Which Book for Beginners?


August 18, 2003, 04:11 PM
Which book do you recommend for beginners? I dont have any equipment yet. So I need a book, that will tell me everything that I need and other reloading/handloading info. I am planning to reload the 38spl/357mag and 44spl/44mag.

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August 18, 2003, 04:20 PM
See my post right below this one in the forum.

August 18, 2003, 09:57 PM
I didnt see your post. Thanks for the info.

August 19, 2003, 06:06 PM
Lyman 48th Edition Reloading Handbook is just as good as any and it is currently on the shelves. They advertise their own merchantise but the general guidance is there. Quantrill

August 20, 2003, 01:26 PM
The ABC's of Reloading is a good one.

August 20, 2003, 01:37 PM
Lyman Handbook No. 48, as Quantrill suggested. Richard Lee's book on reloading is also very informative. They advertise Lee equipment but it has a lot of general very helpful information for the beginner and the more experienced, also.

August 20, 2003, 02:47 PM
Ok, Thanks for the info.:)

David Wile
August 20, 2003, 04:50 PM
Hey Coldshot,

If you could only afford one manual, I would also strongly suggest the Lyman manual. Others can come later, but the Lyman is the most complete of all of them.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

August 21, 2003, 02:35 AM
David, Thanks for the info. Yeah I really dont want to put a whole lot of $$ into this. Im just interested in What I need to buy to set up my work bench or whatever.;)

Smokey Joe
August 23, 2003, 12:44 AM
First off, congratulations, you're doing it right. You're getting informed before rushing out to spend $$$ on equipment which you may or may not need, or might not be the best for what you want to do. When you do buy, you'll have good reason to expect that what you get will do just what you want. An informed consumer is a happy consumer.

Mebbe a warning is in order re. the Lee book. Haven't read it, this is second-hand, but the review I read indicated that there was a high BS content, that it advertised Lee stuff heavily, and didn't add much in the way of new useful info.

Anyhow, the Lyman 48th is THE ONE if you get only one, IMHO. The ABC's of Reloading is VERY good on the basic information of how to go about it, and what you neet to buy to get what done. Order The ABC's from Krause Publishing's website if your local shop doesn't have it. http://www.krause.com

All of the powder and bullet makers have websites, and most are glad to share info on how to best use their products. Likewise the makers of presses, dies, and other equipment. Sierra Bullets has a hotline that is reputed to be especially good. The no. is 1-800-223-8799.

If you are confining yourself to just 38/357 and 44 spec/mag, you could get the books from the Loadbooks USA series for these cartridges. Each book is entitled "The Complete Reloading Manual for the ___________" and covers powder and bullet info from all the major makers, but only for the one cartridge in question. At about $9/ea. the price is right. Order from their website, http://www.loadbooks.com And that avoids paying for all that load data you'll never use, on the .220 Swift, the .30-348 Weatherby, and the 7.62x54 Russian for example.

Hey, welcome to reloading! It is a lifelong study! Enjoy! :D

August 23, 2003, 11:12 AM
the Lee book. Haven't read it,

Please do. It's about $10 or $12 and very informative regardless of whether you choose to use Lee equipment or not. His dies are super, btw and about 1/2 the price of the competition.

August 23, 2003, 11:29 AM
Lyman's is the best. Don't waste your money on the Lee book. Spend it on powder, primers, bullets or a manual from Hornady, Nosler, Sierra Or Speer. In my opinion, this reviewer was too gentle.


August 23, 2003, 12:13 PM
BigG: Do you use Lee equipment?

August 23, 2003, 01:03 PM
Same question when I got started, got same recommendations.

My opinion:

ABCs - Totally disappointed. I thought about trying to sell but threw it away instead of wasting someone else's money.

Lyman - Way better.

Back threads on THR and TFL - Worth every minute.

August 23, 2003, 01:46 PM
Sven: Got 4-5 sets of dies and a hand press. Good stuff, imho.

Smokey Joe
September 4, 2003, 12:59 AM
Hoo Boy! That Charmnet review of the Lee loading manual leaves teeth marks you could drive a truck through!

However, please don't refuse to consider anything Lee, just because of the book. When Mr. Lee isn't writing, but designing, he does some good work. His Collet Neck resizing die, IMHO, completely lives up to its billing. I have used one for years (.30-'06) and like the results very much! I started reloading on a simple Lee Loader (the hammer-it-in, hammer-it-out, dip-the-powder, hammer-the-bullet-in set). And with that I was very happy at the time.

There are varying opinions on his hand-held Auto-Prime device. It happened to be what I bought first, and have never had need of any other. Today I modified it slightly (with a hand grinder) to accept the very fat base of the .300 WSM cartridge, which it then primed just as well as the other thousands of empties I've primed with it. Have had exactly 2 failures, both of 'em my own fault.

Mr. Lee isn't the only poor writer who has been good at something else. It may even be a tradition. Does anybody else remember the BS-filled works of George Leonard Herter, who, when he was selling outdoor gear up in Waseca, MN, had good stuff to sell, and backed it with an absolute 100% guarantee? Excellent gear, mediocre books! Seems to me that Leon L. Bean had a bit of the same disease. But I'm showing my age somewhat in citing those two!

David Wile
September 4, 2003, 09:43 AM
Hey Smokey,

You're right about that review by Ken Marsh about Lee's manual being pretty rough on Lee, his manual, and his equipment in general. And while I pretty much agree with Mr. Marsh's assessment of Lee products, I thought the writing in Mr. Marsh's book review was something less than stellar. Marsh's review contained some of the same type of writing errors he was criticizing Lee for in the Lee manual. I do not know who Ken Marsh is, but, if his review was done as a professional writer for some publication, someone should have been editing his review. Having made my own criticism of the writing in Mr. Marsh's review, once again I have to say that I really did agree with Mr. Marsh's review of the Lee line of products.

Like you, I first started reloading with a Lee Loader like you described, "the hammer-it-in, hammer-it-out, dip-the-powder, hammer-the-bullet-in set." Unlike you, however, I was not very happy after reloading one box of 30-40 Krags with it. It was in the early 1960s, and I had a friend with an old RCBS A2 press who was teaching me about reloading. I thought I would start cheaply with a Lee Loader kit that cost about $6 at the time. Other than that, all I needed was a pound of 4831 powder, a box of bullets, and a pack of primers to get started. The bullets were less than $5 a hundred, and the powder and primers both cost about 75 cents at the time.

After reloading one box of Krag bullets at my kitchen table, I decided right away that reloading with a Lee Loader was not for me. After I told my buddy about my work experience with the Lee Loader, he got a good laugh and suggested that I might consider buying an RCBS Junior press set instead of the Lee Loader. I was able to return the Lee Loader and apply my $6 toward an RCBS Junior kit that included the press and one set of dies (30-40 Krag) for about $21 at the time. My buddy loaned me his set of Lee dippers to charge my cases until I could afford to buy a scale and powder trickler. Reloading with the Junior press was great, and it wasn't long until I was spending far more money on all kinds of reloading equipment. In fact, the spending money on reloading equipment thing has never stopped in nearly forty years.

I bought my own set of Lee dippers, and I still use them at times to throw a few charges in the scale pan. However, I never had much use for anything else in the Lee line until sometime in the 1980s when I watched a friend use his Lee hand held Auto-Prime device. I tried it, liked it, and bought one right away. I even bought an RCBS hand held primer device when they came out because it was made a lot stronger than the Lee. After using both, however, I still prefer using the Lee Auto-Prime over the RCBS tool. The Lee tool broke after about seven years, but I liked it enough to buy another, and it is still working today.

That is about it for me and Lee stuff, however. I like their dippers and the Auto-Prime tool, but that is it for me. I know lots of folks rave about their Factory Crimp Die, but I have never found any use for it. When I want to crimp a cartridge, my regular dies crimp quite well, thank you. Lee's selling point of being able to crimp a bullet even when there is no cannelure just does not make sense to me. To crimp a bullet where there is no cannelure means you are actually deforming a perfectly good bullet, and I cannot see any sense in doing that. In any case, I prefer to not crimp if there is no need to do so. So, for those reasons, I never got caught up in the whole Factory Crimp Die hoopla.

Your comparison of Lee to the old Herter's outfit also brings back some fond memories. I see what you mean when you mentioned the marketing practices that Herter's used to use. Now that you have mentioned it, they do seem familiar. I would say one thing in Herter's defense, however. I always thought Herter's actually produced a higher quality product than that sold by Lee. I cannot imagine anyone ever breaking some of those massive presses they sold, and their dies were very good as well as cheap. I really liked Herter's products in general and bought a lot of things from them.

Like you, I am also showing some age in talking about Herter's. Oh well, it was a good time, wasn't it?

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

September 4, 2003, 10:14 AM
I have been using a Lee Turret press and one of the single-stage presses Lee gave away as an anniversary promotion for all of my reloading for years. Most of the dies I have are also Lee dies. I have been quite happy with the presses, the dies and the other tools, although my Lee scale quit working after a few years. My electronic scale also quit, and sooner than the Lee did.

I reload pistol and rifle cartridges for practice, competition and hunting and have had no problems making accurate ammo with Lee equipment. I have matched my reloads against those made on Dillon, and other presses, and come out looking good.

My favorite loading manual is an old Hornady book. I have the first Lee reloading manual and found it useful as a backup. I could have started with it and might have. if it was available when I started loading. I supplement the manuals with the LoadBooks series and powder company handouts.

Lee gets a lot of bad comments, but I don't think they are always justified.

Smokey Joe
September 4, 2003, 05:51 PM
DavidÑYou're right, the '60's was a very good decade in which to be alive and young and learning new stuff. The only worry was getting drafted and sent off to SE Asia, and we were all young and immortal and things were good. And when we got our turn, we were gonna make th world right. Wish to God I'd known then what I know now, but that decade and my life in itÑand yoursÑis all water over the dam of history.

IMHO, guess what: The 2000's is a very good decade in which to be alive and young and learning new stuff. I'm covinced that these are the good old days, and that that has always been true for "right now," whenever "right now" happens to be.

Now I'm alive and old (sort of) and still learning new stuff, and I'm sure-as-hell not immortal, the politicians are still in charge and always will be, and I've settled for changing my little corner of the world, at least a little. But I'm still having fun and still learning.

You lucked out when you started reloading, in having someone available to help you with the basics, lend you equipment, and so on. Back then of course information sharing was much more limited. (Kids today will never understand what it was like before the Internet!) I didn't know anyone else who reloaded, so had to re-invent the wheel for myself. I was reluctant to make the $$ investment to take the next step. And back then, even the Lee Loader-produced ammo was better than what you could buy over the counter. When I lucked into an RCBS Rockchucker at a price even my wife said was a good deal, I was off and running, and the fun has never stopped.

This has gotten 'WAY Off-Topic. The original question was, what book(s) do I need to learn about reloading. I hope Coldshot has what he considers a satisfactory answer. Hope, too, that his learning curve is steeper than mine.

David Wile
September 5, 2003, 12:05 AM
Hey Smokey,

I agree with you completely. It is always "the good old days," and today is a great day to be alive. There have always been problems and always will be, but today is a good day to converse with folks like yourself.

We shouldn't worry too much about hijacking Coldshot's thread. We gave him some good information, so he can suffer the ramblings of old folks like us.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

Smokey Joe
September 6, 2003, 12:31 AM
DaveÑThank you sir! It always feels good to have one's ticket stamped.

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