Labradar: Rock Star Technology For the Rest of Us
For years we’ve all dreamed of having a chronograph system that could be used in the way we want it to:
1. Set the device down near the shooting spot.
3. Read velocities.
We didn’t ever want to deal with diffusers, metal rods, infrared illuminators, lighting problems, angle problems, shooting the chronograph in the face, failure to detect/trigger, straps, plastic things attached to the barrel, POI changes, cable length, dim remote displays, blast effects, tiny shot windows, or not being able to move the gun. All of those problems are native to extant systems for noting muzzle velocities. Many of us hold chronographs in general in a sort of love:hate relationship. We know we need them and we treasure being able to get data but we are also sick up and fed with the three little pigs (a metaphor for the endless little niggling problems that make chronographs annoying or difficult or both to use).
Enter Labradar. Apart from being something that my autocorrect can’t seem to leave the hell alone it’s a brilliant solution to a long standing problem. Not only does it provide velocity data but there’s a lot more there that can be used to refine ballistic coefficient data (I have not tinkered with that but it’s possible now that multiple velocity measurements can be taken for the same projectile).
I was given the chance to use one recently and it was great. We tested with a small 1-inch bore black powder cannon which is not something you could use a Chrony or even a magnetospeed for. Barring the availability of the Labradar it would not have been possible to get a good MV reading.
I would love to more extensively tinker with one and give a more thoughtful and considered appraisal. Perhaps someday Labradar will be kind enough to allow me to eval a unit before I end up just buying one (which I will do). In either case whenever I can lay my hands on one again I will make sure to provide a thorough review with useful information. In the short term I can say that setup is not quite trivial. It takes a minute or two to fiddle with it and you really really want to read the manual. I didn’t do the latter but I did a bit of the former.
Once you have it set up usage is stupid easy. You just shoot. If you have it triggering off of the report of the gun firing you’ll have the best luck and battery life. You’ll want to have an extra set of batteries if you plan on a lot of chronograph readings being taken. Battery life isn’t terrible but you are operating a doppler radar unit, they’re not exactly low energy devices. Cost is pretty tall but you get what you pay for. For the man who hunts while dragging around gear with labels like Sako, Hensoldt, Le Chameau, and Turnbull & Asser this is about what one would expect to see them using. For the rest of us, it’s still the best bit of kit for the purpose and all things considered it’s not that expensive.