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Hornaday Handbook of Cartridge Reloading

Updated on October 1, 2014

An Invaluable Reference for Reloaders

The "Hornaday Handbook of Cartridge Reloading" is a valuable reference for any reloader working with Hornaday's extensive line of bullets. The 8th Edition comprises a 1,066 page reference for virtually, if not all, commercial cartridges, including both rifle and handgun cartridges. The suite of calibers range from 17 to 50, from the 17 MACH IV to the 50 BMG.

Each caliber includes a variety of bullet weights, with tabulated data for a selection of powders for each weight. Each table consists of a selection of powders, with incremental powder weights and corresponding velocities for each powder reported.

As such, the "Hornaday Handbook of Cartridge Reloading" represents a valuable reference for any reloader trying to develop a load for a given rifle.

An Invaluable Reference

Every reloader needs a starting point to develop a "recipe" specific to their firearm. The "Hornaday Handbook of Cartridge Reloading" provides a wealth of valuable information necessary to develop those recipes.

Basic Cartridge Information - Cartridge Specific

For each cartridge in the "Hornaday Handbook of Cartridge Reloading", a brief description of the cartridge is presented, together with the pertinent SAAMI specifications for that cartridge. In addition, pertinent details regarding the test rifle from which the data were obtained is listed, together with Key Reloading data (Bullet Diameter, Maximum Cartridge Overall Length (C.O.L), Maximum Case Length and Case Trim Length.

Test Results - Required to develop YOUR formula

For each cartridge, a series of tabulated data for a number of available Hornaday brand bullet weights are presented. The data comprise a selection of powders available and recommended for that combination of cartridge and bullet weight. For each powder weight, the velocities (as documented by chronograph) are documented, with the final column on the right (highlighted in a red box) representing the maximum recommended load for that rifle, the bullet weight and the given powder being tested.

Above each table is the specific Hornaday designation for each of the available Hornaday brand bullets for that weight, together with the Sectional Density, bullet diameter, Ballistic Coefficient and Cartridge Overall Length (C.O.L.) for each bullet.

Hornaday Handbook of Cartridge Reloading - Indispensable for the Serious Reloader

Hornady Cartridge Reloading Handbook, 8th Edition
Hornady Cartridge Reloading Handbook, 8th Edition

There are several reloading manuals that are indispensable for the serious reloader. Hornaday's Handbook of Cartridge Reloading is definitely one of the better manuals, covering a wide range of powders to aid one in choosing which one will give the best results for the Hornaday bullet selected.

I have found the "recipes" I have used to be very close to those in the manual Having said that, however, one must always work up toward the suggested maximum load, both to find the best load for a specific rifle and due to the fact that all chambers are subtly different, even in the same caliber rifle. To avoid an over-pressure "incident", always test each recipe, starting about 10% below the recommended load.


Additional Resources for Reloading - Highly Recommended

The following books are highly recommended resources for reloading.

Whether you are new to reloading or well experienced, it is strongly recommended to refer to at least three credible sources for their recommendations regarding powder weight for a given bullet weight and powder. In my opinion, the "Hornaday Handbook of Cartridge Reloading" is a well researched and highly credible source for load data to develop a specific load a given firearm.

What are your thoughts?

Thank you for your interest in my lense. Please feel free to leave a comment on my lense, the "Hornaday Handbook of Cartridge Reloading" and/or reloading in general.

Also, visit the list of my other lenses below to see if there might be further material of interest.

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    • CraftyDaddy profile image


      5 years ago

      I like the simple terms you use to help folks understand a little better. I used to sit in the garage with my Dad when I was a kid, learning how to reload. He taught me his safest way to load, the NoBozo method of powder choice. We never got around to the lessons on how everything affects everything, and tuning things for better accuracy. He was more concerned with me learning how to make a safe load for practice than anything else. Good lens.


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