I needed a chronograph to use in testing my airguns. Chronographs are handy for airgunners for a variety of reasons. Here are some of them:
Knowing an airgun’s pellet speed lets you compare between models. It helps when tuning a gun, trying to attain a consistent maximum or minimum pellet velocity. It lets you know performance in a pre-charged pneumatic model as the air pressure goes down over a shot string. Finally, it helps you troubleshoot guns, and keep comparison stats of an airgun’s performance over time.
So, off to Amazon I went in search of a new Chrony. I settled on the ProChrono Digital Chronograph from Competition Electronics. Full disclosure: if you buy the model off Amazon by clicking on a link in this review, Amazon will send me a small percentage of the sale price.
Among the buying options on Amazon, I decided on the Bluetooth bundle. My reasoning was simple. I wanted a wireless printout and recording of the shot strings, so I was going to get the Bluetooth unit anyway. But the bundle was cheaper at the time I purchased it, rather than buying the chrony and the wireless adapter separately. So, that’s the route I took.
Installing the guide rods couldn’t be easier. Four metal rods were included, and they simply slipped into holes on top of the unit, forming to Vs to shoot through. Diffuser hoods were included to help on particularly sunny days, but I didn’t install them yet.
You could opt to set the unit up on a table in front of your shooting spot, at or about the same height you are shooting. I chose to mount the unit on an old tripod I had lying around.
The unit records shot velocities in its internal memory. It can handle 9 strings of 99 shots each. You don’t have to shoot 99 shots in a string, you can change to a new string by pressing the “String Change” button. Say you had a PCP rifle and you figure you can get 40 good shots before the air pressure drops too much. You could run 10 shots from fully charged, change the shot string and note how much air you have left, shoot 10 more times, and repeat. In this way, you could see how the lower air pressure affects the speed of your pellets.
Next I turned to the Digital Link Bluetooth Adapter for the ProChrono Digital Chronograph. The unit requires 3 AAA batteries, and plugs into a port on the side of the chrony. It also comes with a Velcro strap, and four rubber feet to attach to the bottom of the chrony, so that if you have it set on a table the strap won’t affect the level.
I downloaded the free app for the unit. You have to search for “Digital Link” in the appstore, and look for the app by Competition Electronics. The chrony and the Bluetooth adapter quickly synced with one another once the app was downloaded and installed on my phone. Make sure Bluetooth is activated on your phone.
I set my tripod up outside, grabbed a springer and some pellets and fired off a shot … and nothing happened. The chrony read “0.” I tried again, and nothing happened. After the third or fourth shot I figured because it was sunny outside, maybe the diffuser hoods were needed after all. They simply attached to the top of the guide rods. I shot another round, and voila! A reading of 915 feet per second showed up on the display.
I decided to do a quick comparison of the speeds for some .177 caliber Crosman Premier Hollow Points with some Crosman lead free Silver Eagle Hollow Points, and fired off a quick few rounds of the former. Then, I simply pressed the “String Change” button on the face of the ProChrono, and fired off several of the lead free pellets.
As expected, the lead free pellets were much faster than the heavier lead pellets. The lead free pellets “cracked” the air as they broke the sound barrier.
Heading back inside, I checked my phone for the wireless transfer of data. Alas, I discovered that in order for the phone app to start recording data, you first need to create a shot list. So, I named a shot list, and started filling in the requested details, the first of which was a name for the shot list.
There were spaces for notes, temperature, barometric pressure, US or metric measurements, and bullet weight in grains. I gave a quick name, and assured that now my data would be stored on the phone, I went back outside to shoot some more. This time, I only shot 3 of each pellet, although on my last shot of the lead free pellets, I noticed I’d loaded a poorly shaped pellet. The first two shot at 1283 and 1246 fps, respectively, but this one shot at a comparatively paltry 1084 fps.
Since this was an anomaly, I decided to delete the results, so I used the “Delete Shot” button on the face of the chrony. However, when I got back to my phone, I noted the shot was not deleted on the app, and remained in its data.
I was able to go back in and delete the shot off the phone, later. I simply pressed on the offending shot, and the app gave me the option to delete. But, deleting from the chrony did not automatically delete it from the app.
Also, the app did not automatically sort my shot strings. It threw all 6 shots into one data file. You have to manually start a new shot string on the app as well as pushing the button on the chrony.
Neither one of those are deal breakers, and the extra computing power is probably not worth the expense, but it’s worth noting. So, my first shot strings were separate on the chrony, but not on the app, and that’s something you should be aware of starting out.
A neat thing about the app is it will flash the shot’s fps in big numbers on your phone’s screen. Since the LED display on the chrony is not lighted, I could see this being useful.
So now I wanted to get the data to a computer in order to look at it and maybe print it out. The app lets you share the data in either text format, CSV spreadsheet format, or in pdf as a full summary. You can e-mail the data to yourself, beam it by Bluetooth or wifi to a compatible printer if you have that set up, or store it in the cloud.
The app also makes a neat little chart of your shot string. But, it is not included to share in the text data. You have to go an extra step and choose to share it, as well.
Overall I give both the chrony and the Bluetooth adapter five stars. Despite my missteps and early trial and error, once I got the units configured properly, they worked flawlessly. Despite the fact deletions on the unit don’t transmit to the app, I found the app easy and useful and worth the extra money. My biggest gripe with the app is it can’t automatically tell when you are starting a new shot string, and you have to tell both the chrony and the app you are starting a new one. But, that’s a minor detail and not a deal breaker.