Avoid mishaps! Best Reloading Manuals as of 2022!

For those of us who enjoy shooting, at some point during the process we all think of handloading and custom make our own ammo for better accuracy, reducing price, and other reasons. And having the best reloading manual can make the difference in both accuracy and cost.

There are many reloading manuals out there, some generic, and some specific. So it is vital to choose one that fits your needs, budget, & goals.

Best Reloading Manual

Best Reloading Manual

Second Best Option

hornady-reloading-manual-11th edition-review


lyman 51st reloading manual review

In this article, I have researched and tested verities of reloading manuals and in the case of generic manuals, I have voiced my opinion and chosen the best reloading manuals available in the market.

They are ranked from best to not so best, so you can quickly choose which is best for you. (some manuals are best for certain types of reloading while not focusing much on the generals). Oh!! Just a friendly tip, it’s better to always have more than 1 reloading manual, you will find out why.

Here is the List & Review of the Best Reloading Manual:

  1. Sierra 6th Edition Rifle Handgun Reloading Data
  2. Hornady 11th Edition Handbook of Cartridge Reloading
  3. Nosler Reloading Guide 9
  4. Lyman 51st Edition Reloading Handbook
  5. LEE PRECISION Modern Reloading 2nd Edition
  6. The ABCs of Reloading 10th Edition
  7. The Beginner’s Guide to Reloading Ammunition

1. Sierra Rifle & Handgun Reloading Data Review

Hold your horses, because Sierra has just released a new reloading manual, the 6th edition of its reloading manual series. With abundant information, this manual is meant for all reloaders, beginners, and experts alike.

The manual has more than 1200 pages and comes in a 3-ring binder making it easier to add or remove pages. The binder format also enables you to lay the book flat on the table. Sierra has top-notch technical support staff and they won’t cut ties unless your reloading question is answered. 

Best Reloading Manual

With the inclusion of history, reloading equipment, cartridge information with pictures, reloading terminologies, firearm cleaning, a how-to section & FAQ, this is a must-have book for all reloaders. Check the list of cartridge coverage here.

Some may argue that they used a 24″ barrel for all rifle rounds, but to control the controllable variables this was necessary. In my Honest Opinion, this is a must-have book for any beginner or experienced shooters.

What I Like
Simple instructions for all aspects of reloading.
Very accurate data.
A complete reloading manual.
Includes history, and reloading tools recommendations.
What I Don’t Like
Heavy reloading manual.
Prone to tear.

2. Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading Review

The latest handbook by Hornady is the 11th edition handbook for cartridge reloading. Its predecessors were the most commonly used reloading manual out there. It is a great choice, especially for novice reloaders who are beginning to learn to reload, and has useful information for veteran reloaders. It is also suitable for shooters who want a very basic and easy-to-use guide. Hornady reloading manual is also available in mobile apps and electronic books (iBook or Kindle).

hornady-reloading-manual-11th edition-review

This manual has detailed illustrations, photos & charts to help the reader grasp the idea easily and makes the reloading experience enjoyable. The book has reloading information for over 300 bullets and for more than 200 calibers (from .17s to the big loads), with the inclusion of 149 powder burning rates from fastest to slowest. This reloading handbook also includes information on how to increase the accuracy of rounds, load pressures, and the theory of reloading.

The manual includes reloading tips, dangers with reloading with how to avoid them. The book can be used by both rifle and pistol owners. The book also provides how they obtained this information, including details about the test arm.

There was some inaccurate information in the previous editions, a lot of which was corrected in the 11th generation. For added security always use more than 1 reloading manual when you are testing new loads.

This reloading manual is growing year by year and the 11th edition has over 1000 pages, which provides valuable information, but it doesn’t give you the latest data and information. If you want a great basic reloading manual, then this is the one for you.

What I Like
Detailed illustrations, charts, and photos of the reloading process.
Good for beginner reloaders.
Suitable for both rifle and handgun owners.
Hornady Reloading App and Electronic Book.
What I Dislike
Information at times is outdated and incorrect
Some bullets are listed as “not recommended” but not given any explanation as to why
Expensive when compared to other reloading manuals

FYI 11th Edition is the latest reloading book on the market. And Hornady is the only bullet manufacturer that has a useable mobile app to aid in reloading.

3. Nosler Reloading Guide 9 Review

Nosler reloading guide presents huge data set in an easy-to-read manner. For all Nosler bullets & brass cases, there are bullet cutaways, and descriptions of different types of projectiles making it easier for the reader to understand the use of the types of projectiles. 

This reloading manual shows you how to load different calibers of ammunition for your hunting, target, and varmint rifles. It has sections on both pistol and rifle rounds. If you are new to reloading, this book can help guide you through the process. It has great introductions to the Nosler bullet by different authors. 

Nosler reloading manual review

But the reloading guide does lack data on many of the popular powders and popular calibers. I have not found any mistakes yet but keeping a second book from a different brand will definitely decrease the chances of reloading mistakes.

It has a lot of photos of reloading and illustrations which makes it easy to follow the instructions.
Has bullet cutaways with descriptions.
Contains description of different types of projectiles.
It also covers everything you need to know about reloading from bullet components to charge weight measurements and crimping.
Lacks information about popular rounds and powders.
Very few updates when compared to Nosler 8.

4. Lyman 51st Edition Reloading Handbook Review

The Lyman 51st Edition reloading handbook is a great choice for anyone who’s looking for a classic manual. The 51st Edition was published in 2022, 6 years after the 50th Edition. The latest edition has some new powders and projectiles when compared to other reloading manuals but it is accurate and easy to understand. It is known as the reloading Bible and has been in use for many years. Many experienced reloaders still use this book as their reference guide because according to Lyman the information in this book is derived from more than 130 years of experience. And this is considered the favorite reloading manual for many reloaders.

This is a great all-around reloading manual with everything you need to know. The Lyman reloading handbook begins with a step-by-step process with big colorful pictures on the entire reloading process. It has a beginner’s how-to section where it explains in detail most questions any reloader may face during reloading. 

The manual has wide range coverage on popular rifle & pistol calibers. The book contains technical articles from industry experts, explaining tough topics and untouched important points for precision reloading. In the process of reloading the handbook provides safety tips that even an absolute beginner can follow.

Lyman’s reloading handbook also has lots of information on cast lead bullet loads. Which is a rare find in any other manuals. And all expert reloaders eventually move to lead cast bullets to enjoy (and save penny) while shooting.

The only lacking the Lyman reloading handbook (or any reloading manual) has, is it does not include much of the latest powder. In Lyman’s defense non of the book is able to cope with all the new powder types and projectiles that come out each year.

The information in this book is comprehensive, making it an ideal reloading manual for beginners and expert users alike.

Suitable for both beginners and experienced reloading professionals.
Complete information on all aspects of reloading.
Huge data on cast lead bullets.
Articles from successful and famous shooters.
Fully Colored Manual
The instructions in this book can be difficult to follow.
The diagrams can sometimes be hard to understand and the writing style can be hard to follow.
Some errors have also been found in this book.

It’s a lot of data to process and while compiling some data gets mixed up and causes errors and that is why you always have to cross-check everything between manuals before you start reloading for any particular caliber. Any miss print or wrong information can lead to undesirable damages. And, this is especially true for those who are new to reloading. Even then in my Honest Opinion, this is the best reloading manual for beginners.

5. LEE PRECISION Modern Reloading 2nd Edition Review

The Lee reloading book is another good choice for beginners. This single reloading manual covers more than 38,000 varieties of load. the handbook was revised in 2019 and contains the most updated information of the time.

The LEE precision reloading manual is one of the most popular reloading books out there, especially for those who are just starting out. It has everything a beginner needs to know about reloading as well as what they need to have ready once they start.

Lee reloading manual review

The manual contains 13 chapters which contain sections according to requirements. The manual begins by introducing the reloader to reloading and 3 great reasons to begin reloading. Followed by reloading rifle and handgun. The handbook includes gunpowder safety tips and understanding chamber pressure. it even touches on how to design bullets.

The only downside I feel this handbook has is it has some misprinted data just like all other manuals. And that is the sole reason why you should invest in more than a single reloading manual.

A good basic book for beginners with recent information and updated data.
It has start-to-finish reloading information with all the latest data and information.
The instructions on reloading in this book aren’t always accurate.
The instructions are sometimes hard to follow as well.
Some of the instructions on cartridge headspacing (where the case contacts the chamber) are questionable.
It is not a good choice for those who have been will be reloading using a single manual, because you will find some mistakes in it.

6. The ABCs of Reloading 10th Edition Review

The ABCs of Reloading is the reloading manual used by the United States Army and Navy. This handbook is not compiled by any bullet or powder manufacturers. But the book contains lots of data that quite old for my taste. The 9th edition was published in January 2011, But the 10th edition was published in April 2021 – making this the latest reloading manual in the market.

The ABC of Reloading review

The handbook helps in choosing reloading equipment, case preparation, cartridge assembly & pressure, the economy of handloading, shotshell & long-range reloading, loads of safety tips, lead cast bullets & many other sections. It provides the user with some history of popular handgun and rifle rounds and the bullet company. This is an advanced reloading manual suitable for users who want to know more about the beginning of the handloading. 

Has the latest book on the market.
A perfect choice for handloaders who want to know more about history.
Caliber data are focused.
It has detailed information on things like safety precautions, seating bullets in cases, alternate ammunition components, and more.
It is rather expensive when you consider the amount of useful information it contains. 
It has a lot of history and less reloading data.
The reloading manual has mistakes

7. The Beginner’s Guide to Reloading Ammunition Review

The Beginner’s Guide to Reloading Ammunition is a great book for beginners. The instructions will help any reloaders with the basics of reloading, which are easy to follow. It contains everything a beginner needs to know before starting to reload. The handbook (also available on Kindle) was published in January 2016.

This handbook is best for absolute beginners, even if the author says so. It is a good book if this is a new hobby and you don’t have a mentor. Or you are on a tight budget. This book focuses on how to reload on tight-budget reloaders, Safety tips, basic gear & general steps.

The Begineer's Guide to Reloading Ammunition

The book is the first-hand experience of the author and no controlled experiment, or researched data. If you are looking for those please avoid this book.

A great choice for beginners
Relatively Cheap
First-hand experiences are recorded in this book.
No controlled experiment or research data.
Generic information.

8. Berger Bullets Reloading Manual, 1st Edition

Berger Bullets reloading manual is one of a kind. It contains reloading data for only 71 rifle cartridges but it took more than 550 pages out of its 819 pages to present reloading data. Which shows the amount of details of this book for those cartridges.

This reloading manual focuses on long-range precision for hunting, but can also be used for long-range competition. I personally use this guide for my 6.5 Creedmoor, and I’m satisfied with the precision.

Very detailed instructions.
Easy to follow and reload.
Includes helpful reloading tips & tricks
Data is available for only 71 types of cartridges.

How to Choose the Best Reloading Manual?

There are a lot of reloading manuals available, and everyone’s needs are different. You need to consider what you want from your reloading manual. And always have more than one reloading manual as most guides contain mistakes.

What Should You Look for In a Reloading Manual?

As mentioned above, there are a lot of reloading manuals available, and they come in different brands. You should look for the reloading manual that has all the essential information for your shooting needs. It should be simple and easy to understand. It should include all the information you need to know about gun selection, proper ammunition selection, case preparation, and cleaning. A good quality reloading manual should include information about components, like selecting the right primer, bullets, and powder. The proper powder charge, primer type, and bullet weight will maximize your performance and minimize your cost.
It should have specific data on each cartridge you’re reloading. Each cartridge has its optimal cartridge overall length, case capacity, primer, powder charge, bullet weight, and rifling twist rate. The reloading manual you select should contain all the information about your specific cartridge.

Does expertise level matter when buying a reloading manual?

Generally, the more information a reloading manual includes and the better quality it is, the more expensive it will be. But this does not mean that you should avoid buying a manual if you are a beginner. You can still find reloading manuals for beginners that contain all the basic information you need. So how do you know which guide to buy?
You need to consider your expertise level and requirements before choosing any reloading manual. Check what they contain so you’re sure of what you are getting.

Can a brand-specific reloading manual be used generally?

Several manufacturers have their own reloading manuals for their own brands and caliber ranges. The manuals are not well-suited for other shooting needs in general, but they are great for a specific range of cartridges a specific manufacturer makes. So if you only reload one brand cartridge, you can still use the manuals provided by the manufacturer.

There is reloading information readily available on the Internet. Why do I need a manual?

Reloading manuals have been in existence since the 19th century. Reloading manual information has been passed on from generation to generation. The best reloading manuals are based on experience. What you gain by using a reloading manual is the accuracy and consistency of the load. It will also help save your time and effort especially when it comes to this tedious process of crimping and de-crimping.

Why Are There So Many Editions?

Reloading manuals get republished as more and more information becomes available. Some are updated annually because the old editions become obsolete when manufacturers introduce newer calibers and bullet combinations.
New “dirtier” powders with higher smokeless (nitrocellulose) content have improved performance but lower case life, so this changes the recommended powder loads for each cartridge, as does the introduction of new faster-burning powders.

So which is the Best Reloading Manual

Even though you can find all the information on reloading readily available today, (we all know not to trust everything on the internet). And there is something special about a printed reloading manual and the nostalgia of loading your own ammunition. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced reloader, it is very important to have the right reloading manual. The one that contains everything you need for your specific caliber.

The best reloading manuals will always be those with the most accurate information and that are written by people with experience. In my Honest Opinion, Sierra 6th Edition Rifle & Handgun Reloading Data is fit for both expert and beginner reloaders. And like I constantly emphasized having at least 2 reloading manuals. My second recommendation would be Lyman 50th Edition Reloading Handbook, even though it is not ranked 2nd.

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