Best reloading manual


March 10, 2007, 08:29 AM
If you could only buy one reloading manual at a time which would be your first choice?

To try to answer questions that might come up...

I really like Speer bullets and plated bullets for the handguns. So far I have tried X-treme and have been happy with them.

Something that lists loads for Winchester and Remington bulk bullets would be nice, especially if they are listed in the same book.

I really like those little bound books for each caliber but I would like something that might be a bit more comprehensive. I know that there are tons of free loads on the net but my best loads so far have come from those little books.

If there is a manual that meets all of the above and includes a section on making your own match grade ammunition I would be really interested in that.

Is that Ken Waters pet loads and the supplements good? They seem kind of pricey but if it meets all of the above I would be willing to shell out the bucks.

Any advice would be great, thanks.

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March 10, 2007, 09:59 AM
kind of a vague question.

I mean do you reload? what equipment do you reload. I have lee presses and dies. So i would choose Lees modern reloading manual, second edition. Now the lee book has thousands of loads with many different combinations. However you mentioned speer, winchester and a few others. Are you just looking for load data or are you looking to see how to reload. If you are just looking for load data on winchester and different brands then if you go to thier web sites you can have them send you free load data manuals. i have about 4 already. most of the load data manuals you can get from both powder makers and bullet makers. places like hodgdon powder, imr powder, winchester powder they all will send you for free load data manuals.

March 10, 2007, 10:12 AM
I have been reloading for a bit...Lee Pro 1000 for handgun and the Lee anniversary kit for rifle. I have looked at the manufacturers sites and run into problems such as the Winchester site only gives loads with Winchester powder and Winchester bullets. I hear a lot of people talking about the Speer manual and it seems to have a good variety of loads. I want a manual for tips, tricks, and things I may not know. Although the net is a wealth of information its sometimes hard to find what your looking for and maybe a bit easier than asking in a forum and waiting for an answer.

March 10, 2007, 10:21 AM
I subscribe to this one it's $25 a year. They got everything.

lee n. field
March 10, 2007, 10:27 AM
That's akin to the "if you can only keep one gun" question, because you really don't want to be stuck in that situation.

If I were to have only one manual, it would be Lyman's. That was the one I started with and was my only manual for a few years.

Since then I've acquired Speer's, the newest Lyman manual, and Lyman's pistol and cast bullet manuals. And various manufacturers' pamphlets, and manufacturers' information from the Web.

I've looked at the single cartridge loadbooks, and always put them back, because despite the claim to be comprehensive, those I've looked closely at never quite were.

Steve H
March 10, 2007, 10:31 AM
+1 for the Lyman's.

March 10, 2007, 11:06 AM
I have looked at the manufacturers sites and run into problems such as the Winchester site only gives loads with Winchester powder and Winchester bullets.

not true with the manual
Not true on the site. where do you get your information from. posting false information. Winchester powder is made by hodgdon. hodgdon controls thier load data. here is the correct site follow it and you will be directed to the hodgdon site. the bullets listed like the ones below.

now there is a seperate section on thier site. for load data using only winchester powder and winchester bullets. However since they do sell both they should have something like that. to try to get people to see thier stuff first. On the page listed above bottom left you will see a button to press if you want them to send you thier current load data book. has all the info im posting

Lets look at the winchester reloading guide. page 12
7mm-08 remington

bullets listed
barnes x

March 10, 2007, 11:18 AM
OK, my mistake..maybe I only saw the Winchester load data and not the others. When I look at the page that combines their three powders I dont see data for the Winchester bulk bullets though.

As far as the only one firearm intent is to get more than one but the question is which one to start with first...not like I'm rich here and can afford to buy 5 books at $30+ at one time.

The Bushmaster
March 10, 2007, 11:22 AM
I went to that web site...Not enough information to warrent spending $29 for the unknown (pig in a poke) when a load manual is the same price. And to spend that much each year is not cost effective. Load data just isn't that much different from manual to manual (I have six manuals now) nor does it change that much over a year or two. I would need samples of their load data to make a good analysis of their product. To keep it simple...What is the load data for a .30-30 using a 170 grain Speer FNSP, over W-748?:scrutiny:

Lyman 48th edition for conservitive load data and Sierra 5th Edition 2nd printing for more aggressive load data. and 4 other manuals gotten by various methods like the internet...(Bullet and powder manufacturers)

March 10, 2007, 11:31 AM
I happen to like the Hornady manuals. Fairly complete data. Sure, its their bullets they have data for, but they have a lot of loads for an extensive range of powders. Which I think is important for understanding how sensitive a powder will be in a given application. We can never count on everything being perfect, so a little forgiveness in the load goes a long way towards safety.

If a guy picks up the various powder reloading guides (available and free at any decent outlet), and compares their data to a manual, you start to get a good picture of what you can do with any given load.

One thing to keep in mind, everyone's test barrels (not to mention guns) are a little different, so max pressure in one gun isn't quite that same as another, which is something the ammunition manufacturers and reloading suppliers all have to deal with and compensate for.

I have a Lee reloading manual (Modern Reloading) that has a lot of data on pressure linearity with various loads, and it doesn't recommend some powders for certain applications for that reason. I suggest that would make a good second manual.

March 10, 2007, 11:32 AM
very very very true

look at all manuals speer lee lymans. the example he just gave is probably all the same.

so the best advise i can give you is to purchase a manual that will not only give you information on load data but information on reloading.
Then stick to the brand in which you are using

Jacka L Ope
March 10, 2007, 11:43 AM
I've had my Lyman Reloading Handbook, 46th Edition (copyright 1982) since 1986 due I've been casting and reloading the very same pistol rounds all this time.

Only just acquired the newer Sierra & Speer manuals late last year due to changes in my reloading for rifles. Otherwise, they were same ones I started with in '86 as well. :p

March 10, 2007, 12:21 PM
You've limited yourself by stating what one can afford to buy and "only one." The fact is, most library systems have reloading books and manuals on their shelves, but most reloaders don't take advantage. The books may not be the latest and greatest, but they're available and they're free to check out.



Art Eatman
March 10, 2007, 02:03 PM
I like the Sierra manual because of all the information in the appendices. The external ballistics stuff. Mine is the 2nd Edition, bought new in 1978.

Because of all the new powders that have come out, I added the recent Hodgdon and Speer books. After all, the external ballistics are the same now as they were in 1978, so I don't need the latest Sierra book. :)

I've found freebies at gunshops, from Accurate and from Winchester.

There are also the "One Book/One Caliber" books which list about every load known to mankind as of the date of publication, for many common cartridges. I picked up one for the '06 and one for the 7mm08, at gunshows.


March 10, 2007, 03:36 PM
Let me change the question a little bit.

If I had to evacuate with only one manual, or expected to be somewhere where amenities were iffy, it would be Lee. Here's why:

There are manuals that have more loads, but as far as I know Lee is the only one that also gives loads based on powder volume. Lee sells an inexpensive scooper kit; it means I won't have to worry about a power source or batteries for a digital scale, or worry about babying a balance beam scale. With the scoops, I can make duplicate, or unique-sized scoops, of my own, either as replacement or for trade purposes.

I don't have the latest version of the Lee Manual, but the one I have only has cursory info on shotgun loads. Although not in production anymore, you can still find Lee Loader kits on eBay (almost always 12 and 20 gauge). They come with scoops for powder and shot, as well as a chart for loads and powders.

March 11, 2007, 09:47 PM
Hodgdon perhaps has some good info on the web? (

March 11, 2007, 10:02 PM
I'm not sure I'd spend any more money on buying reloading books.

I have 1966 and 1987 speer reloading manuals

Both don't cover VARGET or the newer high tech [temperature insensitive] powders.

So maybe a better idea is to copy the Hodgdon data you need into a word document and save?

Then print out the word document for careful slow study (

Less money! And more information?

Senior citizen is thinking about your problem. (

March 12, 2007, 12:51 PM
the best load manual is just a starting point.different lots as well as a different gun means that you work up.all you need from a manual is a starting point,to work up from.10% under the manual max is usually safe.i like to look thru several manuals for a load with a given powder and bullet weight.when you shoot across a crony you may be surprised as well.

March 15, 2007, 09:59 PM
I find that the Lee manual is a lot more restrictive on the powders used than Lyman, Speer, or Sierra.

March 16, 2007, 01:22 AM
If you have the net (I think you might), you can get free load info from several forums and powder companies. Ive cut and pasted and made a document that lists hundreds of loads for my .308, and have only loaded a few of those.
ALSO you can hit up used book websites and get LOTS of books cheap (usually under 10 bucks shipped).
The newest info is good, but most old info isnt bad.

March 16, 2007, 09:21 AM
If you want an actual printed book as opposed to internet data, then the best book to have would probably be one of the load books USA books for each caliber you reload.

March 16, 2007, 09:23 PM
Lot's cheaper and maybe more up-to-date?

regards from senior (

March 16, 2007, 10:56 PM
If you want the Lee manual, I found it at Wideners for under $12. Most used book stores want that much (or close) for it.|344

Preacher Man

March 16, 2007, 11:15 PM
Thanks, I will give them a look and then decide which one to look for next.

March 16, 2007, 11:41 PM
Hey BillP I went to your link and recognized downtown minneapolis, I havent been there since I was probably 12.

March 17, 2007, 08:09 AM
Obtain and read ALL MANUALS. You owe it to yourself.

The best of the best? SIERRA, by far! For 40 years it has proven itself to provide the most reliable and accurate data for all bullets and listed powders. It has ALWAYS BEEN MY DEFAULT REFERENCE when others show wide variations. A good chronograph also validates their data for both rifle and handgun cartridges.

March 17, 2007, 09:02 AM
I use mostly Alliant Powder (20+ years) and got tired of asking my local for an updated powder catalog. Wrote Alliant and they are sending one my way. Not my only reference, but sure beats guessing. Another vote for Lyman 48th.
Happy shooting,

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