reloading book variances


September 26, 2011, 11:28 AM
so i'm relatively new to reloading. have 250 rounds under my belt. i was going through my books when i noticed there is quite a difference between powder load limits between my books

i have bought the speer book and lyman pistol book. my buddy has the hornady book.


i'm loading 40 cal 180 grains ranier fmj's with hs-6

speer book: min 7.3gr max 8.2 gr
lyman book: min: 6.9gr max 8.0 gr
hornady book: min 6.2 max 7.2 gr

i expected a little bit of difference but hornady is out there in left field on this one

who's book should i follow?

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September 26, 2011, 11:45 AM
But none of the three books you mentioned have any data for plated Ranier bullets.

Speer is using Speer plated bullets, but their plating is much different in thickness and composition the what Ranier uses.
Lyman is using Sierra Jacketed bullets.
Hornady is using Hornady bullets.

Each company is also very likely using different brands of cases, primers, and different lots of powder too, sometimes tested years apart.

You also have to realize each book used different pressure measuring equipment, with different barrels.
Speer used a real S&W handgun, as did Hornady.
Lyman used a Universal receiver with a 4" SAAMI spec test barrel.

And Hornady might be accused of being a little more cautious with thier load data then Lyman, and certainly more cautious then Speer.

To further compound your confusion.
Go to the source of HS-6 powder, Hodgdon's.
If anyone should know, they should, right?
They show 6.1 Start - 6.9 Max with a Hornady XTP bullet.


September 26, 2011, 11:54 AM
where can i go to get ranier bullet info then?

i'm reloading to save money on practice loads not protection rounds. juries kind of frown upon hand loaded carry loads

hard to beat federal hst 180 grs anyways

September 26, 2011, 12:06 PM
You can use any of the data you did find.
Just not the max loads listed.

You could add them all together and average the start & max loads from all four sources.
Then split the difference and call it good.

Or you could use lead bullet data like Rainier says to use.

From thier web site:
We, at Rainier Ballistics, recommend using lead bullet load data when loading our bullets. There is no need for adjustment when using lead bullet load data. Our bullets are jacketed using an electroplating process and are softer than traditionally jacketed bullets; hence the recommendation to use lead bullet load data. If you only have access to traditionally jacketed load data, we recommend reducing maximum charge by 10%. A roll or taper crimp may be used with our bullets; do not over crimp.


Jim Watson
September 26, 2011, 12:33 PM
You might be better off with one manual and a good grasp of the concept of starting loads and "working up" maybe even with a chronograph in the case of a pistol in what used to be called a "high intensity" cartridge.

Multiple sources can just get you confused.

September 26, 2011, 01:56 PM
Loading with plated or lead requires you to have to do some ball park guessing. Not my idea of reloading at all, and also not a bullet that will ever travel through any guns I own.

September 26, 2011, 02:01 PM
No lead?
No plated?

You are missing an awful lot of low cost fun shooting!
Had you have been shooting 50 years ago, you would shoot lead revolver bullets, or you wouldn't shoot, as jacketed revolver bullets had simply not been invented yet.

And there is no more guessing then there is when loading jacketed bullets.


September 26, 2011, 02:14 PM
Plated Bullets

They are not lead, so don't use lead data. They are not jacketed, so don't use jacketed data.

They are somewhere in between. There is some good plated bullet data out there.

The velocity limits of 1200 FPS is a very good guideline. They can sometimes take a bit more, and sometimes a bit less.

Ramshot's latest PDF has plated data now as well. Berrys has data coming out soon.

The first reloaders worked a lot without real data. ;)

September 26, 2011, 02:28 PM
I've noticed that the reloading books from powder companies have hotter loads than the bullet companies.

September 26, 2011, 02:35 PM
Well, sometimes they do, and sometimes they don't.

In this thread alone we have:

Speer: min 7.3gr max 8.2 gr
Lyman: min: 6.9gr max 8.0 gr
Hornady: min 6.2 max 7.2 gr

The powder company, Hodgdon:
min 6.1 - max 6.9 gr.


September 26, 2011, 02:41 PM
No lead??? I sure would hate to have to go back to jacketed bullets for my handguns!! My shooting would have to either slow down or cost me way more! I love shooting the lead through both my 9MM and 45 ACP. I use AA #5 in both and get the data from Accurate Powder's website.

September 26, 2011, 04:35 PM
I have had good luck contacting the powder companies for data not listed in the manuals.

Hondo 60
September 26, 2011, 10:44 PM
I've contacted Accurate & Hodgdon.

Accurate's ballistician, Johan Loubser, has been very helpful!

Hodgdon on the other hand has decided to ignore my load data questions.

September 26, 2011, 11:25 PM
Hi all, just found this site and really like it, so I thought I would make my first post and try to help out a little.

I am too new to reloading and had the same problem that you have seen. I am loading .40S&W with Berry's plated 180gr. FP using HS-6, I noticed that Speer load data seemed to be the hottest, so what I did was use the Hodgon site.

Keeping with what Berry's suggest and the same with Rainer in keeping the load to the minimum and mid-range, I started with loads of 6.2gr, and 6.4 and then 6.7grs, all with an O.A.L. of 1.125, tens rounds each.

They all fired fine and cycled the gun (FNX40) real well, and I liked the 6.7gr the best so that is where I stayed at. Didn't have any signs of over pressure and they were all accurate.

Another note, I call Hornady to find out what their bullet OAL was for the FMJ and they told me .609 to .619, now the Berrys are .595 to .596, the reason I wanted this was to determine approximate case volume, when I loaded to 1.125 OAL as the Hodgon site listed, try out a few different loads until you find out what you like best and just stay under the max load given, Good Luck and be Safe,

September 26, 2011, 11:39 PM
I have wondered about the variations in load data and have a theory.

Using 180 gr jacketed bullet load data as an example, Hodgdon indicates:
180 gr Hornady XTP W231 Diameter .400" OAL 1.125" Start 4.1 gr (797 fps) 23,800 PSI - Max 5.0 gr (947 fps) 32,900 PSI
Hodgdon's test was done using Hornady case trimmed to .845", Winchester SP primer, 1:16" twist rate, and in a 4" test barrel.

Lyman #49 indicates:
180 gr Sierra JHP W231 OAL 1.115" Start 5.0 gr (927 fps) 20,400 CUP - Max 5.6 gr (1015 fps) 22,800 CUP.
Lyman's test was done using Winchester case trimmed to .845", Winchester SP primer, 1:16" twist rate, and in a 4" test barrel with a .401" groove diameter.

If Hodgdon used .400" groove diameter test barrel, Lyman's load data showing higher powder charges maybe due to the larger groove diameter of the test barrel (.401") for the .400" diameter jacketed bullet used. For the same length test barrel with same twist rate, the difference in velocities for the same 5.0 gr powder charge were 947 fps (Hodgdon) vs 927 fps (Lyman).

Perhaps due to more high pressure gas leaking with the .401" groove diameter test barrel, maximum SAAMI chamber pressure may not have reached until higher powder charges were used. Of course, bullets used were different brands and OALs used were not the same but I hope you get the idea.

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