There are several really good books out there.
"The ABC's of Reloading"
Lyman's 48th manuel.
All of these 3 come to mind.
I suggest that some of the best money you can spend in reloading is in the data, books, and manuels.
I don't think you can go wrong with Lyman's 49th edition. It's their current edition and easily found. But many folks, like Contender, talk highly of their 48th. I just haven't been able to find myslef a copy.......yet.
you can also supplement which ever manuals you get with Hodgdon's and Alliant's online data. Print it out for the cartridges you want and start a binder.
I have only been reloading for right at a year (actually this month makes a year) and have right around 6k reloads under my belt. On the suggestion of more seasoned reloaders, I have been picking up different manuals along the way. This way, you can cross reference data to verify it. I now have 5 manuals and the online data from the powder manufactuers.
I have the Lee 2nd edition book. It has a nice tutorial section. It is geared toward Lee products however can be applied to any manufactuer's product. I personally prefer Lyman's tutorial section over the Lee tutorial.
It actually has quite a bit of load data, I think it has data for quite a few different combinations for bullet weights/powder per caliber, BUT it doesn't provide the detail that other manuals do. for example it doesn't tell the manufacturer of the bullet, which primer was used, barrel length of the test gun, etc. It will simply say 158 grain lead bullet. or 125 gr jacketed soft point.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the Lee book, I just prefer the lyman to it. Also remember there is no law saying you can only have one manual.
When folks told me to get more than one manual, I thought "why the heck do I need more than one?" I just followed their advice, and it is nice to have more on hand. Sometimes one may not have the powder/bullet combination that you want to try.
By no means am I suggesting that you have to have 2 dozen manuals before you begin. When i first started, I had the perception that some of those folks who have been at this for years, even decades forgot how it is to start out. We all have to begin somewhere and it takes time to build a library of reference material.
My suggestion........Get the book you want, better yet, spend another ~$30 and get an additional manual making it two. spend some time reading the tutorials. When you get ready to begin, print out the on-line load data from the powder manufacturers, cross reference between your resources and buy add'l manuals as you move along.
This really has turned into an enjoyable hobby all on it's own. I wish I would have started it years ago.
I taught myself to reload using the Lee 2nd edition book. I only load for handgun, so that's the only part I read. It explained things in a very simple and straightforward way, and had me loading up quality ammo in no time. Some of the load data can be a little on the light side, so I use it as a starting point, but get better data from the powder maker's website.
In reality, all the books that have been recommended are good, having a few around is a good thing. Some may be a little better than Lee's, but that doesn't mean the Lee book isn't good.
I took a different route as a beginner. I started with a Lee Loader for 45-70 and later one for a .357 so for many years, I never used a manual. The instructions and guides for the Lee Loader were all I needed. I think my wife got tired of hearing all the hammering, and finally bought me one of the Lee Anniversary Sets. I checked out a couple of manuals from the library at that point and started writing down my data in a spiral note book. I have a pretty good library of my own now ,but I still go back to that old worn spiral notebook.
I've always been partial to the Lyman 46th edition for reading purposes. Earlier Lyman manuals had so much history in them. Very enjoyable reading. It is also interesting to see how load data has changed in the past 20 years.
The 46th has lots of detail about how to reload correctly, which I believe is the key to successful reloading.
I still have to pick up the 49th edition, as the 48th has worked for me up until now. All others need to measure up to the Lyman measuring stick imo.
WG asked about load data, so I would look into either the Lyman 48th or 49th edition. I have a Borders gift card and I should just get out and get that 49th edition. I need to get the Hornady manual also.
Don't forget one can get data directly from the powder manufacturers.
Hello down in Cheyenne! I agree with the other posters about the Lyman manual. I've had the 45th edition for years. It contains lots of how-to information as well as specific cartridge load data. I think it would be great for a beginner.