If I ever wanted to see my name in print, it would be as one of the cartridge introduction authors for the Nosler Reloading Guide.
As Robert Browning would write, “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp.”
I’ve been reading the Nosler guide since the early 1980s. Being a total nerd, I purchase pretty much all the manuals every time any of them are released. I buy two of the Nosler guides. I keep one for light reading in the living room and the other for reference in the reloading shop. That’s a solid clue of how much I enjoy the manuals and just how lazy I can be.
When I say I read the Nosler Reloading Guide, I mean cover to cover. I don’t just refer to it. I recommend everyone, even the most experienced reloaders, do the same.
Like many other manuals, his one includes a step-by-step guide to reloading. You’ll read about the equipment you have to have, and what equipment you can most likely skip. Everyone should read this section to learn, or remind themselves, of the right way to do things.
The Nosler manual also includes cutaways of every bullet Nosler makes, as well as brass. The Nosler line pretty much encompasses every modern hunting bullet type, and these photos, as well as the accompanying descriptions, are helpful to understand the construction and purpose for each projectile.
There are also lots of charts. Things like relative burn rate, recommended twist rate, comparative primer reference, and energy loss tables are all included.
This 9th edition includes a brief memorial to many of the giants of the industry that we’ve lost over the last couple of years, and reminds me of this year’s passing of Jeff Quinn, the editor of Gun Blast. The longer I write about guns, the fewer gun writers I trust. Mr. Quinn was the very antithesis of this. I’ll miss reading everything he wrote…I learned something each time.
The meat of the manual is the rifle and handgun cartridge reloading data. Here’s where you’ll find the recipes for 101 different chamberings. No matter if you reload one cartridge, dozens, or none at all, every avid shooter and hunter should own a reloading manual just for this information. If you want to have any knowledge or discussion of any particular caliber, its capabilities, dimensions, and origins, this is vital data.
For the 9th edition, the Nosler Reloading Guide includes nine new cartridges, to include the five Nosler-specific chamberings, (20, 22, 24, 27, and 33 Nosler) as well as 6mm Creedmoor, 6mm XC, 6.5 PRC, and (finally!) the 7.62x39mm.
Every company’s reloading manual is a little different, and each has their strengths. Nosler’s manuals have great data and are solidly focused on the hunting applications their bullets are known for around the world. But that’s not why it’s my favorite.
Each cartridge has an introduction by someone different. This isn’t the technical description, which follows the prose introduction. These are brief backgrounds about the cartridges from the point of view of each author.
On page 600, the great Craig Boddington discusses the 8mm Remington Magnum. Iain Harrison, Editor in Chief of RECOIL magazine, pens the introduction of the 7.62X39mm on page 589. Back on page 367, writer Ron Spomer rightly points out that the short action 7mm08 is capable of launching a 175gr bullet “faster than anything Karamojo Bell got out of his 275 Rigby (7X57 Mauser).” Patrick Sweeney, one of the greatest shooters and authors I’ve ever had the honor of pulling the trigger with, pens the realities of the .458 SOCOM on page 705.
If you are just interested in the basic data, take a look online at the Nosler web site. But you won’t find any of the stories and information from the writers there. It also won’t work without internet access, and the screen gets messy when you take notes on it. At less than $30, there’s no reason not to get the hardcover guide. Or two.
And maybe, just maybe, one day we’ll see my byline in it. I won’t hold my breath for it, but a man can dream.