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Old February 10, 2019, 08:07 PM   #1
reynolds357
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Free vs paid reloading data.

I understand free enterprise etc. etc. etc.
I historically don't mind buying reloading manuals. Now with the ever changing technology in components, the manuals are somewhat obsolete in a year. It kind of gripes me that a few manufacturers will not make their data available online. I would think they make enough money selling their components. If a shooter is willing to buy their components, you would think they would give us the data. I steer clear of most the manufacturers that don't give away the data. I wonder if I am the only one or if it costs them a considerable amount of business.
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Old February 10, 2019, 08:16 PM   #2
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Are you talking about powder makers?
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Old February 10, 2019, 08:31 PM   #3
reynolds357
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Powder and bullet makers. Mainly bullet makers. Most of the powder data is free.
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Old February 10, 2019, 08:42 PM   #4
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I disagree that many manuals are somewhat obsolete in a year. There are new cartridges, powders, and bullets introduced periodically, but most components remain available for decades. And the data remains useful for decades as well.

Given the number of basic questions asked by reloaders, I think we are fortunate to have access to any free data. I guess some companies believe they are covering themselves with the "agreements" you must often pass through on the way to the data.

In my view many reloaders lack a good understanding of the basics, and need to further study a reloading manual before loading ammo. Otherwise they wouldn't be asking many of the questions I see on reloading forums. So I see a strong need for the manuals.
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Old February 10, 2019, 08:46 PM   #5
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I get at least an extra 100 fps from data that I pay for.( ) .

I tend to only use a couple of brands of bullets.I prefer to get their manuals...
I strongly agree a manual or two is needed ,particularly for newbies,to cover all the other reloading process knowledge.

We DO spend a lot of time here covering the reloading basics that are covered in the manuals. Us Old Guys read the manuals.Or at least many of s did.. AND I use Hogdon online.Or,if I was in dire economic state,I'd go to the big box store,look at the manual on the shelf,and write down the data.


Hogdon sells a magazine format Annual that is a useful tool for cheap.It covers the new stuff.

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Old February 10, 2019, 09:04 PM   #6
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Western Powders also has a very low cost paperback data manual available. It even contains a reasonably good step by step guide to reloading. But wait. There's more! You can also download a PDF version of that basic manual from their website.
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Old February 10, 2019, 09:16 PM   #7
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Western Powders will sell it. But it is also available free. See the top of this page for the Sticky of Official load data free downloads, online, etc. I personally believe it is all available free if you look hard enough or ask.
But if you would feel better paying money, then I could set up an account in PayPal.
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Old February 10, 2019, 09:50 PM   #8
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Given the number of basic questions asked by reloaders, I think we are fortunate to have access to any free data. I guess some companies believe they are covering themselves with the "agreements" you must often pass through on the way to the data.

In my view many reloaders lack a good understanding of the basics, and need to further study a reloading manual before loading ammo. Otherwise they wouldn't be asking many of the questions I see on reloading forums. So I see a strong need for the manuals.
I have a shelf full of manuals. There is a pile of Bravo Sierra in them along with some good fundamental knowledge. My point is If Barnes and Nosler give away their data, why do the others feel the need to charge high prices for it? It just makes me buy almost exclusively Barnes and Nosler bullets. I can't complain about Berger either, they gave me a book without me asking. I still shoot their stuff in 1000 yd. I think most of the bullet companies are just greedy and want the extra coin.
To be honest, about the only thing I want is the C.O.A.L. for the Weatherbys. Weatherbys usually shoot at the COAL the manual lists for the bullet. You can waste a bunch of ammo looking for the seat depth for a WBY.

Last edited by reynolds357; February 10, 2019 at 10:01 PM.
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Old February 10, 2019, 11:27 PM   #9
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As a pistol only reloader I find a little bit of a different problem and that is with plated bullets that many have problems with.

Seeing that None of the plated bullet manufacturers actually do any testing of their product there is No data to be had from the bullet manufacturers. Instead they all rely on the generic statement to just use cast or jacketed data of the same weight. Sorry but in my mind that is no more than a CYA.

BBarn mentions Western Powders and their online data which is great stuff but I will also add that they probably provide the greatest amount of load data for plated bullets that I have been able to find anywhere. And if one takes the time to look at it and compare you will see there is a difference between different plated bullets of the same weight using the same powder.
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Old February 11, 2019, 12:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmw1954 View Post

Seeing that None of the plated bullet manufacturers actually do any testing of their product there is No data to be had from the bullet manufacturers.
Incorrect. Speer provides data for their plated bullets. In fact, now days, most of their handgun bullets are plated. Speer's Uni-Cor, TMJ and Gold Dots are plated bullets.
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Old February 11, 2019, 01:31 AM   #11
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That is good to learn. I haven't used a Speer bullet since I gave up my revolver in 1984
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Old February 11, 2019, 05:22 AM   #12
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Biggest difference between printed manuals like Lyman, Hornady, Speer, etc. and free online data is that manuals also tell you how to reload, not just how much powder to use. Many manuals also give specific reasons as to how and why you use certain procedures. The availability to online recipes is why we see so many newbies coming to reloading forums and asking basic reloading questions that would have been answered had the bought and read a Manual.
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Old February 11, 2019, 07:38 AM   #13
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I have/have read the Lee, Hornady, Nosler, and Sierra manuals.
The most information i got was from Berger's manual as far as processes, and why.

I also get the annual Hodgdon, and Alliant publications.

I have Lyman, Western, Vitavhouri, Barnes, Speer downloaded to the computer at my reloading bench.

Most of the issue i have is powder, bullet combinations. And the choice of powders for some cartridges.
Take the 284 Win for example.
According to Alliant you can only shoot a 110gr bullet from a 284 Win.
Others may show that H380, or RL15 is used. And i know for the case volume that others work better.

Also because the manufacturers buy in such huge bulk, some of the new information, is with powders/ bullets that have been discontinued. (4007 comes to mind).
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Old February 11, 2019, 07:38 AM   #14
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There are also sites like Handloads.com where a lot of data from many makers is posted.
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Old February 11, 2019, 08:59 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reynolds357 View Post
It kind of gripes me that a few manufacturers will not make their data available online. I would think they make enough money selling their components. If a shooter is willing to buy their components, you would think they would give us the data. I steer clear of most the manufacturers that don't give away the data. I wonder if I am the only one or if it costs them a considerable amount of business.
The cost of testing a variety of different loads with different projectiles for every caliber in the universe has a significant cost involved. That cost needs to be compensated for, one way or the other. I think in years past, bullet and powder makers charged for their manuals instead of adding that cost to their products. With the advent of the internet and free sources of recipes, I think many of them have decided if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, so now they offer their tested recipes for free. Thing is, those costs are still being recouped, but instead of folks buying a manual, they just pay more for powder, primers and projectiles. There is no free lunch and no really "free" reloading data. Don't kid yourself.
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Old February 11, 2019, 09:58 AM   #16
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Quote:
Now with the ever changing technology in components, the manuals are somewhat obsolete in a year.
I have manuals that are decades old but still useful.

If you go buy every new wizbang whatever, your going to be looking on the internet anyway because they don’t publish books every month.

If I were going to pay for reloading data these days, it would likely be quickload. That said many mfg’s have load data on their websites.
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Old February 11, 2019, 11:12 AM   #17
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I have no issue with buying the books and I do. I have a Hornady 8 and now a 10. Mostly to catch curretn powders. Likely will buy a Sierra when they get their new one out.

I have manuals going back to the 70s as well (my wife finds them for me). Those are useful references.

It would be nice to have access to a limited number of print outs for a bullet size.

I hate to think what all that testing that goes into them costs though and no issue with them recovering that cost. I want to keep them in business!

Nossler etc are upscale bullets and maybe offset it. They also are not as extensive in loads, powders, bullets and do not cover many cartridges either

I do use the free stuff if I have a question. So far the new powders are limited to 1 lb bottles so I use the older er ones mostly as I try to buy only in 5/8 lbs.
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Old February 11, 2019, 11:14 AM   #18
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I agree with BBarn. Manuals don’t become obsolete in a year, if ever. The reloading how to sections are always relevant and any new recipes reflecting new powders, bullets, etc., are still readily available on the web, even to those who have last year’s manuals.
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Old February 11, 2019, 11:42 AM   #19
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If you don't like the data that's available, then start working with wildcats.

Then you KNOW there's nothing out there, and you're always in the dark.


Personally, most of my data comes from two source categories:
1. Printed data. -Primarily manuals that I paid for, or data printed off from a manufacturer's website (Barnes, Nosler, Hornady, etc.)
2. QuickLoad. -An extremely useful tool for many cartridges. ...But also a dangerous liability for some of those that don't fit its 'standard model' (bottleneck rifle cartridge).

When those standard sources fail, I turn to "obsolete" reloading manuals - you know, the ones more than a year old . I have an assortment of reloading manuals covering most years from 1967 to 2019, with a few odds and ends going back to 1920. For being so useless in today's world, they sure do come in handy when no one else lists the cartridge/bullet/powder/whatever any more.
That data, you are not going to get for free on the internet.


No matter how you get your data, if it's coming from a manufacturer, you're paying for it. You might pay for it every time you buy their bullets, powder, etc. Or you might pay for it when you buy their manual.
It just depends on their business model.
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Old February 11, 2019, 12:04 PM   #20
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I agree that a manual is a necessary and important first step but at times I do get a little upset when a newb that has never touched a single component comes to a forum and asks a basic question only to be jumped upon with a response something to the effect that. if you'd have read the manual you'd know that answer.

As it usually turns out the poor guy hasn't even made up his mind yet if this is something they would really be interested in doing. Face it, we have all started somewhere and we have all asked silly newb questions. So answer those questions or just ignore them and move on as the READ the Book answer advances no one.

Example from another forum. A fellow from Europe posted a question about a problem he was having with a Lee Loadmaster press, Very specific and detailed question. Right away to of the most intelligent members posted; unbolt it from the bench install Dillon and replace bolts. The OP was never heard from again. Now how's that for helpful?
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Old February 11, 2019, 12:49 PM   #21
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Quote:
…..downloaded to the computer at my reloading bench.

Ok, now I feel ...old... possibly neo-Luddite...

I don't have a computer at my loading bench. Not getting one, either. What do you do when the internet is down, or your screen dies, or computer fries, or when there's no electricity??

yes, I'm old fashioned. The only thing electric near my reloading bench is the overhead lights. I even gave up on digital scales and went back to balance beam. Things that don't need power. Might be due to my upbringing, learning reloading in the pre-computer age, and spending time living where there was no electricity. I like the idea that my reloading equipment, and manuals are not dependent on line power or batteries. But, that's just me...

Here's something I didn't yet see mentioned, the cost of printing, storing, and shipping BOOKS. Powder makers have produced pamphlets, bullet makers do reloading manuals, for their products. And then, there's Lyman, which neither makes powder or bullets. Lyman manuals have been the "basic" reference for reloading for well over a century. A reloading manual is another tool. Free tools might do fine, but can also turn out to be worth what you paid for them.
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Old February 11, 2019, 01:01 PM   #22
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I downloaded the Western Loaders Guide PDF to my phone. I also have digital subscriptions to American Rifleman, Handloader, Rifle & Successful Hunter. In the case of Wolfe publications, digital subscriptions are cheaper.

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Old February 11, 2019, 01:25 PM   #23
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One word of note, ok two...

As has been mentioned elsewhere, by others and myself, the Nosler "manual" really seems to be the work of "engineered fiction".
It's the only manual i've seen where 280 Rem and 7mm Rem Mag velocities are close to the same.
Also, who hunts with a 26" 7mm-08?

2) i don't trust Load Data! I tried them when i first reamed my 7mm-08 to AI. Dropped loads 10%. Bolt wouldn't open. Had i gone full bore with their "data" who knows what would have happened?

44AMP,
Not to worry about the computer. It was a kiosk at the tire shop I used to work at. Touch screen and all.
And I stay safe.
The wood stove is on the other side of the shelves where i store my powder from me.
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Old February 11, 2019, 01:50 PM   #24
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I have several manuals, also gave several older ones away to friends thinking about reloading so they could read up and make a decision about jumping in.

I also visit several online sites, makes a lot of notes and then make a decision.

I joined Load Data but it seems that it was worthless unless you pay, I didn't and left. Sadly I got several nasty emails from someone there because they seem to think they are the cats meow.
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Old February 11, 2019, 01:51 PM   #25
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"...manuals are somewhat obsolete in a year..." Yes and no. It takes about 2 years to publish any book. So reloading manual data, may be at least that old. Or it may be the same data from an older manual.
"...data available online..." Doesn't make much difference. Doesn't mean it's newer data either. And some places, like Hodgdon, publish data that is highly suspect. Like suggesting using magnum primers for magnum named cartridges but not non-magnum named cartridges with the same powders. Oh and publishing data on line doesn't sell reloading manuals. Not to mention you need a tech support office to deal with questions and complaints.
In any case, you need to think in terms of liability. If a company publishes bad data anywhere, they are liable if it causes property or physical damage to anybody.
"...the Lee..." Lee tests nothing themselves. The republish data from the power maker.
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