There are a whole lot of cartridges out there for every use under the sun. Unfortunately, there’s a lot less knowledge about them than there needs to be. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
We have a deep and authoritative knowledge base on hundreds of individual cartridges available to us. My friends, referring to reloading manuals, of course.
But they aren’t just for us decent, freedom-loving Americans who enjoy making and remaking our own ammunition. They’re out there for the rest of you
unwashed heathen to use, too.
Within the pages of various manuals, you’ll find definitive load data with thousands of different variable component combinations. With nothing other than the manuals and some basic math skills, you can compare and contrast a dizzying array of cartridges.
You can look and see what cartridges produce comparable results, despite vastly different components. Or you can compare and see how similar two differently-named cartridges really are, and why there are two such similar rounds in the first place.
Moreover, most reloading manuals include a series of charts beyond the raw loading data. These include relative burn rates of powders, universal drop tables, energy tables, and other useful data and formulas.
Even if you don’t care about the actual load data, the reloading manuals also have a detailed description of each cartridge, including measurements. Most will give you the history of the cartridge, especially if it was a cartridge developed by the manual’s publisher.
Reloading manuals often provide great information on the popular uses of each cartridges, as well as ideal loads and their performance characteristics.
Each manual is a little different. Nosler is my favorite for their descriptions and stories, often written by prominent shooters and hunters. Hornady does a great job including a large number of calibers. Sierra provides a solid history of the development of the rounds. Lyman gives the reader helpful instructions on reloading for each cartridge, as well as a wide variety of projectiles and powders. And there are many others.
If you’re only interested in one particular cartridge, (although why anyone would be is beyond me) you can save yourself some money (and shelf space) by picking up one of the “One Book/One Caliber” comprehensive manuals published by Loadbooks, USA. Those little booklets are just what they sound like, including different recipes from the major manufactures in one convenient spiral-bound booklet.
Although several companies have produced e-book versions of their manuals, I like to have the dead tree version around. After all, books still work when the power goes off.
Whether you reload your own ammunition or not, the reloading manuals are good reading, and can teach you a great deal about all kinds of ammunition and the firearms that shoot them. Pick up a reloading manual, (or if you are like me, all of them) and the next time we have a caliber war here at The Truth About Guns, you’ll have come to the battlefield well armed.