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Old December 18, 2012, 06:24 PM   #1
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Reloading Manuals?

I am in the process of buying reloading equipment (i reloaded years ago-using a friend's stuff) and I was wondering: which reloading manual is perferred? Lee - Horanday- or something else? Most of the stuff I'm buying will be Lee, or does that matter?
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Old December 18, 2012, 06:44 PM   #2
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The Lyman 49th is a good, well-respected manual. The others are good also. Really, in today's world, the use for a manual is the instructions in the front and "doomsday" scenarios where the internet won't be available. Massive quantities of data are available online and really render the data sections of manuals all but obsolete.

Here is a thread I created some time ago which lists all the official on-line sources that I could find.

New reloaders should own and read (at least) one manual and The ABCs of Reloading.
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Old December 18, 2012, 06:46 PM   #3
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I would buy the manuual(s) that list the bullets that I intend to shoot.
At least that's one way to look at it.
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Old December 18, 2012, 06:49 PM   #4
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I would suggest getting a few different manuals, example being if you plan to use Hodgdon powder I would get there annual manual, if you plan to shoot nosler bullets get a nosler manual etc. I personally have a large library of manuals and enjoy going through and reading, cross referencing load data from one to another. I shoot a lot of nosler bullets and own all of there manuals, my all time favorite powder is hodgdon and I have most all of there manuals as well. A guy can't have to many loading manuals IMO
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Old December 18, 2012, 07:08 PM   #5
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Lyman's 49th is good. I like my Hornady, and Sierra manuals as well.
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Old December 18, 2012, 07:47 PM   #6
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if you are buying lee gear and looking for the ins and outs on how to reload i strongly recommend modern reloading 2nd edition by richard lee.

if you are looking for load data in my opinion they are all different so they are all the same.

point being what load works for my gear may not work for you, that's why they the data is given in a range. you can get the latest load data from the powder manufacturer for free off their website

my $.02

Last edited by the led farmer; December 20, 2012 at 10:05 PM.
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Old December 18, 2012, 08:06 PM   #7
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I like Speer's Manual as it gets close to my real world chrono numbers. They list what gun they used to get their results, not some universal receiver.
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Old December 18, 2012, 09:15 PM   #8
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I have Speer, Hornady, Sierra, Lyman 49'th, Lee, Hodgon, and 7 or 8 booklets that are usually free in the reloading areas in the store.

Lyman 3 and 4, and RCBS cast bullet books and 3 shotgun reloading books.

Pick up as many as you can. It is very helpful. I think everyone should have at least 3 for comparison. It lets you see what the top performing powders were in they're testing. My favorites are probly Hornady, Sierra and Speer. The Lyman 49'th is nice cause it covers different brands since they dont make powder or jacketed bullets.
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Old December 18, 2012, 10:03 PM   #9
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The new Hornady and Nosler manuals are great. All standard and many wildcat rounds. Excellent resources.
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Old December 18, 2012, 10:11 PM   #10
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These two in no particular order...

1. Lyman 49th Edition (I enjoy the 48th).

2. Sierra 5th Edition.
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Old December 19, 2012, 12:37 PM   #11
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The bullet manufacturers provide test data that they have actually gathered and the loading range is usually based upon the max powder capacity of a cartridge with their bullets up to the SAAMI limit for pressure.

I find the Sierra 5th edition manual the most helpful and complete but also have Nosler, Hornady, Speer, and the new Berger manuals as well. After gathering all those manuals, I find that I use the Sierra Manual all the time for the general load range information and use the other bullet manufacturer manuals when I happen to choose a new bullet to see the recommended seating depth and whether the range for my favorite powder is the same.
The Sierra manual shows the load data for each bullet by powder and has the load for increments of 50 fps, usually, so you get about 6 to 8 loads for a particular powder. I find that that comes in very handy when you are working up a load with a new rifle and want to try a range of velocities to see where the nodes are with a particular bullet weight.

Most of the other manuals provide only the low end, the high end and a mid load. Each manufacturer has their own way of presenting the data on their bullets and often they don't agree on the load data for a particular bullet weight and powder, possibly because they used different barrels or primers. Based upon results, I have found that the Hornady manual is very conservative in their load ranges - maybe it is a lawyer thing.

I also get powder load information from the web pages of the powder manufacturers and match it to the bullet manufacturer manuals to see if there are any anomalies.

You could save on the cost of bullet manuals and get the bullet loading data from the bullet manufacturer's web page also but you would wind up spending lots of time to compile it. If you only load for one or two bullets, then it might be the cheapest solution if all you want is the loading range.

Many of the bullet manufacturer manuals tell you what barrel length that was used in their actual tests.
Knowing the test barrel length to compare to your barrel length is important if you are trying to match velocities to your chronograph results in order to come close to a velocity that your rifle seemed to like with another bullet of the same weight and shape.

Lee and Lyman appear to me to be compilations of several bullet and powder manuals. I have found that their data is sometimes considerably different than the data in the latest edition powder manuals. It might be that they are keeping old data in the manual from previous powder recipes and don't update it when the manufacturer issues newer results.
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Old December 19, 2012, 08:19 PM   #12
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Lyman is my favorite even though I get most of my loads from the powder companies web sites now.
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Old December 19, 2012, 08:30 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by the led farmer View Post
if you are buying lee gear i strongly recommend modern reloading 2nd edition by richard lee.

i found the how to section very helpful in understanding the ins and outs

my $.02
agreed. for the how-to and theory of reloading, few do it better than Richard Lee, if any. Love my 2nd edition of modern reloading. I was horribly disappointed in the amount of load data in Lymans 49th, yet, considering that it is a standard, I am happy to own it. I read the ABCs cover to cover twice for free, via Amazons lending library. Also a must read in my book.
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Old December 20, 2012, 09:28 AM   #14
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Reloading Manuals I use,,,,

1. Speer # 10
2. Nosler #3 and #6
3. Hornady # 3
4. Hogdons 25th Edition
5. Handloaders Digest # 10
6. Precision Handloading by John Withers
7. The Complete Handloader by John Wootters
8. The ABC's of Reloading #3 and #8
9. Big Game Hunting Cartridges by Bob Hagel
10. NRA Handloading
one can't have too many manuals, I also use the Hogdons Annual Load Data.
Thanks for coming!
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Old December 20, 2012, 07:28 PM   #15
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The internet is useful, but I prefer something I can hold in my hand. (try that with the internet )

Buy the manual that is most useful for the bullets you intend to use most frequently.

If you have no idea what you'll be using....
The most "universal" manuals, in my opinion, are:

The Lee manual could also be included, but most of their data has been compiled from other sources -- sources that are now at least 11 years out of date.

On my own shelves, I have (in approximate order of frequency of use):
Hornady 7th
Hornady 8th
--space saved for Hornady 9th, when it's cheap
Nosler 6th
Hodgdon 2008 through 2013 (2011 on loan to another reloader)
Speer #14
Swift #1
Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook - 4th
Lyman 49th
-Lyman 48th (on loan to another reloader)
Lee 2nd
Sierra 5th
Handloading (NRA - 1981)
And, several 12 ga reloading guides

Powder company guides (aside from Hodgdon):

Additional (historic/wildcat) load data:
Handbook for Shooters and Reloaders (PO Ackley) V. 1.
Cartridges of the World - 10th
Handloader's Manual of Cartridge Conversions

There's also a binder full of compiled data, ADI (Thales) data, and cross-references for powders and primers.

And, I know I forgot at least 3-5 books.

I like printed, hard-copy data.
The internet is fickle. Your favorite resource could vanish over night, start charging for the service, or suddenly trim everything down to only the most popular cartridges and loads. Or.. they may take the Barnes route: only provide a tiny amount of data online, with the rest reserved for their manual.
My books won't do that. They're always there, always ready.
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Old December 20, 2012, 08:42 PM   #16
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Old December 20, 2012, 09:00 PM   #17
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The answer, as always is, it depends on what you're reloading, rifle, pistol, shotgun?

In the past couple of years I have purchased 7 reloading books. My last two are by far the best in terms of content. My advice is the following oder:
1. Sierra
2. Speer
3. Lyman

The Sierra and Speer are both to be read like the bible, over and over. Truly encyclopedic. I refer to them whenever a new question pops into my head. The lyman is worth the money and a good overview. The Nosler book is also good and worth the money and a must if you use their bullets.

I would stay away from Hornady's book. It was my first book and looking back I can truly say it was a waste of good money.
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Last edited by Eppie; December 20, 2012 at 09:06 PM.
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