Reloading: Where to start/manuals?
Where to start/What manual to buy
Cartridges are containers of high pressure gases ranging from 10,000 PSI to over 60,000 PSI. Make a mistake reloading and you may get to see what kind of damage pressures like that can do to you and/or your gun. So it is important to get educated (correctly, not by your buddy who may do it wrong). The first thing to get is a reloading manual and the first thing to do is read it, not once but multiple times until you really understand it. Safety should be on the top of your list! Education about reloading is the beginning of safety.
Every bullet manufacturer, powder manufacture, some reloading equipment manufacturers publish reloading manuals. Common ones are Speer, Hornady, Sierra, Hodgdon, LEE, and Lyman. Some reloading component and equipment manufacturers also publish free leaflets of reloading data (recipies). Most reloading manuals have a section at the front of the book that tell you how to reload and the back of the book is filled with tested data for nearly every cartridge known to man. The leaflets usually do not include the how-to section.
Manuals are geared towards whatever it is the manufacturer sells and the load data normally reflects that. Some are more general regardless of what they sell. But each manual includes reloading data, which is tested recipes that will probably be safe in 90% of all guns unless any deviation is made to the recipe.
Sierra, Speer, and Hornady makes bullets so all load data is for their bullets. Hodgdon distributes powder so their manual uses their powders but also has sections for each cartridge using otherís powders too. Lyman sells casting equipment so in addition to jacketed bullet data there is a big section for each cartridge using their cast lead bullets. LEE makes reloading equipment so they included everyoneís components and powders. It is otherís data, compiled for viewing in one manual.
The Hornady manual is unique as it includes text and drawings explaining how cartridges work in the gun. If you understand this you will probably better understand why certain processes in reloading are done.
Having more than one manual is good and not all manuals will exactly agree with each other. Use the one whose components most closely matches the ones you will choose to use.
READ. READ, and RE-READ!