by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- No manual
- BB freebie
- The app is the manual — sort of
- The test
- Wake up, BB!
- Last shot
- Email the data
- I like this chrono!
Today we look at a chronograph that uses all the latest technology to deliver its results to wherever you want them. It’s the FX Radar Pocket Wireless Chronograph. I’ll tell you right now — this one is a hands-down, gold-plated winner!
We learned when we looked at the FX Dreamlite rifle that FX doesn’t do paper manuals very well. But not with this chronograph, because it has no paper manual at all. I went online to the Pyramyd Air manuals (in the resources section) thinking the manual had just been left out of the box. No — there is no manual — as in none, nada, kein, ingen!
What you are supposed to do is get the app for your smart phone, because this chronograph works with a smart phone. Or you can go to the FX website and look at their tutorials for setting up the chronograph. I did that and when the video stopped all the up-front music and silliness and got down to business I saw I needed the chrono app. So I stopped the video and got the app.
FX — here is a freebie from BB. Make it clearer on your box that step one is to get the app. You wrote it on the box and then covered most of that up with your UPC sticker. Think!
The app is the manual — sort of
When I downloaded the app and set it up on my phone, there were instructions about what to do next. The trouble is, when you page through the screens you loose the information you just saw. A small sheet of paper instructions inside the box would have been so helpful!
Why am I belaboring this point? Because half the buyers of this product are old silverbacks like me who don’t play with their smartphones all day. We use them for telephone calls. Did you know they can also do that? It’s not that 36-year-olds don’t like airguns. They do. But 36-year-olds probably have families to support, while us old guys are finding more disposable cash, now that the kids have flown the nest.
Once the app was installed (it took only a minute) I followed the online directions and was set up in less than three minutes. So, the total time it took to get this chronograph up and running breaks down like this:
BB looking for the manual in the box and on the box — 10 minutes
BB going to the Pyramyd Air manuals page looking for the manual — 10 minutes
BB going to the FX website and watching the chronograph setup video — 5 minutes
BB actually setting up the chronograph, once the directions were found — 3 minutes
That’s a total of 28 minutes, of which 25 minutes were wasted.
This chronograph needs three AAA batteries. They fit inside a battery compartment that’s held shut by a single screw. Replacing that screw was the hardest thing I did during the setup.
Once you are into the app everything becomes easy. In fact, I was in the app, had the chrono booted up and ready to go so quickly that I had to scramble to find an airgun to test. I wanted one that I had tested before and one that I knew was relatively stable, so I selected my Air Arms S510XS Ultimate Sporter. Now, before you tell me how I should test this device — I know you want me to test it alongside a second chronograph. That comes later. Today I’m just discovering how this thing works.
It should be pretty obvious in the first picture how this chronograph is mounted. It clamps directly on your gun’s barrel. What about pistols? We’ll explore that later.
Use two stout rubber bands to wrap around the barrel and slip the ends over pegs on the chronograph feet. Rifles like the AirForce TalonSS are naturals for mounting. Rifles with slimmer barrels like the S510XS I’m using today may require a second wrap of the rubber bands.
I went to Part 2 of the S510 test that I did back in September of 2019 and I picked the RWS Superdome pellet, because I used it in that test in several ways. The rifle was still filled (from 18 months ago) and set to high power. I aimed at the pellet trap, making sure to align with the skyscreens of my Shooting Chrony and I fired. A nice lady’s voice on my Smart Phone told me that the shot had gone out at 960 f.p.s. I wrote that down on a piece of paper like I always do and then I looked over at my phone. Wow!
Wake up, BB!
Then it dawned on me. Why was I writing down the velocity when I had this thing running? This was going to keep track of everything for me! Hot dog!
And why was I taking extra care to align the rifle barrel with the skyscreens on my Shooting Chrony that’s set up on my table? It wasn’t turned on and they weren’t even working! This radar chronograph was doing everything.
I continued shooting and the nice lady kept telling me what each pellet had done. Then it occurred to me that if my smart phone was recording each shot, perhaps it was also making a list, just like the ones I always used to make on paper. Sure enough, it was!
However, on the 9th shot the nice lady said nothing. And the display on my phone didn’t change. Oh — I’ve seen this before. The chronograph didn’t record that shot! Sure enough when the 10th pellet went out the spout the chrono thought it was shot number nine and recorded it that way.
This was the last shot in the string. The chronograph failed to record the 9th shot, so this became the 9th shot. Pardon the flash in the lower right corner of the phone screen, but I was too lazy to get out the tripod. And I forgot I could take screen shots on my phone. See how difficult it is to grow old? Ain’t no graceful about it.
After the last shot I looked at the icons at the bottom of the screen. What would I like to see? I’d like to see the first string, because at this point, that’s what I’m interested in. So I touched the Shot String icon with my finger and the string came up.
What did I want to do next? Why — email the shot string to my computer so I could use it in this blog. I didn’t know which icon to press and as I was looking at all of them a page came up where I could edit the data about the pellet that was used. I tried to enter the data and the software “corrected” me from saying RWS Superdomes to res (whatever that means) superfine. So whatever software is used for this screen, it isn’t optimized for the chronograph. The way it works I’m guessing Siri is behind the screen making corrections to what the committee of millenials at Apple knows I really meant to write. The good news is that the software allows you to blunder on if you make corrections to their “corrected” entry. Goodie!
Remember — this is what happens when THERE IS NO PAPER MANUAL!!!
Email the data
I then emailed the data to my computer and here are the results. The average for this 9-shot string of Superdomes today was 948 f.p.s. The high was 960 and the low was 942. That’s a spread of 18 f.p.s.
When I tested the same rifle and pellet at the same power level in September 2019 the average was 941 f.p.s. and the spread went from a high of 958 down to 933 — a 25 f.p.s. difference. Based on just that we see that the two chronographs agree closely. But I will still test them together in the future.
I like this chrono!
I’m buying this chronograph from Pyramyd Air. I’m doing it because first, Shooting Chrony no longer seems to be in business and I do need a good backup chrono. And second because this FX Radar Pocket Wireless Chronograph frees me from a lot of duties!
Now, some of you don’t own a chronograph yet and you want to know whether this one can be used in all situations. I don’t know the answer to that, but it’s one of the things I plan on looking into.
The FX Radar Pocket Wireless Chronograph is a very useful tool. The documentation suffers a little, but once you overcome that, the device works well. There is a lot more testing to come before I can pronounce final judgement, but this is one piece of kit I am rooting for!