Taking the first step toward becoming a professional reloader is quite challenging. There are so many things to cover, and without anyone to show you the ropes, it can easily overwhelm you. And before you know it, you would simply quit because of its sheer complexity.
When I was first starting out with making my own bullets, I had my friends help me out. They would guide me and stop me if I was making a major mistake. And most importantly, they constantly provided the motivation that I sorely needed. But not everyone has people around them to teach them the basics of reloading.
Well, if you are struggling with this type of work, buying the best reloading manual can make things easier. No, I do not mean the manual that comes with your reloader. I am talking about a standalone manual that shows you all the intricacies that comes with this line of work.
As it turns out, there are quite a few options out there if you do decide to buy a reloading manual. And if you would rather have the manual on your phone where you can look it up any time, most of these options come with a digital version, too.
In this article, I will give you a quick rundown of some of the best reloading books that you can buy to help you learn all the tricks of reloading efficiently. So, without further ado, let us get started.
Top 7 Best Reloading Manual Reviews
I already said how there are many helpful books to help you get a head-start in reloading. But not all of them might be suitable for you. You need to think about your skill level and knowledge before you settle on a specific option.
With that said, here are a few of the best ammo reloading manuals that can make your life a lot easier as a reloader.
1. Lyman 50th Edition Reloading Handbook Hardcover
To make reloading easier for both beginners and veterans, the brand Lyman decided to revise and update their Reloading Handbook Hardcover. In fact, it is the 50th edition of this book, and seeing as how long they have been printing it, it must be doing something right.
This book comes with valuable information on reloading a wide range of bullet calibers. In this edition, you will find reloading tips for newer cartridges such as 17 Hornet, 6.5 Grendel, 450 Bushmaster, etc., as well as all the classics that made it in the earlier iteration of the book.
You can pick up this book both as a softcover and a hardcover if you want to get some advanced tips on how to reload, case preparation techniques, or use ballistics coefficient. Reloading can be an intimidating thing for newcomers, but with this book, things become a lot more accessible.
- Contains updated information on many topics
- Easy for beginners to follow
- Includes reloading instructions for recent cartridges
- Comes at a good price
- It might not be the best choice for experienced reloaders
2. Hornady 99240 Reloading Manual
If you love Hornady cartridges, then the Handbook of Cartridge Reloading by Hornady might just be the best investment you could make. They have been a key player in the gun industry for quite a while now. This handbook is their way of giving back to the community by providing detailed guidelines for reloaders.
Now, let me be clear about one thing; for a newcomer, this might not be the best option out there. While I had no trouble following along with the information because of my years of experience in reloading, I think a beginner might find it a bit too hard and complicated to follow. It does not cover the basics too well.
That being said, the information it does provide is extremely detailed. Although it addresses only Hornady cartridges, with this book, you can take your skills to the next level with that specific cartridge. The book is split up into two sections, the theory of reloading and a compilation of load data. But I won’t spoil anything else so that you can enjoy it for yourself when you go through it the first time.
- Amazing choice for experienced reloaders
- Contains actual test data
- Contains information of over 200 calibers and 300 bullets
- Includes a lot of safety tips
- Not exactly beginner-friendly
3. The Beginner’s Guide to Reloading Ammunition By Steven Gregersen
Reloading has a huge learning curve which is the main reason why many people still prefer buying ammunition over learning it. Whenever I am talking to a beginner about reloading, I always mention this book by Steven Gregersen. I feel like it covers the basics extremely well and helps you learn the ropes one step at a time.
I really love how easy it is to follow along with the information contained in The Beginner’s Guide to Reloading Ammunition. The author took a very simple approach to explain stuff like primers, gun powders, casing cartridges, etc. and included helpful teaching tools like pictures to make things as easy as possible.
But the issue here is that a reloader with a decent bit of experience would already know about these things. So, a seasoned reloader might not find it that much of an attractive read. For a beginner, though, this can be a solid starting point in his journey to becoming a top reloader.
- Perfect for beginners
- Comes at an affordable price
- Available both as paperback and kindle
- The information is easy to follow
- Not for experienced reloaders
4. Sierra 5th Edition Rifle Handgun Reloading Manual Books
As you can see by now, there are quite a few good manuals for reloaders of all skill levels. While I do like a beginner-level manual as I feel that it is important for newcomers to feel comfortable with it, for myself, I would prefer something with a bit more substance.
That’s why I am recommending the Sierra 5th Edition Rifle Handgun Reloading Manual Books. This book compiles load data provided by many powder companies so that you can easily stay up to date with the improvements in the reloading world.
You will get all the latest updates about exclusive pressure or velocity factors to help you calculate them for reduced loads. If you are a newcomer, though, you might already know that this book is not the perfect pickup for you.
It caters to seasoned reloaders who know what they are doing and helps them keep track of new data. The data is also illustrated with nice drawings to make things easier to understand.
- Extremely informative and handy manual
- Contains a lot of practical ideas
- Perfect for experienced reloaders
- Clear diagrams and drawings
- Only available as hardcover
5. LEE PRECISION 2021 Modern Reloading Manual 2nd Edition
The LEE Precision 2021 Modern Reloading Manual 2nd Edition is a must-read for any would-be reloaders. It offers a clear and concise guideline for newcomers and a couple of advanced data that can come in handy for experienced gunsmiths. So whichever category you fall into, this one is a no-brainer.
It covers a large selection of bullets from popular manufacturers like Hornady, Barnes, Remington, etc., along with all of the common cartridges such as 458 SOCOM, 6.5 Grendel, and 50 Beowulf, to name a few. Since it came out pretty recently, the information and data are pretty updated.
This book contains information on up to 28000 loads and covers around 167 cartridges. So, you can be pretty sure that the information you want is listed here somewhere. It is a crowd-favorite manual for experienced and newbie reloaders alike.
- Covers a large variety of loads and cartridges
- Suitable for both beginners and experienced users
- Covers even the rarer variety of cartridges
- Clear and concise writing
- No information on standard or magnum primers
6. The ABCs of Reloading: The Definitive Guide for Novice to Expert
If I am talking about beginner books on reloading, I cannot overlook the ABCs of Reloading. Many reloaders started out on their path to reloading, thanks to this book. Sure, the information might seem dated to today’s standards, but the basic idea of this book is extremely well-put.
The book comes with thousands of detailed illustrations and a step-by-step rundown of the reloading steps to make sure you can polish out the basics of reloading. Those who have been reloading for some time know how complicated things can get. But this book simplifies a lot of it.
Of course, since the book aims toward novices, a seasoned reloader might not get much use out of it. It shows you the correct steps and puts a lot of focus on safety tips. So, if you are just starting out with this type of work, this can be a great investment to make things slightly easier for you.
- Easy instructions to follow
- Best reloading manual for beginners
- Puts a lot of focus on the basics
- Includes a lot of illustrations
- The information is a bit dated and requires an update.
7. The Practical Guide to Reloading Ammunition
As a reader, I often find informative manuals a bit too boring to get through. But when I first read The Practical Guide to Reloading Ammunition by Tom McHale, I was pretty amazed at how his humorous writing style made it a much more enjoyable experience.
Keep in mind, though, this is another one of those books catered toward a beginner. While it does have advanced tips on equipment options, the main idea of the book is to provide newcomers with a detailed step-by-step guideline on the reloading process. There are a lot of pictures here, too, for reference.
That is not to say that a seasoned reloader will not find it worth a read. This manual is always a fun read for anyone who has an interest in reloading. The only downside to this book is that it was published in 2017, and since then, a lot of things have changed in this sector that is not covered in this book.
- A very enjoyable reading experience
- Offers a good guideline for beginners
- Includes practical knowledge about reloading
- Available as hardcover, paperback, and kindle
- The data needs a revision
The Bottom Line
If you want to make your own bullets instead of buying new ammunition any time you run out, then make sure you invest in a good reloading manual. These manuals contain a lot of useful information and tricks that can make things a lot less hectic.
Even a veteran reloader can learn a thing or two from the right book. I hope my list of the best reloading manual could help you figure out which book or books are worth a read. Good luck!
Larry, who is a family man and a gun enthusiast, enjoys keeping his collection in pristine condition. He also likes to take his kids shooting as often as possible.