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Manuals - Confused by all the different ABC's of Reloading

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Triumph, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. Triumph

    Triumph Well-Known Member

    Here are the manuals I am reading:
    Lyman 49th
    Lee Manual - 2nd Edition
    Reloading for Handgunners - Sweeney

    I have heard great things about ABCs of reloading but confused by all the different versions, years, authors.

    I also noticed they range from $20 to $200.

    Any help appreciated.
  2. luvit

    luvit Well-Known Member

    What is your goal in regards to how many calibers and variations of bullets?
    Once I realized I want to plink with a 38 spcl and simply train my family with 158gr SWC, I simply followed the recipe supplied by Alliant.
    That is the powder I use and they offer a ton of info..
    I chose the Lee Classic Loader for about $25 -- I make standard 158gr SWC plinkers and 158gr SWCHP +P FBI loads.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2013
  3. James2

    James2 Well-Known Member

    I think that two current manuals have plenty of info in them to get a feller going on reloading. Perhaps even just one, however I like to check two sources of data. Read the "How To Stuff" and check loads in two books. I will tell you now that the two may have slightly different data. Don't worry, choose a load from the low end and work up. The manuals tell us what those testing the loads found in their equipment. That gives us a safe starting point. We must work up our own loads for our equipment.

    What I am saying is you can do just fine without ABC of any description.
  4. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    IMO you should buy the most current revision of the ABC's which I think it the 9th Edition. Forget about looking on Amazon.com. While you will find all the old books there as you see much of the time they are way overpriced. The 9th Edition should be no more than $27, the full list price but can be found on sale as low as $16.
  5. TooManyToys

    TooManyToys Well-Known Member

    +1 to ArchAngelCD's post above.
    Also, I think the 2 manuals you already have, ( Lyman 49th
    Lee Manual - 2nd Edition) are both very good books!
    They have a lot of solid information you won't easly find else where.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2013
  6. rg1

    rg1 Well-Known Member

    Don't know why ABC's of Reloading is recommended so often as it's not a reloading manual, has no data, is simply a bunch of articles from several authors from the beginning of modern reloading back as far as the 60's, has a bunch of info on loading and casting lead, and reading any of the modern bullet company manual or powder company manuals is more benefit to the beginning reloader. If you want a history of reloading from the last 50 years it's fine and I'm not saying to not read it, it's not necessary reading. My rating of the ABC's of Reloading is from the Amazon downloadable version.
  7. OldTex

    OldTex Well-Known Member

    Back when I started, there was no internet. The library in my small town had nothing on the subject. Gun magazines were/are iffy at best when it comes to reliable, complete reloading info. I didn't know anyone who reloaded. Everything I learned came from my Lyman manual, #46. Soon afterward I got a Speer manual that came with a kit I got from RCBS. I read those two books from cover to cover, more than once. Everything you need is there. IMO, it is a waste of money to pay anything close to $100 for somebody's ABCs - it's just the same basic info put into a new package.

    At some point you may want to get into the more precise methods used in competition or long range shooting. The book I'd suggest is Handloading for Competition by Glen Zediker. You will read it cover to cover more than once just trying to absorb it all and get it straight in your head (at least I did). It's a lot less than $100. But get the credit card ready for a bunch of expensive new tools.

    ASCTLC Well-Known Member

    rg1, without that kind of information, whether it actually be "The ABCs of Reloading" or another source, people starting out start their process of learning with more than just being told what to do. A load recipe from one of the manuals is simply being told what to do. But knowing why certain processes are followed provide some, who care, with an opportunity to recognize when something may not be right.

  9. leadchucker

    leadchucker Well-Known Member

    The ABC's of Reloading is a reloading manual, not to be confused with a reloading data book such as the Lyman. It is a how-to book as opposed to a source of reloading data. Sure, the Lyman or other data books have lots of good instructional material, but IMO, The ABC's explains reloading subjects in greater detail. Even the older versions still have value in that regard, but I would still recommend the latest one. And Amazon is as good a place to look for a copy as anywhere else. (Just don't pay $200 for it. I'm guessing that some of the older versions have attained some collectible status.)

    If you are looking for instructional type manuals, I would also recommend "Metallic Cartridge Reloading."
  10. Legion489

    Legion489 member

    Unlike some people who claim never to have read the ABCs OF RELOADING and then trashes them, with no actual knowledge of the subject of course, I only post about what I have actual knowledge of, and am regularly attacked for actually having an INFORMED opinion. An informed opinion, how often does THAT happen on the net?!

    I have nearly all of the ABCs OF RELOADING and regularly re-read them. There is a LOT of great info in them, but paying over $15 (I bought most of mine in the $5-$10 range) for any back issue is crazy. Look on E-bay, at gunshows, etc. and you will find them easily, there are lots of them out there. They have info on subjects that you might not find useful or interesting NOW, but later you might need that info on some odd-ball cartridge, trick, gimmick or hint and it will bail you out. The $200 scum are all over and just throwing a price out to see if the stupid will bite. On E-Bay (yeah, I know...) you will see two of the same books, one for $200 and one for $10 side by side. Just keep looking, you will find them at a price you will be willing to pay.

    If in doubt, ask at the local library for the interlibrary loan system, a free or low cost way of getting nearly anything you could possibly want from another library sent to your library. For a couple bucks you can read nearly any book out there and see if YOU want to spend the bucks to put it on YOUR shelf, and that way you won't have to rely on uninformed opinions from people who have never read them to see if YOU want them.
  11. medalguy

    medalguy Well-Known Member

    ^^^ Good advice. II've been reloading since 1963 and I still find interesting tidbits in ABC that I didn't know. Knowledge is a wonderful thing-- you might not need it today, but at some point you will find it very helpful. Learn as much about a subject as you can, when you find the information available.

    Once you understand the principles behind reloading, and some of the reasons why we do the things we do, a reloading DATA BOOK will have more meaning. Things like, why does a lighter weight bullet need less powder, or is it more powder? Let me look in ABC again.....:neener:
  12. Joatmon

    Joatmon Well-Known Member

    Ditto the above two posts. Just a few years ago there was no on line help if you got into a jam. You really needed to know what you were doing before you started a process. The ABC's of reloading was a concept book, not a powder manual. The book covered all aspects of reloading from straight wall pistol to ballistics, bullet swaging and jacket drawing dies. I have all the older versions and re-read the chapters for reference (plus Dean Grennell in the early versions was a funny guy and a wealth of knowledge). Find a cheap version and check it out.
  13. Cleftwynd

    Cleftwynd Well-Known Member

    I always recommend the ABC's of Reloading to a newcomer, if they read it thoroughly it gives them a good grasp on the art of reloading to then start using the recipes from the usual reloading books. I feel it is a great way to jump start the hobby and will help them move forward safely with a much better grasp on why and how certain stages of reloading are performed.

    That's just my $0.02...
  14. mdi

    mdi Well-Known Member

    The ABCs is a reloading text. A "how to" that gives a brand new reloader a base on which to build reloading skills. It offers a lot of info on everything concerned with all the components for reloading modern catrtridges and how to assemble safe, accurate ammo. It is more available than some texts that can only be found on reloading only sites, and easy to understand; aimed at the beginner.
  15. ranger335v

    ranger335v Well-Known Member

    The various ABCs are good books to read but they aren't loading manuals at all. More like a complilation of good "how to" magazine or Gun Digest articles on near random subjects that may or may not have much meaning to individual reloaders. I like them but I don't love them.

    At today's prices I can see their base price of nearly $30 but that's as much as I would pay for any of them. I know one of the more recent editions has several technical errors or incomplete/misleading statements in at least three articles that the editor should have caught; nothing safety related but still off way base.
  16. holdencm9

    holdencm9 Well-Known Member

    You don't really need to read the manuals cover to cover, although it is helpful, and I definitely paged through the introductory text of my Hornady Manual, in addition to the ABC's of reloading, before starting a thing. The ABC's is a good overview of everything, the manuals are mostly just needed for load data.

    Get this
    It doesn't give you data (as mentioned) but explains in detail each step of the reloading process and gives good information as well as words of warning on what not to do!

    I like the hornady manual, but any bullet manufacturer will have a manual, that is where most of your data comes from. Sometimes it is nice to have the exact manual for the exact bullet you buy, but for the most part, a 230gr RN FMJ will be the same data from any manufacturer, but the recommended COAL's may vary.

    Therefore, also get one of these for each cartridge you plan to reload. They basically xerox a dozen or so different manuals and put it in one spiral-bound booklet. So you essentially will have a dozen manuals at your finger tips.
  17. JSmith

    JSmith Well-Known Member

    When I was thinking about starting to reload I read two editions of ABCs: the most current (9th) edition, and one from 1973. The older one was far more informative; the newer one was padded out with obsolete articles from American Rifleman.

    I looked at the Lyman, Lee, and Speer manuals and decided not to buy them because I wouldn't ever use most of the information in them.
  18. Gadawg88

    Gadawg88 Well-Known Member

    Check your local library also. I was able to get the ABCs there. Read it cover to cover once then went back through it to hit the important stuff again before I even ordered a press.
  19. GaryL

    GaryL Well-Known Member

    I can't comment on ABCs, but from other's comments, it sounds fairly complete.
    I've read Hornady, Lyman, and Lee.

    The Hornady is a good load manual with a fairly basic explanation of reloading in the front. They do cover the important points though.

    The Lyman 49th is quite good, with arguably the best overall collection of useful load data. They get into a couple specialty reloading things like the 1876 Replicas. They also do a nice job of including comments and tips specific to each caliber.

    The Lee manual is geared towards reloading on Lee equipment, and self promotion. It does contain a lot of occasionally useful load data copied from various other sources. I consider it a sometimes useful reference that I paid too much for.
  20. splattergun

    splattergun Well-Known Member

    IMO the different editions of ABCs were not only written by different authors, but also sponsored by different companies. Most all of the editions were filled with great information. I have heard the most recent ed. is not so great. ABC's does not give any data, but it does give you a good all-around education on loading, evrything from equipment choices to black powder techniques.

    I'm guessing the $200 book you found is someone's idea of a collectable.

    My version? Free download of an old ed. from the net.

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