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.