Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading 8th Edition
Date: Sep 01 2011
You can never have too much data or too many information resources when it comes to handloading. Current resources are just as important as is variety. Why? Things change. Over time, powder manufacturers tweak their propellants so that they perform better or more consistently. This can alter burn rates. Bullet manufacturers are no different. The bullet jacket and core can be altered to influence internal, external and terminal ballistics. Few products are perfect enough in their first iteration to never need at least slight tuning. The latest manuals can reflect these changes.
For 2011, Hornady introduced its eighth edition of the Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading. This is a hard cover book with 1,066 pages. It contains a mass of data for 162 rifle cartridges and 73 handgun cartridges. Old classic rifle cartridges like the .218 Bee, 7x61mm Sharpe & Hart, .33 Winchester and .404 Jeffery are included, as well as more modern cartridges like the .20 Tactical, .30 Remington AR and .50 Beowulf. The available data on handgun cartridges is just as diverse.
New manuals are also important because they can contain data for new products. Hornady worked with Hodgdon to develop the LEVERevolution and Superformance lines of factory ammunition. These munitions use special new powders, some of which are now available to handloaders from Hodgdon. The new Hornady manual contains data for these powders as well as Hornady’s latest bullets like the FTX, GMX, DGS and DGX.
The book also contains the obligatory chapters on why you should reload as well as detailed coverage of the basic steps involved. A very informative chapter is also devoted to external ballistics. In the back of the book, you’ll find an illustrated glossary along with a detailed reference section offering information on shell-holder compatibility, Hornady dies, powder bushings and several conversion tables. This is indeed a complete volume.
My favorite section of the book is the “Bullet Guide,” which is something I think every bullet manufacturer should include on its website and in its loading manuals. This 33-page section provides detailed data on every bullet Hornady manufacturers. This includes diameter, weight, ballistic coefficient, sectional density and a matrix listing whether the bullet is suitable for targets or game animals by size.
The best feature in this section is what’s listed as the “Muzzle Velocity Range.” This information is intended to provide handloaders with a range of velocity within which the bullet will deliver the terminal performance it was designed for. For example, the 90-grain, .257-caliber GMX bullet is listed as having a velocity range of 2,000 to 3,800 fps. As a handloading hunter, you can take this to mean the bullet will expand and penetrate as designed if it impacts the target at a velocity between these two extremes.