28 November 2012

Nosler 7th Edition Review

Here's the second part of my two-manual review (Hornady 9th ed. is here).

Nosler 7th edition Reloading Manual
This is a big book compared to the first six editions of Nosler's manual. There are over 860 pages in this edition.  There is a good bit of information on their bullets, including very good cutaway photos and fired bullet photos, which may be a bit propaganda, but also can be helpful if a particular hunter is fussy about what he wants his terminal ballistics to look like as an end result.  They included a larger basic reloading section than in the past, (though still not anything like Lyman's, the best manual for the beginner, in my studied opinion).  There is a larger powder burn rate chart than found in most manuals, with 178 powders.  Each cartridge has a one-page write-up by a well-known gun celebrity, gun writer, or Nosler staff member (except 14 cartridges that have been moved to the appendix as obsolete cartridges), and as in the past, one of the features of a Nosler manual is the in-chart accuracy recommendations at one of three load levels, plus an overall 'best powder
tested' notation for each cartridge.  I've found from past experimentation that the accuracy loads found in the Nosler manual tend to match my own reality better than some of their competitors.

There are universal drop tables to 600 yards by ballistic coefficient (not enough to plan a shot with, but good enough to get you on paper if you are long-range shooting).  There are also energy tables and there's now a one-page manual for Nosler's ballistics app for iOS products (everybody now seems to have an app for the iPhone, even the shooting sports.  I can't imagine taking my iPhone out just before shooting at a trophy elk, but that's a topic for another, probably humorous, blog post.). They also throw in a handy glossary at the end of the manual.

As usual, Nosler tends to focus more on rifle cartridges than handgun cartridges, but their handgun bullet selection continues to grow.  Here are the changes since the 6th edition.

New cartridges (rifle)-
17 Remington
17 Remington Fireball
204 Ruger
5.56x45 NATO
6.5 Creedmoor
6.5 Grendel
6.8 Rem SPC
300 AAC Blackout
30-40 Krag (dropped from 6th, in prev.)
30 TC
308 Marlin Express
308 Norma Mag (dropped from 6th, in prev.)
300 RCM
378 Wby Mag (dropped from 6th, in prev.)
416 Ruger

New cartridges (handgun)-

Deleted cartridges (rifle)-
375 Wby Mag
444 Marlin
450 Marlin
458 Win Mag
458 Lott

Deleted cartridges (handgun)-
454 Casull

The Hornady 9th Edition Reloading Manual

I've handloaded for many years, and I'm an NRA-certified metallic cartridge reloading instructor.  So when a new reloading manual is released, it is a cause for celebration, at least in my mind and in the minds of a few internet-reloading buddies.

So today, I was very happy to see my MidwayUSA order come in.  It had not one, but two brand new manuals in it:  one from Hornady (their 9th edition) and one from Nosler (their 7th edition).  I use a bunch of both bullets, so I'm happy to see the new data and write-ups for their products.

A few years back, I started posting reviews of new reloading manuals on Amazon.com and MidwayUSA's web site for the benefit of new reloaders or folks who were unfamiliar with these particular books.  I'm doing the same with these, so I thought I'd post the reviews here for the small handful of fellow reloaders who read my blog.

Hornady 9th edition Reloading Manual
The new Hornady 9th edition is bigger than ever, with over 915 pages total. There are the usual prefaces and introduction pages, and in this edition about 50 pages of basic reloading instructions, which come with some very nice color illustrations and cut-away drawings of internal ballistics and such.  There is an adequate (but not great) powder burn rate chart with 146 powders, a primer chart (useful), and a basic description of each of their bullet types (and a chart with min/max velocity recommendations...a very important and useful feature, especially for hunters).

Each cartridge has a very brief write-up (no celebrities, just Hornady staff writers/manual editor) with some basic history and a few important details about the cartridge.  The data itself is in the same format as past manuals with velocities in 50- or 100-fps increments rather than exact numbers, which is a better way to report it, in my opinion, since handloading is a stochastic (and not a deterministic) science. I've answered quite a few questions from new reloaders about why their manual says they should be getting 2864 fps from a load and they are only getting 2832 fps in their rifle.  The velocity ranges help keep that detail a little clearer.

One thing Hornady has never done is give in-chart accuracy recommendations, though they do give some recommendations in the write-ups of each cartridge for a preferred powder or two.  If they are using pressure test barrels primarily, this makes sense.  When using a specific gun for which a cartridge is popular (like the 30-30 Win in the Winchester Model 94 for example), an accuracy recommendation makes more sense.

Hornady was more focused on adding new cartridges than deleting old ones, as can be seen in my list below.  One new thing they are doing makes a lot of sense to me: they are putting data for some obsolete cartridges on their web site.  This saves a lot of money in printing costs, and still allows the reloader with Grandpa's Model 94 in 219 Zipper to get access to loading data.  Good move.  There are five cartridges so indicated in this edition (the 219 Zipper, the 219 Donaldson Wasp, the 7x61 Sharpe & Hart, 270 REN, and the 357-44 Bain & Davis).  Here are the other changes since the 8th edition.

New cartridges (rifle)-
17 Hornet
5.56x45 NATO
300 Whisper
300 AAC Blackout
356 Winchester
416 Barrett
416 Ruger
505 Gibbs

New cartridges (handgun)-
327 Federal Mag

Deleted cartridges (rifle)-
219 Zipper (moved to website)
219 Donaldson Wasp (moved to website)
7-30 Waters
7.92x33 Kurz

Deleted cartridges (handgun)-
7.63 Mauser
300 Whisper (as a handgun cartridge)

(The Nosler review will appear in a subsequent post.)

19 November 2012

One Guess (And the First Three Don't Count)

Here's a picture of my desk at work.  I'll give you one guess what course I insanely signed up for this Winter term.  What was I thinking?

13 November 2012

Some More Post-Election Musings

I loved this post by Trogdor over at the One-Man Peanut Gallery blog.

It is remarkably quotable.  His first point is probably the most important, though it will be missed by most.

Read it.

08 November 2012

A Few Preliminary Thoughts on the Election

As I posted to FB earlier, one theological truth is again proven:  God's purposes in election are mysterious (pun intended).

I couldn't write anything yesterday, because I was so angry.  The funny part was, I wasn't sure with whom I was the most angry.  I was mad at the liberals for further sliding this exceptional country closer to mediocrity, financial slavery, and all that.  But I was also mad at my fellow Republicans for not seeing this thing through.

As more numbers are shared by the media, my second target has been borne out as the more culpable.  Republicans simply didn't get their base out.  Three million fewer Rs voted in 2012 than in 2008. I thought every R alive would be at the polls Tuesday, but many stayed home.  Enough to change the outcome of the election. As they say down here in TX, that chaps my hide.

Yes, demographics are important.  No one should ignore the demographics of who voted for the left, and the importance of making the tent bigger.  But then, how do we do that without compromising our principles?  Do we become pro-choice?  Unthinkable.  At least five million more babies will die in their mothers' wombs during the next four years, and I don't think any election is worth throwing that issue under the bus.  We have to find ways to reach out to a broader demographic without compromising the principles that we find critical to our worldview.

Elections have consequences.  We are getting, and will get more of, what we deserve. Babies will continue to die, and perversity will continue to be celebrated by our decaying society. I don't know how much of that a Romney victory would have changed in the next four years, but there was always hope for some change.

07 November 2012


Too much anger to write anything constructive for today.  Maybe tomorrow, too.