Monday, January 07, 2008

Reloading, HELP!

Reloading is one of those things that some folks really geek out on, that is, they really get into the "art" of reloading and try to develop the "perfect" load for whatever gun and purpose they have in mind. God bless them, though I'm not one of them, I really am happy that they are around since they usually like to share the information that they have gathered over thThe image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.e years. The interwebs is the perfect forum for sharing, so we have in these wonderful modern times a multitude of places to find info on loads. I thought I'd share a few.

First up is the powder manufacturers. I don't recommend taking information from less than trusted sources unless you can check it against the manufacturers, so this is the start. Most of the powder manufacturers have info online.
  • Hodgdon Also includes IMR & Winchester. Heavily involved in SASS
  • Vihtavuori Popular high-end powder, fast and clean
  • Alliant Old standby American Select, Green/Red/Blue dot, Unique
  • Accurate I've not used Accurate
One of the things that's helpful to know is how much this is all costing you. Reloading is nearly always cheaper than buying factory ammo, but its nice to know just how much you save. has a nice calculator so you can truly see how badly the astronomical cost of lead is hurting you. For the shotshell reloading, has a calculator for that. These are pretty self explanatory to use, just plug in the appropriate costs and load weights.

If you can't make or find load data on your own, you can look to websites like MD Smith's Reloading Pages, you'll find a lot of load data on many different cartridges. has a searchable database with load data and has even more loads. For those wanting to use Vihtavuori Powder in CAS, you can get good load data from Long Hunter, for whatever reason, Vihtavuori doesn't have a very comprehensive library of CAS cartridge loads using their powders.

As always, take care in following anyone else's advice that you don't trust, remember, most of this data is submitted by many different shooters. You certainly don't want to have a grenade in your hand when you get to the range and I certainly don't want to be the poor sap standing by you with the timer when it goes off.

All that said, to be honest, I've seldom taken load data from anyone but manufacturers and fellow shooters that I know and trust. The Long Hunter website being the lone exception and even then I had the information collaborated by a shooter at TVR.

Finally, you might be wondering what kind of energy the load you created has, well Bill St. Clair has a Muzzle Energy Calculator on his website that is very handy. For instance, I know that the .357 Magnum carry load I developed has 593fp coming out of my 2.5" snubbie. Compare that with my carry .45ACP+P Hornady TAP ammo at 461fp and I have to say that it is very satisfying to know that information. I don't necessarily endorse Mr. St.Clair's views on the world and politics, but he has a darned handy utility online.

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