What’s the better “Bible”?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by ndoudrz, Feb 28, 2021.

  1. ndoudrz

    ndoudrz Member

    Feb 24, 2021
    In your explained opinion, which is the best reloading manual to have? Lyman, Hornady, Nozler.......? Looking for recommendations. Thanks again for your suggestions!!
  2. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

    Feb 1, 2014
    Middle Tn
    I really like Lyman. I despise their other products, but the books are incredible. They do a good job of explaining, illustrating, and providing relevant data. The older books especially did well with data, but perhaps the majority of the modern market is looking at different things than I do. Richard Lee’s book isn’t bad by any stretch, and is arguably one of the best books to have if you only have 1, but when you get into specialized books you will understand why I say Lyman.
  3. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

    Feb 23, 2016
    That depends on your choices.
    If you want what I consider the best intro to reloading. Get Speer.
    If you want multiple bullet manufacturers get Lyman
    If you want a mix of cast and jacketed. Get Lyman
    If you primarily load bullets from Nosler, Hornady, etc. Then get their manual.
    You can fill in most of the blanks with online data from manufacturers.
  4. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    There is no one resource. There are several good "all-around" books for the tyro. Lyman's "cast bullet handbook" is very good for that aspect of the game. Specialty bullets, like monolithic solids, probably should be accompanied by a book from the manufacturer. And of course, the internet is a wonderful and terrible resource.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that the author's request is akin to asking "What is the one 'bible' for all the religions in the world?" It would be a handy thing to have, except that it doesn't exist.
  5. IHmagnum

    IHmagnum Member

    Apr 10, 2014
    NW Illinois
    The Lyman 4th Edition Cast Bullet Handbook that my buddy has is far superior to the 3rd Edition that I own. Many more bullet weights and loads, it is a great reference. As far as Lymans standard reloading manual goes he much prefers the 49th edition to the 50th.
    ndoudrz likes this.
  6. chamokaneman

    chamokaneman Member

    Feb 19, 2020
    Spokane, WA
    I have a 10 year or so old hard copy of Lee and an older pdf version of Lyman I downloaded from somewhere. I like both of them because of their "genericness" (for lack of a better word) i.e. neither of them sell powder or bullets. I especially appreciate the Lyman because of it's explanation of the process and the abundance of illustrations, etc

    I also have older versions of Nosler and Hornady. The Hornady is from 1973. My wife gave me a copy of the latest Hornady for Christmas and that's good for all the bullets they currently Have.

    Electronically, I have Western Powders, Accurate, and the Hornday app on my phone as well as Data sheets downloaded on particular loads from Sierra, Speer, Barnes, etc.

    The only data I've ever paid for personally is the a few calibers on the Hornady app. I was lucky enough to be given my Hornady, Lee, and Nosler books.

    I guess if I had to suggest a hard copy book to buy it would be the Lyman or Lee but bottom line is to gather as much information as you can from everywhere you can get it.
  7. MWC1974

    MWC1974 Member

    Jan 31, 2021
    I have the Hornady, which is great if you are loading Hornady bullets. I also have the Lyman which offers many other bullet choices and has a great intro section. I honestly prefer the Lyman over the Hornady manual.
    Harriw and ndoudrz like this.
  8. Ironicaintit

    Ironicaintit Member

    May 7, 2015
    it’s this one
  9. Nature Boy
    • Contributing Member

    Nature Boy Contributing Member

    Apr 21, 2015
    When it comes to the religion of reloading I guess you could say I’m a Unitarian.

    Every manual has something to offer and I have one of each in my library
  10. dgod
    • Contributing Member

    dgod Contributing Member

    Mar 14, 2012
    341CADB7-1DB4-4290-B22A-CD4C964E958E.jpeg 341CADB7-1DB4-4290-B22A-CD4C964E958E.jpeg
    I have a large selection. My experience (A little over 35 years) is that some manuals change. Plus, I like the option of a lot of resource lookups. I usually start with Lyman 50, them select at random, ending with Nosler (All but #3,6, &7), then to thee on-line “Load Test” database.

    With this method, I can usually find the combo I’m looking for.

    Good Luck with your choices.

  11. ahutch71

    ahutch71 Member

    Jun 16, 2017
    The best answer is “all of them” - I have hard copies of Lyman, Lyman Cast, Hornady, and Speer. I also have a *lot* of printouts from various sites, PDFs from powder manufacturers, etc. I really use all of them at one time or another. If I had to choose only one I would probably use the Lyman manual.
  12. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

    Nov 20, 2017
    McKinney, TX
    I would agree with the others... with a caveat. There are manuals that are better for some things, and not so good with others. I needed data for Service Rifle... that's a Hornady book. I prefer the data format of Speer, and it includes a lot of the bullets I load. Obscure powders or crazy bullet weights? Lee. Jack of all trades... Lyman. I reference those, and sprinkle in online or downloaded data from Hodgdon, Alliant, Accurate (Western,) Nosler, and others. I even use... *gasp!*... data downloaded from the forums, but that data is compared pretty vigorously against published data for accuracy and viability. I had to do that for cast .348WCF data, for example, where there is/was very little published data.

    Go out to the garage and open your tool box. Is there only one screwdriver? No, there are likely a bunch; even if they all do the same thing, they do it in different ways.
  13. whughett

    whughett Member

    Mar 26, 2008
    Rhode Island/Florida
    Lyman, but I have a copies of each, Speer and Hornady, several powder manufacturers plus a batch of “caliber specific “ paper backs. All dated now as the only one I upgrade is Lyman.
    40 years ago Lyman was the one I book learned handloading from, never had a tutor. The book was included in my first ever press, scale, trimmer and die loading kit. The Lyman Expert Kit.
    Also learned a lot from Handloader Magazine subscription.
    ndoudrz likes this.
  14. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

    Nov 14, 2008
    Clarkesville, GA
    IMHO, it depends upon why you shoot....

    >> If you mainly shoot as (for instance) a hunter and your favorite bullet is Sierra GameKing, then you are much better off with a Sierra manual. Because you highly prefer GameKing bullets. If you bought a new rifle in a different caliber, you'd simply use GameKing in the new rifle. Thus your preference toward a single brand would drive you to have the best information about that brand of bullet. And of course, there's more than enough information there for the occasional 38Special load or brother-in-law's 45ACP load.

    Same for Horandy bullets and the Hornady manual. Same for Speer bullets and the Speer manual.

    >> If you shoot because you enjoy firearms, and you are likely to to purchase a new-to-you firearm because you find an interesting one in a new-to-you caliber, then the Lyman #50 is the better manual. This is for the simple reason that Lyman covers all the calibers. If you buy a Makarov pistol or a 327 Fed Mag revolver, and Speer (for instance) doesn't make that bullet, then the Speer book is going to have NO information on that caliber. Zero, zilch, nadda. However, Lyman doesn't make bullets, so they are not trying to push their product line. It's simply a more complete manual covering any caliber you might wish to reload.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2021
  15. Jeff Flannery

    Jeff Flannery Member

    Jan 1, 2018
  16. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

    Jan 14, 2020
    I have like 6 or 7 manuals one of which is the printed one from western powders. I have posted a link to many old manuals a bunch and I find my lyman 45th edition invaluable. A lot of the pistol powder loads for rifles that are fun for target shooting. Pre trail boss unique could be used in almost anything for plinking loads and is my preferred for 45/70 for steel silhouette loads. Different publications seem to build loads with different powders. Obviously new products are not found in old manuals and I like ar comp so I also use on line data.
    ndoudrz likes this.
  17. johnjohn

    johnjohn Member

    Oct 26, 2009
    Lafayette La.
    I'm with the Lyman guys.
    rfwobbly, AJC1, whughett and 2 others like this.
    • Contributing Member

    TEXASJD Contributing Member

    Feb 10, 2021
    ndoudrz likes this.
  19. db_tanker

    db_tanker Member

    Apr 22, 2005
    Willis, TX
    Lyman is normally my first go to since it has much more powder and bullet manufactures available...that gets me a general idea of what I want to do with a load...then if I need more specific data I have others...Sierra has probably the next most info...then down to the powder manufacturers etc.

    Generally more is better. Nice thing is nowadays you can get digital copies and apps that can help fill your "shelf" for more data...and with reloading more data is always better/safer.

    ndoudrz likes this.
  20. 9x56MS

    9x56MS Member

    Jan 31, 2021
    I get my data for the bullet I want to load from whichever resource I can find it. I have a 9.3x62 and a 9x56MS that are not in most reloading manuals but I was able to find information on line. I do agree if just starting out the Speer manual does a good job of explianing how to reload. Also the Lyman includes many more bullets. And how can we discuss manuals and not mention Ken Waters Pet Loads. The internet is a good place to search out information but be careful relying on information from individuals without researching further to ensure suitability and safety.
    ndoudrz likes this.
  21. NMexJim

    NMexJim Member

    Oct 26, 2020
    New Mexico
    You can use various manuals for some common bullet profiles. By that I mean you don't have to have a dead-on match-up with a manufacturer's manual and a bullet. Lyman, Lee cases in point.

    In a pinch, I've done that and it's worked well enough. In fact, if you're using aftermarket bullets, that's going to be a necessity. BUT, IMO, it's always better to plan your reloading around a bullet and the manual put out by that manufacturer when possible. At least for some broad parameters to get started. Good to consult several manuals and see what's what.

    With some of the newer, super-low drag bullets such as ELD, VLD, and hybrid profiles, and rebated boat tails designs, you had better buy their manual before you jump off that cliff. You won't be able to assume that they load similar to much of anything else.
    kalielkslayer and ndoudrz like this.
  22. forrest r

    forrest r Member

    Oct 6, 2016
    Any of them!!!

    Any info is good along with being able to have multiple sources to not only find data. Having the ability to cross reference from multiple sources is huge.

    A couple links to sights with a ton of downloadable manuals, anything from lee (abc's & 2nd) to lyman (3rd) cast and standard (44th & 48th)manuals, speer #12, hornady 3rd & 4th and vendor manuals.

    A link to more vendor manuals.

    When I started reloading there wasn't a lot out there. Add to that casting bullets in 85/86? and swaging bullets in 90. There was a lot of thought and trial and error that went into reloading. Gun shows were a huge source of info along with multiple manuals.

    Websites like these play a huge role in having the ability to find what manuals for specific data for a given bullet/load/caliber.
    ndoudrz likes this.
  23. Barr

    Barr Member

    Apr 7, 2006
    Upstate SC
    For some very obscure European calibers the Cartridges of the World has been invaluable. Lyman is my general go to manual. Propellant Profiles has been very instructional to understand the different powders available when making powder magazine stocking decisions.
    ndoudrz likes this.
  24. entropy

    entropy Member

    Feb 9, 2004
    G_d's Country, WI
    For beginners: RIfle & pistol, Lee. Shotgun & M/L , Lyman.

    For more experienced shooters; All Lyman.

    I also use the Barnes and Nosler books for their specific bullets.

    I have a couple old manuals (1962 Speer, Speer 9th, about 1975) it's handy to compare max and min. loads over the years, and they list powders no longer made, but still encountered.
    ndoudrz likes this.
  25. Flycaster1977

    Flycaster1977 Member

    Feb 28, 2021
    I like the lee book for beginners. It lays out a whole lot of theory and gives reasons for all the different processes involved. However, i dont like the fact that it seems to be one rolling advertisement.
    Most load data can be found on the manufacturers website. Either powder or bullet manufacturers.
    ndoudrz and entropy like this.
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