Most all the reloading manuals are good. The safe thing to do is use the manual from the bullet maker of the bullets you intend to use. So that leaves the Hornady, the Speer, and the Sierra manuals. You can also use the Hodgdon manual as it covers all the bullets from all the manufactures. The Lyman manual is good for cast lead bullet pistol and rifle shooters. The Lee manual has a compilation of a bunch of different manuals but I think it better to use the source manual rather than just the data. There are sometimes jewels of info in the text that goes with each cartridge's data.
As I use Hodgdon powders almost exclusively, that's the manual I most often use. But if it's a Sierra bullet or a Speer bullet of a Hornady bullet I compare manuals. I start at the starting load and work up watching for signs of excessive pressure (read the manual to determine what they are), and NEVER exceeding the listed MAX load.
For new reloader I recommend you read and re-read and re-read again the "how to" reloading section of any manual. Try to understand how a cartridge works and it makes understanding the reloading process much easier and safer. I like the Hornady manual for new reloaders because it has pictures that show you the effects being described in the text of how the cartridges work and the pitfalls.
My opinion is you can never have enough reloading manuals and I have a library of them. I buy a new edition of each about every couple of years.
Welcome to the form. A lot depends on what you will be loading. Last check. I think I have 10 Manuals. If you plan on loading mainly Speer Bullets. Then yes get the Speer. About the best all around Manual would be the Lyman 49th Addition. Or the Lee Modern Reloading. If you are planing on loading cast, Then Lyman cast bullet manual.. I load a lot of Hornady Bullet so I have it. As you can see it all depends on what you are loading. And what components you can find.
Copy of my posting in a previous thread, good stuff there :
Here's my list in order of preference.
Lee (yes, he is very arrogant, but does have some good info/great data)
I have 6 manuals and a couple OneCalibers, they all get used. I'm sure I'll pick up some more as time goes on also.
No one manual will "do it all", and I'm 100% certain that if there was one, that I would still use the others also.
Loading pistol or rifle? How many different calibers? How many powders?
I use the Lee, Lyman 49th, Hodgdon manual and website datatbase and have Loadbooks for each caliber.
That said, I presently only reload three pistol calibers using one powder (Win 231 = HP-38) and since my LGS range forbits lead reloads, I exclusively use Berry or Ranier plated.
The Lee or Hodgdon data would more than serve my true needs. Heck just the website might -lol - though there is a great deal of knowledge to be gained by reading all the info you can find. Including all the posts on several reloading websites and forums.
Lee Anniversary and Lee Classic 4-Hole Turret, presently reloading .380, 7.62 Nagant (32-20), 9mm and 45ACP
I would suggest initially using a manual that is associated with the bullet manufacturers products that you intend to use, this will make life easier for you when deciding on loads for caliber and bullet weight. I feel that most all manuals offer some good advise and input to the reloading process. I (like most serious reloaders) have developed a library of loading manuals an information that is used to check and re-check data if necessary.
Also, common sense is a good tool to use when sorting through any published data.
These guys are right - you could go with the Sierra or Speer manuals, but if I was just getting into reloading - LYMAN is the best first manual. Bullet makers have a reason to list certain bullets and not others, while Lyman lists many more brands, types and wieghts. They also have a great variety of loading data for cast bullets in both rifle and pistol calibers.
The other major factor is the GREAT 'How To' forward for new (and old) reloaders. Good Luck.
Lyman for the "how to" portion, although it seems to have some funky bullet weights in the data hence making it my second or third choice for that, but its an absolute must for the beginner and most of all it is an enjoyable read.
Speer has a bit more preferable load data for my application (9mm, 308, and 270wsm) and the "how to" is not as in depth. So having both of these on the bench is a good combo.
"Democracy is based on citizenship- perhaps the greatest gift the United States has given to the world- Power is vested in the people themselves, and government flows from the people" James M Henslin
Last edited by 312shooter; 12-24-2009 at 11:19 PM..
Woolyworm is right, no one manual will do it, you will find you need several. You will find that information in the different manuals varies hence the need for several as they are a GUIDE not absolutes. I use Hornady, Speer, and Lyman routinely but I own sevral more, and then there's the information available from the various powder manufacturers to consider.