Best Shooting Chronograph Reviews for 2017 – Top Rated for the Money
The best shooting chronograph is one that is affordable, accurate, and tough. When you need to add a shooting chronograph to your collection of tools, there are several models to consider. Hunters appreciate a good chronograph to find out how quickly a bullet is traveling, but it can be expensive to test out a bunch of different options on your own.
We took care of trying out a few so we can help you make a smart decision about the chronograph that will best meet your needs. We tested them in a variety of lighting conditions, to find out which options worked best with sunny skies and on overcast days.
How To Choose The Right Shooting Chronograph
It is helpful to know how a chronograph works before you can choose the best one for your needs. They measure the velocity of the bullet and then provide you with a report. One bullet is usually not enough for truly accurate data. Instead, look for a chronograph that gives a range of data including average, top, and lowest velocities. The chronograph should record a collection of data from a group of shots. If you only record one shot, then you might have an anomaly or a deviation from what actually happens. You need to know your averages.
It is also a good idea to know if the chronograph itself is accurate. The light conditions can be an issue since chronographs rely on bullets passing through light. If you are shooting indoors, then the light remains constant and the chronograph will work properly.
But, shooting outside can create a problem, especially if it is extremely sunny or overcast. It is helpful to find a chronograph that will adjust to outdoor lighting conditions. Repeatability is important in a chronograph that will be accurate in all lighting conditions.
Many people do not want to spend a fortune on a piece of equipment that is a measurement tool. The gun, the ammo, and other accessories are expensive enough. So, for many hunters who are in the market for a chronograph, it is important to find one that fits the budget. No one needs to spend more on a measurement tool than on the tools that are being measured. Figure out your budget and stick to it. The best shooting chronographs that we have found are affordable and they will get the job done well.
Another important consideration is the durability of the shooting chronograph. These little machines rely on electricity to work and if the chronograph has parts that lose their accuracy if gets windy, then it isn’t worth your money. These machines need to be able to work outside and tolerate a little wind and dust. The chronographs we tested will last through the elements – just don’t shoot AT them.
Best Chronograph For Shooting
After evaluating a bunch of chronographs, these are the ones we found to meet our criteria of being affordable, accurate, and durable. They also provide useful reports that allow hunters to make decisions about their guns and ammo.
**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
Best For The Money
This was our favorite chronograph for price. It is extremely affordable and accurate. This model measures everything that shoots and it comes with light diffusers to make it accurate for anything that shoots bullets or arrows in most light conditions. It has a huge memory that will save up to 99 shots per string and 9 shot strings.
You can see the velocity for each shot as well as averages, standard deviation, and extremes. It works in temperatures that range from 32-100 degrees Fahrenheit. You will need to use 9-volt battery. To get reports, you simply connect to the data port.
While this chronograph has a great price and includes several useful features, it does not record with accuracy in cloudy conditions. Because it has a few idiosyncrasies in different lighting conditions, you might have to figure out how it reads velocity on cloudy days and sunny days.
But, if you have the patience for figuring that out, then it should not be a big deal. The chronograph was not always idiosyncratic, but it did have moments. If you do have issues with the chronograph, the support team is helpful.
This chronograph is a good choice for a muzzle, if the firearm is kept 5-10 feet away from the display and front gate. In order to avoid faulty readings, the muzzle blast needs to be far enough away. Keeping the muzzle a safe distance from the chronograph will also prevent the chronograph from getting dirty or worse, being destroyed.
Seller: Competition Electronics
- Affordable, relatively accurate, and lots of memory
- Easy to use
- Tripod mount
- Chronograph withstands temperature variability
- Ability to read a wide range of FPS speeds
- Easy to set up
- Very reliable
- Measures the lightest ammo
- Strings and fliers can be deleted
- Good tool for reloaders
- Can be wonky in different lighting conditions
- No carrying case
Accuracy, An App, And Useful Accessories
If you want an accurate chronograph that comes with all of the accessories, this is the one to get. Most chronographs are bare-bones systems, but the Caldwell Ballistic Kit has it all: the chronograph, infrared LED light, carrying case, sunshades, and tripod. Along with the premium extras, the chronograph is a high quality instrument that uses a 48 MHz processor that provides accuracy to .25%.
It has a large LCD screen that displays the velocity in feet or meters per second. This model includes an app that will calculate important statistics like average speed, extremes, and standard deviations. The data can be recorded with the environmental conditions that happened when the shot was fired. The data can be sent through the app, to an email, and it can be saved for later.
- Includes necessary accessories
- Accurate readings
- App that works with iOS and Android. Big LCD screen
- Tripod mount
- Easy to set up
- Environmental conditions are recorded
- Not all readings are consistent, even with the same firearm
- App does not always work with every smartphone - especially the newest ones
Bluetooth Interface That Reads In All Lighting Conditions
The Caldwell G2 is a premium chronograph that is simply too good to pass up. The only thing that might turn off some buyers is the price – which is more than the others on our list; but, with the price comes high quality accuracy calibrated to .25% of the actual velocity of the projectile.
This chronograph works indoors and outdoors and uses a free smartphone app that shares the extremes, standard deviation, velocity spread, and averages. The chronograph has 18-inches of space to add to the accurate. It comes with sunscreens that have LED lights to balance the readings.
You can store your data in the chronograph or send it to your email or read it on your smartphone app. It comes with a carrying bag, a tripod, and a pair of LCD panels. This chronograph is powered by a Lithium Ion battery.
- Bluetooth, battery runs for 12 hours before it needs a charge
- Very accurate readings through the shooting area
- Two LCD panels for reading data
- It does not include a cable for sending information to computers or phones
- The chronograph is accurate, but it is not the most durable
- Tripod is not heavy duty
- Readings get wonky when the battery wears down
Affordable And Has A Good App
This little chronograph is another affordable option, but it separates itself from the others due to the app that works on iOS and Android systems. The chronograph will read speeds from 5 to 9,999 FPS and it is factory calibrated for accuracy to .25%.
We liked that the Ballistic Precision Chronograph gives a quick readout on its LCD screen and you can set it to feet or meters per second. To maintain accuracy, this chronograph includes sun shades. It comes with a 15’ audio jack cable to work with smartphones and it has a carrying bag, too.
If you prefer not to use a smartphone app, you can send the data to your email or save it for another time. It will record velocity for arrows, bullets, airguns, and paintballs. This chronograph also requires a 9-volt battery.
- Useful app with accurate readings
- The app is reliable and easy to figure out
- Tripod mount
- Data can be sent to email
- Easy to set up
- Battery cover is not durable
- Needs bright light or the light kit to provide the most accurate readings
- Small ammo are not always accurately read
In conclusion, hunters have several good options to meet their needs for measuring the velocity of their firearms or bolts. Each chronograph has a special significance that separates each on from the other. The ProChrono model is accurate and affordable. The Ballistic Precision comes with a smartphone app that works on iOS and Android phones and it is also as affordable as the ProChrono.
The Caldwell Precision with the premium kit includes everything that a hunter needs to use a chronograph. On top of that, the Caldwell Precision is precise to .25%. The Caldwell G2 is another extremely accurate chronograph that comes with several necessary accessories. However, the G2 comes with a higher pricetag that the ProChrono and the Ballistic Precision.
With our reviews, we hope that you have an easier time finding the chronograph that not only meets your budget, but also has the features that you need to properly measure the velocity of your arsenal.
Each chronograph has similar settings for accuracy, but they all have slightly different features that set them apart from each other. From battery power to carrying cases, LCD panels to storage capabilities, there is truly a chronograph designed to meet every hunter’s unique needs.