Since Benjamin Robins invented the ballistic pendulum in 1742, ballisticians (professional and amateur alike) have had to contend with wires, bulky boxes and lighting while shooting through — and sometimes into — so-called “sky screens” where a projectile passes over a series of optical sensors. With Infinition’s LabRadar, using traditional chronographs to measure speed may become outdated.
Each LabRadar (mylabradar.com) is a self-contained, highly portable, Doppler radar system weighing 4 pounds. About the size of a square, 12-inch, deep-dish pizza, it tracks projectiles out to 100 yards and is sensitive enough to even record velocities of BBs. It captures and stores data for up to 100 series of 100 shots. With an SD card, it will interface with a computer to provide more detailed reports.
Powered by six AA batteries (or an optional power pack), operating it doesn’t require a science degree. The user guides walk you through parameter set up, muzzle placement and other tips to make sure you’re getting the most accurate results.
With no sky screens or wires, the only physical setup is attaching the unit to a tripod (or mounting plate) and aligning it to a target that’s positioned more than 15 yards from the unit. If the target is closer, the projectile’s radar return will become mixed with the reflected waves also produced from a target resulting in a failure to record.
We checked a LabRadar against an Oehler Model 35P in a side-by-side, data-collection comparison. The LabRadar recorded velocities up to 10 feet per second faster than the Model 35P. Infinition suggested that this small difference was normal given that a projectile travels over three Oehler sensors, while the radar beam hits the bullet.
Units sell for $560. While you have to acquire a tripod or mount (we used a photography tripod) and batteries or a power pack, the investment was worth it. You can’t beat getting accurate ballistic data, from a portable, user-friendly package.
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