Old Handloader Magazine - Technical Details


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Peter M. Eick
June 18, 2006, 09:10 AM
I bought the 40 years of Handloader on DVD to read when I had time to kill working offshore. So far I have gotten up to issue #14 in July-Aug. 1968.

This magazine is just amazing in the technical details provided on topics. I have to admit I have read several articles over and over again just trying to really understand the impact of what they were saying. For example there has been a running discussion over several issues of pressure excursions and the actually put footnoted and referenced equations and documented data instead of authors biases into the magazine.

I actually had to sit down and play with excel a bit to understand some of the equations relating the ballistics and pressure curves to understand what they were presenting. This was also true when I sat down and read the series of articles about pressure and how it interacts with the powder and cartraige shapes.

I learned a great deal about the powder and how primers work. The temperature of ignition and how much heat each primer put out was quite interesting to see. Also the discussion of the powley computer and the latent energy in gunpowder was fascinating.

Also was impressive so far was to read the "ask questions section" and see all of the load information provided. Along with Harvey Donaldson's comments about how things were done and his little letters on the back pages.

What has also been interesting so far is to read reviews of equipment where the author basically says this thing does not work right or gives poor results. Amazing to see the candor, to bad modern magazines can't say the same thing. What is also interesting how rare the articles are just sort of personal histories or what someone went hunting and we shot a deer type of thing. The articles are in general about handloading, techniques, equipment, concepts and detailed tests. To bad the modern Handloader is not 1/2 as technical is was the older issues.

So I guess the question I pose is why cannot a magazine that is detailed, technical and well written survive in today's market? Why do we have to get some much personal history with every article and less detailed technical and accurate information like the older issues? Why do we put up with "gunzines" when we used to get "magazines" if you get my drift?

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dmftoy1
June 18, 2006, 10:24 AM
I think the primary reason is that the internet is killing off the print media. If I spend money (rarely) on say an issue of "Guns and Ammo" I think I can read it cover to cover in probably 15-20 minutes. It used to be (say mid 80's) that there would be one or two articles in there worth reading. Even some of the authors I liked (such as Venturino) in Guns don't put anywhere near the detail that they used to. IMHO The sad thing is . . . .I don't enjoy reading anything on the internet anywhere near as much as I enjoy a good magazine. (format)

taliv
June 18, 2006, 01:55 PM
where'd you buy that? got a link? i'd love to pick up a copy

NVMM
June 18, 2006, 02:07 PM
I have alot of my old handloader magazines. They make wonderful references to look back on. I agree with both above posts. I would not subscribe to any of the gun rags. I think they do a disservice to new shooters. Hey! If somethings not right tell like it is. I learned a lot reading Harvey Donaldson.
I also look back on my old American Reloaders Association Bulletins. Those writers gave solid and honest information. They went into great detail about the componants and what happened when you pulled the trigger.
Todays rags are mostly an advertisement. Ah for the good old magazines.

Matt Dillon
June 18, 2006, 02:24 PM
I'd love to buy that DVD, but the company wants $599.00 for it! Check out the web site:
http://www.riflemagazine.com/catalog/detail.cfm?ProductID=644&CFID=1372597&CFTOKEN=29237447
That's a little too rich for my blood!

taliv
June 18, 2006, 05:29 PM
when does the copyright expire? you could probably make copies of the older stuff for free

EddieCoyle
June 18, 2006, 06:03 PM
when does the copyright expire? you could probably make copies of the older stuff for free

If it's not renewed, the copyright for the 1966 issues will expire in 2041.

Vern Humphrey
June 18, 2006, 07:04 PM
If it's not renewed, the copyright for the 1966 issues will expire in 2041.

Before or after December 2nd? I'd like to spend my 100th birthday reading those issues.:p

The Bushmaster
June 18, 2006, 07:17 PM
Make those copies with :D BIG:D print for Vern on his 100th...

Jim Watson
June 18, 2006, 07:29 PM
Several years ago I wrote a letter to the editor taking the Wolfe (now Harris) magazines to task for their loss of technical approach. Also the waste of money on color interior photos. I mean a gun has a blue barrel and a brown stock, why do we need a color picture?
The editor replied that Dave Wolfe and Neal Knox had run the magazines as a service to the shooter, often losing money on an issue due to low advertising content and low subscription and gun store sales. They were often paying for magazine publishing with book sales. The new owners were determined to make the magazines independent profit centers so they got them into newsstand sales and adjusted the content to interest the typical newsstand buyer.
'Rifle' is closely approaching the point at which I quit subscribing to G&A and ST; 'Handloader' is farther behind but is moving that way.
Most of my back numbers are in rented storage, I don't have the shelf space at home for them. The DVD is looking better and better. It is only money.

Vern Humphrey
June 18, 2006, 07:38 PM
In my humble opinion, "Rifle" and "Handloader" lost a lot when they lost Ross Seifried. He wrote the kind of articles someone else here mentioned -- the kind you could read and chew over for an hour or two. The kind you kept for reference, or just for the pleasure of re-reading.

They haven't got a writer of his caliber now.

roo_ster
June 19, 2006, 03:27 PM
Where did Ross end up? He, too, was my favorite & inspired me to get a .577-.450 Martni-Henry.

Vern Humphrey
June 19, 2006, 03:42 PM
Where did Ross end up?

I don't know. If there's some magazine he's writing for regularly, I'd like to know what it is, so I can subscribe.

444
June 19, 2006, 04:42 PM
"So I guess the question I pose is why cannot a magazine that is detailed, technical and well written survive in today's market? "

Ah..........maybe I am missing something, but that magazine is published in today's market. This month's issue has an article very similar to the one you describe: "Play by the Rules: Ballistics Math" which I found to be a very good article. He gives three rules which allow you to closely estimate: how much velocity increase you can expect with increased case capacity (such as in an Ackly improved case), how is velocity effected when you increase bore size but have two cases of equal capacity (7mm mag vs .338 Win mag: same case different diameter neck), and if in the same case how does bullet weight effect muzzle velocity.

This is NOT directed at anyone in particular and certainly no one who posted in this thread but.......................
I get a big laugh out of the people on these internet gun boards. They LOVE to blow their own horn about how the information on these boards is so much better than the gun magazines. AND they NEVER miss the opportunity to say so.
I said the same thing in a recent thread and no one commented on my post: I would say that a huge percentage of the stuff on this board as well as most other gun boards is BS. First of all, sift through the threads and find how many you see that are about actually shooting guns. You will find that most of them are about "what is your faviorite gun" or "what is the best 9mm", something about shooting dogs or some such thing. Purely personal opinion with no data or facts mentioned as to how they arrived at their decision. A huge number of posts you read contain total misinformation. Most of the time this is innocent: the person doesn't have any experience with the thing in question but he can't resist the urge to post anyway. This is painfully obvious with threads asking about NFA weapons. If you pick out the threads that demand precise, serious information, almost nobody posts in those threads.
But, there is that tiny percentage of stuff on these boards that I find interesting or helpful to my enjoyment of the hobby that makes it worth coming back.
The point is, that magazines have their faults. I only read one of them on a regular basis. But the internet isn't much better IF any better.

Cosmoline
June 19, 2006, 04:46 PM
I still find enough useful info in "Handloader" to buy it. "Rifle" is also good, though increasingly fluffy.

Jmurman
June 19, 2006, 06:24 PM
I've never seen "Reloader" magazine, but would like to for sure...as I am a real newbie with this hobby.

The DVD's sounded great until "$599" :what:

I don't subscribe to too many magazines as I find they are more orientated towards the marketing aspects than real substance. The real exception is the magazine I get from Garand Collectors Assoc.

Jim Watson
June 19, 2006, 08:10 PM
444,

The rule of thumb article you cite was interesting and useful.

My most recent specific complaint of insufficient technicality was with Handloading the .300 Win Mag Parker Hale Model 1200 in Handloader 237 by Steve Gash. He wondered why his rifle was less accurate with heavy bullets than others in the caliber. He found that it had an 11.5" rifling twist which was marginal to insufficient with the longer bullets of interest. Based on a formula developed by C.E. Harris and currently used and cited by Sierra as more precise than Greenhill. Good so far. Except that he gives the formula but does not say what value of "S" the "stability factor" he used or how to establish it. I guess I could back calculate from the results he gave, but instead I e-mailed Handloader. No reply.

taliv
June 19, 2006, 11:36 PM
444, i think everyone would agree with you. the advantage the internet has, however, is that you don't have to wait 30 days to see the article disputed in the corrections or letters to editor columns.

sure, there is no shortage of idiocy here, but it's not all that difficult for knowledgable people to tell which other posters are knowledgable and which aren't.

the danger is, the complete n00b probably won't be able to discern

444
June 19, 2006, 11:42 PM
True enough but the same goes for the magazines.
Someone who already knows what he is talking about realizes when a magazine makes a mistake. You can point the mistake out, but they may or may not acknowlege your correction.
This board is no different. You can try all you want to clear up common misconceptions and it all falls on deaf ears.

EddieCoyle
June 20, 2006, 08:00 AM
444, i think everyone would agree with you. the advantage the internet has, however, is that you don't have to wait 30 days to see the article disputed in the corrections or letters to editor columns.


Plus it's free. Most of the time you get what you pay for though.

THR is different. Anytime and every time I have a specific question and ask it here, I get the answer I need. Sure, you have to sift through all the "+1's" and "You-should-buy-a-Dillon" and "I-have-X-and-it's-better-than-the-Y-you're-asking-about" posts, but that's what blocked lists are for.

I try to give back when I can, but I've learned more here than I'll ever be able to give back.

Oh yeah... Hey 444, what's your favorite 9mm to shoot dogs with? :neener:

444
June 20, 2006, 09:57 AM
Get a Glock :neener:

Peter M. Eick
June 21, 2006, 07:38 AM
Well I am glad I am not the only one lamenting the loss of detailed technical discussions on line or in the magazines.

I have to say I sprung the money for the DVD's (it was around $400 to subscribers when I bought them) for a very special purpose. I work offshore and like this job, I have been on. 60 days at sea, internet access is rare and slow speed. No TV to speak of (unless you like south east asia feed) and basically I wanted something to unwind to. When you project manage you have to do some relaxing thing (no beer on the boat either). Did I get $400 out of it? Heck yes, and I am only up to 1968.

I want to read the technical details that make me a better reloader and not hear the history of the 45 colt round for the 20th time. Or why I need to match my bullet to the throat in a revolver. Sometimes I think the average gunzine should just change the cover picture from a prior year as it is so repeatative.

Even when they try to write reasonably technical articles, they start making so many generalizations that even a knowledgeable practicioner of the art could tell they were glossing over important technical details.


So where does that leave us??

Where do we go for what I would call the "Master's Level or PhD Level" of reloading discussion? I know I am a participant there yet, but I would sure like to hang around and listen a bunch.

taliv
June 21, 2006, 10:41 AM
peter, you probably already know all three of these, but i've found the best info on reloading in the back issues of precision shooting magazine. I bought the "benchrest shooting primer", which is a compilation of articles from '82-'96. I highly recommend it.

i've also found the discussions on accuratereloading forums to be far more technical on average.

and finally, i like to call and talk to people. i usually call sierra's hotline before posting here. i like talking to the guy at RSI software (who is now posting here).

some things you just have to hunt for

NVMM
June 21, 2006, 01:26 PM
Peter M. Eick, "I want to read the technical details that make me a better reloader and not hear the history of the 45 colt round for the 20th time. Or why I need to match my bullet to the throat in a revolver. Sometimes I think the average gunzine should just change the cover picture from a prior year as it is so repeatative."

Thank you Peter M. Eick. That says it all.

greg531mi
June 21, 2006, 07:34 PM
What I don't like about rifle and Handloader, is they write about bolt action/single guns and their cartridges only! They don't write about the autoloaders, the pumps, they think they are for the military, and that's it. Also, handloader has had pistols, rifles(only $5000 customs of course!),shotguns, and optic's, but less and less reloading articles....Why? to sell more at the newstand. They are slipping, but are better than most still....At least they have writer's that know about guns, better than most.

Vern Humphrey
June 21, 2006, 09:09 PM
They don't write about the autoloaders, the pumps, they think they are for the military, and that's it.

Actually they do write about pumps, autoloaders, lever actions and single shots. They don't write much about modern military rifles, but when Ross was there, they wrote a lot about antiquated military rifles.

I kinda looked at them as a breath of fresh air from a rack full of magazines full of articles on space-age weapons.

BluesBear
June 22, 2006, 03:23 AM
Hmmm...

40 years of Handloader magazine (Still one of the best magazines ever in my opinion)

$599 (Don't try to kid me with that sales talk. Just say $600)


There are 238 issus on the DVD (May 1966 to December 2005)
$600 238 issues = $2.52 per issue
Cover price for a current issue is $4.95 (plus Tax)
$4.95 x 238 issues = $1178.10

$600 40 years = $15.00 per year
A 1 year subscription is now $19.97
40 years x $19.97 = 798.80


$600 26,000 pages = 2.3 per page


Kinda makes it sound more cost effective now doesn't it?

After all, the information is still just as valid and therefore just as valuable today as it was in 1966.

The Bushmaster
June 22, 2006, 10:32 AM
I wonder how many subjects that they (Handloader) have rehashed over and over again in that 40 years. Been receiving Handloader magazine for the last ten years now and they seem to be just like web sites (like this one and others). We keep rehashing the same thing over and over. Not that the magazine isn't a good one (or I'd have discontinued it long ago)...Just wondering.:D

scout26
June 24, 2006, 02:20 AM
A while back someone came and dumped a whole pile of Handloader Magazines (from vol 1, no1 to about vol 20, no20) in the range shack at my range. Many still had the brown postage cover on them. They look newstand fresh.

Needless to say, they now live in my house. If anyone's interested, I could make a list of what I have........

redneck2
June 24, 2006, 08:34 AM
There was a mention about rehashing old articles. Not everyone has read every article for the past 40 years. I just stared getting handloader maybe 4 years ago.

Even so, my memory gets worse with age so renewing some info may be helpful.

I've written for print publications. The amount of time it takes is incredible. I used to write a weekly column for the local newspaper. Time for a 4-6" column was maybe 2-6 hours per week. I can't imagine the amount of time Seyfried or Barsness must put into their writing.

Also, writing doesn't pay diddly squat. You'd better have a real job if you want to eat. For example, a column like Ann Landers makes $10-20 per newpaper (small town). They only way they make money is to syndicate into hundreds or thousands of markets.

esheato
July 4, 2007, 06:09 AM
I'm interested in this but the price is a bit much. I know it's been a while since this was introduced and was wondering if anyone saw this advertised for less than the original $600?

Would be an unbelievable resource for the reloaders library.

Ed

Peter M. Eick
July 4, 2007, 12:09 PM
Trust me, it is an invaluable resource. Not only for perspective, but because they actually did decent science "back in the day". Some of the older articles are worth the complete investment price in a single article.

I have not regretted the price one penny!

ReloaderFred
July 4, 2007, 01:17 PM
Peter,

I couldn't agree more. I don't have the collection on DVD, but I do have the actual magazines from Issue 1 to the present. I'm constantly referring back to them. It's the only magazine I keep. I've used several loads from the Pet Loads articles and I've never gone wrong with any of them.

In Issue 100, there was an article on loading for the Marlin .357 Magnum Carbine. I had one of the first ones and couldn't get it to shoot "minute of 55 gallon drum". I read the article and chose the load that proved the most accurate in the writer's carbine and then had a rifle that was a pleasure to shoot. That started my subscription and the collecting of the past issues. I've been a believer ever since.

Hope this helps.

Fred

threefeathers
July 4, 2007, 06:35 PM
Gad I have nearly issue dating from 1985 when I started reloading. That includes this months issue and the article on 45/70 loads.

redneck2
July 4, 2007, 09:02 PM
Or why I need to match my bullet to the throat in a revolver. Sometimes I think the average gunzine should just change the cover picture from a prior year as it is so repeatative.

Is there any average, nomal shooter that actually does this??

As for color, I suspect they have to make pix color or newstand sales would drop to zero. It's all about the bling.

This month has some really good stuff on .45-70, reloading for leverguns, and big game bullet performance.

As for technical stuff, back in the 60, 70's etc. there wasn't near the flood of products we have now. There was an article a few issues back about loading for the 22-250 that must have had over 100 loads and results. I hate working up one load for one rifle. I can't imagine the amount of time it would take to do dozens and dozens of loads.

Peter M. Eick
July 5, 2007, 10:44 AM
Yes I agree this months issue is ok, but, go back and pull out some of the late 60's and early 70's issues. Read them over again and look at today's issues. There is a lot less technical details in the loads. A lot more of what I call "me and slim go shooting" type comments and more of the "it didn't blow up my gun, so it may be good in yours" by Brian et al.

Where is the detailed discussions that you used to see by say Ken Water's or George Nonte about what powders do and how they perform in different loads. Where is the detailed technical articles that talk about the advancements and technology instead of the sales pitches.

Look at the propellant profiles, most just say the powder worked in this cartridge and this gun, it was ok in that gun, it was better in this gun. But why not say, we observed 4% more pressure in the 7-08 using xyz powder with a 2% gain in velocity using this bullet. Or during testing we say that with xyz powder in lower temps and the 223 it tended to preform erratically with extreme spreads going from 20 fps to 120 fps for a 20 shot string.

That's the difference to me from the current version of handloader to the older version. The older articles tended to have more facts and less opinions while the current ones tend to be more vaguely worded.

I still think the magazine is the best out there, but I have to say I wish it were more like the old ones.

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