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Thread: Opinions On Some New Manuals, Please?

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    Opinions On Some New Manuals, Please?

    Hello all - I’m “thinking” this is the right spot to post this, so here goes…

    Since I’m moving into some brave new worlds of powder choices, both from shooting cast as well as the current silliness dealing with supplies, I’ve suddenly found myself in need of some better (and newer) reloading manuals. Yes, the internet - Hodgdon’s site especially - is great for getting info, and I truly appreciate the vast amount of knowledge so many folks have created here, too, but I like to have it “right there” on the bench with me, not in some note. Could you guys share the “modern” reloading manuals you feel are best?

    In that vein, is there any merit in a cast manual newer than Lyman’s Third? This is a great example of my issue, as I’m working up a load for a “new” 358 for cast, and the older manuals are a little sparse on options.

    In terms of some of the “caliber specific” manuals out there, I’d like to stay away from them, especially considering that I reload and shoot plenty of oddballs, with cast and condom bullets. Two or three “new” manuals will likely be under the tree in a few weeks, as the family long ago gave up trying to guess what to give me for Christmas.

    Thanks!

    Chris

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    I've got the new Hornady book, and the new blue Lyman cast book.

    They're both good with a lot of new information in them on the newer cartridges.
    With favorite powders being hard to find, they have new listings of different powders in old time favorite cartridges too.
    Between new and old books, you should have a better chance of finding a compatible powder for what you're loading.

    Some powders listed in the old books as being the absolute best--- aren't even listed in the new Hornady book.
    The characteristics on any powder won't deviate more than 5% from one lot to another from the original specs.,
    or they can't call it by that name.
    Last edited by Winger Ed.; 12-05-2022 at 10:53 PM.
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  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master



    M-Tecs's Avatar
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    Even the "new" just released reloading manuals tend to be at least a couple of years behind newly released powders/cartridges. For new powders/cartridges you can contact the manufacturer for data or use their websites to download and print.
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 12-05-2022 at 11:27 PM.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master
    Mk42gunner's Avatar
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    I like the Hornady manuals for jacketed, they seem to list a lot more of the oddball cartridges than most of the other manufacturers.

    The Lyman #4 Cast Bullet Handbook has some newer info than the #3, and the Lyman 50th ed. isn't bad.

    Robert

  5. #5
    Boolit Bub
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    Winger Ed. - you’re spot on with the powder listings comment! For a long time, my brother and I got frustrated by the seemingly random adjustments downward on charges, shrugging it off as lawyers protecting assets, but Larry Gibson made a great point in a post I read a short time ago about the fact technology now allows for (in some cases) better testing of components. Yeah, Lyman is not going to wring out an obsolete mold for a 351 to tweak a recipe, but manufacturers “can” dig in to the popular loads and bullets to verify what is safe and provide that data. Thanks you all for the note on the Cast Handbook #4. I hope to find more than “shoot light loads of fast powder” info that seems to be the go-to answer in #3, at least for many of the cartridges I look up. (Not really, but you know what I mean…)

    But the real need is on the range of “new” powders on the bench. TAC, Vectan, and others are straightforward to find data on, but there’s a level of comfort reading it on a printed page.

    On the other hand, I appreciate those who are sharing their ideas, and I also really do enjoy the comparing of this manual to that one, trying to ensure what is safe and what represents a best case scenario of a load that works. All to often, after 30 years of reloading, I’ve found the most accurate loads are seldom seen in the “max” column, but a younger version of myself sure thought they did!

    The Lord truly looks out for some of us and the dumb things we do…

    Thanks!
    Chris

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Glad to help.

    If you want to get off into lower pressure/reduced load stuff, especially with cast:

    Do a quickie search for things like 'Green Dot in rifle cartridges',
    or there's a lot of info. mostly in .30cal. rifle in several articles for using Red Dot. Do a search for 'The Load'.

    It's mostly mid-teens for speed, but at 8-13 grains per charge, you get great mileage from a pound of powder.
    For a .30-30, .308, .30-06, etc. -- you can load a accurate, short-ish range, cast boolit for about the cost of premium .22s like CCI Stingers.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Green Dot, Herco and my favorite Unique! all produce accurate ammo in a WIDE variety of cartridges. However, most of the loads are not in the manuals.
    Old enough to know better, young enough to do it anyway!

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  8. #8
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    Waaay back when I "couldn't wait" to see available, and purchase, the latest, newest, and greatest manual(s). However -- and this may be just for me -- as similar in, say Handloader and other publications, "new" powders are cited with no loads for the many (to me ) choices I presently have. To cite one example, maybe a decade ago I read of a great load using PowerPistol. By happenstance I went to a gun show a few days later and "lucked into" buying the one pound bottle in the entire show. HOWEVER -- I've not used that powder since.
    Hey -- the way I now look at it, the manuals from the "old days" give all the info I need, with powders I have.
    Now -- there are exceptions. Albeit I do not have one, nor ever plan to load for it, IF I wanted to load for, say, .350 Legend I'd obviously (duh!) have to procure a recently released book. But for the 28 calibres I load -- all data (good data!) is in older manuals I have.
    "Some like blondes, others brunettes" holds, Cree, as my #2 sources are old Ideal and Lyman books.
    My Number one source is Wolfe Publications Pet Loads written by my #1 mentor: Ken Williams. If you can locate one, they "ain't cheap" -- but, imho, worth every penny... and more!
    geo

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    I still use my Lyman 44th edition from 1967.
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    Boolit Master Wag's Avatar
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    Back in the old shortages of the Slobama years, I bought a four-pound can of Vihtavouri. Then I could never find a manual that listed it for any of the boolits I wanted to use. Then I didn't load at all for a while. Now I have that same unopened can of powder and I'm just now getting set up to load again and hoping I can find some decent loads to use it.

    --Wag--
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  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Go to the Vihtavouri web site. They have reloading info for their powders. I've used it several times for my .308 and 6BR. Print info you want to keep. I do the same with other mfg web sites, like Nosler, Hodgdon, Alliant.

    I got tired of all the books on my shelves taking up space when I only used a few pages of each. I scanned in the information I wanted and got rid of the rest. Downloaded the Lyman #3 Cast. If I wanted a hard copy of something I'd print the pages and put in a smaller notebook. After 10 years I rarely look at the notebook since all that data is on my phone (as well as on my computer and on a backup drive). Heck, I even have files on it with pertinent forum posts/articles from folks like Ed Harris and Larry Gibson.

    The phone is also used to take pictures of targets. The targets are marked with load data and sequence of shots and velocity of each shot. Those are stored along with the chronograph data files. Videos are there taken with my phone through the spotting scope.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master derek45's Avatar
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    You can never have "too many" books
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  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cree View Post
    In that vein, is there any merit in a cast manual newer than Lyman’s Third? This is a great example of my issue, as I’m working up a load for a “new” 358 for cast, and the older manuals are a little sparse on options.
    Chris
    The only 'drawback' of the 4th is a few cartridges disappeared from the load Data. If the 3rd has what you need, you probably won't need the 4th.
    Warning: I know Judo. If you force me to prove it I'll shoot you.

  14. #14
    Boolit Bub
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    You guys always come through! One of the biggest reasons for asking is the fact I’ve been shooting cast and reduced loads. I’ve got an abundance of 2400, but for jacketed, some of the old standbys - 4064, for example - have given way to “new” stuff (LOL) like Varget and even TAC. One of the best examples I can give from long ago is when Universal first came out in the 90s. I well remember the issue many of us had trying to keep “Universal Clays” “International Clays” and “Clays” straight in out minds and in our data. Personally, those first few years of data had a LOT of hot loads listed, until things got sorted out. I shot a lot of hardball then and the “published” data was, in reality, too hot. Safe? Sure? At least I never had an issue, but I well remember the minimum and max loads listed on the side of that first bottle really being far more than what a “regular” Series 70 or 80 ought to be digesting every weekend. Don’t have the notebooks handy, but 7.4 grains comes to mind as a max load. I can’t imagine feeding any of my 45s a steady diet of that now, but there I was, running a couple hundred down the pipe on my off days.
    Another example is the Vectan series of powders that I posted about a few years ago (Ba9, IIRC). Limited data, but similar burn rate to Unique and Universal, so I felt good after researching here and elsewhere online and making my own educated decision for reduced loads in cast as well as substituting the Vectan in my 45 ACP loads. And then there’s this 7# jug of 7383 Jeff sold me, which won’t have any data in a book, but a few new books will give me more data points to compare, along with the knowledge base here. (It’ll be pushing boolits in my “new” 358 Winchester…)
    You guys are great, and I really appreciate you taking the time to help (Not that that’s a surprise!).

    Cree

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    If your main interest is manuals that address powders, get the reloading publications from the powder companies (Hodgdon's, Western, etc). They won't have the chapters on how it's done, just lots of data for loads they've tested. I have a stack of them and they complement my collection of reloading manuals pretty well.
    Warning: I know Judo. If you force me to prove it I'll shoot you.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

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    I still think the Lyman manuals are the best, but you can't just get the newest one and have all you need because the new ones don't have all the calibers that the older ones did. Many of the older ones are in pdf form on line though.
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  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    If what you’re interested in is which powders are applicable for your needs, you might get a copy of Propellant Profiles, from Wolfe Publications. It’s a compendium of all the articles under the same name that have appeared over the years in Handloader Magazine. It goes over each company’s offerings, from fastest to slowest burn rates, with some examples of applications in cartridges.

    My edition is old, but I understand it’s been updated. Most of the powders I use are the old DuPont and Hercules standards, but the Hodgdon, Accurate and other semi-new production is in there too. Don’t know if later editions cover the plethora of new stuff that seems to be offered (if not found) nowadays, but a read through what is there gives one the feel for which powders might best work in whatever situation is required. It isn’t a “recipe” book, like the reloading tool company manuals, and shouldn’t be used as such, but it helps give an idea of which alternatives might work in place of an old standby.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
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    The internet helps with the powder and bullet sites but you really do need a “library” of manuals.

  19. #19
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bent Ramrod View Post
    If what you’re interested in is which powders are applicable for your needs, you might get a copy of Propellant Profiles, from Wolfe Publications. It’s a compendium of all the articles under the same name that have appeared over the years in Handloader Magazine. It goes over each company’s offerings, from fastest to slowest burn rates, with some examples of applications in cartridges.
    That is very cool. I never knew such an animal existed, but I’ll have to add it to my list. I’ve got a (reasonably new-ish) powder burn rate chart I keep above the bench just to keep me honest when flipping back and forth, but this is a really nice tool to have access to.

    The frustration really comes on when you “know” where Varget falls in terms of burn rate, for example, but you also have that hesitation reaching for the bottle or flipping back and forth between 3-4 old manuals, shooting notes, random printouts, and worrying about the fact you’re shooting a 175 grain jacketed round nose design in a 7x57 that nobody even sells anymore because 2500 fps is clearly too slow to kill a 150 lb whitetail. Or you’ve found an anomaly in the data from one older manual to a newer one on, say, H335, but you’re secretly using WC844 pulldown with H335 data and the more data you can put you hands on, the better you feel when you start shooting ladder loads with it.

    I love the old manuals, but a few new ones can only help my knowledge and safety, especially when my 13 year old son is at the bench with me.

    Thanks!
    Cree
    Last edited by Cree; 12-07-2022 at 10:54 PM. Reason: Edited ‘cause i got too excited!

  20. #20
    Boolit Master derek45's Avatar
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    you can find good deals on handloading manuals on EBAY and AMAZON

    "clean used" condition is often good to go
    .


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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check