyone with a firearm needs to rush out and buy.
If you are someone who is not a gun enthusiast, then you probably do not need a shooting chronograph. And if you never intend to fire your weapon at a distance greater than 350 or 400 feet, you may not need a shooting chronograph either.
But if you are the type of person who is very enthusiastic about guns, and you plan on firing a gun to a target 400 feet or further away, a chronograph will be very useful for you.
What Does a Shooting Chronograph Offer?
With a shooting chronograph, a gun owner is able to measure the speed of the bullet leaving their gun’s barrel. It is not as relevant when you are firing from a short distance, as any bullet speed is great enough to produce accuracy over short distances.
For instance, there is little need beyond curiosity to know the speed of the bullet when you are firing a pistol at a target five or ten feet away.
But as the distance increases, the bullet speed matters a lot. Knowing the bullet speed and the environment where the weapon is fired can help someone map out the expected path of the projectile.
An enthusiast would know where the bullet will hit and when. Such information is vital for someone who may be entering a shooting competition with their weapon. It is also very useful for hunters, who find a far away vantage point and attempt to gun down their prey.
Measuring Shooting Velocity
Shooting velocity is measured in feet per second (FPS) or meters per second (MPS). it is the type of information that you will find when you buy ammunition from a store or factory.
But that information is not always accurate. Hunters or shooting enthusiasts who want the most precise information about the velocity of a specific bullet from a particular weapon will need to use a chronograph.
Choosing the Best Shooting Chronograph
There are two main factors that determine the quality of a shooting chronograph, the performance and accuracy.
The speed that a shooting chronograph can measure is very important when you are planning to use it with different guns and ammunition. Every shooting chronograph that is worth the money has a performance range, indicating the speeds it can measure.
Shooting chronographs with the widest range will offer the most versatility. It is especially useful if you plan to use it with other types of guns, such as pellet guns or paintball guns, where the velocity is a lot less than a real bullet.
The accuracy of the shooting chronograph is vital, as it is what you are basing your calculations around. If a shooting chronograph is inaccurate, it means all the measurements you are calculating based on its findings are inaccurate.
Manufacturers will indicate the percentage accuracy of their shooting chronographs, which allow you to understand the quality of readings that you can expect from the product you are buying.
Our Final Word
Now that you have all the information about shooting chronographs, it should be much easier for you to make a purchasing decision.
Instead of looking through the many chronographs available through online retailers, you only need to assess the top five options to find a product that will meet your needs.
Those who want to buy the best shooting chronograph for measuring bullet velocity will be very happy with the Sportsman Supply Inc. Shooting Chrony 7000136.
And the ACETECH AC5000 is a very good budget option for individuals who do not want to spend a lot of money on a chronograph.
We hope that our guide has made the process of buying a shooting chronograph a little bit simpler.
If you have already tried one or more of the chronographs on our list, please leave a comment below detailing your experience. We always want to hear from our readers about the products we recommend.