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Old March 12, 2013, 08:56 AM   #1
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ABCs of Reloading

I'm looking to get into reloading and I checked out the sticky thread that lists a number of books to read before going out and getting equipment. I've seen "The ABCs of Reloading" listed as a "must buy" for newbies elsewhere. However, the reviews of the book itself have a lot of criticism that the material is out dated, 30+ year old articles at the newest. doesn't even have the book for sale and I think that speaks volumes.

What's the word? I know pretty much nothing useful at all about reloading (specifically semi-auto handgun ammo, don't own any rifles...yet) and I want something that can give me a really in depth step-by-step (read as: idiot proof) set of instructions.

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Old March 12, 2013, 09:13 AM   #2
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Find a copy of The NRA Guide to Reloading. It's a 'how to', and well done. It's alos less expensive.
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Old March 12, 2013, 09:19 AM   #3
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I own it and found it very helpful when I started reloading. I did not notice it being really "out of date", but it could be I am "out of date" myself.
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Old March 12, 2013, 09:45 AM   #4
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I have the 8th Edition, by Bill Chevalier, and found it very helpful as I had no mentor to get me started. From the reviews I've read, many folks don't like the newer 9th Edition as well as the 8th. My go to place for books is eBay or Amazon.
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Old March 12, 2013, 10:38 AM   #5
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The usefulness of The ABCs will depend a lot on what kind of personality you have and how you learn. I personally found it to be so basic as to be nearly useless, others do not.

The front section of any reloading manual will give you the same pertinent information as the ABCs but, if you're anything like me, a lot of what you need to know you'll never figure out (or fully understand) until you get the equipment and start working. Not everyone learns like I learn though, so you have to understand how your own mind works. I learn by answers to the "Why I'm doing..." question, not by learning "What I'm doing...".

I've got a copy of The ABCs, send me a PM with your address and I'll mail it to you if you want it.
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Old March 12, 2013, 10:50 AM   #6
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I read everything I could get my hands on long before I decided I wanted to try handloading, I had more than an interest, by the time I started I had developed a vocabulary that allowed me a head start on most people. If you know nothing then the ABC's are the place to start, if you have a basic understanding and understand the risk then the preamble (frontal portion of most reloading manuals) then that's the place to start. Not everyone starts at the same place. You have to know what your ready for. William
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Old March 12, 2013, 11:12 AM   #7
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ABC's of Reloading

I learn a lot more with hands on experience then I do from reading a book. With that being said I still am glad I own and have read the book(9th edition).

I decided to get into reloading due to this recent panic and had to teach myself everything I needed to know about reloading. I thought this book did a very good job of breaking down every componenet/process of reloading. Yes some of it is very basic and if you have reasonable knowledge of firearms then there will be a lot that you already know. I would consider myself fairly knowledgeable when it comes to firearms and there was still many little details that I learned or came away understanding better.

The book does feel a little dated in its processes but that's not to say that it they are not releavent today. Understanding each step in its simpliest form allowed me to step right into a full auto progressive press and understand what each station was doing. It gave me confidence with a basic understanding which I could build upon to learn more and to keep learning.

I'm sure there are many great books out there and most of them cover a lot of the same items. ABC's is the only reloading "how to" book that I own besides several reloading manuals. However I doubt it will stay that way for long as it never hurts to keep reading to learn more along with first hand experience.
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Old March 12, 2013, 11:14 AM   #8
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I found it helpful starting out, but will say that most information in that book, I had already understood by watching some good reloading videos and paying attention to some the great informational posters here on TFL. Decent book to borrow to a new reloader and see if they really want to go through all the work.
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Old March 12, 2013, 11:20 AM   #9
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Sure the ABC's is pretty basic, but a good place to start. The Speer #14 is sort of a step above in it's coverage of technique. The Lyman 49th has the bulk of the recipes. When you put the three together and add in the expertise and experience of this forum, you should get along fine.

If you have Amazon Prime (the wife does) you can borrow the ABC's on the Kindle (again the wife's) for free.

I will go on a bit about the author of the ABC's who is a stickler for safety. I comes across in the writing. Somewhere in the book it is noted he lost his hands as a youngster attempting to make homeade gunpowder.
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Old March 12, 2013, 02:36 PM   #10
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I would rather learn the safest possible way to load ammo, and then figure out for myself on my own risk where I can start being a little lax
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Old March 12, 2013, 03:31 PM   #11
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I still have my first copy I got back in 88, it's informative enough that it stays in my book shelf, and I also got a newer edition from somewhere, and I reference those books smetimes.
The NRA book of Handloading is another book I lean on once in awhile but the book I use religously more than these forementioned is Precision Handloading by John Withers, its old but so am I, it helps me tweak my processes on certain steps for accuracy and repeatability.
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Last edited by hooligan1; March 12, 2013 at 07:00 PM.
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Old March 12, 2013, 04:00 PM   #12
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I have the first and second editions of ABCs of reloading. These books when printed were very informative and IMHO, the best reading for beginning reloaders. Great for advanced reloaders too as they cover advanced reloading such as bullet swaging, special loads, bullet casting etc. The books were heavy with pics. Dean Grennel was the Author.
If you can find the first & second editions, I highly recommend reading them.

Having said that, and IMHO none of the subsquent editons have impressed me at all.
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Old March 12, 2013, 04:24 PM   #13
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I started reloading about 35 years ago, with a Lyman manual about reloading. I don't think there was an ABC's Of Reloading. But I did read a version a few years later. It's a very good book. The Lee Modern Reloading Manual is also very informative, once you get past his boasting and touting and how much more SUPERIOR and CHEAPER his products are over others. It still has lots if good informative information.

Also youtube is a good source as it is visual. They actually show you someone using the equipment you may be thinking of buying.
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Old March 12, 2013, 06:55 PM   #14
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ABC's of Reloading was my go-to book when I was starting out. I kept it by the bench and referred to it constantly. Consequently it took me quite a while to reload each of my first few rounds. But I never blew anything up or set anything off except in the right place and the right way, so I consider that time well-wasted.

I have the sixth edition. I imagine the basic instructions for rifle, pistol etc. reloading are the same in every one. If I could be sure all the other articles were different between editions, I'd consider hunting down all the other editions. While load data and new calibres du jour might change over thirty years, the basic methods for reloading metallic and shotshell cartridges have not.

A lot of reloading all-in-one kits will come with a reloading manual included, if that's what you end up buying - e.g. my single-stage Partner Press starter kit came with the Speer 14th Edition manual in-box, and I'd imagine that Lee and Hornady might do something similar (I also bought the Hornady manual, and quite like it).

Once you have absorbed everything these books have to say about method and safety, then (and ONLY then) venture onto YouTube and watch people actually use the equipment, over and over again if necessary. This helps a hell of a lot. Where it contradicts the book, trust the book.

(The other thing I like to read, even though some of the info may be "thirty years out of date", is Handloader's Digest. Much of it may never be relevant to the calibres I shoot, but it's interesting to absorb ideas by osmosis, and I never know what I'm going to try "down the road". I'm slowly but steadily collecting all of those too. The latest edition I've seen anywhere is the 18th, which I bought new in 2004 or so - do they even print this any more?)
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Old March 12, 2013, 07:29 PM   #15
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Any copy prior to the 9th is a good read. Lyman #49 is also required reading.
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Old March 13, 2013, 07:31 AM   #16
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Modern Reloading

I found the Richard Lee book "Modern Reloading" the most informative as a newbie, although i have scores more now. Its excellent on instruction as well as having a ton of data including the more obscure cartridges, plus its cheap. I highly recommend it. I do have the ABC book too. Never can have too many!

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Old March 13, 2013, 07:34 AM   #17
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The actual process of handloading has changed very little in the last 100 years.

The tools have changed, but not the steps.

ABC's of Reloading is still a valid, and valuable, initial primer.
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Old March 13, 2013, 08:39 AM   #18
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I appreciate all the feed back. Getting a copy of the ABCs and Lyman's. Possibly more. There are two areas I'm really hoping to get educated: the WHYs of everything involved in reloading, and everything there is to know about powder (I need to find almost a chemists analysis of gunpowder. I see there are different brands and I assume they have different chemicals in different proportions and I'd love to understand why they are different). I don't really need all that much in the way of cartridge data. Right now I only have a .45ACP pistol (Taurus PT145 Millenium Pro), and I don't have any desire to get fancy with my loads, SAAMI specs will do just fine.

Looking forward to reading everything ever written on these topics. Can't wait to be a contributing member of this forum.
Your 9mm could, and in all likelihood will expand. But my .45 will never get any smaller.
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Old March 13, 2013, 08:55 AM   #19
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I started handloading metallic cartridges around 1979. Back then the Sierra manual was popular but it did nothing for me. I purchased small Hodgdon data manual that was good for the recipes but didn't really explain what was going on. A few years later I purchased a very large Hornady manual that had great pics and illustrations that assisted me more than any other had in perceiving the physics of what was happening, brass working, and headspacing.

Load recipes were nice but it seemed I rarely used the projectile specified in the recipes so I always started with minimum charges and worked up and altered seating depths as I worked up a loading for a specific rifle. A change of powder or projectile started the whole process again but I was able to fine a load that a gun liked most of the time.

In the 80's when I fiddled with handguns and blackpowder I began casting actively, working up alloys, sizing to bore, etc. and found the Lyman references handy. But in the end it always took experimentation with the materiels available in the local scrap yards and working up loadings to achieve satisfaction.

Manuals are useful tools but they're not "bibles". Today I wouldn't fool with them at all since so much of the same (if not better) information is available online. A good mentor is the best manual.

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Old March 13, 2013, 09:42 AM   #20
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If you are looking for more information on various powders I noticed the book Propellant Profiles on Amazon. I do not have it myself, and reviews are mixed on there. But it may be worth a look.
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Old March 13, 2013, 11:26 AM   #21
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ABCs of Reloading

I am relatively new to reloading and found this book to be a wealth of knowledge. I read the kindle edition.

The history was just as relevant and interesting to me as the rest.
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Old March 13, 2013, 01:10 PM   #22
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While I have the ABC's Of Reloading,another book I have that no one mentions is Handloaders Guide by Stanley Trzoniec published in 1985 by Stoeger Publishing Co. Lots of good info.
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Old March 13, 2013, 01:34 PM   #23
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Any reloading manual that says what it's reader believes and makes sense to the reader based on that reader's concepts, knowledge and skill with reloading tools and understands the mechanics behind the process will be considered "good" to that reader. Doesn't matter who published it nor when it went to print. In spite of information that defies the laws of physics oft times put in reloading manuals, that makes no difference whatsoever to many.
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Old March 15, 2013, 11:17 AM   #24
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On powders I am really needing almost a chemists handbook. I want to know how and why the different ingredients in different powders work. I want to know how and why the different shapes to the powders exist and work, etc.

I'm also really curious about casing design. How and why exact lengths, diameters, angles, etc. were chosen and what they do for the performance of the cartridge.

Hopefully I can find materials pursuant to this.
Your 9mm could, and in all likelihood will expand. But my .45 will never get any smaller.
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Old March 15, 2013, 04:14 PM   #25
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You also need to print yourself a "burn rate" chart. It saves me a lot of grief and wasted data and time and money.
Thanks for coming!
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