So I took my lab radar out for the first time this weekend. In a word its awesome.
Chronograph is one of the most important tools in reloading, in my opinion. Chronographs allows you to gather key information that can be used in two ways.
One it can be used to help determine your ideal load. Many people shoot for groups, but generally as you find an accuracy node you will see your ES and SD shrink.
Second, after you have developed an ideal load you can test your shots over time to determine if something has changed in your gun or reloading process. For example is there lot to lot variations in your powder, is your barrel speeding up, etc.
Velocity is one of the truest forms of data your rifle can give you, but the only way you can know what is going on is with a chronograph.
Originally all chronographs used optical sensors spaced a predetermined distance apart and measured the bullet as it went access the sensors. This technology works well in certain conditions but struggles in less than ideal conditions. A couple of years ago magneto speed came along and changed how data was captured. This device uses a sensor that attaches to your barrel and measures the speed using the metal in the bullet as it passes over the sensor. This unit was far more versatile but can impact the trajectory of your bullet.
Along came lab radar using a new method. This unit relies on Doppler radar to measure the bullet as it travels. This unit has a few advantages.
One it can measure velocity without being attached to the gun.
Two it does not need to be placed in front of the gun like the optical sensors.
Three it does not impact the bullet trajectory.
Four it can measure the distance at multiple distances from the barrel, IE 10 yards, 25 yards, 50 yards, etc
To test this unit, I used it with my 300 win mag and AR. This unit proved to be very usable. Set up is easy, using the menu system you can select your preference: things like feet versus meter, distances, etc. One of the neat features is you can tell what grain bullet you are using and it will capture things like energy for major/minor calculations. After you get your preferences set, set it up next your barrel, tell it turn on the radar and you are good to go.
In use it captured 90%+ of shots. The majority of shots it did not capture where when I had the device positioned wrong. I think it missed one shot while set up properly. As I used it, the shot velocity would pop up on the screen. You could write it down, but this would be a waste of time. There is a SD card slot on the device. If you pop a sd card in there it will right all of your data to a CSV file. This file records all the shots for a given series. This makes it easy to go back and review all of your data when you get back to a computer.
Over all this unit is the best chronograph I have used. I think it is best unit on the market. There is a price premium for it, but if you want the easiest way to record your velocity, this is the unit for you. Unfortunately i do not have the capability to measure the accuracy of the various measurement methods. But I believe this technology to be the most accurate.
My only criticism of the unit is its size. It measures 10 inches wide, 12 inches tall, 2.25inches thick. It was too big to easily fit into my range bag. You can buy a carrying case from the manufacture, but given the price premium I did not think i should have to pay more for a case.