Modern Reloading by Richard Lee is an extremely popular book in the firearms world. It makes sense – many shooters like to load their own ammunition, and this book is published by one of the most popular reloading tool companies: Lee Precision.
However, just because it is popular doesn’t mean it is the best reloading book for the money. So, I recently picked up a copy of the Second Edition to read through it and give you my take on it.
Is it worth the price? Yes, it most definitely is.
Overview of Modern Reloading
Modern Reloading is marketed as a comprehensive guide to reloading metallic cartridges, shotshells, and bullet casting. With more than 600 pages, a quick glance does suggest it has a lot of information on the reloading hobby.
The book is a hardback that measures about 6.5″x9.5″ and is nearly 2″ thick. It is similar in size to the Hornady reloading manuals if you are familiar with those books.
All of the pages, including photos and illustrations, are in black and white. The paper is a medium to bright white while the print is in a dark, crisp ink. It is easy on the eyes for reading.
I would not say the text is small, but the load data appears a bit smaller than the normal text. So, for those that occasionally use reading glasses, make sure you have them handy.
As many loading manuals are, Modern Reloading is divided into two basic parts. The first half of the book is devoted to explaining the process of handloading cartridges and shotshells, as well as describing bullet casting. Load data is covered in the second half of the book.
Detailed Information and Tutorials
Richard Lee is both the author of the book and the founder of Lee Precision. He does an excellent job in walking the reader through the steps in reloading a cartridge.
Lee’s casual writing allows the reader to easily grasp an understanding of a topic, like headspace, without bogging down into unneeded complicated explanations. For someone new to the hobby, this can be key in keeping it fun.
Although I have been reloading for some years now, I still found the front half of the book to be an enjoyable and informative read. Some concepts that were a little fuzzy were made much more clear to me. I genuinely appreciate Lee’s approach and writing style.
In this section, Lee covers:
- a brief history of reloading cartridges
- reloading tool selection
- the process of reloading
- commonly used terms
- the specific steps in reloading rifle and pistol cartridges
- details like case trimming, neck sizing vs. full length resizing, priming and more
- different ways of measuring gunpowder
- pressure and how to match the proper bullets to different pressure levels
- cast bullets
- shot shell reloading
- muzzle loading
As you can see, Lee covers a lot of information. Kudos to him for keeping the reading light while still sharing a lot of valuable details.
Modern Reloading claims to have the “world’s most comprehensive load data.” I do not have any way of proving or disproving this claim, but I can tell you that I found a lot more load data than I expected to find on some less common cartridges such as the 7.62x54R (3 pages) and 7mm Shooting Times Westerner (2 pages).
More than 28,000 loads is what the book claims to have. I don’t doubt it.
For each load recipe, Modern Reloading offers starting and maximum charges, expected velocity, estimated pressure and a maximum overall length (OAL).
Since Modern Reloading is written by Richard Lee, it understandably contains a lot of data that is specific to the tools made by Lee Precision. For example, it includes data in every recipe for the company’s Auto Disk powder measure.
Lee Precision is also one of the only (if not the only?) modern reloading companies that offers a way to load cartridges by measuring the charges by volume instead of weight. It does this through the use of collection of precise dippers. For those not familiar with the term, dippers are essentially tiny measuring cups.
Using a dipper with a Lee Loader kit allows one to handload without the need for a press, balance beam or other cumbersome tools. I’ve met a number of people who work up loads at the range using one of the company’s simple Lee Loader kits.
It should be no surprise then that the Modern Reloading book has charges listed by volume also. If you are using dippers, this book should be mandatory for your loading bench.
Modern Reloading is one of the least expensive load books on the market. I suppose that I should expect that it would be, as Richard Lee built his company for the value-conscious buyer.
The fact that this is an excellent book, just makes the low price even more impressive. Without a doubt, this is the best loading book for the money on the market today.
I feel advanced handloaders will enjoy this book, but the biggest value is likely those who are new to the hobby. It is easy to read and follow, plus the price is very reasonable. Click here to get your copy of Modern Reloading.
Last Update: July 20, 2021
Did you know that many of the product reviews you read online were paid for by a manufacturer’s representative? It’s true – even in the gun world. Every day, I get e-mails from companies (or their media reps) wanting to pay me to publish a “review” of its product.
Under those circumstances, how likely are you to hear about the negative aspects of the product?
I believe that all reviewers should include a full and clear disclosure of anything that might have influenced their product evaluations. Unfortunately, how many writers and websites actually do?
First off, this review was not requested by Richard Lee, Lee Precision or anyone else. No one paid me a dime or offered any other compensation for me to write this article. All of the views in this article are my own opinions.
Second, I purchased this book with my own money.
Lastly, I have no financial interest in Lee Precision or any of its competitors.
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3 replies on “Modern Reloading Book Review”
Question, if one was in the market and they had a choice between Lee’s book and Hornady’s manual, which would you pick – take the cost out of the equation?
Thanks in advance for your advice.
If I could purchase only one, it would be the Lee book. It is a perfect place for a beginner to start. From there, the Hornady would be my next choice.
Your review is spot-on. Richard Lee’s easy prose and his thorough knowledge of cast bullets and their behavior relative to pressure, velocity and powder is game-changing. I wish I had read the first chapters of this book years ago when I purchased it just for the load data. It would have saved me some time, effort and money.