Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by ndoudrz, Feb 28, 2021.
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.
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.
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.
Every manual has something to offer and I have one of each in my library
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Most load data can be found on the manufacturers website. Either powder or bullet manufacturers.
Separate names with a comma.