Best Reloading Manuals – 2020 Ultimate Top Picks

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Are you looking for the best reloading manual? If so, you will want to find one with clear instructions and that pertains to the kind of rounds you’re trying to reload. Whether you’re getting rounds for your rifle or pistol, you'll save money by reloading your own rounds as opposed to buying new boxes of ammo that will set you back hundreds of dollars.

If you are reloading your ammo, you’ll need a how-to manual to teach you how to reload each round properly. Yes, reloading can be complicated and you’ll need a road map to make it easier to use your reloading press. To help you find the best reloading manual, we’ll be taking a look at the seven best reloading manuals. Each one has instructions on how to properly reload your rounds of choice.

Before we get to the list, we’ll talk about whether all reloading manuals are the same. We’ll also talk about the benefits of investing in a great manual and what makes one stand out among the rest.

Comparison Chart of the Best Reloading Manuals

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Hornady- Handbook of Cartridge Reloading 10th Edition

  • Best overall reloading manual.
  • Beginner level instruction manual.
  • Over 1000 pages of information regarding Hornady brand bullets, reloading instructions, and other relevant data.
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LYMAN - 50th Edition Reloading Handbook

  • Beginner-level instructional manual.
  • Runner up for best overall reloading manual.
  • Reloading manual for most rifle rounds like the Creedmoor 6.5, 17 Hornet, etc.
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Sierra Bullet Inc. - Reloading Manual - 5th Edition and Infinity Software Version 7

  • Beginner-level manual.
  • Best reloading manual for the money.
  • Includes computer software for your PC.
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Zediker Publishing - Handloading for Competition

  • Beginner-level manual.
  • Designed for competitive shooters.
  • Best reloading manuals for beginners.
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Lee Precision - Modern Reloading Manual 2nd Edition

  • Beginner-level manual.
  • Best reloading manual for handguns.
  • Features Easy to understand instructions and full-color illustrations.
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Nosler Inc.- Reloading Manual -8th Edition

  • Best reloading manual for .300 Blackout rounds.
  • It comes with updated instructions for most cartridges.
  • Beginner-level manual with clear instructions and illustrations.
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Gun Guides - Reloading Guide for 223 Remington & 22-250 Remington Calibers

  • Beginner level manual.
  • Best for .223 reloading.
  • It offers over 1,000 different reloading methods and techniques.
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Are All Reloading Manuals The Same?

The short answer: no. The reason they are not the same is due to a few things. One, there are manuals written for reloading specific rounds. This means that there will be different types of instructions and reloading methods for each type of round.

Another thing to note is that the instructions may pertain to a certain type of reloading press. One manual might explain how to use a single-stage press and another might give you the down-low on progressive reloading presses. Most manuals have similar instructions, but there are some major differences that are enough of a reason to say that they are not all the same.

Benefits of Investing in a Great Manual 

There are some benefits you’ll enjoy if you decide to invest in a great reloading manual. You have the choice between being able to quickly learn how to reload your ammo by using a manual or dealing with the constant struggle and frustration that goes with “winging it”. Here are some advantages you might enjoy if you invest in a manual:

You Can Reload Your Ammo Quickly

One of the biggest advantages of reloading your ammo is being able to crank out a bunch of rounds. Depending on which reloading press you use, you can load many rounds in a single hour. That also depends on the type of rounds you’re looking to reload and the type of press you are using. If you use a progressive reloading press, you might be able to reload 1000 pistol rounds in a single hour (depending on your skill).

You’ll Have a Better Understanding on How to Reload Your Rounds

These manuals have easy to understand and easy to follow instructions on how to reload. If you get a manual that pertains to the type of rounds you’re loading, you’ll have a step-by-step guide on how to properly reload your rounds each and every time.

You should consider your manual to be a road map. You will get from point A to point B much easier. Without a manual, you’ll simply be trying to reload without knowing what you’re doing.

You’ll Always Have it When You Need it

There will be a time you’ll get the hang of reloading your shots and it may get to the point where you don't need to use your manual. However, you should still keep it around in case you need to make a few changes. Odds are, there are instructions you can follow if you want to learn something new or make some modifications to your reloading method.

What Makes a Great Reloading Manual

There are a few characteristics and features that make a reloading manual stand out over the rest. Before you choose a manual for your own, you need to know what they are so you can choose the right one for all your reloading needs. Here are some of the characteristics you should look for:

What Type of Rounds Will You Reload?

There are manuals that pertain to reloading a certain type of round. If you’re looking to reload AR-15 rounds, find a manual that will give instructions on how to reload those types of rounds. Pistol rounds? There’s a manual for that. You also need to be aware that there are some manuals on how to reload rounds of a certain caliber. Be sure to note which caliber you use so you can find the appropriate manual.

Easy to Understand Instructions

Reloading your ammo may become a frustrating task if you don’t understand the process or don’t know what you’re doing. You’ll need a manual that is well-written but without vague and hard to understand information. Another added bonus would be to find instructions with clear illustrations that demonstrate how the task is done. 

What Expertise Level Are You?

There are different types of manuals that will fit a range of knowledge levels. There are manuals for those who are at a beginner-level and have never reloaded ammo in their life. Also, you can get a manual that is written for intermediate or even expert-level reloaders. It’s important to choose a manual that will best fit your expertise. Once you get an honest evaluation of your expertise, then you can “level” up and get another manual to take on more complex tasks.

Review of the Best Reloading Manuals

The following is a list of the seven best reloading manuals currently the most popular on the market. As you go through this list, it’s important to find out which one will best fit your personal reloading needs and preferences.

Remember, not all manuals are the same, so you’ll need to find one to fit the round-type, caliber, and knowledge level that best fits you. Now, let’s take a look at the “best overall” reloading manual on our list:

Pros

  • Beginner-Friendly
  • No Fluffy or Vague Writing
  • Easy to Understand Instructions
  • Everything is Illustrated  
  • Covers Many Bases and Commonly Asked Questions Often Asked By New Users

Cons

  • Might Be a Little Lengthy, Especially for a Beginner's Manual
  • Some of the Instructions May Be Hard to Understand
  • A Little Bit on the Heavy Side, But Comes With the Territory of Being a Large Manual

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of recent buyers were able to easily read through the instructions of this manual. They reloaded their ammo and were able to understand the information presented. One user said the instructions were easy to understand and he was able to learn pretty quickly to reload a few rounds he wanted to use for his rifles.

Why it Stands Out To Us

This manual is thick, full of information, and might be one of the best manuals for beginner-level reloaders. It covers a wide range of calibers and round types and describes how to perfectly make each one, along with its relevant data like velocity, bullet drop, and so on. The rounds it covers are of every type and caliber that the Hornady brand manufactures.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be used mostly by users who are just starting out with reloading ammo. Since it covers a wide range of calibers and types, it is close to a universal manual. It’s a great starter manual that will help you learn the ins and outs of reloading your own ammo.

What Could Be Improved and Why

A possible improvement would be to make some of the more complicated tasks of this manual a little easier to understand. This way, a beginner might struggle or feel confused about the instructions themselves. Granted, the language might be clear but an illustration or some plain English might be appreciated.

Bottom Line

If you want a beginner-level manual from one of the best in the business, the Hornady Handbook Of Cartridge Reloading might be exactly what you’re looking for. This has all the reloading instructions and other pertinent information you’ll need to understand the ammo types and calibers you’re reloading on a regular basis.

Pros

  • Easy to Understand Data Regarding Bullets
  • Easy to Understand Instructions for Beginners
  • Illustrations are Easy to Understand and Are in Color
  • Excellent for AR-15 Users Who Want to Reload Their Ammo rounds
  • Features Articles Discussing the Important Parts and Accessories of a Rifle

Cons

  • Some Say the Articles Might Be a Little Lengthy
  • Some Complained that the Information Isn’t Up-to-Date
  • Hard Time Understanding Some of the Instructions

What Recent Buyers Report

Most recent buyers were owners of many rifles from bolt-action to AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. A handful of them were long-range hunters and competitive shooters. They were able to understand the reloading instructions, along with the other pertinent information relevant to their type of rounds.

Why it Stands Out To Us

Reloading rifle rounds (especially cartridges designed for long-range travel) is quite interesting. Plus, they might be one of the most challenging, as well. But thankfully, this manual is the closest that you can get to something that’s easy to understand. It makes something that looks complex on paper easier. It’s a road map to reloading rifle ammo and also has information that gives you a better understanding of how your rifle works.

Who Will Use This Most

This will mostly be used by rifle owners ranging from your heavy-hitting, bolt-action rifles to your AR-15 semi-automatics that have the potential to do some damage from long range. Either way, it’s a manual that will not only give you sound instructions on how to reload but will also make you an expert on the kind of rifle you rely on for your application of choice.

What Could Be Improved and Why

One of the major complaints some users mentioned is that the information may not be up-to-date. There are some newly made rounds and powders that have hit the market between the 49th and this current edition (50th) of the manual. So, some new information should be added to account for these.

Bottom Line
If you own a rifle that can do some damage, you can learn how to reload the rounds you need to reach out and touch targets from long distances. The Lyman 50th Edition Reloading Manual is filled with all the information you’ll need on your rifle of choice, the rounds you use, and everything in between.

Pros

  • Affordable for Most Budgets
  • Software is Windows-Compatible and Easy to Install
  • Easy to Understand Instructions 
  • Instructions are Clearly Written and Video Quality is Quite Decent on the CD-ROM
  • Gives Simple Terminology Regarding the Use of Your Rifle and Information About Your Bullets

Cons

  • Some of the Instructions Might Be Hard to Understand
  • Software Installation May Not Be Compatible With Mac Computers
  • Depending on Some of Your PC Specs, the Videos May Not Be of the Best Quality

What Recent Buyers Report

Most recent buyers were able to follow along with the videos and instructions on the software. They were also able to follow along with the hard copy of the manual. Either way, they got jam-packed value out of it and were able to learn how to reload their pistol or rifle rounds of choice.

Why it Stands Out To Us

This includes not just your standard hard copy manual, but it also includes software that will take you beyond the manual itself. In parts of the software, you'll be required to refer to your manual. Aside from the usual reloading instructions, you'll have an even deeper understanding of how some pistols and rifles work.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be used mostly by those who are simply learning how to reload their rounds (be it pistols or rifles). It doesn’t matter what caliber or type you’re using, you’ll have easy to understand and clearly written instructions that will help you go from a “know nothing” to a “know something” kind of reloader. You’ll have all kinds of resources at your disposal with the manual and software.

What Could Be Improved and Why

The software should be compatible with other operating systems, including Macs. Keep in mind, not everyone is a fan of Windows. Another thing that should be considered is to keep the software consistently up-to-date using resources online. This way, users can keep up on the latest information, reloading methods, and other pertinent information.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a heck of a deal, Sierra Bullets Reloading Manual + Software are a great combo to have. Especially if you’re learning how to reload almost any round that you want for your rifle or pistol. Easy to understand, interactive, and beginner-friendly, this might be the best thing you’ll invest in without breaking the bank.

Pros

  • Easy to Understand Instructions and Illustrations
  • Best Used for Those Who Own High-Powered Rifles
  • Illustrations Are in Full-Color and Provide Easy Demonstrations
  • It Allows Users to Be Creative With How They Make Their Rounds
  • Excellent for Competitive Shooters Who Want to Reload Their Own Rounds

Cons

  • It Might Be a Little Longer for Some Users
  • Some of the Instructions Might Be a Little Vague
  • The Writing Might Be a Little Difficult for Some Readers

What Recent Buyers Report

Most new buyers have had no prior experience with reloading their own ammo. Thus, the manual was a must-have for them. They were satisfied with how clear most of the instructions were. The illustrations were easy to understand and gave users a good idea of how to get even some of the most complex tasks done.

Why it Stands Out To Us

This manual is an easy to understand guide for beginners to use while they’re trying to reload their high-powered rifle rounds. The instructions and illustrations are well-written, easy to understand, and well laid out. While it aims to instruct competitive shooters, it has also gained some brownie points among hunters.

Who Will Use This Most

This will likely be used by those who have no clue how to reload their own ammo. But rest assured, they’ll understand the gist of it all by the time they get through a good chunk of this manual. Competitive shooters and even hunters will be able to benefit from the manual’s instructions.

What Could Be Improved and Why

One of the things that could be improved is to make sure most of the instructions are plain English. Unfortunately, the number one complaint about this manual was that the writing was a little hard to read. While the author is doing his best to explain how to do certain tasks, he could have used a plainer approach.

Bottom Line

If you want a reloading manual for use by beginners with no prior knowledge of reloading, the Zediker Publishing Handloading for Competition Manual will probably be your cup of tea. You don’t have to be a competitive shooter in order to get your hands on this but it will give you the best understanding of how to reload your rounds and be creative with the process.

Pros

  • Illustrations are Clear and of Excellent Quality
  • Excellent to Use as a Long-Term Reference Guide
  • Easy to Understand Instructions 
  • Perfect for Reloading A Variety of Handgun Calibers
  • The Data on the Bullet Rounds is Accurate and Up-to-Date

Cons

  • Lacks Loading Data for Some Rounds
  • Some Chapters Might Be a Little Too Long 
  • Some Instructions are Vague or Tough to Understand

What Recent Buyers Report

Most recent buyers were handgun users who were tired of having to spend money on expensive boxes of bullets. So they decided to take the plunge and learn how to reload their own. They were happy to find a manual that contained easy to understand instructions and illustrations. Soon, they had a firm grasp on how reloading worked and knew how to reload their pistol rounds using a single-stage press. One user was surprised by how quickly he was able to reload an entire magazine of 9 mm rounds.

Why it Stands Out To Us

This manual also covers some rifle rounds. But it placed a heavy emphasis on handgun rounds. The manual was long but filled with instructions and tips on reloading your pistol rounds. Also included are tabs, which are best used for quick access whenever you need specific information on things like data for velocity or speed for certain rounds.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be used mostly by handgun users. It is a beginner-level manual, so it is definitely directed toward those who have no idea what they’re doing, in regards to loading. Once they plow through this manual, they’ll have a pretty good understanding of how the entire process works.

What Could Be Improved and Why

Since this is lacking data on some rifle rounds, it would be wise to do away with this topic altogether. That way it will be a manual exclusively focused on handguns and the many calibers that come standard in pistols.

Bottom Line

If you own a handgun and want to learn a better alternative to help you save money on bullets, the Lee Precision Modern Reloading Manual will be the best guide to go with. In fact, it might be your go-to guide when it comes to reloading your rounds and using your handgun of choice.

Pros

  • Makes Reloading a Lot Easier, Even for Beginners
  • Information is Up-to-Date With the Latest Powders and Cartridges
  • Easily Helps You Distinguish Sub-Sonic Rounds From Supersonic Rounds
  • Easy to Understand Instructions and Illustrations Were Easy to Understand, as Well
  • Gives Additional, Relevant Information on the Rifles That Accept .300 Blackout Rounds

Cons

  • Some Instructions are Either Vague or Unclear
  • Some Parts of the Manual Lack Some Illustrations
  • Some of the Writing Might Be Hard to Understand or Read

What Recent Buyers Report

Most recent buyers were users of the .300 Blackout cartridges. For the most part they were satisfied with the instructions and found them clear and easy to read. The illustrations were perfect examples which demonstrated some of the most complicated tasks. One user said he felt more comfortable reloading his own .300 Blackout rounds after reading through the manual.

Why it Stands Out To Us

The .300 Blackout rounds have grown in popularity over the last few years. So it’s no surprise that by now a reloading manual has been published. For a cartridge that has gained quite a following over the years, it might be high time for those who want to learn how to reload these. It’s also an AR-15 user's dream because they can go quite fast and travel some pretty ridiculous distances.

Who Will Use This Most

This is a manual for .300 Blackout users who want to try their hand at reloading their own rounds. While .300 Blackout rounds are popular, they usually don’t come cheap (especially the higher-end cartridges). Even with the hefty price tag, they’re still flying off the shelves. This will give users a chance to get a little creative with one of the fastest-growing cartridges on the market.

What Could Be Improved and Why

One thing to improve would be to clean up some of the text so it’s a little clearer to understand. Some of the sections which lack illustrations should have them added, especially when there are some users having a hard time with some of the tasks that come with reloading these types of rounds.

Bottom Line

If you use .300 Blackout rounds and want to learn how to reload them on your own, the Nosler Inc. Reloading Manual will definitely serve you well in the long run. Why be one of the many shooters that grab expensive boxes of these rounds off the shelves when you can make your own and not worry about being left out when all the products sell out?

Pros

  • Makes for a Great Reference Manual
  • Short and to the Point, Only 58 Pages
  • Easy to Understand Reloading Instructions
  • It Provides Easy to Understand and Clear Illustrations
  • Writing is Clear and Easy to Read, Not a Lot of Fluff

Cons

  • Binding Might Be a Little Flimsy
  • Some of the Grayscale Images Might Be Hard to See
  • Some of the Instructions Might Be Hard to Understand

What Recent Buyers Report

Most recent buyers were satisfied with this manual. It was short, sweet, to the point, and offered a lot of value. It offered so many reloading methods for .223 users, one user said he still can’t decide which one will be best for him. He’s tried a few already and walked away happy.

Why it Stands Out To Us

This short manual covers a lot of information regarding the .223 caliber round. It’s among one of the more popular types used by AR-15 users. Yes, there are those who will pledge allegiance to the 5.56 NATO rounds, but the .223 have retained a vigorous following over the years.

Who Will Use This Most

This manual will obviously be used by those who are AR-15 users and have rifles compatible with .223 rounds. It will definitely give these users a leg-up in reloading their own rounds as opposed to buying a box that can run them over hundreds of dollars. Why pay more every time when you can just make a box at home?

What Could Be Improved and Why

While most of the illustrations are grayscaled, some are a little brighter than they should be. This makes it hard to see for most users, especially those who might be dealing with some eyesight issues while reading. Either darken them or make them into full-color illustrations (if necessary).

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a manual that will easily show you how to reload your own .223 rounds, the Gun-Guides Reloading Guide For .223 is exactly what you’ll need. This manual is definitely a must-have for the avid AR-15 owner and enthusiast.

Conclusion

These reloading manuals are, by far, the best on the market. One of them might be ideal for you regardless of which round type you intend to reload. Find one that will be the best fit for you and be sure that it's easy to understand and follow along with. Even if you get the hang of reloading your own ammo, you should keep these manuals as reference guides. Who knows? You may learn something new each time you open it.

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