Sunday, December 21, 2014

Functional chronography at last?

The replacement chronograph arrived from Battenfeld Technologies, and today I got to set it up and try it out.  By which I mean "conduct a very rudimentary test";  this was no sort of dedicated session.

However, I'm encouraged at the results.  I had the deck stacked up for it to fail.  To wit:
  • Today is the winter solstice, at just about 60 degrees north latitude.  It wasn't fully overcast, but certainly cloudy.  I shot at 3pm, one hour before sunset.  This is not what you'd call "ideal light".  (Temp was 27F and humidity was 64%, for my own documentation.)
  • I had the standard screen shades on the unit.  (When they sent me the replacement, they actually sent me the "deluxe" kit, which includes a pair of infrared skyscreen shades intended to improve performance in diffuse light.  I now have that option, but I tried it without first.)
  • I tested with the tiniest projectile I will ever shoot over the screens--an 8-grain .177" diabolo pellet.  (Even Airsoft BBs are bigger than this.)

The test string was 18 shots (the capacity of my "pellet pen" loader/seater).  I did record two errors on shots 4 and 5, but suddenly I had an odd hunch that maybe I should cause the pellet to pass lower, closer to the screens.  I tried this and the error, and the "fix", seems to be repeatable.  Interesting.  I'll be curious to see if I get the same effect when I pass a 31-grain .25" diabolo pellet over the unit, or if maybe that tiny little 8-grain pill is just that much harder to pick up that you have to "help" it a bit with proximity.  Or, maybe this is where the IR lights start to become valuable.  More testing, of course!

Still...every time I put a pellet low over the screens (call it the bottom 1/4 of the presented trapezoid, rather than the middle half), even in minimal, flat light and using the standard screens, I got a read.  And the simple interface and export options (this chrony is notable for interfacing with a smartphone) seem quite promising.

All of which makes me pretty happy.  Here soon I'll try to wring it out more thoroughly at the house (using .177" pellets in the Bronco, Airsoft BBs in the gas 1911, and .25" pellets in the AirForce TalonP), both to learn more about those guns themselves, and also to get ready for range testing when the now-completed 03 Springfield arrives. 

I'll keep fingers crossed that this is going to work out the way I'm envisioning it.  And in that vein, today was a much better start than the first time!  :-)

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