CED M2 Optical Chronograph
An Honest Review: Allot is going on in the world of personal chronographs. When CED introduced their first chronograph in 1999, only optical chronographs were available and they had not changed much for decades. CED chronographs set a new standard for personal optical chronographs with the fastest circuits, numerous improvements to the old technology and a true IR array option so it would work in pitch dark. The latest model called the "M2", had expanded memory, "TRUE" USB connectivity and sensors that automatically optimize for the available light. RSI was one of the first two companies to sell CED products in North America. It has since become the official SAS, IPSC, IDPA tournament chronograph and is generally considered the best "optical" chronograph value.
There are now chronograph technologies that employ electromagnetic and sound sensing but they have some serious limitations. The new Magnetospeed solves a problem when shooting at a range with limited access to the front of the bench but it cannot be used on most handguns and when attached to a rifle barrel will change the bullet point of impact. Systems that use the speed of sound have a huge sensing area but will not work with subsonic calibers and do not have repeaters so they can be operated from behind the muzzle. We question if the circuits in these products are fast enough for high velocity rifle calibers given their extremely short distance between the start and stop sensors.
The shooting community has been patiently waiting for the new Labradar Doppler radar system ($600+ with accessories) now shipping on a limited basis. As soon as the finalized product ships to RSI, we will begin work on integrating support into the RSI Shooting Lab.
Will Labradar kill optical chronographs as some suggest? Definitely not. All available technologies have their issues and any can miss shots. Labradar is no acception but due to it's different technology, the issues are quite different. Optical chronographs will always be more affordable. In our opinion many of the problems associated with optical systems are overstated or are more problematic with other brands. We rarely have issues with the CED M2 when equpped with the optional IR lighting option. The Labradar product is a welcome addition at the top of the market but can still miss shots and is affected by ground clutter, positioning, etc. As long as the FCC restricts transmissions from privately owned radar devices, it will never be possible to capture down range data for small boat tail bullets to long range. However, given that limitation, what it "May" do for larger long range calibers (and in particular flat based hunting bullets) is truly exciting. We tentatively plan to add the Labradar to our inventory for serious long-range large-bore shooters..
It is our opinion the CED M2 chronograph will continue to be the best general -use value for shooters. It is accurate, will work with any caliber and will not change the point of impact. It's large display can still be used to get down range velocities and when equipped with the optional IR Lighting option, a CED will work in pitch dark. The bottom line is if you need a good chronograph for use with handguns or .17's to 50 cals, or cannot justify $600 for a system, you can't go wrong with the CED M2.
The CED M2 circuits are the fastest of all optical systems (48 MHz) with a dual clock chip set.
A 1.75" high LCD display shows all relative information at a single glance. For those with software capable of calculating B.C.'s, the display can be read through a scope at 100+ Yards.
No more toggling a single line display or saving adding machine tape. The none-volatile memory stores up to 1,000 shots. Recall weeks of shot strings and summary information with a few key strokes.
Free Software downloads shot strings to your PC so it can be stored in spreadsheets or printed on standard paper.
A"True" IR lighting option lets it work in pitch dark....and that's just a start!
The CED Chronograph System Includes - Chron CPU, dual lens self-adjusting digitally controlled sensors, with 20 ft. shielded cable, skyscreens and 2 ft. mounting bracket!
Connectivity for PC's
Use the included bullet velocity software to download velocities directly to your personal computer with the included USB cable and free CED USB Data Collector Utility.
Simply plug the M2 Chronograph directly into a USB port, click a software button and in a few seconds the velocities stored in the M2's memory are downloaded so you can save, print or export the information.
Strings can be dragged into other software that supports drag and drop text or exported for use in spreadsheets and text documents.
A full range of accessories and replacement parts and accessories are available for the CED M2. The most significant accessory, not available for any other Chronograph, is a "true" Infrared emitting lighting kit option.
The Infrared Lighting Upgrade allows CED chronographs to work indoors or even in total darkness.
Never worry again if there will be enough light where you shoot. If you run into problems, this option can be added at any time and is a good reason to buy the CED M2 over other optical brands!
Only CED offers a "True" solid state IR lighting array at an affordable price. Don't be fooled by colored light filters, sensors with two LED's that reflect off the underside of the tops or refrigerator light bulbs in tin boxes.
CED's IR Upgrade includes 4 support legs, 2 tops with LED's and 16 IR diodes each, a "Y" cable and an AC to DC power converter. The IR tops look nearly the same as standard skyscreens. Two of the four side supports have wire leads, contacts and power jacks molded into the plastic. Wires do not hang down inside the screens live area so they can be hit with a bullet! An NiMH battery pack with 8 hour rating and charger is available for total portability.
If you would like to measure velocities indoors or set up in summer shade where 110 power is not available, with the optional NiMH battery you will not need access to a power outlet! And unlike "visible" light systems, the IR emitted from the new CED IR option is not visible to the human eye so it will not alter your site picture when shooting indoors.
Ever use a 40 watt trouble light in your garage? Then you know incandescent light bulbs cannot take much abuse and always seem to "pop" at the most inopportune time. Image what will happen from the constant hammer of a big bore round through the chronograph screens. The solid state design of the CED IR Lighting option means it can take use/abuse in the field without ever needing replacement bulbs.
Notes On Tripods: Any camera tripod will work with the M2, however; we have noticed inexpensive tripods with plastic heads tend to wobble and contribute to errors. We strongly recommend using a quality tripod with a metal head, an elevation crank and quick detachable camera block. A good tripod should be available at most camera shops for about $75. You may even find a good used professional tripod for as little as $30.
Here are CED's German defense lab test results for the original Millennium model.
The M2 accuracy should be even better.
- Conditions: Indoors with consistent incandescent lighting for all chronographs
- Test Measurement Equipment: Commercial radar velocity instrumentation
- Calibers tested: .22, 9mm, 38 super, 40 S &W, 45 ACP, 223 Rem., 308 Win., & 4.5mm
Results: All calibers measured by the CED were within 0.2% (99.8%) of laboratory commercial radar recordings, from 0.327% for 223 Rem to 0.081 for 45ACP. Results were better than all other optical chronographs. (The venerated Oehler tested 0.3% behind the CED.) The new IR emitters will virtually eliminate any variation caused by differences in natural lighting. If you need a chronograph that will approach the accuracy of commercial radar lab equipment, but do not want to spend $ BIG BUCKS $, try a CED chronograph.
Order the CED M2 and Accessories
Earn discounts by ordering more than one RSI product.
If you still have questions check our CED Chronograph support page