Magnetospeed: Obsoleting Convenional Chronographs

At SHOT Show I finally got to take a look at the Magnetospeed, a chronograph that measures the speed of a bullet by measuring the time it takes for it to pass through two magnetic fields.


Conventional chronographs work by measuring the time it takes for a bullet to pass over two optical sensors. The problem with the conventional approach is that ambient sunlight affects the velocity reading. Other problems with conventional chronos is that they are big and bulky, require a tripod, need long cables and risk being destroyed by your bullets or shotgun wads.

The MagnetoSpeed chronographs solve all of these problems. They are compact, light weight and because they strap onto the gun barrel they do not require long cables and its not possible to put a bullet through them. Most importantly they produce a more reliable readings than optical chronographs. Last year TFB did an AMA (Ask Me Anything) with ballistic researchers Bryan Litz & Nick Vitalbo of Applied Ballistics. In response to a question about the MagnetoSpeed, Brian wrote:

The new book [Modern Advancements for Long Range Shooting] has a comprehensive chronograph review in which groups are fired over numerous chronos and results compared. In short, the magneto speed is very accurate and precise. I don’t hesitate to use it for serious testing in locations which prevent set up of the larger optical (Oehler) units. We did see some sensitivity to placement; you want it as close to the bore line as possible without damaging it.

… and Nick wrote:

The Magnetospeed is a good device. I prefer something like that over most optical measurement devices. With any type of variable light source, you end up with variable readings. Of course, the high end ones are pretty good and if you’re well acquainted with these devices and how to optimize results, then can definitely get good results.

The Magnetospeed is a good device – of course you have to watch placement. I am personally excited about some of the new RADAR devices as well as the acoustic ones as they could be useful.

The only downside of the Magnetospeed is price. The new Sporter version, which is suitable for hunting rifles with sporter-profile barrel and long barreled revolvers, has been selling on pre-order for $189. If you have a heavy profile rifle, large muzzle attachments (including suppressors) or you need to chronograph shotguns loads or airguns pellets, the much more sensitive V3 model is required and this costs $399!


The price for the Sporter model is well worth it in my opinion. Watch out for a full review we will be doing of these soon.


Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Tom

    Why doesn’t the muzzle blast blow off the sensor ?

    • JumpIf NotZero

      There are two “sensors” they detect a change in a magnetic field, the first one starts a timer, when the second one reports its peak impulse the timer is stopped. Bullet velocity is the timer divided the distance between the sensors. A muzzle blast is just air pressure, there is no reason to believe that would significantly effect the magnetic field like the billet does.

      • patrickiv

        Not throw off. Blow off.

        • JumpIf NotZero

          Yea, my mistake… but is that somehow less obvious?

      • Giolli Joker

        If your gun shoots billets, I need videos!

      • Tom

        That’s not an answer to my question. I know how it works. Try sticking your hand in the same location as the sensor, and pull the trigger. Your hand should be safe because it’s only air pressure !!!

    • RocketScientist

      Because the device is attached securely to the barrel (or pic rail if using an adapter, like shown in the photo with a G17). I haven’t had hands on one, so I don’t know exactly how the attachment system works (based on photographs it appears to be a simple strap-type arrangement). But based on the fact that I haven’t seen reports of this being a problem, and there are many reports of the device working and giving consistent results, I’m assuming their attachment system is secure enough that the device does not shift around appreciably (or get blown off) due to muzzle blast.

      • G.Banas

        I have a Gen 2 and have used it on numerous and that translates to over a dozen rifles and the only PITA aspect is swapping from say a suppressor to a sporter barrel. You need to swap out the riser blocks to keep the distance of the sensor to the bullet path to a small amount. If the barrel diameter is close, it is a 15 second job.
        I also have an Oehler 35 and have side by side compared and there is damned little difference in accuracy.
        Love the Oehler but it is not fun to drag all the “stuff” down to the range and set up and near impossible at public ranges or even my club range unless I am there alone.
        If I had a private range I guess the Oehler would be in a semi-permanent set up but until then the Magspeed fills the bill.
        Now we just have to wit to see if the LabRadar ever comes out of vaporware status.
        So many toys to want and so little cash :-)))

  • JS

    You can’t shoot for accuracy while chronographing. That’s a huge downside.

    • NDS

      Agreed, so essentially every new load or ladder I’d need to first shoot for velocity, and then shoot for grouping? I like that it is compact but I don’t want to shoot twice as many rounds for load development.

  • noob

    I gotta say I love the aesthetics of the design. it’s elegant. I’m glad they didn’t make an L shaped block and call it a day.

  • Rob

    Is there any reason why this device couldn’t be secured to a free float tube or stock instead of the barrel? As long as the position of device relative to the exiting bullet is the same it should work the same. It would take some tinkering, but it could be done.

    • JSmath

      You’re right, it should not depend on being attached to the barrel, at all.
      They likely decided to use the barrel for universality sake – All guns have barrels, not all guns have pic rails.

  • czylane

    With my chrono I can test several at a time, the setup looks like it would a pita.

    • JSmath

      As Rob speculates, and rightly so, there is no (sensible) reason why they will not have a weapon-independent mount/tripod for the device. You’d have to spend more to get what you want, but you would still be able to get what you want (being able to test several different weapons at a time).

  • Julio

    These things work properly every time, pack away really small, and only take moments to switch from rifle to rifle. I have used mine shooting long range targets and have found no POI change with the Magnetospeed fitted (though the rifles are suppressed, so there’s already a much heavier weight hanging off the muzzle). This lets me shoot varmints and chrono at the same time, so I know if a shot that went high or low was down to an inconsistency in the ammo as opposed to a change in hold or wind, and letting me keep track of any velocity changes as a chilly morning turns into a scorching afternoon.

    • Rick

      ooh..input source for a “smart optic” project?

      • iksnilol

        For an extra input source it would need to be lighter.

        • Rick

          for production or deployment, you bet. But for prototyping in a range/bench shooting environment? not too bad right now.

  • Rick

    does this work on any metallic bullet, whether it’s lead or lead-free?

    this is one of those ideas that makes you say “why didn’t I think of that?!”

    the prices, even for the higher end system, don’t seem terrible. especially for the ability to chrono without having to get the range officer permission to set up, or worry about ambient conditions, or even wait until the shooting cycle ends before starting or stopping a chrony session.

    As I hope to start reloading and playing around with ballistics next year, and as a gadget nut, I’ll really be watching these.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      Pro tip: things do not necessarily have to be “magnetic” (contain iron) to cause disruptions in a magnetic field

      Lead is very much non-ferrous (not magnetic).

  • Limonata

    I cannot wait to see the TFB review. I have the Competition Electronics ProChrono and my brother purchased the MagnetoSpeed V3.

    My opinion is this, there is no doubt that the MagnetoSpeed has some advantages but it also has some disadvantages and I hope they are compared to a ProChrono.

    For example, I have the ProChrono Digital with Bluetooth Adapter – Digital Link. There are no wires, I can control it from my Android Phone and the data can be analyzed in near real time. I do not consider the unit bulky. The unit plus compact Tripod all fit in my range bag. I have never shot the unit nor the shade.

    The MagnetoSpeed is definitely overall a smaller unit. It also now has a XFR connector and Bluetooth App that is in Beta. Compared to the ProChrono App, the XFR App is way behind. The MagentoSpeed works great provided you can make it fit your gun. My Stagarms 3g has a long hand rail in interferes with installing the MagenetoSpeed. Depending on your semi-auto pistol or revolver, it may not work either. The MagentoSpeed website even says it may not work with everything, unlike the ProChrono that has no such limitations.

    IMHO, If you are a long range shooter or rifle shooter in general, taking this into a range out in the middle of no place is much easier. If you are a pistol shooter, I believe the ProChrono is a much better choice.

    I am not sure how to compare the results between the two however. I found the results to be a bit higher with MagnetoSpeed but I am not sure what that means. Which is correct? Not sure it matters as long as you use one or the other consistently.

    I do like the MagnetoSpeed, but I believe that “Obsoleting Convenional Chronographs” is a bit much. True the Conventional Chrono have issues, but I do not believe they are obsolete.

  • patrickiv

    Looks neat. I assume you have to have a cool barrel for the strap?

    • JumpIf NotZero

      Out of curiosity… How hot do you think barrels get while you would be chonoing?

      • nadnerbus

        Maybe he wants to do a mag dump or two and then test test velocity, just to see if a hot barrel affects muzzle speed. Something you could conceivably do with a traditional chrono but maybe not with this one.

        • JumpIf NotZero

          You’re right. For one stupid and pointless test, this would not work.

          • nadnerbus

            I respect that you have a lot of knowledge in the field of firearms, and a lot of what you post is solid information and enlightening to readers like myself in the comments sections. But why do you have to be such a condescending elitist ass about it?

          • Laserbait

            Because it makes him feel better about himself. Typically the people that act/respond that way have a number of insecurities that they are compensating for.

            A person that truely knows what they are doing, or is knowledgeable on a subject, will impart their wisdom to help bring others without needing to insult them in the process.

          • patrickiv

            I think it’s a valid concern. I personally can’t afford to do mag dumps but there are people out there who can. As the author pointed out, there’s no reason not to have a benchtop version of the chronograph. I’m pointing out that the strap could be a weak point, something to look into. I don’t know the answer. Unless you’ve used this product, then you don’t know the answer either.

  • wetcorps

    Man this is it. We’re in the future now.

  • gunslinger

    optical chrono is more reliable than optical chrono?

  • FightFireJay

    Yep, my Shooting Chrony is now obsolete. I better sell my Master Chrony and get one of these.

    Master Chrony from Shooting Chrony starts a little over $100 and has a remote LCD screen so you can shoot from table or bench and not have to go down range like cheaper modesl. Also has no adjustments required to shoot multiple guns.

    AND it can be used with any handguns… AND BOWS!

    Or set it up at a target for your down range velocity (well sighted in accurate rifles only, duh).

    Is the Magetospeed neat? Yep. Do I want one? You betcha! Are conventional chronographs “obsolete”? Not a chance.

  • Kb

    I usually chronograph 2-5 guns at a time, when I’m at m gun club people like to stop by and check the speed of their load with one shot over screens, this thing is not going to work for me and alot of others I’m thinking.

  • JuvieRecord

    Can anyone tell me what the exotic looking scoped lever action is in pic two? Never seen anything like it.