Lyman’s has been my go-to reloading guide for years and for some very good reasons and when I heard about their newest, the 50th Edition Reloading Handbook, I had to check it out.
I wasn’t disappointed.
It’s clearly the most all-inclusive resource in terms of bullet types that you can find. Most guides are published either by bullet or powder manufacturers. They are marketing vehicles as much as sources of information. I suspect they are not big profit centers either. Thus by definition most will be limited in scope.
In the real world people buy powders and bullets from different sources so you’re going to want a manual that is as all-embracing as possible.
That’s where Lyman’s shines.
Of course they are not perfect in this regard. All of the cast bullets featured in the guide are from molds that Lyman sells. Thus if you’re interested in loading for a cast bullet that they don’t sell a mold for, you’re out of luck. For example, if you shoot 38 Special wadcutters, the most accurate are the HBWC, or hollow-based wadcutters and you won’t find recipes for them in this book.
Nor, will you find recipes for plated bullets, which have also become very popular.
But I digress. The value added that this guide offers greatly outweigh its limitations.
The first thing I noticed (compared to the last edition) is that the current version uses color graphics and aesthetically it’s much improved. The new edition also includes newer rifle cartridges such as 17 Hornet, 6.5 Grendel, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5-284, 26 Nosler, 28 Nosler, 300 Blackout, 300 RCM, 338 RCM, 450 Bushmaster, 458 SOCOM, and 50 Beowulf.
The Lyman folks have also rounded up some excellent writers to tackle reloading techniques and other areas of interest to reloaders. These include:
“Barrels – Looking into the Unknown” by Ryan Newport
“Advanced Case Preparation Techniques” by John Haviland
“What is a Ballistic Coefficient and How Do You Use It?” by Dave Emary and Lane Pearce
Finally, the best thing I like about this book is that it provides very specific recipe recommendations for best accuracy.
This is incredibly valuable for both beginning and advanced reloaders. For example, let’ say you are not quite sure what powder would work best for a 10mm 165 gr TMJ. Go no further, in bold print Lyman’s suggests you start with 13.5 grains of Accurate #9. Yes, they list 13 other powders, but at least you know where to begin.
Tom Griffin, the editor of the book, told me that a particular powder is recommended because it shows the most uniform numbers in terms of velocity and pressure during the testing. “That usually translates,” said Griffin “into the most accuracy”. However, it doesn’t always mean that their recommendation will be the only powder that will be the most accurate. There will certainly be others on the list that will be equally accurate. Your job is to find the formula that will work with your gun.
If you’re new to reloading, I’d definite consider this book. As a matter of fact, if you had only one reloading guide on your shelf, the Lyman’s 50th Edition Reloading Handbook would be my hands-down choice.