Best Shooting Chronograph Reviews – 2017 Top Picks and Buyer’s Guide

Best Shooting Chronograph Reviews

Are you having trouble finding the best shooting chronograph reviews?  A chronograph is a tool that shooters use to measure a bullet’s speed, but how do you find the right one for your rifle?

I know how important a chronograph is and that’s why I made sure to pick out the best options available. I have a lot of experience using these and I used that to sift through the many products online.

In these reviews you’ll find detailed features, explanations and pros and cons. I have also added a buyer’s guide so you’ll know what features to look for when shopping online.

Top 10 Chronograph Shooting Comparison

NameDimensionsWeightView on Amazon
Competition Electronics ProChrono Digital Chronograph16 x 4 x 3.2 inches2 lbsCheck Price
Magnetospeed V3 Chronograph12 x 4 x 2 inches2 lbsCheck Price
Acetech Airsoft Gun Speed Tester BBs Shooting Chronograph130mm x 108mm x 61mm290 gCheck Price
Caldwell Ballistic Precision Chronograph Premium Kit4.2 x 10 x 17.5 inches5 lbsCheck Price
Caldwell G2 Ballistic Precision Chronograph60 x 36 x 36 inches8 lbsCheck Price
Magnetospeed Sporter Barrel Mount Chronograph4 x 10 x 15 inches2.6 lbsCheck Price
Caldwell Ballistic Precision Chronograph21.5 x 10 x 4 inches3.2 lbsCheck Price
Shooting Chrony Alpha Master Chronograph12 x 10 x 10 inches3.6 lbsCheck Price
Shooting Chrony 7000129 Beta Master Chronograph20 x 10 x 3 inches7 lbsCheck Price
FIRECLUB High-Power Speed Tester X3200 BB Shooting FPS Joules Chrono Chronograph115 x 100 x 50 mm24 gCheck Price


Best pick of Shooting Chronograph Reviews

#1: Competition Electronics ProChrono Digital Chronograph Review

Competition Electronics ProChrono Digital Chronograph
Shooting chronograph reviews have given the ProChrono good feedback, and I’m not surprised given its features.

 The ProChrono power down memory can store up to nine shot strings and 99 shots, which only goes to show how versatile it is. The chronograph is easy to set up so you’ll have an easier time using it.

The ProChrono allows you to assess the shot string data and velocity with ease. The ProChrono data review includes extreme spread, standard deviation and average velocity.

The amount of data provided allows for extensive analysis but is still easy to use. If you want to delete a string or shot, just press the button.

The ProChrono also has a data port so you’ll be able to use this with other Competition Electronics accessories.

The ProChrono is often used for rifles, but it measures the speed of anything that shoots. It works particularly well for those with large shooting areas.

The ProChrono is above everything accurate. It doesn’t just work with shotguns but also pistols, arrows and rifles.

What I Like
  • Accurate measurement
  • Easy to use
  • Can be used with various accessories
  • Convenient setup
What I Didn’t Like
  • Instructions have to be read fully
  • Speed recording may take more time during very sunny days

#2: Magnetospeed V3 Chronograph  Review

Magnetospeed V3 Chronograph Barrel Mount Bundled with FREE microfiber cloth
Magnetospeed is well known for their quality products and the V3 is one of them. This version has been updated so its sensors are more accurate than ever.

The Magnetospeed doesn’t get too dirty, but if it does you can use the microfiber cloth provided.

The chronograph is ruggedly built, and its straps have a triad thumb nut and metal buckle for extra durability.

Of course the highlight here is its data logging, and it doesn’t disappoint. it’s not likely you’re going to run into problems, but if it does happen you can use its troubleshooting guide.

Another nice feature of the Magnetospeed is its rapid mode which has been enhanced. It also comes with enhanced shooting.

The Magnetospeed is now compatible with air guns. Now you just need to set this up with your air gun and it will take all the necessary measurements.

You can make a number of adjustments without difficulty, and most important the speed is accurate. The Magnetospeed is one of the most consistent in its range performance wise.

What I Like
  • Very accurate
  • Excellent data logging
  • Comes with its own troubleshooter
  • Works with various firearms
What I Didn’t Like
  • Spreadsheet format a bit confusing
  • More suitable for advanced users than beginners

#3: Acetech Airsoft Gun Speed Tester BBs Shooting Chronograph Review

Acetech Airsoft Gun Speed Tester BBs Shooting Chronograph
There is no lacking of Airsoft chronographs, but Acetech manages to get ahead of the others in terms of performance and reliability.

The chronograph has 25 memory slots for rate of fire and velocity. With such ample room you can concentrate on shooting and let the device handle the figures.

The chronograph has a lot of features but it remains easy to use. This is possible because the device has a user friendly interface.

Its OLED display is 128 x 128 pixels and in color. There’s also Micro USB power input support and while it requires 4 AAA alkaline batteries, usage is very good.

The chronograph has 4 memory slots for its ammo parameters, and the ROF range is 100 to 5000 RPM. With these specs you’ll be able to do a lot of bullet speed analysis with minimal hassle.

The chronograph also has an auto power off function and low battery power off to conserve it. With a 1200 FPS measurement range, the device works very well for a number of tasks.

What I Like
  • Easy to operate
  • Ample memory slots
  • Works well with popular rifles
  • Long battery life
What I Didn’t Like
  • Doesn’t work with. .22 and .177 pellets
  • BBS weight adjustment needs some figuring out

#4: Caldwell Ballistic Precision Chronograph Premium Kit Review

Caldwell Ballistic Precision Chronograph Premium Kit
Anytime we talk about the best shooting chronograph for the money, you’re going to come across the Caldwell. And after reviewing this product I have to agree.

The Caldwell is compatible with rifles as well as Paintball, Airsoft and archery. It also comes with a dovetail plate where you can attach the chronograph.

The readings are easy to read and can be displayed in feet per second or meters per second. A carry bag is included so you can take the device with you anywhere.

The bag has dual zippers and is made from tough ballistic fabric. It also has an IR LED kit to assist in bullet speed recording.

The Caldwell is built for use in different environments and is usable in different shooting environments. The Caldwell is equipped with a 48 MHz processor and has been calibrated for optimum performance.

What this means is the Caldwell Kit is more durable and accurate. Thanks to its LCD screen, the data is easy to read.

The Caldwell also has sunshades and has its own iOS app that enhances functionality.

What I Like
  • Provides accurate results
  • Includes a carry bag
  • Excellent calibration
  • Durable built
What I Didn’t Like
  • Poor packaging design
  • LCD needs regular cleaning

#5: Caldwell G2 Ballistic Precision Chronograph Review

Caldwell G2 Ballistic Precision Chronograph
The G2 is designed to work with bullets as well as arrows, and its Ballistic Precision Technology provides greater accuracy. Unlike other chronographs, the G2 can be used indoors.

The system is compact and collapsible, making deployment easy. Another benefit of the G2 is is that it’s been calibrated +/-. .25% of velocity, underscoring its efficiency.

The G2 works fine as is, but you can extend its functionality by using the free iOS app. The G2 also has a Bluetooth interface that extends its capabilities.

Whether you use the app or not, you’ll be able to analyze bullet velocity and other data. With the app you’ll be able to calculate velocity spread, minimum, maximum, standard deviation and average velocity.

Apart from the free app and Bluetooth, the G2 really stands out for its accuracy. You no longer need to mess around with the settings just to make sure the figures are correct and not misleading you.

The G2 runs on a rechargeable lithium ion battery, and this is a time and cost effective feature.

What I Like
  • Comes with a carry bag
  • Ion battery is rechargeable
  • Has a Bluetooth interface
  • Accurate and easy to read
What I Didn’t Like
  • Needs a mobile device for advanced stats analysis
  • Tripod design is just average

#6: Magnetospeed Sporter Barrel Mount Chronograph Review

Magnetospeed Sporter Barrel Mount Chronograph
Magnetospeed has manufactured a good number of chronographs, and the Sporter ranks up there with the best.

The Sporter provides all the essential details about velocity, etc. With one button press you can cycle through all the details.

The Sporter is very easy to use: just plug it in and turn on. Now you just press the button and go through the stats.

A sensor cord is included and there are multiple sensitivity settings. Experiment with the settings until you’re comfortable with it.

The Sporter uses a 9 volt battery and it’s included here. The battery compartment is very accessible, so there’s no need to use a screwdriver just to access it.

The Sporter kit is easy to assemble, and it is compatible with barrels 1/2 to an inch in diameter. You can also use the chronograph on flash hiders and muzzle brakes up to 2.7 inches long.

As its name suggests, the Sporter is appropriate for sporter / contoured barrels as well as on revolvers with long barrels, and you get accurate results with both.

What I Like
  • Easy to fine tune
  • Convenient battery compartment access
  • Durable design
  • Intuitive interface
What I Didn’t Like
  • Can’t be strapped on some noise suppressors
  • Settings need to be correct for optimum results

#7: Caldwell Ballistic Precision Chronograph Review

Caldwell Ballistic Precision Chronograph
The Caldwell Ballistic was designed expressly for different types of shooters. Its biggest attraction is the pinpoint velocity reading of 5 to 9,999 fps.

The Caldwell Ballistic is calibrated during the design process. Accuracy is up to .25% so it’s dependable.

The Ballistic has a generously sized LCD screen for easy reading of data. The velocity can be displayed in meters or feet per second.

This chronograph is also notable for its oversized sun screens that allow its use in broad daylight. It’s common knowledge that some chronographs don’t work very well in sunlight, so this is a welcome feature.

Similar to other Caldwell chronographs, the Ballistic uses a 48 MHz processor for greater accuracy. This level of precision is uncommon and only goes to show how effective this product really is.

You also get a carry bag for convenience. A 15 ft audio cable jack is also provided with the package.

The Ballistic runs fine as is, but for more info and analysis you can download the free app. The app, available for Android and the iOS, provides extra functionality.

What I Like
  • Extremely accurate
  • Extra large sun screens
  • Clear LCD display
  • Pre-calibrated
What I Didn’t Like
  • Needs some adjusting on a few pistols
  • Some parts made of plastic

#8: Shooting Chrony Alpha Master Chronograph Review

Shooting Chrony Alpha Master Chronograph (red)
The Alpha Master is a good option if you’re after quality more than anything else. Sometimes even the best budget shooting chronograph won’t do and you need something more reliable.

The Alpha Master measures 30 to 7000 FPS, and it can measure average, high and low velocities as well. This chronograph also measures standard deviation and extreme spread in case you need them.

Folded, the Alpha Master measures 7-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ x 2-3/4″, and you can put this on a table or a tripod. The unit is made from 20 gauge steel but weighs less than 3 pounds, making it convenient to carry.

All the stats adjust automatically and you can delete shots individually. The device runs on a 9 volt battery (not included), and it can go 48 hours nonstop.

The Chrony not only manages battery life well, but it’s also got an input jack so you can hook it up to a printer (purchased separately).

The LCD monitor is clear so data is easy to read. Aside from rifles, you can use this for arrows, air gun pellets and for shotguns as well.

What I Like
  • Quick operation
  • Spacers included
  • Easy to fold
  • Intuitive design
What I Didn’t Like
  • Works better on overcast than sunny days
  • Opening could be easier

#9: Shooting Chrony 7000129 Beta Master Chronograph, Blue Review

Shooting Chrony 7000129 Beta Master Chronograph, Blue
The Beta Master is one of the top long range shooting chronograph products, and it’s idea for different weapons. The highlight here is its accuracy, up to .5% regardless of the gun.

The Beta Master only needs one 9 volt battery to run. Performance wise, the Beta Master can measures projectiles from 30 to 7000 feet a second.

At less than 3 pounds you’ll have no problems carrying this. You can also set it up on a table tripod depending on your needs.

The Beta Master displays feet per second by default, but it’s easy to change this to meters. You can also save the changes you made so there’s no need to keep changing every time you use the device.

The Beta Master has a lot of features, but it is still easy use thanks to the clear instructions. When you’re done using it, just fold the Beta Master.

The Beta Master comes with a lot of features that may overwhelm a first time user. However you just need to be patient, and you’ll be rewarded as this is a powerful chronograph.

What I Like
  • Very accurate
  • Lightweight
  • Made of 20 gauge steel
  • Portable
What I Didn’t Like
  • You need to read the user guide for maximum results
  • finicky around lighting

#10: FIRECLUB High-Power Speed Tester X3200 BB Shooting FPS Review

FIRECLUB High-Power Speed Tester X3200 BB Shooting FPS Joules Chrono Chronograph
Fireclub is no stranger to making quality chronographs, and the X3200 is a fine example of that. Weighing just 240 g, the X3200 measures bullet and projectile velocities accurately at all times.

The muzzle energy range is 0.01 – 999 joule, and it has a 100~9999RMP ROF range. Armed with these features you’ll have an easier time assessing your performance.

The muzzle velocity range is 10 to 400 MPS, greater compared to similar chronographs. Since it’s capable of measuring joules, RPM and energy you can use this to measure different types of projectiles.

The Fireclub works fine for most target shooting projectiles, and it’s just as good for Airsoft guns as well. The Fireclub is also commendable for being easy to use.

You can use this for 177 pellets and Nerf blasters. With its LCD display you can see the data clearly and make a thorough analysis of your performance.

The Fireclub is also one of the most durable that I have come across. Even if you use this on a regular basis, it’s going to get damaged.

Based on tests, the Fireclub scores high in the speed measurement department. It is not only accurate but also fast, with no tweaking required to get the results you want.

What I Like
  • Clear LCD display
  • Durable construction
  • Intuitive operation
  • Accurate velocity readings
What I Didn’t Like
  • Needs some calibrating on Nerf guns
  • Front faceplate looks a bit flimsy

 

How to Choose a Shooting Chronograph

Being versed in gun jargon is going to help, but you’ll have to know the major factors that have to be considered if you’re going to buy one.

  • Brand: buy only from a reputable brand. This way you’ll be assured the product was subjected to quality control and customer support.
  • Accuracy: this is another reason to buy from a reputable manufacturer, as you’ll get assurance the device is accurate.
  • Data Logging: chronographs log data, so choose one that provides pertinent information. Good chronographs provide information on speed, standard deviation and velocity
  • Ease of Use: a feature packed chronograph is nice, but it’s not much use if the device is hard to use.
  • Feedback: what are people saying about the chronograph? Are there any complaints? How does the company respond?

If this is your first time to buy a chronograph, learn as much as you can about it. Next, use that knowledge to decide what to purchase.

As you look for a chronograph, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What features are you looking for?
  • What specific features do you need?
  • How do you intend to use it? Will you use it with other devices?
  • Where is it made? Did it undergo quality control?

If you’ve been using chronographs for a while, create a list of the essential features and use that as a guide. Cost is important but it should not be the main reason.

Different Types of Shooting Chronograph

If you want the best chronograph for shooting, you have to be familiar with the different types available.

  • Optical: this has been the standard for a long time though it’s more complex than other types.  Here the bullet goes through 2 or 3 optical sensors, and the time between the sensors is used to compute the bullet’s speed.
  • Magnetic: a magnetic chronograph utilizes a magnetic field to compute a bullet’s speed. While an optical chronograph is in front, a magnetic chronograph can be placed onto the barrel.
  • Doppler Radar: the military has been using the Doppler Radar to measure bullets’ ballistics. This chronograph (technically a ballistic velocity indicator) is very accurate, but it’s not yet widely available.

Optical chronographs are suitable for beginners, but if possible get a magnetic chronograph as it is more practical. Doppler radar chronographs are for advanced users only.

Top Shooting Chronograph Brands

If you are going to buy something and want to be assured of quality, what is the first thing you look for? Chances are it is the brand name, and that rule applies to gun chronographs as well.

If you want to get your money’s worth, then you should buy only from a reputable company.  Here are the top brands today.

  • Competition Electronics: this brand has gotten a lot of good feedback for their accurate feedback. Their chronographs are also easy to use and reliable.
  • Magnetospeed: this brand makes our list as they produce some of the most advanced chronographs today. Their chronographs also have built in diagnostics to resolve common problems.
  • Acetech: Acetech manufactures a variety of chronographs for different users. Their chronographs are also notable for ease of use.
  • Caldwell:  Caldwell is well known among gun enthusiasts, and they make some of the finest chronographs today. What makes them stand out are accuracy and dependability.
  • Shooting Chrony: this company has earned a solid reputation for precision. They also manufacture various chronographs to suit various users.
  • Fireclub: Fireclub is another company that sets itself apart by making accurate chronographs.

Who Makes The Best Shooting Chronograph?

Based on my experience and customer feedback, I have to say that the brands above all manufacture outstanding chronographs and are above the rest in terms of quality.

After comparing their products though, I give a slight edge to Competition Electronics, Caldwell and Magnetospeed.

Why Use A Shooting Chronograph?

If you need to measure the speed of your bullet, you’ll need a chronograph. This tool is especially important if you’re shooting from 400 meters and out.

Bottom line: some shooters need to compute bullet speed to improve accuracy, and only a chronograph can help you.

How to Use a Shooting Chronograph

Read the user guide that came with your chronograph. Features and mechanisms vary, so follow the instructions.

Here are some general tips:

Set Up

When configuring your chronograph, take off the bore sight and bolt to make certain the bullet path isn’t too low. If you’re bore sighting, make sure your rifle is properly set on the sandbags.

Peer into the bore and once the barrel is lined up, aim at the target. Always check the setup of your rifle and chronograph after each session to ensure proper placement.

Adjustments

Make the necessary adjustments to the horizontal position, angle and height as required. The means by which this is done varies so refer to the user guide.

Your user guide should provide specific instructions on how to configure your chronograph, so use that as your starting point. While you can tweak the settings later, it’s best to start off with the default and make whatever changes are needed.

With some chronographs it must be parallel to the surface, but in others it is not. In the case of the latter you’ll want to make certain the rear and front sensors have the same height.

Final Verdict

All of the chronographs reviewed here are well-made, accurate and built for long term use. However if I have to pick out a winner it has to be Competition Electronics ProChrono Digital Chronograph.

What I like about the ProChrono is how accurate it is compared to others. Its power down memory capacity is also larger than others in its price range.

One of the hallmarks of a good chronograph is data logging, and the ProChrono provides lots of useful information you can review.

Deciding what the best shooting chronograph is can be hard, but based on my assessment the ProChrono deserves that title.

Best Shooting Chronograph Reviews
  • Competition Electronics ProChrono Digital Chronograph
  • Magnetospeed V3 Chronograph
  • Acetech Airsoft Gun Speed Tester BBs Shooting Chronograph
  • Caldwell Ballistic Precision Chronograph Premium Kit
  • Caldwell G2 Ballistic Precision Chronograph
  • Magnetospeed Sporter Barrel Mount Chronograph
  • Caldwell Ballistic Precision Chronograph
  • Shooting Chrony Alpha Master Chronograph
  • Shooting Chrony 7000129 Beta Master Chronograph
  • FIRECLUB High-Power Speed Tester X3200 BB Shooting FPS Joules Chrono Chronograph
4.6

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