Labradar is a system that measures the velocity of multiple projectiles, including airgun pellets as well as bullets fired from firearms. It measures pellet velocities to an accuracy of 0.1% and offers some interesting benefits for airgunners!
Most serious air rifle shooters are familiar with the benefits of a chronograph – being able to measure the velocity of a fired pellet. Labradar takes this one stage further. It uses a different technology to chronographs and offers the potential benefit of being able to monitor the pellet’s velocity at more than one point during its flight.
Traditional chronographs measure a pellet’s speed using photo electric sensors. Labradar does it using a Doppler radar system.
This means Labrador is the ideal tool to determine those Ballistic Coefficient values for your specific airgun, pellet and location. It can also aid the hunter by indicating exactly how much kinetic energy is available at specific distances downrange.
Labradar is supplied securely packaged in a nicely-printed box. The unit itself looks something like a digital theodolite. It’s designed to be used on a photographic tripod.
Alternatively, it can be attached to a Bench Mount, which is sold as a separate item. The Labradar unit screws into the 1/4-inch x 20 thread on top of the ball mount.
In order to be used with an airgun, there’s an accessory microphone kit that amplifies the sound. This is particularly necessary with silenced air rifles and allows the unit to sense the shot being fired. The Airgun Trigger Adapter clips to the side of the main unit in use.
For power, Labradar requires 6 x AA batteries. Alternatively it can be powered by a portable cellphone battery pack.
Labradar provides a readout of velocity on the built-in LCD screen. But the power of the system is really utilized to the full if it’s connected to a computer. In that way, a large amount of data can be downloaded into a spreadsheet for subsequent analysis and manipulation.
If you plan to use the computer download capability, you’ll also need to add additional memory. This takes the form of a SDHC card. This is the type of card that’s used to record photographs in digital cameras. Only a small capacity card is required for Labradar.
We found it possible to use an old, redundant, SDHC card from a disused digital camera. You may find the same. Just plug the card into the port in Labradar. After use, remove the card and insert it into a computer. (You may need an additional adapter to do this).
For airgun use, set your Labradar and Airgun Trigger Adapter microphone kit to one side of the muzzle. This records the Muzzle Velocity, as indicated by the instructions.
Because Labradar uses reflected radar waves from the pellet to determine its velocity, it can also be troubled by reflections from the walls and ceiling of a room. So this is a system best suited for outdoor use.
Our testing was undertaken in the open and also on an outdoor 55-yard rifle range. Like most rifle ranges, this one had a system of overhead baffles downrange to prevent wayward shooting. These baffles are supported by posts.
We tested Labradar in a lane next to the post supports. The system worked perfectly and was not disturbed by the baffles or posts, as we had suspected it might be. Our concern was that the radar waves would be reflected back from the baffles and posts, giving false readings. This did not happen!
Another concern we had for Labradar to record airgun pellet velocities was that it would not be able to detect the noise of a silenced air rifle. For this test, we used a Benjamin Marauder in .177 caliber – our “gold standard” for low noise levels. Again, no problem!
Even without being set to its most sensitive setting, we were able to get Labradar to record airgun pellet velocities from the Marauder without any issues.
The manufacturer’s specifications for Labradar to record airgun pellet velocities say that the maximum range is 30 yards. This is due to the small size of the pellet, not being able to reflect back enough of the radar waves at longer distances.
However, we had no problems with Labradar to record airgun pellet velocities at ranges out to 55 Yards. That’s nearly twice the manufacturer’s claims. Maybe it could even have functioned at even greater distances, but this was the length of the range at which we were shooting the test.
Labradar recorded the distance to the target on the 55 Yard range as being exactly 55.0 Yards. We double-checked this by using a digital rangefinder. This confirmed the range as being 55.0 Yards.
Incidentally, the system needs to be preset to record certain maximum and minimum velocities. There’s no specific “airgun” setting for muzzle velocities in Labradar, but the “Handgun” setting is ideal for our purposes covered the range from 246 FPS to 1,722 FPS.
The system’s display screen will show the Muzzle Velocity, plus pellet velocities at the other distances you have preset.
The built-in menu system works well. For example, you can preset distances to be 10, 20, 50, 40 50 Yards.
If you want to use Labradar to record airgun pellet velocities at almost foot-by-foot distances downrange, it can do that too. Labradar has the capability to record the data for each shot on the SDHC storage card. Using the SD card, the data for hundreds – or even thousands – of shots can be recorded and stored.
Again, we found that the SD card functionality worked well. We were able to take the Labradar data and download it into a PC. It then opened-up easily in the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet program, allowing for easy analysis and charting of the data, if required.
Not being PC users, we also tried to download the SD card data onto one of our Mac computers. This was less successful. Although the Mac could see the SD card, we were not able to download the data into the Apple Numbers spreadsheet program.
However, we did find a simple workaround. We copied the Excel file from the PC, loaded it into the Mac and were able to use the data in Apple Numbers by that route.
Really the only downsides to Labradar are the fact that it cannot be used in most indoor situations and that we found it will not detect .177 caliber alloy pellets. Why? Don’t ask us, it just doesn’t…
But neither of these downsides will be real limitations for most users. This is a great product!