Reloading manuals


June 2, 2010, 10:06 PM
So, I'm very new and just got the Speer Manual 14 and I'm wondering if I need to spend on different ones, like Lyman,Nosler etc. I have read ABC's of reloading end to end, so I think I get the basic ideas and bought a Lee Classic press kit and immediately disabled the turret feature so I can start out one operation at a time until I have a feel for each one.

So do I really need more reloading manuals?


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June 2, 2010, 10:11 PM
It's good to have more than 1 source of data especially when loading a new caliber for the first time. with all the online data available you should be alright with 1 manual in addition to the online data. BUT, the more data you have the better for when you want to cross reference the data. Different manuals will supply data for different bullets and powders.

Welcome to the forum and reloading...

June 2, 2010, 10:34 PM
I agree with ArchAngelCD, and the fact that we live in the time of internet information.
Many of the powder manufacturer's/distributors have got up to date data, available at your keyboard, and you can cross reference to data supplied by your manual(s).

You have to realize that not all data that you see on the internet is valid, but if you stick with the powder companies and bullet companies who supply data for use with their products, you should be fine utilizing a recommended start load and work up from there.


June 2, 2010, 10:46 PM
I meant the data supplied by the powder companies and bullet manufacturers on their Data Sites. Thanks for mentioning that NCsmitty, I should have been clearer.

June 2, 2010, 10:54 PM
I started a thread with a list of online data sources HERE ( In addition, I'd highly recommend Modern Reloading, 2nd Edition ( by Richard Lee. It has the most comprehensive list of data I've seen ... and I have a lot of manuals. With your Speer manual and Modern Reloading supplemented by internet data, you should be good to go.

June 3, 2010, 07:20 AM
Legionnaire, thanks for that great list of links. I saved them all and will check them out one at a time, also just ordered up Modern Reloading.

Thanks again

June 3, 2010, 08:10 AM
I beg to differ from "conventional wisdom" about the value of multipule loading manuals. Speaking as one who is closing towards my first five decades of reloading and owner of at least two dozen reloading manuals and two or three times that many powder company "freebies", I don't think there is anything but curosity value in a noob having more than one manual if it's a good one. And they all are quite good really, so the ABCs and one manual is plenty.

First thing to understand is that all loading data is generic by powder type and bullet weight. It is not Biblical so it is NOT necessary to precisely duplicate the listed load by a bullet maker or powder maker if for no other reason than they biggest single change we can possibly make to a book load is the weapon it will be used in. That "change" is THE ireason book loads vary and our guns are different from any of theirs; we have to live with that difference safely. It can easily be done but recognizing that loading manuals are no more that guides for both powder charges, AND OAL, is the first step, NONE of them are infallible in any respect.

Understandably, noobs - and a lot of older loaders - get puzzled by the fact that no two manuals will give the same start and max charges, or OAL, sometimes by quite a bit. So, what is the value of confusing data?

What books give us are the results obtained with their components and their rifle/handgun. If one book's suggestions are really "bad" for us and others are "good", should the loader average multipule book loads so it won't be so bad? NO! The major differences are in the guns used, not the data itself, so multipule books will give him very little real help!

There is ONE RULE, and only one rule, in every manual that takes care of all the possible variations in guns, chambers, bores, bullet types/styles, powder and primer lots, case maker lots, temperature, which way the wind is blowing, etc.

That rule is in every loading manual; "Start low, work up slowly to max while watching for signs of over-pressure. Stop and back off a bit if pressure signs do occur."

Do that and we can use any data in any rig with any changes of components quite safely without cross referencing anything. Those who ignore that one rule won't be safe with dozens of manuals.

June 3, 2010, 10:04 AM
For me Lyman's manual would be best choice and "Modern Reloading" by Richard Lee especially if you use Lee Precision equipment. Richard Lee is a great man and his "history" of reloading is excellent reading. Also, for serious reloading data get a subscription to Load Data - it is well worth the money along with internet subscriptions to Handloader and Rifle and Sucessful Hunting - all of these from Wolfe Publishing for around $5.00 per month.

June 3, 2010, 11:27 AM
I have the Hornady and the Lee manuals. Honestly, if you do your diligent research and reading on the internet, you don't really need a manual at all. That's a big IF though. You'll get much better loading data from the powder manufacturer's web site. I didn't get much value from my manuals.

June 3, 2010, 11:37 AM
The Hodgdon and Alliant websites have about all you need with regard to load data, at least they do for me. The Barnes site offers the same though a bit limited WRT powders. I don't buy manuals anymore.

June 3, 2010, 12:58 PM
The big issue with a only owning a Speer manual is when you run across a caliber that Speer does not make bullets for, say 9x18 Makerov. Or say a bullet weight or type Speer does not make, say a lead RN for even a common caliber. Or say their loading data for their Gold Dot bullet (which is a plated bullet). Does that apply to jacketed bullets of the same weight?

If they don't offer the exact same bullet you're reloading with, then there's no info in the book. Of course, if you ONLY shoot Speer bullets, then you're OK.

However, if you intend tend to buy random bullet weights and bullet types you run across at gun shows, then owning a manual with a larger cross section of bullet types and bullet weights would be an advantage. However, I agree that the best place to start expanding your library is by sending off for the free publications offered by the powder companies.

June 3, 2010, 01:35 PM
It's interesting you say that because thats just what I have going on here. I am planning to reload .45 Colt and bought a box of 255gr Keith SWC and guess what?... no recipe in the Speer manual, infact no 255gr bullets for .45 Colt at all.

Now I guess its not reasonable to expect Speer or any manual writer to publish data for every bullet, powder, etc. but I thought 255gr was a pretty popular weight.

June 3, 2010, 01:54 PM
The Loadbook series are great. One book, one caliber. They list load data from all of the popular powder and bullet manufacturers in one convenient spot.

Jim Watson
June 3, 2010, 02:08 PM
If you are going to shoot cast bullets, 2popfire, the Lyman books are the best resources.

But no matter the caliber and no matter how big your library, you may not be able to find a "recipe" for your exact set of components. As ranger335v says, that is where the boring fine print about "starting loads" and "working up" comes in. I consider that the difference between reloading and handloading.

June 3, 2010, 05:45 PM
I'd pick up a few more. I can always find a load I like better in a different manual. Sometimes I'll just split the difference.

June 3, 2010, 06:32 PM
I really like my Nosler #6 manual, and I like my free Hodgdon and Alliant data books that I got from a gun store. The internet sites like Hodgdon are good sources, so feel free to use them.

June 4, 2010, 11:48 PM
"...don't buy manuals anymore..." There's far more data in the assorted manuals than will ever be on a web site.
The bullet and powder manufacturer's books only give data for their products. Nothing wrong with 'em, but they are limited. Speer, for example, only makes a .22, 7mm and .30 calibre Match bullets. Sierra and Hornady make all kinds of match bullets. However, you load for the bullet weight, not the maker.
" recipe in the Speer manual..." That just means they didn't develope loads for 255 grain bullets when putting that manual together. Takes several years to publish a manual.
Reloading equipment companies don't test loads at all. Lee, for example, puts out a manual, but it's not their tested data. Mind you, a 255 isn't a standard factory bullet weight. 225's are.
The Lyman book has more loads using more powders and bullet weights than any manufacturer's book. It's far more versatile than any powder or bullet maker's book. Lyman doesn't make powder or bullets.

June 5, 2010, 08:15 PM
...There's far more data in the assorted manuals than will ever be on a web site...

That's what I thought too, but that is not the case. Let's say you have a particular powder such as Ramshot TAC or Hodgdon Varget. If you go to the respective manufacturers' websites, you'll find far more data on the web site then either of the two loading manuals that I have.

The loading manuals have to cover all sorts of powders and all sorts of bullets. The manufacturer websites have to cover only their powder and the variety of bullets.

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