The Tester Wants To Buy It! FX Chronograph Review
Recently an FX Chronograph arrived at the HAM offices. So we asked HAM Tester Eric Brewer to try it out. Here’s Eric’s personal review. He liked it a lot! So much so that he’s going to buy it…
If you have been shooting airguns you should have access to a chronograph to test the health of your gun.
Knowing the speed of your projectile when the gun is at its best performance will let you know its primary health. Comparing this to future results will tell you if things have changed for the better or more importantly, for the worse.
Most affordable chronographs out today use two light sources. These measure the pellets time speeding across the distance between those light sources.
Such chronographs can be rather finicky about the surrounding light sources in the room or the amount of light available.
Some have a very short distance between the two lights. While this is good for being compact, it can lead to incorrect readings if the pellet is not shot at exactly 90 degrees to the light source.
Lately I had the opportunity to evaluate the new FX Chronograph. I wish I didn’t because now I want one!
On first opening the box I pulled out the chronograph and expected to read the directions. But there weren’t any! There is a sticker on the box that says to download the free app on your iOS or android smart phone.
So, that’s what I did. Once downloaded to your phone the app is easy to go through and set up. There is a quick set-up guide that gets you up and running.
Initially I had some trouble connecting with my Android phone. But I quickly figured things out and I was putting shots over the chronograph 10 minutes after opening the box.
The only problem then was that the FX Chronograph wasn’t reading every shot.
I was frustrated that there weren’t any directions to help me to figure out the problem so I decided to hunt through the screens of the program. My aim was to see if there was a problem with the unit or the unit operator 😉
In the program there are five separate screens to choose from down at the bottom of the page. These are Main, Profiles, Shot String, Profile Settings. The last one is Saves where you can look over your saved shot strings.
Going through each screen gives an impressive selection of inputs that can have you using everything from a airgun high power to a nerf gun.
Under the Settings selection is where I focused to try to figure out what the problem was. I input the information that was prompted like the velocity range that I was expecting the pellet to be at, the pellet weight and shape. The units that I want the output to be in and something called Minimum Return.
Ah, Minimum Return is where my problem was! I had the Minimum Return set at the highest value.
FX says: “Use this setting to fine tune the result from the chronograph- using small/ large calibers may require fine tuning using this adjustment – lowest I the most sensitive – too low can result in random readings. Result is shown when radar return exceeds the set value.”
Once I set the Minimum Return to 20 instead of highest every shot, the issue was resolved. Easy! The FX Chronograph read every pellet I sent over it from then on…
I did notice in my testing that different FPS readings can occur, depending on where you place the gun over the chronograph. Slightly different results can occur depending on how far in front of the chronograph the barrel is and how far above the barrel.
For me, best results seemed to be achieved placing the barrel about 2 inches above the chronograph and about 6 inches in front. Just find the best placement for your gun and repeat that placement each time for consistent, comparable results.
Because I am – let’s say – particular, I tested the FX Chronograph against the current AAFTA-designated chronograph using the same gun. Although there was a consistent 11 FPS difference between the 2 units, they were consistently giving the same spread from shot to shot.
That 11 FPS represents a difference of less than 1.4%, so the two units were reading very close to the same velocity. I also tested “my” FX Chronograph against a friend’s. The two FX Chronographs recorded velocities that differed by only 2 FPS. That’s VERY impressive!
Also note that the FX app allows you to make manual calibration adjustments of up to plus or minus 2%. So it would be easy to adjust the FX Chronograph readings to exactly match that of the reference chronograph – assuming that the AAFTA-designated unit was 100% correct, of course! Hmmm…
The benefits that I can see using this FX chronograph compared to others on the market are the following:
The reading won’t suffer if it is not exactly at 90 degrees to the unit.
– Very portable.
– Works with both iOs and Android phones.
– Won’t suffer from arrant light sources.
– Don’t need to plug the unit in to a wall socket.
– The unit tells you everything you need to know to determine if your gun is working as you expect it to be.
– All the directions are available on your phone.
– You don’t have to shoot through the unit so there is much less of a chance of shooting your chronograph.
– You can store your shots all right to your phone. No writing each shot down necessary.
– The unit will time itself out and turn off so you don’t ruin the batteries.
All in all, as I said in the beginning of this review, I will have to get one for myself! It would be a benefit in any airgunner’s tool kit.