How many of you have wasted precious range time trying to get the chronograph set up just right? Who has accidentally sent their chronograph into the next world because even though the optic was looking through the uprights, the bore was actually looking straight at the screen? Now I can’t say that I’ve ever shot my chronograph or clipped one of the uprights but I have wasted precious range time getting my chronograph set up when I went to simply test some of my handloads. I’m sure many shooters have a similar story, you show up to the range, get the gun set up, then the chronograph, and spent way too much time trying to get the thing adjusted. I can’t take credit for this method of setting up the chronograph but it has made things much easier for me so that I can spend more time shooting instead of tinkering with a tripod. The only tool that’s needed to help speed things up is a laser boresighter and it doesn’t even have to be a high end model, the ones sold at Walmart will certainly due. This process is simple and quick so it will be a short article but I’m sure it will help some folks out.
The first thing to do is set the rifle up, insert the laser boresighter into the muzzle, and turn it on. Now get behind the rifle to get it set up on the target and make sure that it will stay steady throughout the process. For me this is simply making sure that the rear bag is firm and stable enough to keep the crosshairs on the target. If the rifle shifts during the process then so will the laser beam and cause the chrono to be misaligned.
Center Point laser boresighter, cheap but effective for this task.
Assemble the tripod with the chronograph and place it approximately 10-12 feet from the muzzle, more if the rifle is equipped with a muzzle brake. Using a piece of cardboard or the palm of the hand locate the laser beam and begin adjusting the height of the tripod so that beam runs just over the top of the chronograph’s sensors. I like to have it set up so that the laser beam is running about 2” above the chronograph. Once the initial height has been set the shooter can begin making the final adjustments to make sure the bullet will run down the centerline or as close to the centerline of the chronograph as possible.
Now go back to the rifle and look through the scope, the crosshairs should be looking down the center of the screens on the chronograph. At this point everything is set up and properly aligned on target so turn off and remove the laser boresighter from the muzzle. It’s very important to not forget about the laser boresighter since failing to remove it before shooting will cause a catastrophic failure of the rifle, which could seriously injure the shooter.
This has been the best method I’ve found for saving time at the range when going to chronograph new loads or check the muzzle velocity of factory ammo. Additionally depending on the type of boresighter it may come with additional pilots so that it can be used with multiple calibers and rifles too. Of course there are newer chronographs on the market that attach directly to the rifle, however if you already have a traditional chronograph this method could be worth trying. I can’t stress enough though to make sure that whatever you put in the muzzle is removed before you begin firing. There’s been plenty of pictures and stories of shooters failing to ensure the bore is unobstructed and then end up blowing their rifle up on the first shot. I’ve never timed myself when setting my gear at the range but I’m positive that using the method for setting up the chronograph has cut it down by at least half, which means I can focus more on shooting rather than messing with equipment.