LabRadar vs. professional Weibel Doppler Radar benchmark test

I haven’t bought my own LabRadar yet, but I’m seriously tempted. I am shamelessly using my friend’s LabRadar, with all options, for chronographing my ammunition. And he has to carry it too!

As if our firearms themselves weren’t enough, the McLaren orange radar always attracts other shooters at the range. A constant question is how accurate it is versus other – more traditional  – chronographs.

Well, what do you say? How accurate is accurate when you really don’t know? It may seem accurate to use, but do we really know? At least we have some sort of “constant” to rely on, which seems reliable enough.

We have even setup 3 chronos in a row to try to measure what’s going on. But then the bullet loses speed as it travels, so you wouldn’t get the same speed anyway. *sigh*

All in all, the LabRadar is a very nice product. We had very little problems with it, and it has given us a lot of answers (at least what we think are answers) to why we hit low or high. We even sent back batches of ammunition to a supplier as the batch-to-batch results were nothing but a joke.

The only issue can be for the LabRadar to find the bullet sometimes, so you have to move it around a bit. This is a source of irritation, but a minor one. At least you never have to be afraid of hitting your LabRadar chronograph with a low bullet, although I’m sure someone succeeded in that too.

FinnAccuracy had the opportunity to test the LabRadar against a Danish Weibel doppler radar. I am not sure exactly which model they used (if you can identify the model on the picture, please write in the comments), but we’re talking about an extremely expensive unit for expert users like the military or commercial ammunition developers.

You can find out more about the LabRadar here: Discover the new generation of Ballistic Velocity Radar.

 

The rifle was a Sako TRG-42 in .338 Lapua Magnum, with an almost brand new barrel, still in break-in phase.

The ammunition: Lapua B408 Lock Base, factory load.

The powder temperature was +25,5C or 77,9F.

Measured difference equals average 1 yard flight distance deceleration in first 10 yards range from the muzzle.

As you can see the LabRadar measurements are very close to the high-end system by Weibel.

Considering the LabRadar is about 560 USD I’m very impressed by its performance.



Eric B

Ex-Arctic Ranger. Competitive practical shooter and hunter with an European focus. Always ready to increase my collection of modern semi-automatic firearms, optics and sound suppressors. Owning the night would be nice too.


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  • Fast Forward

    Are there any indications as to which system would be the easiest to implement at: 100m or 900m downrange?

    • Nick

      Don’t know about the pro model they’ve got there, but the labradar cannot be used downrange since it relies on the sound of the shot to triggger it.

      • Eric B

        To my knowledge, could have changed, due to CE markings/legislation in EU the EU version has a little less power so can’t follow the bullet as long as the US version.

        Regardless, forget 900 meters 😉

        • FarmerB

          Both true – needs shock/blast to trigger, so it needs to be situated very near the muzzle and European devices have less power. Whatever, you aren’t going to get anything like 900m. I get about 50-70m.

        • Nick

          ^This.

          EU won’t allow civilians to have that powerful of a radar unit (for what reason I can’t comprehend) so the US model is somewhat stronger.

          With mine, the furthest I’ve recorded was 125y, but it’s hit and miss at that range with my 308 Win, and that’s on full power. The lower setting is supposed to be just as good but more prone to errors.

  • FarmerB

    I’ve moved over to using Labradar from Magnetospeed – and I’m very happy with it. From my testing it also seemed much more accurate than previous options, especially when the signal/noise ratio is high (well centered in the beam). But glad to see it confirmed.

    The only pain is aiming the thing. At the moment, I’ve used a straw in the “v” notch on the top to help align, but not ideal.

    • Johnsmyname

      FarmerB – How is your data different from the MagnetoSpeed? Higher/lower velocities, smaller spreads, how far off?

      • FarmerB

        Yes, I ran a couple of tests side-by-side. There was a significant difference in velocities (the MS was 25 m/s (82 fps) lower). Now let me add that I was very happy with my MS in the early days, the data it gave me seemed much more sensible than the previous cheap chrono data.

        However, over time, I started to lose confidence in it, because it started to show variable velocities. I’d take a rifle out one day and it would shoot 773 m/s and the next time it would be 829 or 788.

        Or, I’d get a string like this: 790, 874, 802, 787, 839. So, in the end, I just lost confidence in it. I’m not sure if there was a mechanical or electronic problem that crept in. One thing I became very suspicious of was that pissy little rolled up cable. I suspect that may have been part of the problem.

        And the variability in attachment might also be a factor.

        • Johnsmyname

          Thanks for the thorough response brother.

          • neckbone

            Cool! Nice to see family members getting along on here.

  • ShootCommEverywhere

    Excellent article. I’ve been enjoying my LabRadar but have not had any basis to compare it to as it’s my first and only chrono.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8fd6b8e8dfda2b1fb3b7c47183565b7a2d949a0892991da6234aa5faf4e0449c.jpg
    How far downrange will the Weibel unit detect the projectile? I’ve had success on my unit out to 150yds (Haven’t tried adjusting the setting any farther) using .30 cal VLD type bullets at magnum velocities.

    • Nick

      That’s a fairly significant offset you have there. The manual recommends getting as close as possible. I use their base mount (got it thrown in for free) with mine to have it right beside the gun, like the setup in the article. Never had any trouble with it that way. Pretty much always triggers and catches the bullet pretty easily, but proper alignment is essential.

      • ShootCommEverywhere

        It’s actually worked like a charm in exactly that setup. Shown very reasonable velocities that I expected given the barrel length and my powder charges.
        That position is a combination of (1) Giving my muzzle brake a wide berth, and (2) Being too cheap to buy the prone plate.
        Hasn’t failed to clock any of my rounds, and at trigger level 3 it’s only been triggering for my shots.

        • James I

          I just took a scrap 2*10, a flat head bolt (I think 1/4″), a washer and a nut to fit the bolt. Makes a wonderful prone plate and it only cost me $5 (bought stainless bolt/nut/washer) and 5 minutes of time.

          I do all my testing on even ground, but glue some nuts in the corners to have adjustable legs.

  • Nick

    Where the Labradar really shines is in the files it creates when you use an SD card with it. It doesn’t just take a snapshot at the distances you asked it to show, but actually records all of the velocities it can, along with a corresponding signal quality value to tell you how good that number is. This is all saved in a CSV file (which can be imported into excel or similar program).

    The fact of the matter is, this thing produces a mountain of data compared to a regular chronograph, and now thanks to the tester in Finland, we know it’s all pretty darn accurate too.

  • Johnsmyname

    Nice post Eric.

  • QuadGMoto

    Putting up two charts to compare where one is in meters and the other in feet is just plain mean.

    • Eric B

      Tip: Take a deep look at the charts again.

      • QuadGMoto

        Oops. If you’ll excuse me for a moment…

        ::: sounds of head banging on desk :::

        • Drew Coleman

          That was loud for me to hear it over the internet.

  • ActionPhysicalMan

    A most excellent article. Thanks. I have been watching the Lab Radar since maybe as much as two year before they actually started shipping them. Unfortunately, I am one of those that prefer wait for the Mk 2 to come out so that you can get one with the bugs worked out. This is turning out to be a long anxious wait.

  • Peter Balzer

    We tried the LabRadar while shooting Long Range in France recently. The range mndares silencers (yes: mandates) and this meant that the report from my .300 WinMag was not enough to trigger the sensor. We played around for a solid three days, tried all levels of sensor settings and in the end, gave up. So, if you shoot with a can on your rifle, the Magnetospeed will be the unit for you.

    • Eric B

      If you shoot with a silencer you must use the special microphone. It’s pretty basic if you check the options list and look at the manual. Bonjour 🙂

      • Peter Balzer

        Thanks, Eric, who reads manuals, ever? 🙂 I was not aware of that, neither were the two owners of their LabRadars. Which just goes to show that “who reads manuals, ever” has a real-world application. I am still sitting on the fence with the purchase of either a LabRadar or a MagnetoSpeed, may invest in “just” the microphone and bring it with me, because the other guys in my club have the LabRadars already…

    • FarmerB

      Hi Peter, I think I know the location you talk of. Going there myself in two weeks. You really need to put the unit in the blast wave. So, next time, stick it 1m in front of the rifle and see how it works.

      • Peter Balzer

        Hi Dennis, I think you do. 1650m max range across a valley, near St. Etienne… We already booked for next year, had three absolutely stunning days “up there” in June.

  • geoh777

    break-in phase

  • Blake

    “We have even setup 3 chronos in a row to try to measure what’s going on. But then the bullet loses speed as it travels, so you wouldn’t get the same speed anyway.”

    I’m not sure you have to worry about that too much. Maybe with 22LR, but not .338 Lapua…

    • FarmerB

      Well, the Labradar can solve that. If you extract the CSV files off the SD (there’s one for the string and one for each shot), it will give you the downrange speeds at about every millisecond. It takes about 15 milliseconds to take the first reading which is 10+ meters down range. Not sure how it extrapolates back to V0.