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Best Reloading Manuals?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by JDSTG58, Sep 24, 2009.

  1. JDSTG58


    Feb 4, 2008
    Im a new reloader and Im looking for the best books to buy. I looked at the stickies at the top, and some of the links are dead. Heres my list so far:

    Lyman Manual ?

    ABC's of Reloading By C Rodney James

    Modern Reloading By Richard Lee

    I will be reloading for 9mm, .45 acp, .38, .357, and .44 special and mag. I also plan on casting my own bullets. What other books would you suggest. Thanks for any help.

    For those other new to reloading that also wanted to know about manuals, here is the short list that have been suggested to me.

    These were suggested by the most people, and it was stated that these were most used by them:

    Lyman 49th
    Lyman Pistol and Revolver Handbook
    Speer 14th
    Hornady 7th Handbook of Cartridge Reloading

    Suggested often as a good start for setting up and learning, but lacking technical data is:

    ABC's of Reloading

    Others that were suggested:

    Modern Reloading
    Cartridges of the World
    The Cast Bullet Handbook
    The Bullet Swage Manual
    The Handbook for Shooters and Reloaders Vol. I and II
    SPG Black Powder Cartridge Reloading Manual
    Modern Handloading
    Sierra Manual
    Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook

    Thanks for the list of great resources everyone.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2009
  2. dudel


    Dec 10, 2008
    Texas Hill Country
    Lyman is good (I also have Hornady and Sierra). These three tend to focus on data for the projectiles they make (some to a greater degree than others).

    ABCs is good; but light on actual load data; though heavy on technique, proceedures and equipment. Sort of the opposite of the above three.

    For lots of load data, I like the loadbooks series. You get them specific to the caliber, and you get data from the big powder makers and projectile makers.

    Powder makers have free data available (for their powder) and somewhat generic projectiles. The Aliant one is quite good for free (and for me).

    The Lee book is interesting; but somewhat slanted IMHO, and of somewhat less value to me.


  3. dougader


    Apr 17, 2004
    I started with the Lyman manual, and I like it because it has lots of cast bullet data along with data for jacketed bullets.

    But I usually open up my Speer manual first when I want to work up a new load.... then I compare Sierra, Hornady, Nosler and online data from Hodgdon, Alliant, etc.


    Dec 20, 2002
    I wouldn't waste any money on the Sierra book, not one lead bullet load in any caliber. Only Sierra's dollar-a-pop bullets.

    Lyman is the best.

    The ABC's is informative, but no data.
  5. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson

    Jul 10, 2001
    The ABCs is a good introduction.
    If you mean to cast bullets, by all means get the Lyman manual and even the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook, if they have one in print.
  6. Boxerglocker

    Boxerglocker Jacks #1 Fan

    Mar 6, 2003
    Lynnwood, WA
    You can never get enough information:

    The ABC's is a staple in regards to general overall knowledge. I started with the LYMAN #49 as my first.

    I have expanded my library to the Speer #14 and the Horandy. I only load 9mm and .40 S&W at the moment, about to dive into some .45 ACP and picked up the individual "Load books" for those too.

    Lastly, if your sure that your going to load for revolver and/or pistol only the LYMAN specific manual for those is good, basically the same at the #49 but a little more data regarding pistol loads only.
  7. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    The ABC is not a relaoding manual but a guide to reloading. There is no data in it. I have all the current manuals & like the Lyman & Speer the best. Hornady is ok, but the Lee is very poorly done. They scatter the powder bullet info around & do NOT tell you waht bullet they use, so it's pretty limited IMO. If you olnly load for one or two calibers, the LoadBooks series is useful as it incorperates several data sources into one location but is a single cartridge book, so if you add carts, you have to buy more LoadBooks.
  8. Fritzer


    Jun 15, 2004
    I do like the Lyman for pistol (I think I found mine on ebay or used from an amazon partner)

    Start strolling your local gun shops that carry powder and look or ask them for the free small reloading guides from Hodgdon, Accurate Arms, maybe some Winchester books laying around.

    With all the calibers you have listed, you would need one of the loadbooks for each, but all the information is in one spot that way.

    The Lyman data for cast bullets is from their moulds, with a drawing and part number for that bullet.

    You'll probably end up with a number of references - and the powder manufacturers data is available online too.

    Attached Files:

  9. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    +1 Old loading manuals have little use except if yo have a supply of old powder. New cartridges & new poders come out every few years. You should update your manuals as well. Powder manuf. sites are good, but limited. At least two good, current reloading manuals are worth the cost.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2009
  10. Colorado4Wheel


    Nov 2, 2006
    I own the Lyman and the Richard Lee book. Of the two the Lyman is by far the best, but the Richard Lee book has some very interesting info. All the Data in the Richard Lee book is compiled from public domain sources so I would not buy it for the load data.
  11. I own the Lyman, ABCs, and the Hornady book, i go through those everytime I try a new load.
  12. JDSTG58


    Feb 4, 2008
    Thankyou for the replies. There is a lot of good info here. It also shows which books are the most used books by the most people.
  13. shotgunred

    shotgunred local trouble maker

    Mar 1, 2008
    Washington (the state)
  14. creophus

    creophus Born Again

    Mar 18, 2005
    I have the ABCs, Speer #13 and Lyman 48th (I think) and all have their purpose. I'll have to add the Lyman that you mention here Fritzer.
  15. MikeS.


    Mar 25, 2009
    I like to buy the previous edition of books from e-bay or Amazon. Like the Lyman 48th instead of the latest 49th. I find the info still valid and the books are a lot cheaper. I now have 8 loading manuals for the cost of 2 brand new ones.

    I use older types of powder, like BE, 2400, Unique and the like.
  16. JDSTG58


    Feb 4, 2008
    Thats a good point. I always want to save where I can.
  17. mossy500camo

    mossy500camo ammo found

    Sep 27, 2004
    I have Modern Reloading by Richard Lee. You're not going to blow anything up using this book.

    I usually go to the powder brand website and get loads off there.
  18. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    The only thing wrong w/ old manuals is the data is not current for new calibers & powders. I keep all my old ones, never know when you'll come across a few #s of older powder that is still useful.
  19. dnuggett

    dnuggett PRO 2A

    Feb 28, 2005
    DFW TX
    I'm thinking of getting into reloading, looks like I've got some reading to do... thanks guys!
  20. Hey , maybe we should ask..Which is the worst manual? I havent seen a bad (well, some were almost disintegrated)manual yet. Sure ya gotta keep up on the data for your components but thats just alright.

    Considering the Huge diversity in opinion, that sorta suggests they all contribute one way or nother. The more the better. Reading is
    funandmental (sp).

    Treehomocideophobia - fear of instruction manuals.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2010