Loading Manual Question


Well-Known Member
Jan 7, 2010
Central Maine
I recently purchased the Speer manual and they encourage you (about a million times) to purchase the manual put out by the bullet manufacturer you will be using as each bullet is different, yadah-yadah danger yadah-yadah.

Since I plan to load HORNADY, SIERRA, NOSLER AND SPEER bullets going forward:
Is their suggestion just B.S.?
If I do pick up another one or two manuals which would you not be without?

You are better off using either bullet manufactur specific manuals or manuals from powder manufacters.Some bullets like faster or slower twists or slower fps like the .224 50gr sxsp from Hornady that will explode at speeds over 3500fps or to fast of a twist.gun)
Typically I try and gather data from three sources. Some from reloading books, powder manufacturers website or phone call, and a call to the bullet manufacturer. This gives me a better idea of what I want to accomplish and realistic expectations.

As far as books, I have Sierra, Hornady, Nosler, Speer and Barnes. My favorites are Sierra and between Hornady and Nosler. Hornady has a pretty good reloading section.
You could go to ReloadersNest.com and see what others are using to get ideas, or pick up QuickLoad software, and rake the manuals into the trash can.

Never used a manual,, never needed to.
My basis? Nobody on this earth can actually predict anything about YOUR load, in YOUR barrel. And this is why, no matter what, you always work up.
You always set YOUR seating depth, and you always set YOUR tension & shoulder bump. You measure & trim brass based on YOUR chamber. You pick the primers, and measure YOUR velocities.
You'll be doing this no matter what any manual might say about it.
so what your post is saying is partialy true but you need data from a manual reloadernest (a great place to start).But you can not just pick a powder load it in a case and not expect it to blow the gun up.It sounds like 264junkie is just getting started into reloading and needs some data and guidence to get started.Once he is confident in what he is doing then he can start playing with OAL neck tension case lengthand every thing else.gun)
"Is their suggestion just B.S.?"

Basically, yes. As Mikecr suggests, all loading data is generic by bullet weight and powder type. No manual maker's load info is any better than any other so far as expecting their results will match ours. There is NO component change we can make that has a great an impact as our individual weapon. The ONE rule we can't safely change is to start low and only move up to book max unless/until we encounter pressure signs before getting there.

"If I do pick up another one or two manuals which would you not be without?"

I have a couple dozen manuals, maybe more. I try to keep a current Lyman and Hodgedon, mostly for keeping up with new powders and new cartridges.

I've been doing this since '65, never looked at a book OAL and never expect to. Most of the older manuals, and a few current ones don't specifically list OAL so that's no justification for buying a particular book as some on the web have suggested.
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Robster, I never suggested he do anything stupid.
What I'm pointing out is that load manuals can be taken about as literally as anyone's suggestion, a guess, a post, or the loads listed on powder cans..
Just as long as he works up from low(ALWAYS), and measures his ammo & chamber, he'll do fine without manuals.
He could search/ask here for every answer in the world. There are really good books about reloading, that don't presume ammo specifications. Truly, these should be read before loading, regardless of reference.

Look at all the recent posts with people stuck on assumptive values listed in their manuals.
To me, these are reloaders who would do better to pick up a tool & learn, -than blindly comply.
Ultimately, they can't hold a reference accountable for THEIR actions.
Well Junkie, there you have it. Definatley both ends of the spectrum on that one. None of us know your experience level, that's something you'll have to gauge. There is plenty of info on the internet, some accurate, some close to accurate, and some way off so be careful and cautious. Yes, I probably have more manuals than I really need, but I pay attention to all of them. They all have good information that can be used.

Probably the main thing for you or anyone, research what you want to reload, and make sure the info is coming from a reputable and safe source. Also, don't be afraid to buy another book or two if you think it will help.
Mikecr, I reread your post and my reply sorry did not mean to go off on you alot of people don`t have crony`s and the fancy stuff just starting out that we have.thats why I sugested a few different manuals to start especialy with all the new powders out there.
Mike you're correct again.

I know a guy who bought a new M70 in .22-250 a couple years back. He used Barnes bullets and the mid-range charge of Varget the Barne's manual suggested. Seemed a logical starting approach, right? Wrong. That "mid-range" charge blows primer WW pockets, badly.

Start low and only work up....etc. Especially so for any new to you rifle!
.. better off having the info and not needing it, then not having it and needing it.. some learn the hard way, some learn the smart way.. and some just dont give a blank.. :D
Hey everyone Thank You!!!
As always a great resource for information and opinion but always in good taste.
Good to hear everyone agrees on the START LOW AND WORK YOUR WAY UP rule.
It is true..I'm new to the hobby/addiction that is reloading...Just starting with (you guessed it) my 264 Win. Mag. Soon to be followed by 22-250, 257 Robts. & 40S&W.
My next purchase will probably be the Hornady manual as I'm finding they offer a nice selection and seem to get constant good marks.

Again, thank you and hope to see you all through the forums in the years to come.

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