0

No more excuses: Part One

This is a special guest report from reader Ian McKee (45Bravo) Today Ian will show us a chronograph almost everyone can afford.

After seeing this instrument BB bought one, too. I will be commenting on it later.

If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email me at blogger@pyramydair.com.

Take it away, Ian.

No more excuses

by Ian McKee

This report covers:

  • The need
  • Shot the chrono?
  • The good:
  • The bad:
  • The VIKKA Premium Precision Ballistic Chronograph
  • The pros:
  • The cons:
  • The test
  • BB chimes in

Okay, a show of hands; who out there is an avid airgunner, but still does not own a chronograph?That’s what I thought, way too many. 

The need

Many times in the past B.B. has expounded on the NEED (not the WANT, they are two different things) for an airgunner to have a chronograph if for no other reason than to periodically check the “health” of an airgun, no matter what the powerplant. I have been there, I wanted a chrono, but they were always too expensive, and I had kids to raise, bills to pay, rent, food, the list is never ending, especially now with the price of gas, and other necessities. 

I have tried the cheap way, using a free open source program called Audacity, I downloaded it onto my computer, the program could record audio, and display it as a graphic showing the sound levels over a period of time. It would display a spike where the shot was fired and a second spike a few tenths of a second later when the pellet hit the trap. If you knew the distance between the muzzle and the trap, using math you could extrapolate the approximate velocity of the pellet. (I was never that good at math) but it wasn’t precise enough for what I wanted. 

I found a free app for a smartphone called Chrono Connect, it did essentially the same thing as the cheap way just mentioned, but it was more streamlined and did the math for you. You just had to input the distance from the muzzle to the phone, and from the phone to the target, and the height of the phone in relation to the plane of the gun and trap. It worked, kind of, but it was susceptible to ambient noise that would cause false readings. 

Fast forward a few years, I was working on guns for other people and needed more precise and reliable equipment. During that time I had bought and sold a used Shooting Chrony, a used Competition Electronics chrono, and eventually bought a new Caldwell Chronograph.  

I still own the Caldwell, it is reliable, accurate, has its own travel case, and the Caldwell can connect to an app that records the shots, computes and displays the velocity high, low, extreme spread, and standard deviation, and the ft. lbs. of energy of the shot. It also connects to my tablet or smartphone through a cable from the chronograph using an ⅛ inch phono jack, that’s so 2010, this is 2022 everything is WIFI and Bluetooth, and many smartphones are no longer supporting the phono jack.

And, like the other chronographs, with the Caldwell you have to set up the tripod, attach the sky screens, get the lighting right, (don’t even think about using it under fluorescent lighting) and you have to make sure you don’t shoot the chrono.

Shot the chrono?

(OK, we won’t have a show of hands of who has shot their chrono, but you know who you are!) [At this point BB raises his hand three times — in shame!]

I eventually decided to bite the bullet (the buy once, cry once theory) and bought an FX chronograph that uses doppler radar to record the pellet velocity, without the chrono being downrange of the muzzle. B.B. tested one for us in February 2021, he had some issues with it, and returned it. I figured if other shooters can make it work I can as well. (I should have listened to the Godfather of Airguns.)

I coughed up for the FX, when it arrived I installed the app, put batteries in, and it synced right up, and I started using it indoors to tune a Marauder for a friend. My first impression? This thing is great, Tom must have done something wrong in the setup. 

During that first tuning and range session is when I discovered for myself that the honeymoon was over. Tom went over the software woes in his review so I will touch on some areas that he didn’t. 

The good:

It’s portable, wireless, does not need special lighting, and audibly says the velocity through the app on the phone if the shot was recorded, and the chrono is not downrange of the muzzle. If you use it just to call the velocities, it’s great, if it misses a shot you know it. But if you have the voice turned off to save the battery (more on that in a minute), you do not know if it is not recording the shot.

The bad:

It eats AAA batteries like a kid eats M&M’s! I had heard that, and was ready. I had brought rechargeable batteries, but three NIMH rechargeable cells only put out 3.6v, which is well below the 4.5v the chrono wants. So I bought Lithium rechargeable AAA batteries. They were $25 for four batteries, but their run time is similar to alkaline batteries. I used three Duracell alkaline batteries, three NIMH, and three Lithium rechargeables, and combined they did not make it through the entire tuning session.

The battery cover is held in place by a small screw that screws directly into the plastic case. Come on! A brass threaded insert is like 10 cents, or mold a retaining clip into the battery door. 

The chrono is attached to the barrel by rubber bands. Really? You couldn’t design a better mounting system? It’s not so much the rubber bands, as they are quick and easy to put on and remove, but if they have spent time in your range bag, they tend to dry out and break when you need them. A velcro strap would be much better. They do offer other mounting options for tripods and such, but that requires partial disassembly of the unit to install the optional mounting plate. 

And the biggest drawback for me is the one I bought has a hard upper velocity limit of 1100 f.p.s. maybe that’s a software limitation that can be changed through an update, but with modern high pressure air guns shooting both pellets and slugs faster and faster, an 1100 f.p.s. limit is not going to cut it in the very near future. 

I also shoot firearms, and unless you are shooting subsonic rimfire match ammo or pistols, the FX chronograph will not record the shots, it read CCI standard velocity reliably, but completely ignored the CCI Mini Mags and Stingers.

Too many bad points, not enough good points. The FX Chrono went back just like B.B.’s, except for different reasons.

It has taken me 1000 words to get to this place.  Now I report that I have found the chronograph for every airgunner, and it’s less than $40 USD!

Shop PCP Rifles

The VIKKA Premium Precision Ballistic Chronograph

VIKKA chronograph
The chronograph every airgunner can afford.

The pros:

It’s cheap, it does not require special lighting, the infrared lighting is built in and comes on when the unit is powered up. 

It reads in f.p.s. and meters per second, and the mode is selectable with only one push of the power button.

VIKKA fps
The VIKKA reads in either f.p.s. or meters per second.

Its Lithium Ion battery is rechargeable from a USB power source.

It requires little to no setup, it records from 1f.p.s. to over 6500 f.p.s. according to the top of the chrono. (I dropped a pellet through the sensors, and it recorded 3.2fps, and I have shot CCI Stingers through it at over 1600fps, but don’t know if I would feed it a steady diet of them).

It records up to 40 shots in memory which you can recall on the LED screen, and if you enter the projectile weight, it will calculate and display the muzzle energy.

The chrono clamps to the muzzle of the airgun. The clamps are metal, and come with mounting options for plain barrels, and shrouded or moderated barrels.

VIKKA mounted
The VIKKA is mounted to a rifle for testing.

I have 3D printed a new V block baseplate and added a velcro strap to replace the metal clamping setup.

VIKKA strap
The V-block baseplate and Velcro strap I made are a better way to secure the chronograph.

The English manual is well-written, and is easy to understand. [Here BB must disgree. Perhaps BB did not receive the well-written manual Ian talks about. The Chinglish paper instructions BB did get read like a Japanese Honda motorcycle manual of 1965 — “Please to connect earthing wire to senior post.”]

The cons:

It has no connectivity, it just displays the data, and stores 40 shots in memory.

It mounts to the barrel of the gun with a metal V block and screws.

The only interface is the single power button, mode selection is done through a series of short, medium or long presses of the button. 

Is it as well engineered as other more expensive chronographs?

No, and it will not stand up to recording centerfire firearms. But I say again, it’s less than $40

The test

I dug the Caldwell out of its case, set it on a table (I did not bother with the tripod or data cable), I installed the 9v battery, and since I was shooting indoors, I had to install the LED light kit, that requires either four AA batteries, or an ac outlet to power them. 

I set the Vikka Chrono on the table on a small box right in behind the Caldwell, I did not attach the chrono to the rifle, I just rested the barrel in the V block. 

VIKKA and Caldwell
For my tests I aligned the chronographs like this.

I pressed the power button, and when the PS prompt appeared on the LED screen I pressed the power button a second time and the chrono went into FPS mode. That’s it.

VIKKA setup
Pressing the one button different amounts of time works through the software options.

VIKKA velocity
Each shot registers on the LED display, plus up to 40 shots are memorized.

The Chronograph Caveat:  Not all chronographs read the same velocities, and even different chronos of the same model may display differently depending on ambient temperature, humidity, and other environmental or electronic factors.

The readings were all within two or three fps of each other, and where the Caldwell was up in velocity, so was the Vikka, when the Caldwell recorded a lower velocity so did the Vikka. 

Most airgunners will use this chrono occasionally, to check the health of their gun, or tuning their new pcp, or finding the sweet spot of their multi pump to get the best power for the effort. 

Doing that involves two presses of a button, once to power it on, and once to set fps mode, that’s it. 

We as airgunners all pretty much agree the Beeman P17 is about the best value for the money you can spend on an air pistol, and most of us have owned one or still own one or more of them. 

Currently, the P17 sells for a penny less than $46 (plus shipping) from Pyramyd Air. For less than the cost of a P17, what’s your excuse for not owning a chrono?

Shoot safe, and have fun.

Ian

BB chimes in

I bought one of these chronographs to test for you. The price alone makes it worth buying if it works at all. And Ian says it does. I will test it for you and come up with my own remarks in the future, which is why today is Part 1.

48 thoughts on “No more excuses: Part One”

  1. B.B.,
    If I hadn’t already bought the Competition Electronics ProChrono Digital Chronograph from PA before they were discontinued, I’d definitely buy the one you reviewed here. While PA still sells the more advanced deluxe version, my old ProChrono is similar to the VIKKA in that it is a stand-alone unit, with no wireless technology or anything. But I have no need of all that; all I need to know is the velocity of each shot when I shoot a group; I can do the math myself. For someone who doesn’t already have a chronograph, this VIKKA would be a great resource. Before I listened to you and bought a chronograph, I did a lot of “guessing,” which was bogus; the chronograph has been an indispensable tool for diagnosing my airgun issues! 🙂
    Thanking you for talking my into buying one,
    dave

    • Dave,

      Do not sweat it dude, you are not missing out. You did not pay attention to the shortcomings of this chrono.

      $40? What of the hidden cost of the 3D printer and velcro strip purchase? What about sproingers? They will not be easy to shoot with this thing strapped to the end of the barrel. Did you say, “clamp it to my barrel”? This will not be possible with many of the PCPs today.

      Now, if I did buy one of these things, I would figure out work arounds, just like Ian did. This most definitely has it all over the FX chrono, but I think I will keep my Caldwell for now.

  2. How well would this work on a Break Barrel? Every one that “attaches to the barrel” Just does not work well with BB’s.. Two guys I know “shot their crony”, Their Vikka’s, or whatever AMAZON was calling them at the time.

    -Y

  3. Ian,
    Thank you for a great report on a Chronograph that every airgunner needs to lay out the cash for.
    If all of the VIKKA work as well as yours does even when compared to the Caldwell Chronograph it is good enough and at a fantastic price.
    I put my hand up enough times shooting up enough Chronograph down range collecting data to compute BC and other ballistic information that buying the LabRadar made economic sense. You are completely correct that the average airgun shooter doesn’t NEED to want more than the VIKKA.
    “…it records from 1f.p.s. to over 6500 f.p.s. …” If the clock rate actually supports that high of a FPS with a modicum of accuracy it is able to detect projectiles traveling at twice the velocity that the LabRadar unit has the capability to. That capability is especially impressive given the short distance between the VIKKA’s sensors. It will/would be interesting to know the type of oscillator technology being used and if it will remain stable over time as it ages.

    As always…TIME will tell! PUN INTENDED.

    Thank’s again for another informative Guest Blog.,

    shootski

  4. Hi, my name is RidgeRunner. I own a Caldwell.

    I am very happy with it. On those rare occasions I need a chrono reading, it does the job just fine. It will connect directly to my Kindle and the program works just fine. If I do not feel like recording a bunch of data on my Kindle, the Caldwell will display each recorded shot without hooking it up. I have never shot this chrono, but I will have to admit I have left a few lead marks across the top of a friend’s ProChrono.

    Please understand, I am not saying the Vikka is not a good investment. What I am saying is, for me it would be a worthless investment.

    I can see one major drawback concerning this chrono, you strap it to the airgun. As Yogi pointed out, that would not be fun with a break barrel. As shootski pointed out, the LabRadar is a bit much in cost and learning for the average airgunner. FX sorta kinda has the right idea, except you have to provide other technology to even use it. Of course, FX has never been a world leader in cost effectiveness.

    What is needed is a doppler radar based chrono that mounts on a tripod and will display the speed itself or if you desire, you can WiFi or direct couple this information to a software (app for you young’uns) equipped unit that will record, calculate and file your required information. If possible, the price should be kept well under $200, assuming you wish to sell more than you can possibly build.

    This old geezer just might upgrade his Caldwell then. 😉

    • Given the technology that is available to the industry and tinklers have at their disposal I find it hard to believe it’s not in the works of some defense contractor or garage/basement.
      My fear is that by the time it comes to market I will have become so old I won’t remember what PCP stands for.

  5. Ian,

    Interesting little gadget that I had wondered about. Thanks for buying one and writing about it. If I did not have my Caldwell, I would seriously think about it. If I ever do fatally shoot my Caldwell, I will give it serious consideration.

      • I did not like the bolt on clamp and so I never used it after the first day or two. I set the chrono on a stable flat surface like a box on my shooting table, and just lay the muzzle tip on the ‘V’ and line it up with a safe backstop and shoot. You can shoot this way with any kind of gun, break barrel or any other kind. It works just as well as strapping it onto the gun. You are only shooting through about 3-4 inches, so even minimal care lining it up will prevent shooting the chrono itself.

        For low powered guns, I have even just held the chrono on the flat of my left hand and fired through it with my right for a quick check. Obviously, this is just to check speed this way, no accuracy but if it has ever failed to register a shot, I can not recall it.

        • Found a dude on YouTube reviewing this chrony and shooting thru without clamping it on a barrel, except he did not rest the muzzle on the notch, which would make one worry about hitting the “brain” of the thing. This happens around the 12:18-12:19 minute mark on the video which is 14:14 minutes long. Ah, yes – it is in German so FM not being proficient in that Spreche, managed to get the gist of the review only, not the details. Reading today’s blog before watching it definitely helped. Everything video in English seems to be Caldwell reviews.

          https://youtu.be/GGmhFd6abhA

  6. From what I see it could be possible to rest the chronograph on something stable and just shoot through the barrel clamp. I have one similar to it, without the clamp, made in Poland, that works this way. Around 80€ cost.

  7. Ian,
    My apologies! I was so tired last night that when I saw this header “No more excuses: Part One
    by Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier),” I scrolled right down to “The Need,,” totally missing the “This is a special guest report from reader Ian McKee (45Bravo)” part. Man, do I feel stupid! I’m sorry.
    Back to YOUR report: thank you; it was most interesting, especially the part about your 3D printing of the v-block. That would work fine for my pneumatic rifles; for the springers, I’d likely lay them on sandbags on my shooting bench, then strap the VIKKA to the end of the bench.
    Keep up the good work,
    (while making sure guys like me give YOU the credit 🙂 ),
    dave

    • No worries.
      We all contribute to this blog in one way or another, if I get credit that’s fine, if I don’t, that’s fine as well.

      As long as i could help someone else in their journey.

      I have shot it from a modern shrouded pcp with the clamps, and with the Velcro strap mod.

      With the clamps it clamped to the barrel of my Crosman 761xl while pumping it. So it may work on springers as well,

      I have also shot it with the rifle barrel sitting on the open v block.

      I don’t use it as a replacement for my Caldwell , I mostly just as a quick way to see where a gun is shooting.

      Or if I am tuning for a certain fps I can do it in a room with less than ideal lighting.

      Ian.

      • “As long as i could help someone else in their journey.”
        You’ve got an excellent attitude; the world would be better off if more people copied it. 😉

      • Ian

        Can this chony be hung under the barrel,, or off to the side, so that one could aim at a target? If so, it would allow one to check accuracy at the same time. You might need to just shoot through it without attaching it in order to keep barrel harmonics true. I can see that as a very real opportunity to join the “shoot the chrony club.

        Ed

        • Edlee,

          I do not think so as the weight would not be evenly distributed. I guess it could work if “clamped”, but I myself would hate to do that. I personally think setting it on an elevated base and “laying” the end of the barrel on the V would be the best bet. I would still want to pad the V to prevent scratching.

          • RR
            I agree about laying the barrel in the groove for some work, but looking at the pictures, it looks like you would be shooting very closely to those little lights. It wouldn’t take much to angle the gun enough to take out one or both of them. If one wanted to shoot at a target, I really think it would be a safer bet to attach it.
            If one wanted to use the unit “as delivered”, it might help to cover the metal yoke with a couple layers of shrink wrap tube. Just a thought.

            Ed

        • Yes it can be attached at any orientation, a friend has an earlier model that only read in meters per second, and only had three digits and he uses it on his FX crown with it at the 9 o’clock position.

          This latest one has a fourth digit.

          He also uses like others have said holding it in front of the rifle to get the velocity, and setting it on the bench and resting the muzzle on the v block.

          • 45B

            Thank you. How tight does the thing need to be to keep from shooting out the second light? It doesn’t look like there is much clearance from the barrel and wouldn’t take a great deal of “wiggle” to have that happen. Perhaps it is just the pictures and the perspective I get from them.

            Ed

  8. B.B. / 45 Bravo
    WOW. Now this is something to get excited about. So pulling for this to work out. First question, is this something PA will carry? Next up, I cringe at thinking about clamping down something metal on a barrel. Is it possible to maybe put cloth down on the bottom V and maybe to use a velcro strap on top to hold the gun? What about today
    “plastic” guns? Say a plastic glock or any pistol for that matter? They have not “round” so to speak. Thanks again
    Doc

  9. Thanks Ian, looking forward to reading more about this chrono!

    Strange about the complaints about the FX Radar Chronograph, I haven’t had any issues with mine beyond the occasional missed shot. The only time the FX Radar didn’t work was when I had set the backstop too close and reflections off of it were overwhelming the readings. You do have to select the working velocity range and there is a sensitivity control but the factory setting has been fine. The FX Radar chrony is designed for SUBSONIC use – paint ball, air soft and pellet guns.

    I like the FX Radar for its convenience. Small enough to fit in the range box (or a pocket), quick to set up (the elastic band mounting works fine for me). and no “ERR2” problems from misaligned sky screens 🙂

    I think the battery consumption is reasonable considering “small & light weight” were probably high on the design requirements list, going to AA or larger would really add bulk and weight. I just turn the unit off when I’m not using it, only takes a moment to reconnect.

    I like to monitor velocities and take stats while tuning and checking groups so being able to move the gun around without having to realign the chronograph sky screens each time is a bonus.

    Having the chronograph mounted on the gun allows me to record shot strings while target shooting (kinda like having your cake and eating it to). Since anything hanging on the barrel is going to affect the harmonics and influence the point of impact I’ve made a picatinny rail mount and am working on a bottle mount to avoid that.

    In reading FX Radar reviews on the PA website there seem to be some QA issues but I haven’t had any.

    Hank

    • With the advancing technology in airguns sub sonic only will not cut it.

      I’m not one of these people that believe velocity is everything but umarex just announced their gauntlet 2 in 30 caliber of a claimed 0ne thousand feet per second

      that’s fast for a 30 caliber pellet.
      with more Airgunner‘s been beginning to shoot slugs shooters will want something that records faster than the speed of sound.

      Maybe you can answer something for me.

      I have been present One time to use a lab radar

      Something the reviewers and users never mentioned was having to use a microphone to trigger the device.

      I had to strap the microphone to the muzzle of my rifle because the gun was so quiet.

      Is that normal or was something else with his lab radar.

      Thanks.

      Ian.

      • Ian,

        Yeah, velocities are getting up there and slugs like to go fast – 950 to 1050 fps being pretty common. Think that for most people 1100 fps is plenty.

        I may change my tune once I get into testing slugs at higher velocities though. That project has been on the back burner for too long.

        I have no personal experience with the Lab Radar so I can’t comment on it. I have been admiring the on the Steve (of AEAC) uses. Would be nice to know the velocity bleed-off vs distance for various projectiles but I can’t justify the investment. In the meantime the FX unit works fine.

        Hank

        • It’s happening faster than you think.
          My .177 avenger bullpup came out of the box shooting over 1050fps, and that’s a $400 pcp.

          Yes the lab radar will give you the down range velocities, which os really a great feature.
          And would allow you to determine the ballistic coefficient of pellets who’s manufacturer doesn’t publis that data.

          Giles from Airgun101 hav mentioned early in the FX chrono coming to market that an update would allow it to display the velocities at different ranges like the lab radar.

          When I had purchased the FX, I had hoped that update dad been done and that ability was hidden deep in the menus where most people don’t go, but alas, it was nowhere to be found.

          If the FX had a rechargeable lipo or lithium ion battery, on board, or even an external port where you could plug it into a USB power bank to run it for extended periods, I would have kept it.

          Yes I saw videos on YouTube making those external power mods, but for the price, I shouldn’t have to void the warranty..

          Ian

  10. The claimed need for a chronograph got me wondering:

    there must surely be a better way of determining an airgun’s energy output than by measuring the projectile speed!

    Once some, most or all of the energy has been transferred to- and changed by the projectile’s qualities (such as projectile type, material, size, shape, surface smoothness, weight and weight distribution, fit inside the barrel, etc, etc…), every shot will give minutely- to measurably different results.

    Maybe it would be better not to use any projectiles. and find a different way to measure the pressure and volume of the expelled gas over time?

    Could this be made visible and measured by observing the effect on some sort of liquid-filled u-bend device, a piston in a cylinder or similar, that is attached directly to the barrel / muzzle?

    Anyway, this would then allow a direct comparison between airguns, wouldn’t it?

    I apologise if this has already been discussed, in which case, I would appreciate a pointer as to where to find and catch up on that. 🙂
    ——————————————-
    Back to reality:
    I seem to remember that my current chronograph (I shot my F1 Chrony) came via aliexpress. I couldn’t find a maker’s name anywhere, so, in the way of a description, I have attached a picture (range of mine is 9 – 6200 fps, with a stated accuracy of +/- 0.5%. It runs on 4 AA batteries, which I have yet to change. The box is about 13 x 3 x 1.5 inches).

    They also list the Vikka style chronographs, which too, are offered at rather competitive prices. 🙂

    • hihihi,

      Perfect post! It goes to the heart of just what is a Chronograph for?
      For a first function it is to help the shooter get the projectile to the target in the same place every time all other things being equal. Chronographs are used to prove that the shooting system is able/or NOT to deliver the projectile to the same two or more points in space at the exact same time interval. The Chronograph is not able to do anything more.
      Everything else is based on data reduction or deduction from that very simple but accurate interval measurement.

      shootski

      • shootski, what an interesting reply. Do you mean that a chronograph can aid in accuracy by confirming a projectile’s consistent speed?

        For me, the strongest motivator to buy a chronograph, was, worrying about whether or not I could be punished. I imagine that a great many governments in the world have imposed some sort of maximum energy level for airguns. Certainly in the 3 countries I have lived, that has been the case.

        Therefore, for me, a chronograph is mostly for peace of mind. 🙂

        • hihihi,
          Why YES!
          There are a number of things that a consistent Muzzle Velocity (MV) does for accuracy. Most of the vertical component of group size is one item mostly attributable to consistent velocity from the muzzle to the target; by that i’m talking about a consistent loss curve. That is the reason I like my LabRadar so much more than a typical optical or magnetic anomoly Chronograph since the LabRadar detects and plots (hundreds if not thousands of data points) on that velocity loss curve from which looking at variations permits a number of things to be deduced. It really isn’t KISS anymore when you get that deep into the data available.

          shootski

          • Since you own a lab radar, is it normal to have to attach a microphone close to the muzzle to trigger the device?

            I have only seen one in person and the owner attached a wired microphone to the muzzle of the rifles to log the velocity.

            Ian.

  11. B.B. and Readership,

    To all the potential new to Chronograph readers I will share one caution.
    DO NOT read more into your data collection than it merits.
    A perfect example is comparing pellets thinking that since you used the same rifle but different weight pellets and different head sizes (even from the same manufacturer) that you have eliminated ALL (or even most) of the less than obvious variables. Say what? The weight and/or head size change will instantly change the way the valve works among other things. This is pure anecdotal information gained through personal experience no reference is made to recent articles by “airgun experts” nor where their results considered in reaching my conclusions that the KISS Principal needs to be rigorously applied to Chronograph use.

    shootski

  12. Hey there, new commenter here! I ‘ve been reading this blog for just a little while and enjoy it very much. Good job BB and all you commenters out there making this a usefull, and more importantly, civil place to be.

    Anyway, I was wondering if this chronograph would be able to be used for firearms if it was put on a table and shot without attaching to the barrel as some of you have described doing? I know nothing about how chronographs work, but my assumption was that the reason it wouldn’t work on a firearm was recoil.

    • 3MeterParaBellum,

      It may work well with firearms but they would have to be under 1100 fps, and the powder blast could cause problems with the optics of this device.

      Mike

      • “It requires little to no setup, it records from 1f.p.s. to over 6500 f.p.s. according to the top of the chrono.”

        Bare with my ignorance, but what does the above mean then? I thought it meant that it could track speeds up to 6500 fps, (although that seemed really fast to me.)

        • 3MeterParaBellum,

          I’m certain at some point soon BB will officially welcome you to the Blog but for now you are welcome and in need of an answer. I’ll give it a shot. IF the VIKKA Chronograph will record that range of projectile velocity it really is fast. There is a “clock” inside which must have the ability to measure the time interval from crossing over the first sensor to when the projectile crosses over the second sensor. It is basically a Timing Trap on a very small scale. Other than in a weapons laboratory I have never seen an air/inert gas powered projectile travel much over 1,400 FPS. Firearms (civilian) are hard pressed to deliver velocities anywhere close to 6,500FPS; I have seen 4,100+ FPS with very small caliber rounds fired from MAGNUM cases loaded very hot in custom built rifles.

          Interesting user name. Parabellum’ is Latin It is the second half of a Latin phrase. ‘Si vis pacem, para bellum.’ So basically, If you want peace, then [prepare for] war. So, parabellum is prepare for war. You are preparing for war at three meters?

          shootski

          PS: I agree with Mike that unburned powder may have bad effects on the sensors. At a minimum the lamps and sensors would need to be cleaned often. I’ll add this also that the blast of air or powder in the case of firearm use may cause accurate velocity readings to be obtained. Since even a blob of air distorting the light(s) path can mess with an optical sensor’s ability to detect the shadow.

          • The device is from China, and they are known to make outrageous claims on many products,

            Wit an overall length of less than 6 inches, I would agree that would have to be a fast clock speed to register a round that fast, in that short of a distance..

            I can say, it will read over 1600fps. , and I was Leary of doing that with a .22 rimfire rifle.
            I don’t think it would stand up to a lot of that concussive force of the high velocity rimfire ammo.

            Also being mostly plastic, and computer pcb boards, I certainly would not strap it to the muzzle of a 5.56, you will probably have a lot of Chronograph confetti.

            Ian..

  13. Shootski,
    Thanks for the welcome and the reply.
    My user name did indeed come from the Latin phrase and was originally supposed to be 2 meter para bellum, referring to what is close to my own height. So it was intended to mean that I am preparing for war. However, when I first used the name elsewhere, I must not have been thinking straight because I forgot how long a meter was and made myself about nine feet tall instead of six. By the time I realized my mistake I was unable to change it, so it stuck.

  14. I own a Competition Electronics Pro Chrono Digital and an FX Chrono and an AirChrony. My CE ProChrono works very well for .177 pellets IF I use the infrared shields. Without them, it is only about 50% successful at recording a shot. My FX works very well in ALL conditions AND IT IS PORTABLE; it is about 90% successful in recording shots taken through it. I take it everywhere (including some spare batteries) and I find my battery life is very good if I turn it off when I’m not using it. Since purchasing the FX I haven’t used my ProChrono in almost 2 years. Both of these chronographs can connect to my phone to record the data; I then export that to Excel to manipulate it and create charts to help evaluate the gun performance. I use the AirChrony for chronograph checks during Field Target matches at my gun club where I have no power, and I don’t want to take time to attach the FX chrono to each gun. I am not an FX fanboy, but this one piece of equipment they offer is a very viable alternative for me. I would choose the labradar, but it is not as portable and much more expensive. My 2 cents.

  15. Ian,

    I’d be amazed if the Vikka chronograph could withstand more than a few dozen shots clamped to the muzzle of my Scopebuster 3000 Turkish megamagnum springer before being shaken to bits.

  16. Edlee,

    That would depend on the diameter of the barrel at the muzzle.

    Or actually more the radius of the barrel,
    A 40mm shroud or moderator will give you more clearance than a 15mm barrel.

    Of the 2 I have seen personally, an 11 mm Crosman barrel in .177 has enough clearance to clear the LED’s.
    You can add tape or some other material to the Vblock to give you more clearance, and can set it on a stable surface and just rest the muzzle on or above the v block, it does not have to be attached to the muzzle if you so desire, but the projectile HAS to pass through the structure to be read by the sensors.

    Ian

  17. Jumped the gun on Mr. Pelletier’s review and bought one on Amazon – ~$37, yet to be delivered. It appears to have been on the market for over a year, sold via Amazon. The unit seems amenable to modifications …longer base, more airgun friendly attachments, more stability for bench use without strapping it to the airgun (especially if you have competition front sight equipment), etc. That is my plan.

    Documentation is reported to be very weak unless you are from Peking. I located a translation on a vendor’s website —- https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0823M5M6M/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B0823M5M6M&linkCode=as2&tag=harairmag-20&linkId=485574fd4822a3aa129680b7edd7607b which will be very helpful in using the minimal features of this chrono.

    There is a review of this item “out there” but I will not cut Mr. Pelletier off at the pass by relating its obscure location; I’m sure he will have his own insightful commentary, in any case, and am awaiting his opinions. The reviewer created a ramp to protect the obviously at risk infrared sources, which seems likely to prevent the otherwise inevitable tragedy.

    I looked on the sponsor’s website store and could not locate this chrono.

  18. I’m on my second one of these – I shot one of the photodiodes to little pieces on the first one. So, I found some rubber bumpers which I glued onto the base to protect them, and so far, so good. My older device only reads in MPS, but it seems that there’s been a hardware/software update to read in FPS, as related in this blog and also in other comments I’ve seen. This is a very cheap but reliable Chinese product and is on Amazon in about six different iterations. I also. drilled a hole in the base to mount it to a tripod. It’s small, very portable, charges quickly, but is a major hassle to operate – but if all you really need is a speed readout and a short string, there it is.

Leave a Comment