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Do I really need a Reloading Data Manual with so much Free Load Data Online?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by zippygaloo, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. zippygaloo

    zippygaloo Oregon Member

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  2. sheepdip

    sheepdip Redland Well-Known Member

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    there is a lot of imformation in reloading manuals that isnt in the online loading data. my short answer is YES
     
  3. zippygaloo

    zippygaloo Oregon Member

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    What type of information is lacking? Also, which manual would you recommend and why? Thanks.
     
  4. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    only you can decide that. I would be lost without the manuals I use.

    Hornady, Spee,r Sierra, Nosler, & Lyman I have copies of each from the late 60's and mid 80's then the newest versions
     
  5. sheepdip

    sheepdip Redland Well-Known Member

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    most will have troubleshooting sections, a breif write up about cartridge origins. some real world evaluations of specific load performance on game. like mark says more than one manual is better. you can get them pretty reasonably on ebay
     
  6. Box13

    Box13 Beavercreek Member

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    I love my manuals...I find its very relaxing,when the power goes out to just sit and do a little reloading,or just go through the manual and read up on new cartridges I might want to reload...theres so much to learn....
     
  7. datguy

    datguy Vancouver, WA Member

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    I recommend the manual from the manufacturer of the components you are using. They all have different info. I have Speer (came with my RBCS kit), Sierra (I use their Match King bullets), Hornady (use their .224 bullets), Lyman (highly recommended by a friend). I have read the how-to type info in all of them. They are good reads. Different approaches to describing the topic at hand and such. I check a new load workup against all of them as well as the powder manufacturer's load data. It's crazy how much they differ.

    EVERY bit of advice I have read for beginners is to buy a manual and read it. EVERY single time. There's gotta be a good reason for that. My opinion is if you don't want to buy the manual and do the reading, you may want to reconsider reloading..
     
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  8. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Florence,Ore ah gone Well-Known Member

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    I have three or four manuals but the dog-eared one is my LYman's.it's been my go-to book for years.
    manuls tell u things like case length,trim to length,some sill indicate that they have found a certain load to be more accuarate than others,etc.
    also,I think a manual at hand might keep u from trying to use your memory for load data instead of getting to a computer.With gunpowder a little mistake can lead to a big KABOOOM !!!
     
  9. no excuses

    no excuses Rainier OR Member

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    Yes, I also recommend the ABC's of reloading for someone just starting out.
     
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  10. xoddah

    xoddah Sandy Or Member

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    are any of the online 'pay for ' sites worth the money
    I use my books, refer to Internet and am always tempted
    to put a quarter in the machine

    which one are worth the price
     
  11. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    I've found that just about ALL the information available in a Manual is also available online. Most for free and darn little more on the "Pay Sites".

    For a beginner, the best Manual to purchase and read extensively is something like the ABC's of Reloading (or any other complete How To for Reloading).

    I have ONE reloading manual and I only use it for starting purposes. It's the Lee 2nd Edition. From there it's off to the manufacturer's site for load data that I use only to START my load workups.

    Rather than invest hundreds of dollars in reloading manuals that pretty much say the same thing, invest in a good basic instructional manual, a good database type book like the Lee that isn't focused on only the manufacturer's bullets, and then spend the rest on a good chronograph.

    What you'll eventually find is that one or two bullets for your firearm will do all you want. Your powder supply will work down to one or two fit your needs. ?There's no need, with all the information available online, even for free, to invest in your own library.

    Again, if you are just starting, find one of those manuals that focuses on the process, safety measures, and troubleshooting, rather than being an all inclusive load database. Let's also not forget that all that data was derived from test barrels, not actual firearms. Do you know (or do they tell) the actual bore diameter? Number of lands? Chamber lengths? That all changes when you put the round in your own firearm so it's more important to work up your own load.

    Those are just my thoughts. I prefer to have the chronograph. That's what's happening in my firearm, not in some database.
     
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  12. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I've found that just about ALL the information available in a Manual is also available online.

    This from a person who has one manual. I would dispute this, and offer as initial evidence the detailed treatise in my (older) Sierra manual regarding the true meaning of Ballistic Coefficient (further examples are legion, but can only be discovered if one has a few manuals).

    Let's also not forget that all that data was derived from test barrels, not actual firearms.

    Absolutely not true. A mere random glance at any page of a large number of manuals will very likely show the loads to have been developed in an actual (and sometimes "garden variety") firearm. But then again, one has to actually have these manuals to know this, so I'll give a pass on this statement.

    Cross-referencing loads from book to book (or against internet data: actually BOTH is the best practice) is ESSENTIAL. Even manuals from the same source (but of different publishing dates) can supply a wealth of information from which to compare.

    Rather than invest hundreds of dollars in reloading manuals that pretty much say the same thing...

    Good manuals can be found for next to nothing. I recently found a healthy pile of very current manuals for a total of $20 at (of all places) a 4WD swap meet. I happily delivered them to a friend just starting out. He (and I) learn something we have not found elsewhere everytime we open our books. Personally, my technique is to open a number of manuals to the page appropriate, and have them ready for fast comparison back-and-forth during the loading process.
    I'll go with Throckmorton on his "dog-eared" assessment of the Lyman manual. It perhaps is not the "best", but it does see a helluva lot of use at my bench.

    The preponderance of the rest of statements from the man with only one manual is good advice. One never knows what one is missing until one finds it.
     
  13. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    You should want the book(S). Being new to reloading, I like looking and comparing different powder amounts to velocity to pressures to bullet weights. It's all there for you with a few page flips. It's brain food of sorts, help me to grasp how things work. I use the book on the bench and turn around to the computer and get specific powder/bullet info at the same time for cross reference.

    Can't have too much info.

    Mike
     
  14. rrojohnso

    rrojohnso Vancouver, WA Member

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    I agree with most of these guys. I bought the ABC's of reloading, read it cover to cover, and still refer to it and read it from time to time. I also have a Hornady manual, which is open on my bench all the time - dog eared, marked, written in, and tagged for quick reference. It was recommended to me by a friend that I purchase a 'load book' for .308, which has the specifics from several different manuals copied into one place - later, I realized I didn't need it because everything I needed to know, I already had as a resource. It's $6 I can't get back, but really, It does have good information in it, and I can keep it should I need it in the future.

    Loads change over time, and books are often updated with newer additions (powders, bullets, primers, etc). Online is a great place to go - I use that as well, especially when looking at powder I haven't tried yet. Sometimes the Hornady book, for example, doesn't list a powder you're investigating, or may not have the detailed information for the cartridge that the powder manufacturer has. The way I see it, the more resources you have at your disposal, the more tools in your tool box. To each his own, and I agree with DS2, save your money for a good Chrony.
     
  15. HollisOR

    HollisOR Rural OR, South of Dallas Active Member

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    I would say yes too. I have been reloading for about 40 years. I have had several rounds that are no longer commercially made and the data disappears in time. Are the a necessity..... No. Is having more than 3 different kinds of firearms a necessity, No. The internet is just getting better.

    There is other information in a reloading manual that is interesting to read. There are additional books that add to the reloading experience. One additional book, is Ken Waters, Pet Loads I have found it to save me a lot of time and $$ on finding a good load. People reload for all kinds of different reasons, so find out what works for you. I have not integrated a computer/lap top to my reloading bench. Neat thing about a book, one does not have to wait for it to load up to do a quick check.
     
  16. taylor

    taylor Willamette Valley Well-Known Member

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    All I want to know is online. I just want the parameters, whats the lowest grn and highest grn for each powder, forget the velocities, its always different with each gun. I use Steves reloading pages I look up caliber, bullet weight, and before me is alot of powders and the min and max to use. Then I start with the min and slowly work up watching for pressure.
     
  17. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    And yet this "One Manual Man" has successfully loaded THOUSANDS of rounds of ammo safely, sometimes in one session, can regularly go out and shoot "bugholes" while others are begging for groups under 1.5", and find that the most important DATA is that which I develop for myself. I don't need 25 different "starting points" when I can get it from the powder manufacturer based on his latest product production and testing.

    I wonder how all those old "Wildcatters" were successful? None of their cartridges were listed in any manual yet they somehow were able to develop loads just fine.

    As for "cross referencing" from one manual to another? So which one do you decide is right????? Or does one just average?
     
  18. datguy

    datguy Vancouver, WA Member

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    I liked having the basics explained a few different ways. Made it easier for me to read similar subject matter a few times, to drive it in my thick skull. To each his own. I don't regret buying the four books on my bench. Good reading material for the crapper as well..
     
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  19. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I do not doubt your ongoing success, nor did I challenge it. I only pointed out some statements you made that were incorrect (and not a matter of opinion at all). While doing so, I gave great credit for what you stated that I agreed with (even when it might have been a matter of opinion).

    As for the wildcatters (I happen to be one), you are again right in that for our particular cartridges, no data exists. This does not mean we did not use existing data in our experiments. Using this data, yes, we are able to develop loads just fine. No "somehow" about it.

    Your question as to cross referencing, you have answered for yourself, and I would heartily agree the most important data is that which one develops one's self. The cross-referencing procedure does NOT simplistically pick out what is "right", nor "average" between presentations. It examines previously trod (successful) paths to follow to find (as you do) what is right, in a process that is deliberate and scientific.

    Finally, I will agree with Hollis in his admiration for Ken Water's compilation of a life's work in his volume "Pet Loads". For the serious reloader, or the novice who has decided to fully commit to the pursuit, this book is gold; filled cover to cover with information not yet found on the internet.
     
  20. SPU

    SPU Southwest Oregon Old Fart

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    I've read some, own some manuals and use the Internet. Perhaps my opinion means less because I've only been reloading for 4 months (but several thousand rounds), or perhaps more since it is from the perspective of a newbie. I did not particularly enjoy the ABC's of Reloading. (My opinion only) it was dry and felt old. I also read a 30 year old loading book I bought at a used book store and it was OK, but again seemed out of date.

    I own six manuals -- most bought used for less than $100, read the internet and bought a "one caliber" book of load data off the interweb that is just a copy of manufacturer published and dated info no longer covered by copyright. I wouldn't bother with those again.

    My favorites are Lee's second Edition because of so much useful and practical information and varied load data, Lyman because it has a lot of cast bullet load data and Speer 12th edition (better than the later ones I own that have dumbed down a lot of powder data).

    As somebody mentioned, as I need to remind myself of an OAL or other info, it is easier turning a book to the cartridge page(s).

    As somebody else mentioned, after meticulously working with several bullets, powders and other variables, I am happy with a couple bullets and powder combinations per gun. A good reason, by the way, to buy a new gun in a different caliber, or that powder you find on sale -- and start the process over.

    I have used books and internet sources to start loads. Then incrementally move up and develop what works best. I have been surprised (I'm a newbie) that it has never been the hottest load that works best so far.

    I'll be selling two Speer manuals including the newest because of redundancy. I bought the three because it was a "deal" but false economy. I thought there would be major differences between editions and this simply is not true with the last three Speer manuals.

    I'd still buy manuals but just a few that are well written and acknowledged as superior.