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Radar Gun/Target Distance

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by Jolin, Feb 23, 2009.

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  1. Jolin

    Jolin TS Member

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    Because of the location of our trap fields over sloping terrain, it is near impossible to layout target flight distances.

    Would using a radar gun to measure target speed be a way to determine target
    flight distances?

    If so, what speed should the target be at when leaving the trap house?

    What type of radar gun should be used, and where can a radar gun for this
    purpose be purchased?

    Thanks for any help given.

    Jolin
     
  2. Beretta687EELL

    Beretta687EELL Well-Known Member

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    Edited post:

    Bob Schultz has radar guns available. I linked his web site above. Our club bought the middle priced one from Bob. Bill Malcolm
     
  3. zzt

    zzt Well-Known Member

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    Jolin, the information given in the previous two posts is not correct. I direct you to ATA Rules, Bylaws,and Other Shooter Information, 1 Nov 2008, on the ATA website. I've excerpted portions of pages 48 and 49 for you below.


    F. Rules for the use of Radar Guns and Chronographs
    to set Target Speed

    There are two types of radar guns, high-power and low-power. The
    practical difference between them is that high-power guns work reliably
    from the 16-yard line and low-power guns don’t.

    High-power guns (Decatur, Stalker, most “police radar guns” and similar)
    are to be used at the 16-yard line. The trap oscillation is stopped, and
    the target measured is a straightaway. The gun is pointed horizontally.
    The correct speed for a singles or handicap target is 42 MPH. The correct
    speed for the right target of a doubles pair is 39 MPH.

    Low-power guns (SportRadar, Bushnell, and similar) are to be used at
    the back of the traphouse and at the level of the top of the traphouse.
    (Holding the gun higher than that will lead to a target which is too
    fast.) The trap oscillation is stopped, and the target measured is a
    straightaway. The gun is pointed horizontally. The correct speed for a
    singles or handicap target must be a minimum of 42 MPH. The correct
    speed for the right target of a doubles pair must be a minimum of 39
    MPH. When a radar gun is used from inside the house, the correct
    speed for a singles or handicap target must be a minimum of 44 MPH. The correct speed for the right target of a doubles pair must be
    a minimum of 41 MPH.

    A chronograph is to be used as close to the trap as practical and tipped
    up at approximately the same angle as the flight of the target. The correct
    speed for a singles or handicap target is 67 ft/sec. To set doubles with a
    chronograph, set a singles target to 76 ft/sec. and then switch the trap
    to throw doubles without changing the spring tension.

    Note: target speed may be set by distance as above or by speed as
    determined by a radar gun or chronograph. Target must be set by
    measured speed or distance.
     
  4. Old Cowboy

    Old Cowboy Active Member

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    If I might add, setting by speed with a radar gun is a VERY good way to set the spring, especially if the ground is not level out in front of the traphouse!

    John C. Saubak
     
  5. Neil Winston

    Neil Winston Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for posting that, zzt.

    I expect that next year the present text for high-power guns

    "High-power guns (Decatur, Stalker, most “police radar guns” and similar) are to be used at the 16-yard line. The trap oscillation is stopped, and the target measured is a straightaway. The gun is pointed horizontally. The correct speed for a singles or handicap target is 42 MPH. The correct speed for the right target of a doubles pair is 39 MPH."

    will change to match the other in the last sentence, namely . . .

    "The correct speed for a singles or handicap target must be a minimum of 42 MPH. The correct speed for the right target of a doubles pair must be a minimum of 39 MPH."

    That is, clubs will be given a bit of flexibility upward in target speed.

    Neil
     
  6. Beretta687EELL

    Beretta687EELL Well-Known Member

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    Neil, If the information that I passed on is WRONG, will the ATA be correcting the information on their web site? Bill Malcolm
     
  7. Neil Winston

    Neil Winston Well-Known Member

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    I'll fix it; thanks for bringing it to my attention, Bill.

    Neil
     
  8. Beretta687EELL

    Beretta687EELL Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Neil, I will delete my one post and edit the other. Bill Malcolm
     
  9. phirel

    phirel TS Member

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    Another important point. I see some setters, using the more expensive radar guns, tracking the target with the gun. This may seem natural, but will give false readings. Hole the gun still and let the target only move.

    Pat Ireland
     
  10. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Well-Known Member

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    As usual Neil is right on with the suggestion that those speeds be minimum. That's why I've always advocated spending the money for the high powered gun that measures in tenth's of mph. We have found that on most days we end up closer to 43 and 40 for speed to get a better target presentation. I may be nit-picking with the difference in the two types of guns, we've got both, but the high power is much easier and better to work with. Shoot well and often while we can, Bob
     
  11. zzt

    zzt Well-Known Member

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    Right on Bob. 43 on my low power radar gun is perfect. Now if they will also change the wording for chronograph singles setting to 67fps, at_a_minimum, they will be logically consistent. At the very least is should read between 67fps and 70fps as shown on the chronograph instructions. Same with the 76fps for doubles setting.

    I also think the following paragraph should be removed.

    Note: target speed may be set by distance as above or by speed as
    determined by a radar gun or chronograph. Target must be set by
    measured speed or distance.

    Why? Because at some given speed targets set by speed and targets set by distance become indistinguishable.
     
  12. 1brucem

    1brucem TS Member

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    After reading this thread, I think that a stated minimum and maximum speed is needed. The object of using radar guns is to keep a consistency (as to speed) to registered targets. Once one gives an open end to either side of the speed requirements you will get club that decide to push it to an unacceptable speed. With the best of intentions Bob says his club increases the speed to get a better presentation. Why stop there, why not increase speed to make them more challenging? Why not increase the height of the targets because that's what the shooters want. I have seen and heard these statements as well from club directors. The distance a doubles target is thrown is 44 to 51 yards an approximate 15% variation. Singles and handycap are thrown 49 to 51 yards a variation of approximately 4%. I've seen double set to 51 yards and having a strong cross wind target being pushed by the wind going 55 to 60 yards. This is a legal target, but I hope all would agree, not anything close to what is intended. With the advent of radar guns the acceptable variation should be very small and the discretion of the club should be limited. Thanks Bruce
     
  13. phirel

    phirel TS Member

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    Minimum target speed is good, but I am not sure about a maximum target speed. If there is a 20 MPH wind from the South (traps facing North) and the targets are set at 43 MPH, and 9.5 feet high at ten yards, they will be too low and only travel about 35 yards. We set target speed as the target leaves the house. We set height at 10 yards from the house or 26 yards from post three. But, what we are trying to achieve is the correct target height/speed at 30 yards from the house.

    On a calm day, anyone with a stick and a radar gun should be able to set good targets. When the wind is blowing, nothing is better than an experienced shooter standing on post three and looking at several targets. I don't want a maximum speed rule to hamper that person.

    Pat Ireland
     
  14. ivanhoe

    ivanhoe Well-Known Member

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    Pat Ireland

    "On a calm day, anyone with a stick and a radar gun should be able to set good targets."

    Pat you are correct anyone should. I also believe that with this statement in the rules there are few controls on consistent targets from club to club with the radar gun.

    "target speed may be set by distance as above or by speed as determined by a radar gun or chronograph. Target must be set by measured speed or distance."

    Pat I want to believe that all clubs and clubs trap help will do the right thing. Lets face it if someone want to set their targets their way all it takes is a Radar Gun. With just a minimum target speed and a height rule and no maximum yardage. Just what is going to stop the target setters from using what ever speed they want? Just think about what zzt and Bruce are saying and tell us just what is incorrect if the height is correct and the target speed is 50 MPH. After all there is only a minimum speed no MAX.

    Bob Lawless

    PS not saying it is not fixable I would just like to see happen in less than a decade.
     
  15. zzt

    zzt Well-Known Member

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    Under the rules as currently written a 50 MPH target is only legal if you set it with a low power radar gun. If you use a high power radar gun or a chronograph it is clearly illegal. Some logic, huh?

    Bruce I am not trying to pick a fight or start an argument, but I believe there really does have to be some leeway. The old 42 MPH rule with 1/2 MPH tolerance each way was clearly a disaster. It made you choose between miserable targets or rule breaking. That was an unintended consequence of a poorly written rule. The same consequences apply when using a high powered radar gun or a chronograph. There is zero latitude for adjusting to conditions. I think there must be some.

    I don't know who wrote the current low power radar rule, but you can easily imagine they were worried about cheaters at the low end. I don't suppose there will be many clubs throwing 50 MPH targets as a general rule, because no one would shoot there.

    I'm OK with a maximum, as long as it is a range of a few MPH, not a faction thereof. As I said, there must be some leeway, or you will force people to choose between bad, legal targets and illegal targets that look "right"

    More later. I have to put dinner on now.
     
  16. zzt

    zzt Well-Known Member

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    OK, dinners on.

    As far as I'm concerned, there is a Gold Standard. It is a 9.25' high, 50 yard target in still air. That neatly bisects the ATA recommended height and the ATA mandated distance range. It is my theoretical perfect target.

    So now I'll posit a few questions.

    If I set this perfect target at my club, by distance, in still air, and simultaneously measure the target speed with a high power radar gun set on Post 3, on a tripod, at shoulder height, pointing parallel to the ground and see a reading of 42.7 MPH, what should I think? If we set next week and there is a little wind and decide to use the high power radar, would you recommend we set to 42.7 MPH because we already know that equates to a perfect target? Or would you dial it down to 42 MPH to meet the letter, but not what I honestly believe to be the spirit of the law.

    Now let's take my low powered radar gun. I bought it used from an ATA State Delegate who told me it set the best targets from the center of the trap house showing 43 MPH. He was dead on on both counts. Our houses have slanted (to the rear) roofs. If I mount my gun on a micro tripod and place it pointing parallel to the ground in the center of the roof, the bottom of the beaming portion just barely clears the front lip of the roof. When the gun reads always 43 MPH, never 42 or 44, the targets are perfect. The 43 MPH reading is legal this year, but my positioning (the most accurate for my gun) is not.

    How about targets measured by chronograph. Is exactly 67fps always "right"? In every condition? I say no.

    In a series of PMs to Pat Ireland, we exchanged views on target setting. I initially stated I though a very good case could be made for considering a target that was launched at legal velocity and flying through a legal "window" 10 yards from Point B was a legal target no matter what subsequent winds or conditions did to it. In this instance the legal window bottom was 8' above Point B, the top 10' above Point B, and the sides corresponding to a straight away from Post 1 and Post 5 respectively.

    Pat said he had no quibble with that definition, but though it had to be taken further. The ideal, he wrote, was a target that looked "right" at 30 yards. I've been thinking about that ever since. Pat alluded to it above but I don't think his actual words convey what he means.

    When you are shooting on automatic, your brain sees the target launch at a certain angle and "knows" where it will be 0.x seconds later when you pull the trigger. I'm interpreting Pat's "ideal" setting to mean you launch a target through the legal window at whatever speed it takes to allow your automatic move to the target to break it at 30 yards. It's a question of timing. It's a laudable goal. I'm certainly not experienced enough to do that, but it is a new goal.

    At any rate, that is why Pat thinks the way he does. I must say, I agree. I really don't think the lack of a maximum velocity is a problem, because cheaters never want to make it harder. Some discretion in velocity will make those striving for the "best" target presentation right AND legal.

    Now for the other side of the coin. I we allow low powered radar gun users some discretion, and we are arguing that the same latitude should be extended to high powered radar guns and chronographs, how about distance setting? If I set my perfect target in still air and a 15 MPH tailwind consistently pushes it past 51 yards, is it still legal? Should I adjust? If I do, is that legal? How much should I be allowed to adjust? Same same for headwinds.

    Now take lateral angles and side winds. Do I readjust my limit switches every time the wind shifts. I think not.

    I give the ATA credit for trying. The rule book is more logically consistent that it used to be. This is one area it needs a lot of work on. The ATA should state what a "perfect" target is and how to achieve it. They should also post allowable variations, such as, in a 15 MPH tail wind you should raise target height to x and reduce speed to a minimum of y MPH. For a headwind of 15 MPH you should lower target height by x and increase speed by a maximum of y. These guidelines are for level ground, adjust as need for sloping terrain. You get the idea.
     
  17. Neil Winston

    Neil Winston Well-Known Member

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    Steve, I wrote the rule you refer to as "poorly written" and so cannot take seriously your claim that you don't want to "start an argument."

    So let's go. First of all, I wonder if you have ever set a target. It's that crazy precision you always carry your arguments out to. "As far as I'm concerned, there is a Gold Standard. It is a 9.25' high, 50 yard target in still air." You are, you understand, quoting the height of a flying disk passing a stick 26 yards away to the 1/8th of an inch. Have you ever tried that?

    You then write "When the gun reads always 43 MPH, never 42 or 44, the targets are perfect. The 43 MPH reading is legal this year, but my positioning (the most accurate for my gun) is not." I wonder why you say that.

    You write "How about targets measured by chronograph. Is exactly 67fps always "right"? In every condition? I say no." On what basis do you say no? And why should we take you seriously?

    If you think there is any such thing as a "perfect target" you've never set any, and not shot all that many either. The ATA should _not_ try to define anything like that, but rather set limits and trust clubs to do their best within them. You can't get two setters to agree; now 35,000 members should? Nonsense.

    The rest of your post, the terrible problem cause by one gun saying 43, another 42.7 just underlines how completely off base you are in this whole discussion.

    You recall the Avagadro's number thread. I doubt you want to relive that . . .

    Neil
     
  18. zzt

    zzt Well-Known Member

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    Well Neil, I was replying to Bruce, and expounding to a larger audience. You were no where in my thoughts. You never are. If you wrote these rules, you disappoint. I really thought better of you. I now understand you bring the same laxness you display in your other endeavors to ATA rule writing.

    As usual, you set up straw men and attempt to knock them down.

    Yes I have and do set targets, and to critical acclaim. I had a good teacher. I'm not as good (yet) as our best target setter, or Pat, or frankly, any number of experts. But I aspire to be. Lose the ego and listen. The rules for target setting are stupidly written. Fix them. If you think they are logically written you are a brain dead moron.

    Anyone with more than two functioning brains cells will understand the "perfect target" mentioned in my previous post is an ideal. So just out of curiosity, is your count one or zero? Was the phrase "theoretical perfect target" that difficult to comprehend?

    Why did I say that positioning my low powered radar gun in the center of the trap house was illegal? Well, because your stupidly written rules says it is.

    As far as the rest of your rant, It's pure NW. All flash, no substance.

    I remember well the Avogardro's number thread. Even though you refused to answer any of my challenges and questions, I persevered in the supposed "discussion" until it became obvious you had no intention to debate on the merits. Your stupid final challenge was easy to refute. Widely accepted
    Physical Laws state a trap target will encounter the same number of molecules on it's trajectory regardless of the composition of the air it travels though. As such, the target will travel slightly farther through humid air, because water molecules are lighter than the other components of air and are easier to move out of the way. (edited after the fact) Was "pressure" mentioned in that statement? I just looked again and didn't see it. Maybe it's there in in invisible ink. No doubt that would have been your rebuttal, or some equally inane refutation. Since I had previously become convinced your ego would not allow you to admit fault, I simply dropped the discussion.

    I refer you to the next to last paragraph of my last post on that thread. "BTW, I will not be deleting this post as you so often do. I'll leave it here as long as permitted, as a testament to my disgust with you, and my contempt for you, Neil Winston". That just about says it all. I haven't changed my opinion at all in the intervening year+. To borrow a phrase from a man a man who does the same, you just "bloviate".
     
  19. Neil Winston

    Neil Winston Well-Known Member

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    Oh Steve, how nice it is to be remembered!

    But there's that reference to "Why did I say that positioning my low powered radar gun in the center of the trap house was illegal? Well, because your stupidly written rules says it is."

    The rule is earlier in this thread. I don't see any particular gun placement referred to as "illegal." Jim has posted pictures of a slick little mount he puts on the house and no one ever said he couldn't, or even shouldn't use it. You just have to be willing to use a different speed when you put the gun elsewhere, which means setting some targets in the standard ways, moving the gun to the preferred position, and seeing what changes. In Tucson, for example, they lay the (yellow) gun on the house and use a corrected speed and throw great targets.

    You see, Steve, believe it or not, the ATA trusts that setters will know what they are doing. And will make an effort to set the best (to use Pat's term most-breakable) legal target. There are some hitches now and then, but for the most part, that's what our members get.

    Neil
     
  20. phirel

    phirel TS Member

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    Radar Guns- The key is to use the same gun in the same way on each trap. We can come close to consistency, but rarely reach perfection.

    One problem I see when setting targets is that some setters skip the first, and very critical step. That is making sure the target is flying level. This step is rarely mentioned in target setting threads on this site. If the target is not level, a good radar gun and an accurate height pole will not give the best possible targets.

    Another problem setting targets is that typically, they are set early in the morning when things are calm, but by the time the first squad takes the line a couple of hours later, things have changed. I have many times set very good targets at my club. But, when the first squad begins to shoot, the targets are between less than good to terrible. Frequently, the wind does not wake up until 10:30 AM. I wish more shooters would ask the management for the targets to be checked.

    Pat Ireland
     
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