Serious shooters understand a chronograph is an essential piece of kit. Giving you a solid handle of a loads velocity out of a particular gun, it not only allows you to exactly predict a bullet's trajectory but also its terminal performance. Luckily you don't have to break the bank to unlock this vital information, not with the affordable chronograph options presently on the market.
Caldwell Ballistic Precision Chronograph
This chrony is arguably one of the best values available today. Sensitive enough to handle everything from a BB gun to a .50-caliber, the do-all Ballistic Precision unit is practically everything you need. In addition, the chronograph links up with your smart device to offer you some features not found on other options in the price range. Not only will it calculate average velocity, standard deviation, min, max and velocity spread for the shot string, it also archives your data, thereby giving you the ability to compare different shooting sessions. Of course, as an optical chronograph, it’s susceptible to environmental conditions and tends to be finicky indoors. But with a good light source, you’ll find it is as precise as the top models out there. MSRP: $105 www.caldwellshooting.com
Alpha Shooting Chrony
Compact and handy, the Alpha Shooting Chrony is the very essence of convenience. Folding up to the size of a handheld box, the device is convenient to tote along in your range bag. And, it’s elegantly simple to operate. Just power up, shoot, and the Alpha spits out your velocities. While it is spartan, this device has the features you need in a chronograph, including high, low and average velocities, extreme spread and standard deviations. Furthermore, it has enough memory for a string of 32 shots and the ability to retrieve or delete individual data points. This chronograph also gives you room to grow: If you need more-serious data, you can add Shooting Chrony’s printer and software down the line to crunch a larger amount of data. MSRP: $115 www.shootingchrony.com
Competition Electronics ProChrono
If it shoots, the ProChrono will record its velocity. And accurately. Fairly bare-bones in appearance, this chronograph has plenty of features that make it a gem. The unit can store nine-shot strings with up to 99 shots each in power-down memory. Additionally, it gives you the ability to review each velocity and shot string data, including average velocity, standard deviation and extreme spread. This device is expandable if you decide to upgrade it with any Competition Electronics accessories. And, if the lighting is good enough, the ProChrono will keep you in the know, both indoors and out. It is a perfect entry-level option if you’re looking to expand in the future. MSRP: $125 www.competitionelectronics.com
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The article originally appeared in the 2019 Long Range issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.