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  1. #1
    Contributing Member ssgross's Avatar
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    a birthday present...

    Well...I turned 40 yesterday. A bit depressing. Before all the curmudgeons jump in and curse me over it with "wait till you're ", remember that you've had a few years to get over being 40.
    My depression didn't last long since the wife and kiddos bought me a LabRadar - hoping that it, along with the copy of Bryan Litz's book they got me for Christmas, would keep me busy enough to not even notice the mid-life crisis, magnified of course any lockdowns, ammo shortages, and everything else that made 2020 a bad year. Their strategy is working, and 40 ain't all that bad.
    I saw a couple milsurpers mention using a LabRadar, but no reviews. So I thought I would start one.
    Now I realize that an expensive personal Doppler radar is overkill for these old rifles - but this is a different hobby for me. As a happy mathematician, most of my hobbies intersect with scientific tinkering - some basement physics and engineering of various sorts, various navigational math with a sextant and, yes, ballistics in general.



    First observations on the LabRadar after setting up is...this is going to be a lot of fun. First measurement out of the box...my son's nerf darts travel at 88-150 FPS.
    Second observation, the bluetooth mobile app sucks. It is worthless even when it works. Do some googling and it fails to connect on any device most of the time. I was only able to use it by pulling out a very old, outdated tablet. Even then it would poop out whenever the screensaver on the LabRadar engaged, causing the app to need to be reset. The only added conveinience is not having to touch the Labradar to put it in "arm" mode. I don't know how finicky the target alignment is yet, but I can see that if you "bump" it by pressing the arm button, it could cause the alignment to be altered. But I haven't heard anyone complain that it is that finicky, only that the notch "sight" on top is hard to use, and you're better off taping a piece of drinking straw to the top to make alignment easier.

    Next report from the range...

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    Contributing Member Ovidio's Avatar
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    Happy Birthday!!!

    Nice present, wifey and kiddos.
    I'd like one too, but it'll need some time.
    My list of guns to have is still very long.
    34a cp., btg. Susa, 3° rgt. Alpini

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    Really Senior Member Roy W's Avatar
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    I've had one for a few years. I find them very good.

    There are lots of useful Youtube videos about using them which are far more helpful than the manual.

    I use external powerpacks, like the ones to charge mobile phones, plug that in, lasts all day unlike AA batteries.

    Someone in the UKicon made 3D printed rear sight type adapter for the top to aim at the target, it is important to get it on target, I have found. This gadget is the same colour and is held on with a magnet.

    I particularly like the fact you can take the SD card out and download all the series data in a spreadsheet.

    They are worth the fuss setting up, if you use them to tailor ammo or test several rifles/ammo combinations on the same day.

    Just my thoughts.

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    Contributing Member ssgross's Avatar
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    setup was easy. I bought their bench top tripod, which seemed pretty sturdy. At my range the benches are heavy metal with a rubber surface, and on wheels. any time the table was bumped, the Labrador on its tripod jiggled. you can imagine that it moved quite a bit with recoil. As a result, I rarely got a 100 yd reading. 75yd reading came in only half the time. I shot a 22 shot string with my Gibbs 1903a4. I think the movement was throwing it off. For my last 5 shots, I took it off the tripod and just set it on the table. It still moved on recoil, but not as much. The spread of those 5 shots were 1/4 what it was for the same loads and radar on the tripod.
    My next trip to the range I'll take a regular tripod with me to sit next to the table, eliminating any bumps.
    The notch sight really only allows crude alignment, and I think it needs more to get consistent readings at the farther distances (100yds for 30 cal and up is supposed to be max). I will likely cut the back off a 223 case and tape it to the top on my next trip.
    Lastly, before next time...I forgot to take my darn sd card with me. When I got home, I tried and then went searching for a way to transfer the internal memory to the sd card. No dice, it can't be done. Only way to get it off is to go shot by shot and type it in yourself. Should be a simple firmware upgrade to allow copying a series stored internal to the sd card.
    I'm not disappointed, I think I just didn't know what to expect.

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    Advisory Panel Parashooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ssgross View Post
    . . . any time the table was bumped, the Labrador on its tripod jiggled.
    How did you get a retriever to sit on a tripod in the first place?

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    Contributing Member ssgross's Avatar
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    autocorrect does it again.

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    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ssgross View Post
    any time the table was bumped, the Labrador on its tripod jiggled.
    I suspect he meant "Giggled"...
    Regards, Jim

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    Contributing Member fjruple's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ssgross View Post
    setup was easy. I bought their bench top tripod, which seemed pretty sturdy. At my range the benches are heavy metal with a rubber surface, and on wheels. any time the table was bumped, the Labrador on its tripod jiggled. you can imagine that it moved quite a bit with recoil. As a result, I rarely got a 100 yd reading. 75yd reading came in only half the time. I shot a 22 shot string with my Gibbs 1903a4. I think the movement was throwing it off. For my last 5 shots, I took it off the tripod and just set it on the table. It still moved on recoil, but not as much. The spread of those 5 shots were 1/4 what it was for the same loads and radar on the tripod.
    My next trip to the range I'll take a regular tripod with me to sit next to the table, eliminating any bumps.
    The notch sight really only allows crude alignment, and I think it needs more to get consistent readings at the farther distances (100yds for 30 cal and up is supposed to be max). I will likely cut the back off a 223 case and tape it to the top on my next trip.
    Lastly, before next time...I forgot to take my darn sd card with me. When I got home, I tried and then went searching for a way to transfer the internal memory to the sd card. No dice, it can't be done. Only way to get it off is to go shot by shot and type it in yourself. Should be a simple firmware upgrade to allow copying a series stored internal to the sd card.
    I'm not disappointed, I think I just didn't know what to expect.
    First off Happy Birthday!! I found out the same thing about the Labradar Chrony. Blue tooth does suck. They are suppose to be working on an app upgrade. If the tripod is on the bench any movement will knock the Labradar out of alignment with the target. Mounting the Labradar on a separate tripod will help. In my case I made a mount to mount the Labradar to a post next to bench so there will be no movement at all. Do not buy there case. I did and could barely get everything into the case plus there is no protection from being dropped. I purchased one of the Apache hard cases from HF and cut out spaces for the useless tripod. extra battery packs and other accessories. The sight does suck I just took several large straws at Wawa when i buy a coffee and tape the straw into the sight. The long straw is pretty accurate. They are great tools and at least you will not shoot the chrony like the other models. LOL!!

  13. #9
    Contributing Member ssgross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fjruple View Post
    Blue tooth does suck.
    I found an old phone in my desk drawer that it works with. Really the only positive thing about it that's not readily available on the screen is that it shows a graph for each shot. I'm amazed by the lack of effort in the app. Easiest thing to do is interacting with a host file system and they don't even allow that. Why wouldn't they let you store results directly to your mobile device? the app already has to transfer everything from the Labradar.
    I cut the base off of a 223 case. Resting in the notch with bottleneck pointing downrange gives a nice donut to ensure alignment. I had taped a piece of straw at first and immediately thought "I can be fancier than that -- pinkies up!"

    my 22 shot spread gave a 78 fps max spread. Impossible for a load that has given ~1inch vertical dispersion in my groups before. The labrador giggles must have surely interfered. I'll give it another go on Monday. I don't go to the indoor range over the weekend. They are too busy - good thing and I am happy for them, but I like it more quiet and less rushed.

    A collegue and I were exchanging work-from-home humor the other day, and he sent me this. I just have to pass along.

  14. #10
    Contributing Member ssgross's Avatar
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    Went to the range again today, and shot 2 rifles. My ammo was
    Hornady 168gr BTHP Match
    48.5gr IMR 4064
    Winchester brass
    Remington No. 9 1/2 LRP

    I set up this time with a regular size tripod, just in front of the bench at my indoor range. Muzzle was 12inches to the right (I usually shoot lefty), just about even or slightly behind the unit. It was either this, or put the unit behind the bench and have it 4 feet behind the muzzle.

    My Gibbs 1903a4 clone was up first...only I mounted my nice Vortex 24x scope...just because I could.
    28 shots, 2689 fps avg, 65 extreme spread, 19 std. dev.
    Same rifle last week, tripod on the bench and unstable gave
    22 shots,2695 avg., 71 extreme, 18.2 std. dev.
    Rifle shoots ~2.5 MOA. Nothing to write home about
    So maybe the instability last week wasn't an issue? Maybe it was my loads or the rifle?

    Next up, my 1903a1 rebuild project. I posted about this project rifle here https://www.milsurps.com/showthread.php?t=71916
    Last post there is a target from its first night out - only shot about 30 rounds then, same load as above. Tonight it did even better. My last 5 out of 6 shots had diameter about 3/4 inches. I patted myself on the back as it seemed my usual mediocrity was interrupted by a rare "flash of brilliance" - the tiny peep hole on the m1903 is a challenge. The data shows
    12 shots, avg 2685, extreme spread 63, std. dev 15.3
    Pretty consistent with the data from the Gibbs for this load...but big difference in group sizes.

    my next thing to do is to dig deeper in the data. I may write some scripts to do some csv parsing to do basic things like...combine series across multiple range trips, give better summary data other than the 5 distances. If you look in the raw data for each shot, you can see it's possible to get yard by yard velocities with a little program and a little math. This may help identify the occasional mis-read. Interesting video on detecting outliers wrongly recorded by Labradar.

    I may start a new thread just for data posts, which hopefully others will add to as well. The more data we have, the more fun the analysis will be!
    Last edited by ssgross; 02-04-2021 at 01:03 AM.

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