Labradar Chronograph

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Labradar Chronograph

Postby crbutler on Thu Aug 04, 2016 8:23 pm

I brought the new Labradar chronograph a few months ago and it arrived just after I had left for South Africa for a hunting trip in June. It took a while to get my act together for using it, but I have played with it enough now to get a feel for the thing.

This is the new microwave Doppler radar chronograph. Its roughly the size of a small pizza box, and weighs a few pounds. It comes with multiple mounting setups that you can buy for it. I got the bench top and the tripod set ups for it. The bench top is probably best for someone who is shooting at covered public range firing points, as you don't need to go downrange at all to set it up. The tripod set up allows you to use multiple heights and is probably the more versatile system to use.

It comes with 3 "velocity range" set ups that you can use. Handgun (250-1700 FPS) Rifle, which is from just under 1000 FPS on up, and Archery (66-738 per the manual) I did play with rifle and handgun a bit, but I am not an archer, and not really interested in that, but it would also work with airguns, I suppose.

The first time I used it, I had some issues as I couldn't be bothered to read the manual other than a quick scan. The second time out, I had no problems.

The big issue is that this thing is putting out microwave energy. While at low power, they do make numerous mentions of potential health hazard if you stand downrange of an armed (emitting) unit.

Set up is amazingly simple. Mount it on its system, aim it at the target you are shooting at, power it up and arm it, place the gun muzzle to the side (slightly in front if you have a break on the gun) and shoot the target. it takes about 2 seconds per shot so you do need to take your time, but once I had it set up and shot at thr right rate, it didn't miss any shots... Except... You need to be careful about the sound sensitivity setting (or use a external trigger) as suppressed .223 did not trigger the acoustic trigger to read the shots. No problems once I pulled the silencer though.

I did run it against an Oehler M35, and while the results were similar, I had some degradation issues (missing shots, etc.) due to putting the Oehler unit in front of it. Using the same ammo but separate strings, the agreement was good.

It will run in pretty much all conditions, unlike the light based chronographs, but I haven't tried it in rain. I have shot in the dark (fine) and variable weather conditions (storm moving in) without issues.

The data it gives is: average, Hi, Lo, Extreme spread, SD and 6 different range velocities that you can set as to which you want. It can also give power factor (at range 0) KE and knock down factor. It will also track time of flight to each of these distances as well.

I had hoped that I could use it to determine actual BC's at range. I don't think it is set up for that, and while I could do the number crunching from the data given, it does not (at least at this point) give you that info on the data screen. Also, for the long range boys, its of limited use as the radar only picks up projectiles to a limited range. I had no issues with .26-.375 projectiles, with them being able to be tracked out to 100+ although the company does state that .30 is about out to 130 yards or so. .22 CF rounds disappeared after 70 or so yards. Supposedly the smaller projectiles give shorter range traces.

It easily allowed me to do load work up accuracy tests at the same time as getting velocity data.

I did not try and wring out max velocities (the highest I tried was 3500 FPS from a .26 Nosler) but the company states it maxes out around 3900 FPS. It also comes in 2 versions due to export laws. In the US and Canada you can get the higher powered version ("standard version") outside of that its the reduced power version. It looks like the only difference is length of distance it can trace bullets.

It does allow a fair amount of customization of output units, and what distance traces you can print out. They did note that V0 is wherever the bullet enters the radar wave path if you use doppler trigger, so if you use a substantial offset, it can be a substantial ways down range, and the traces are measured from that point- so it does not function as a rangefinder at all. If you use internal trigger (sound) it gives actual V0.

The print outs are in Excel format- which is not something I am fond of, as it requires buying a new program- or you can page through on the unit itself.

You can pull the data off via a USP cable to your computer. I presume at some point they will make a bluetooth version, but it is hard wired for now.

The bad news is that it is not cheap. $500 or so for the unit itself, and the mounting systems add up to close to $1K all in with shipping.

To me, the ease of use, lack of concern of variance for sun position, the lack of risk of shooting the damn thing, and the easy port of data to the computer make it worth while. The fact that it essentially agreed with the gold standard Oehler is a big plus as well.

The use of excel (money to MS and a new program to learn) and the cost are negatives, but not substantial ones to me.

I do recommend the Labradar.
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Re: Labradar Chronograph

Postby Bearcatrp on Fri Aug 05, 2016 4:53 am

Congrats on getting one. Have had mine a while now. My review is further down the page. Any changes compared to mine? I do suggest buying the battery pack as it eats regular batteries pretty fast. Do have some AA batteries along for backup. I did suggest a mini keyboard to them. Have found the mount a little flimsy when touching the unit to make changes. It may be expensive but worth every penny. Congrats again.
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Re: Labradar Chronograph

Postby MJY65 on Fri Aug 05, 2016 5:14 am

crbutler wrote:The bad news is that it is not cheap. $500 or so for the unit itself, and the mounting systems add up to close to $1K all in with shipping.


I've had mine for about a month and like it so far. I'm curious as to what you bought that added up to that much. I got the unit, baseplate and case. What else is there?
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Re: Labradar Chronograph

Postby igofast on Fri Aug 05, 2016 8:41 am


The use of excel (money to MS and a new program to learn) and the cost are negatives, but not substantial ones to me.



FYI some free alternatives to Excel are:

Google Sheets - https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets
OpenOffice - http://www.openoffice.org/
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Re: Labradar Chronograph

Postby crbutler on Fri Aug 05, 2016 9:06 pm

Tripod, baseplate, case, 16G SD card, and external battery pack ran it up to just under $1k with shipping charges. ($900 and some change). It eats thru batteries like crazy if you leave it armed for a while.

I agree the mounting is a little too easy to shift, but it is easy to realign so not that big a deal. I shoot 5 and then have to reset everything anyhow.

Maybe I have gen II as I have not had missed shots once I figured out how to run it as long as I stay away from the suppressor mounted rifle... Maybe if I change to Doppler trigger that would work also.
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Re: Labradar Chronograph

Postby grimbeaver on Mon Aug 08, 2016 10:09 am

crbutler wrote:The print outs are in Excel format- which is not something I am fond of, as it requires buying a new program- or you can page through on the unit itself.

As was said OpenOffice will open it, though I would recommend LibreOffice instead. I gave up using MS Office at home years ago, used LibreOffice for a while but now pretty much use the Google stuff for everything. You can upload Excel files to Google and they will convert and read them.

Would be more tempting for me if it could read shotgun shot but it says slugs only. It's looks really cool but out of my price range at the moment.
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Re: Labradar Chronograph

Postby Seismic Sam on Tue Aug 30, 2016 7:42 am

Am I correct that this thing is like a radar speed gun for bullets, so there are no screens downrange?? That would be pretty cool, but I'm not sure it would be $1k cool. The only real drawback to the Millenium 2 is you have to dick around setting up the sky screens, and that can be pain, but with the IR screens sun angles have never mattered. I used the regular screens ONCE about 15 years ago, and that was the end of that.

And I might as well live up to my Troll reputation and post this model of Labradar:

http://cdn.akc.org/akcdoglovers/LabradorRetriever_hero.jpg

It can measure the speed of flying ducks to two decimal places!!!
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Re: Labradar Chronograph

Postby MJY65 on Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:45 am

Seismic Sam wrote:Am I correct that this thing is like a radar speed gun for bullets, so there are no screens downrange??


That is correct. Everything is right next to you on the bench.
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