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Which Reloading Manual Is Best?

This is a discussion on Which Reloading Manual Is Best? within the Reloading forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; Which manual has the most recipes for reloading? I just want to reload 9mm. I have the Lee Manual, the Lyman Manual, the Hodgdon 2011 ...


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Old August 4th, 2011, 05:36 PM   #1
 
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Which Reloading Manual Is Best?

Which manual has the most recipes for reloading? I just want to reload 9mm. I have the Lee Manual, the Lyman Manual, the Hodgdon 2011 Annual Manual and The Complete Reloading Manual For The 9mm Luger. Most of the manuals just have their own powder. Any help would be appreciated.



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Old August 4th, 2011, 05:49 PM   #2
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metweezer, What brand of bullets do you use? The best reloading manual is always the one that is the same brand as your bullets. Hornady, Speer, and Sierra are all very good. Of course they all use their own bullets but do list quite a variety of powder.
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Old August 4th, 2011, 07:38 PM   #3
 
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I like my Lyman and Hornady manuals,but I have been wanting to check out the Speer manual.
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Old August 4th, 2011, 07:56 PM   #4
 
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While I have the Lyman 49th, Lee 2nd Ed, Lyman cast pistol, Hodgdon annual mag, Accurate 3.5 pdf, I find that the One Book/One Caliber pamphlets contain the most variety. For the 9mm and 45ACP, I reach for this first to get an idea of where I want to start, then use others as a sanity check in case there's something off the wall I didn't see before. For the most part the data is the same as current publications, but you may find a few sources that are a couple years or editions behind.

Loadbooks USA "9mm Luger" Reloading Manual - MidwayUSA
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Old August 4th, 2011, 09:17 PM   #5
 
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As per Iowegan, the best one is the one that has the bullets you intend to use.

That said, it doesn't hurt to have as many as you can afford. Having them so you can cross reference between different load manuals is very valuable, if not essential, should you substitute components.

I have slowly built up an assortment of load manuals from the bullet makers (Hornady, Speer, Lyman), loading guides from powder manufacturers and information culled from sites such as loaddata.com (which is mostly from load manuals but also contains loads featured in Handloader magazine).
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Old August 5th, 2011, 03:41 AM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iowegan View Post
metweezer, What brand of bullets do you use? The best reloading manual is always the one that is the same brand as your bullets. Hornady, Speer, and Sierra are all very good. Of course they all use their own bullets but do list quite a variety of powder.
Iowegan, I ordered 115 GR RN plated bullets from Xtreme. I also plan on casting boolits from my Lee TL .356 124 GR RN 6 cavity mold.
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Old August 5th, 2011, 08:15 AM   #7
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metweezer, I don't know if you are an old hand at reloading or just getting started. For people new to reloading, I always recommend they start with low pressure cartridges such as a 38 Special or 45 ACP. I also recommend starting with jacketed bullets because there is an abundance of load data available for all three common bullet weights (115gr, 125 gr, and 147 gr). Both the 9mm and 40 S&W are very high pressure cartridges (35k psi) and as such, bullet seating depth is critical as are powder charges. Lead bullets complicate reloading for a couple reasons ... bullet diameter is typically .001" larger and bullet hardness is critical for minimal fouling and decent accuracy. Plated bullets complicate things even more because they don't fall directly in line with either lead or jacketed bullets. In other words, lead or plated bullets have very little load data available and are even more seating depth critical.

None of the three manuals I recommended make lead or plated bullets for 9mms and do not have load data for them. Hornady does list one lead 9mm bullet ... a 124gr LRN but it has been discontinued. You will probably have to depend on the Lyman manual for lead bullet loads.
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Old August 5th, 2011, 08:44 AM   #8
 
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+ 1 to Iowegan's post on manuals.

I tend to be a numbers junkie. I have a half dozen manuals from different mfgs and find them all pretty close in load data for a given bullet type and weight. Also, as stated b4, you choice of bullet or powder mfg is a determining factor. Plated bullet data should be forthcoming as they are getting more popular with the non-casting crowd. One caveat as to all-in-one manuals: the data tends to be outdated. Watch the publication dates and query the mfgs as to WHEN new manuals are coming. Compile and document your own load sheets, verify and have fun!!!
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Old August 5th, 2011, 08:48 AM   #9
 
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I use the Hornaday book but I do have the Lyman cause it came with my equipment,I have tried loading with any of the recepies from the lyman book yet cause what I have loaded out of the Hornaday book work very well.
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Old August 5th, 2011, 08:59 AM   #10
 
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I think Midway still sells those caliber specific spiral books. I believe they gather all the data from most of the manuals into 1 handy spot. I never rely on just 1 source but they are less hassle than going through all the others.
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Old August 12th, 2011, 10:13 AM   #11
 
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I have found it easier/best to use the manual from the manufacturer of the bullet I want to shoot (ie.; I use a lot of Hornady bullets so I get loads from my Hornady manual). In my mind, plated bullets fall into the cast lead catagory and I load accordingly, to manufacturer recommendations. One major "mind easer" I usually decide on a load before I buy components. When I load for my .223, I know about which weight bullet I want to use, look in my Hornady manual under that bullet weight range, fine a useable starting load, then assemble the components. No guessing, no asking forum for loads and works every time...

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Old August 12th, 2011, 12:00 PM   #12
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mikld, I've been using the same procedure as you for many years and it always works. First, I decide on what bullet I want to load (brand, weight, and style), then what velocity, and finally what powder charge and primers. I always buy the exact supplies I want ... no substitutions unless the bullet or powder is not available. Then I will find a similar load perhaps in a different manual with a different brand bullet or different brand of powder. When I load lead bullets, I also need to match bullet hardness to chamber pressure.

You learn a lot of lessons over many years of reloading so everyone develops their own techniques. What I learned was ... ammo manufacturers spend a lot of time testing loads for optimum performance. If they put out sub-standard products in their premium grade ammo (poor accuracy, poor feeding, not enough power, too much power, fouling, etc) people would not buy them. So what I do is use the ammo data base in Ballistic Explorer software to find a factory load that meets my needs. Ballistic Explorer lists the expected velocity from a X" barrel and shows the bullet style (scale drawing) and bullet weight.

From there I go to my reloading manuals and find a load with a similar bullet that will produce the same velocity as the referenced factory load. The barrel length of the test gun used to chronograph each load in reloading manuals is usually different than my guns so I fire up QuickLOAD and plug in the exact bullet, seating depth, and powder charge. This will create a chart and show me what velocity I can expect from this load with my barrel length. When I get to the range and chronograph my own loads, they are always very close to the prediction in QuickLOAD.

I always seat the bullets to the manual's specification. When I get the ammo loaded, I've found it will shoot quite well in any of my guns. This procedure works the first time and every time, although it may not be quite as accurate as working up a load for a specific gun. I have too many guns in each caliber so if I were to "tune" loads for specific guns, I would need to hire a bean counter to keep track of them.

The next thing I learned was ... all reputable reloading manuals (Speer, Hornady, and Sierra) comply with SAAMI specifications and each listed load is tested for chamber pressure. You won't find any listed loads in these manuals that exceed SAAMI specs except for "Ruger Only" loads for 45 Colts and those are well documented in a special section. For a "sanity test", I often run the book loads through QuickLOAD and plot chamber pressure. I have yet to find a load out of one of the three above manuals that exceeded SAAMI chamber pressure limits and in fact, all max loads are well below SAAMI specs. Obviously the manuals want to keep pressure on the low side so minor errors in the reloading process (heavy bullets or slightly heavy powder drop), won't blow someone's gun up.

Another lesson is .... chronographs are your friends. They will tell you if your reloading techniques are sloppy by shooting a 10 shot string and computing max velocity spreads. If the spreads are too wide (more than 50 fps), you are doing something wrong. Chronographs will also tell you what your load actually measures. If it is close to the predicted velocity, you did a good job. If not, you need to investigate.
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