When it comes to setup time, you just
can’t beat Big Red. Drop in a 6 volt lantern battery and you’re ready to go.
For the F-1 Chrony however, it has to
be assembled first before you can use it. First of all, the unit uses a 9 volt
battery. You open the unit which starts off as a box but then the rods are two piece rods that need to be connected before
they are inserted into the chrony unit. The diffusers are also two piece and snap together before they are placed on each
rod. You also really need a tripod
in order to use the chrony effectively. There’s a hole in the bottom of
the unit where you just screw the tripod in.
To operate Big Red, you push the red
button to turn the unit on, you put 1” of the barrel of the gun on the black rubber lip, then fire away. The unit will
register fps when you fire semi auto, but if you fire full auto, it will switch to bps and give you balls per second readings
the F-1 chrony, you push the button to the on position, aim the gun inside the triangle which is the space between each of
the diffuser rods, diffusers, and unit, then fire away. The unit will register
fps, and each shot is numbered so you can review the velocities of each shot.
You didn’t think there was one
perfect chrono did you? Well, of course the Big Red has some limitations. First of all, it has a 475 fps limit. What will
happen is that if you’re gun is shooting over 475 fps, it will show you an erroneous reading like 400 fps or 405 fps. You would think that the chrono would show 475 fps each time in those situations,
but such is not the case. Although this chrono is suitable for most airsoft guns, I’ve had problems trying to get my
Tanaka M700 chronoed using this unit.
Some people may ask why the Big Red chrono
at AEX will show higher than 475 fps readings while mine will not? The reason is that the Paintball radar company changed
the microprocessor inside the unit in 2001, so that all units manufactured prior to this date have the capability of showing
readings higher than 475 fps, while the newer models cannot. Why the company changed it’s microprocessor I have no idea
Since Big Red is radar based, you don’t
need any light at all to get readings. This comes in very handy if you are trying to obtain readings indoors or outdoors with
very bad lighting conditions.
Cost is also a disadvantage to Big Red.
The cheapest price I’ve seen on the internet for the Paintball radar chrono is $249.00. Compare this to the price of
the F-1 chrony which retails for $87.95 and you’ll need to decide for yourself if the extra cost is worth the investment.
There is also a reconditioned chrony unit available for $49.95, but this unit is not upgradeable and comes with a 1 year warranty
as opposed to the 5 year F-1 chrony warranty.
With the F-1 chrony, it has the ability
to display readings from 30 – 7000 fps including projectiles fired from real steel guns. It is also upgradeable. This
means that it can be upgraded to have the options that the Alpha, Beta, and Gamma chronys possess like remote control capability,
high low average velocities, higher memory capacity, etc.. The question of whether you need all those other options is a matter
of personal preference. From my own experience in airsoft, I can tell you that
fps and bps are the two most important items of information that you’ll need.
The F-1 chrony is very difficult in obtaining
readings indoors. In fact, it is almost impossible to get a reading without the optional shooting light fixture. The shooting
light fixture is basically two light bulb fixtures placed one on each diffuser. The indoor shooting light fixture retails
for $29.95 a set.
In my personal opinion, if you can afford
the hefty price tag I recommend going with the Big Red Paintball chrono. Although it has some limitations compared to the
F-1 chrony, at this point in time it is the best chrono for the needs of airsoft enthusiasts. I once purchased a used western
arms scw pistol at night and it gave me the peace of mind knowing that the gun I was purchasing was firing the way it was