Lyman have been manufacturing their metallic sights and handloading gear since fixed (metallic) ammunition became popular late in the 19th century. It was no surprise then when they published their 51st edition earlier last year. Their manuals contain data for both rifle and handgun cartridges, but this reviewer, although reloading for handgun cartridges, uses them in rifles, so the handgun data will be ignored.
The 51st edition is a little smaller than Lyman’s 50th (published in 2016) – perhaps because this newer edition doesn’t include commemorative material found in the 50th. As in the previous edition, the current one is in full colour, with the same attention to full-scale drawings of cartridges, for which loading data is supplied. Introductory chapters about the care and attention needed for cartridge components, such as cases and the care needed when assembling these into a loaded cartridge, are provided. I recommend these be read, even by experienced handloaders, because of the revised ideas they offer.
The introduction of dozens of new rifle cartridges over the past two decades is reflected by their appearance in this edition of Lyman’s manual. Although there are some deletions, many old favourites remain, some of them surprising because although they must be common in the USA, they’re rarely seen here. The newer chamberings, for which data is provided, will be of interest because they reflect current thinking about cartridge design, continuing the trend of gaining better downrange ballistic performance at the expense of magazine capacity.
An advantage to frugal New Zealanders, of course, is the trading off of older rifles – many with lots of hunting life left in them – by those who seek the newer models built around the ‘fashion statement’ cartridges!
My recommendation for this manual derives from the accumulated knowledge of its editor, T J Griffin, who’s been involved with ten earlier manuals published by Lyman Products Corporation. This is not to dismiss the others, but generally, they confine themselves to providing data related to their products – mainly bullets, but sometimes propellants too.
Well worth having, available in softcover, 480 pages, and in hardcover too!
Griffin, T. J. (Ed.)
Lyman Products Corporation.