Master ammunition reloader, Bob Shell, lists the very best reloading books that every reloader should have on his or her shelf.
Apache Junction, AZ –-(Ammoland.com)- Anyone who contemplates getting into ammunition reloading needs a variety of tools and equipment.
At the top of that list of equipment is reloading manuals.
It would be impossible to attempt to load ammo without the proper info. There are many manuals that are good and contain creditable information. There are some specialized reloading books that cover issues like black powder or making blanks. There are older reloading books but for the beginner, they are not an ideal choice for the neophyte.
Warning: Do not take reloading data from the web unless it is published by a creditable source. Anyone can put info online but not all are qualified to do so.
There are many other good publications available but some are specialized. For instance, Norma produces a nice book but they only list Norma powders so its usefulness is limited. I have many books but I do a lot of specialized loading especially obsolete rounds so I have such books as the classic The Complete Guide to HandLoading by Sharpe, but some first edition used copies of that one will run you $1000.00+.
Like guns, you can’t have too many reloading books and most powder and bullet companies have online loading info plus you can call or e-mail if you have a question. The reloader has never had it so good.
For the beginner, I suggest manuals published by a bullet or powder companies. The people who establish the data are qualified engineers and have the best equipment so if the directions are followed correctly you are on safe ground.
The 5 reloading books that follow will cover virtually all of the reloading that most folks will ever do and are the ones I work the most with.
- SIERRA BULLETS Reloading Manual & Video
- Hornady – Handbook Of Cartridge Reloading
- Hodgdon Powder Co. – Annual Reloading Manual
- Lyman Reloading Handbook
- Barnes Reloading Manual Number 30745
The Sierra bullet company has been making quality bullets for over 60 years. If their bullets have one strong suit it is their exceptional accuracy. They have published a number of manuals over the years but because of the rapid developments in guns, bullets, and powder, it has to be updated regularly. So they produce the SIERRA BULLETS 5th Edition Reloading Manual.
It is a loose leaf product and has over 1100 pages of info. Besides loading data and velocity it contains many hints on how to reload ammo in a safe manner. There are places for your notes as well. I have visited their plant and lab and everything is top drawer. They market reloading videos and a few bullet jackets for those who might want to make their own jacketed projectiles. For info on the SIERRA BULLETS reloading manual, you can go to the link above.
Like Sierra, Hornady has been around for a long time. Not only do they make bullets, brass and loaded ammo is on the menu. They are also a major producer of reloading tools and equipment.
The Hornady – 9th Edition Handbook Of Cartridge Reloading is a manual that contains usual reloading information plus some reloading tips. Case dimensions are also included along with the type of gun used. The latest book contains over 1000 pages. In the back, there is a glossary and other useful info.
Keep in mind that the bullet makers use their own bullets when developing the data. That’s not a bad thing but something to keep in mind.
Like the other manuals, they list the type of gun and barrel length which is desirable information. They list the sectional density and ballistic coefficient of their bullets which is important info when selecting a bullet for a specific purpose. For purchase info on the Hornady – 10th Edition Handbook Of Cartridge Reloading.
The Hodgdon powder company doesn’t produce bullets but makes a large selection of gunpowder. In addition, they own the IMR powder company and recently picked up the Goex black powder line. They also own the Vihtavuori and Winchester powder lines. In addition, they market Pyrodex and Triple 7’s and White Hots which are tablets so they cover any powder you might need.
The Hodgdon Powder Co. – Annual Reloading manual is a soft cover magazine style reloading book that contains a few articles on reloading as well as over 5,000 loads covering all of the modern rounds. The nice thing is they use different brands of bullets and specify the bullet used in that load. The powder selection is also outstanding and they update the issue annually. For the thrifty buyer, this is the manual to choose. Click For info on purchasing the Hodgdon Powder Co. – Annual Reloading Manual.
Lyman has been around since the 19’th century. They produced and still make reloading tools and molds. Their company is also marketing such items as chronographs and bore lights. They also produce a cast bullet manual and I would highly recommend it for the cast bullet buff. The regular manual has info on reduced and cast bullets as well. The Lyman manual is over 450 pages and is full size at 8 &1/2” X 11 hard back. Black powder guns are among some of the other items available. For more info or to buy a copy of the Lyman Reloading Handbook.
Since lead-free bullets are becoming popular, the Barnes manual should be on your reloading book shelf. They have been making copper and brass bullets for some years and have a good reputation. A pure copper bullet is longer than a cup and core of the same weight and shape. That means that the loading data may be different.
Fred Barnes who made premium bullets in his basement started the company in 1932. Later on they started making the copper bullets and muzzle loading projectiles.
I have been to the Barns factory and their equipment and quality control is first quality. They now make some loaded ammo and sell their bullets to other companies. For more info on the Barnes Reloading Manual Number 30745.
As much as the thrifty side of me hates to admit it all serious reloaders, both beginner and expert, should have each of these reloading books above their gun bench.
About Bob Shell
A Custom Reloader of Obsolete and Antique Ammo, Bob Shell, writes about the subject of Guns, Ammo, Shooting and Related Subjects. Visit: www.bobshellsblog.blogspot.com
AmmoLand Editor Comments: This article was updated to reflect changes in product improvements / availability on 06/27/2017.