Skip to main content

How to Select Reliable Sources for Reloading Data

Reloading is not just for rocket scientists. And there's nothing magical involved, either. If you have a modest measure of mechanical ability and a healthy dose of common sense, you're an excellent candidate. However, the process details you need to know and follow to assure your continued good health and to make safe and reliable ammo are not inherently obvious. Thoroughly reviewing as many load manuals as you can before you try your hand at reloading is recommended.

There are several excellent ones to choose from, including the latest editions published by Barnes, Hornady, Lee, Lyman, Nosler, Speer, Sierra and Swift. (There are four new-for-2013 manuals that I'll get to in a moment.) These are what I refer to as "full-service" reloading manuals because they include detailed narrative (often with illustrations) describing each step in the process from A to Z. They also provide cartridge descriptions, dozens of tested recipes for each bullet or propellant product, and often bullet ballistic data.

You might think, "These manuals cost money, right? Why can't I just get on the Internet and read about it?"


You're correct. A manual may cost you $25, but it's well worth it! Everything you need is in one place, and after perusing several chapters, the whole handloading mystery is revealed. In addition, you'd be ahead of the game if you ask around and find someone who reloads to give a simple tutorial and demonstration. They should have one or more of these manuals on hand that you might borrow. If they don't have at least three of the latest editions, seriously reconsider their handloading acumen and, preferably, find another mentor.


You have to be wary of load data shared on the Web, especially from individuals. I'm an engineer; have reloaded for 40+ years; and have all my fingers, both eyes, and can still hear pretty well. I load for 85 cartridges, including several wildcat rounds. I have the latest editions plus dozens of old loading manuals that I refer to constantly.

I've either read about or experienced most of the pitfalls handloaders are likely to encounter, but I've also learned that it's prudent to verify every load recipe by researching and comparing data from several reliable sources. The emphasis is on the word "reliable." These include the companies mentioned above and the Accurate, Alliant, Ramshot and Vihtavuori reloading data booklets. They're all fully engaged in 21st-century media technology, including comprehensive websites.

Unlike the way it was when I started reloading, almost all of these companies have fully equipped and staffed ballistic labs. They test-fire tens of thousands of rounds each year to develop new load data and also to revalidate previously published data.

That's not necessarily so on Web threads. I look at a few sites occasionally just to see what topics seem to be of interest. When I see someone asking for load data for a common, everyday cartridge, I cringe. Often there are several responses that usually include why this or that "favorite" load is the best. Remember, these data are coming from complete strangers. So why would any sane person assemble ammo using an unsubstantiated recommendation, chamber a highly energetic .44 Magnum or .30-06 cartridge in their favorite revolver or rifle, grasp the grip or press their face against the stock firmly, and then squeeze the trigger?


Just remember, the latest edition reloading manuals are the most reliable sources for safe load data.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

The Future Of Special Operations Small Arms

The Future Of Special Operations Small Arms

We're taking a look at what the Army's Elite Units are using for service rifles and what the future of SOCOM sniping looks like.

Tactical Solutions Introduces New X-Ring Takedown SBR Rifle

Tactical Solutions Introduces New X-Ring Takedown SBR Rifle

Keith Feeley of Tactical Solutions sat down with Michael Bane at SHOT Show 2018 to talk about the new X-Ring Takedown SBR .22LR rifle.

All About .300 Blackout

All About .300 Blackout

The .300 Blackout is here to stay, and we take some time to look at new technology surrounding this cartridge. Next, we pit subsonic rivals against each other before stretching the legs of this CQB round out to 600 yards from a short 9-inch barrel.

Skills Drills: 3-Second Headshot

Skills Drills: 3-Second Headshot

James Tarr runs through the 3-Second Headshot drill.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

The Husqvarna AB. Mauser Series 1100 Deluxe features a European walnut stock, a non-military action, and a two-position  wing-type safety.Husqvarna AB. Mauser Series 1100 Deluxe Rifle Review Rifles

Husqvarna AB. Mauser Series 1100 Deluxe Rifle Review

Joseph von Benedikt - August 19, 2020

The Husqvarna AB. Mauser Series 1100 Deluxe features a European walnut stock, a non-military...

The Rossi RB22M .22 WMR bolt-action rifle features a synthetic stock, a crossbolt safety, and a detachable five-round magazine. The rifle comes with scope mount bases installed.Rossi RB22M .22 WMR Rifle Review Rifles

Rossi RB22M .22 WMR Rifle Review

Joel J. Hutchcroft - July 10, 2020

The Rossi RB22M .22 WMR bolt-action rifle features a synthetic stock, a crossbolt safety, and...

Like situational ethics, standards of accuracy vary according to circumstances.Accuracy: It's All Relative How-To

Accuracy: It's All Relative

Terry Wieland - May 09, 2019

Like situational ethics, standards of accuracy vary according to circumstances.

The Remington Model 700 PCR is a long-range rig built for punching paper, ringing steel, and hammering hogs, deer, and coyotes.Remington Model 700 PCR Review Rifles

Remington Model 700 PCR Review

Sam Wolfenberger - April 15, 2019

The Remington Model 700 PCR is a long-range rig built for punching paper, ringing steel, and...

See More Trending Articles

More Reloading

By cleverly increasing the parent cartridge's powder capacity, the .30-06 Ackley Improved wildcat provides higher velocities.Handloading the .30-06 Ackley Improved Reloading

Handloading the .30-06 Ackley Improved

Lane Pearce - February 21, 2020

By cleverly increasing the parent cartridge's powder capacity, the .30-06 Ackley Improved...

Because case prep is the most time-consuming step in the handloading process, we say any tool that makes it easier is a bargain.Case Prep Made Easy Reloading

Case Prep Made Easy

Lane Pearce - May 29, 2020

Because case prep is the most time-consuming step in the handloading process, we say any tool...

The Winchester WinClean 244 is a nice addition to Winchester's handgun powders.Winchester WinClean 244 Ball Powder Reloading

Winchester WinClean 244 Ball Powder

Brad Miller, PhD - February 14, 2020

The Winchester WinClean 244 is a nice addition to Winchester's handgun powders.

Starting the handloading process with clean brass allows the cases to be better inspected, and that enhances safety as well as the loads' performance.Reloading Tip — Start With Clean Brass Reloading

Reloading Tip — Start With Clean Brass

Lane Pearce - September 18, 2020

Starting the handloading process with clean brass allows the cases to be better inspected, and...

See More Reloading

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Shooting Times App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Shooting Times subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now