Book Review: Modern Reloading Second Edition

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posted on December 28, 2018
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Modern Reloading
Second Edition
By Richard Lee

Beginners will find this book to be a succinct and well-illustrated introduction to reloading, while advanced handloaders will rely on Modern Reloading Second Edition for its many resources. In our quest for, say, the best centerfire load, many reloaders rely primarily on source data from the bullet manufacturer, which is an excellent starting point. As we expand our library to include books from the powder manufacturers, we inevitably find conflicting information and must turn to trial and error—the very thing we were hoping to minimize.

Compiled from data contributed by Alliant, Hodgdon, IMR, Nobel Sport, Western and Vihtavuori powder companies as well as past articles, Modern Reloading Second Edition is the equivalent of several books in one. This broad approach expands the general coverage of Lee’s book to include everything from muzzleloading, to shotgun slugs, lubricating cast bullets and how to achieve accuracy based on the compressive strength of the bullet.

The well-organized, 612-page revised book has added such topics as: Velocities for starting loads (the first book to do so); pressure and velocity of maximum loads and expanded information on reduced loads. (Recall that insufficient powder can be as risky as an excessive load due to detonation, as the primer flashes across the entire load simultaneously, rather than burning from the flash hole to the neck.) Those looking to fill-in gaps in their reloading knowledge can jump to page 23, for example, for a clear explanation of the general process.

Advance cartridge builders can scan the intelligently labeled table of contents to zero-in on topics like “Matching Bullet Metal to Chamber Pressure” or the “Extreme Effects of a One percent Charge Reduction.” The load data for the 9mm Parabellum with 124-grain XTP bullet, for example, lists 13 different powders, complete with the starting load and expected velocity.

John, Richard and Peter Lee of Lee Precision
Three generations of Lee; (l. to r.) John, Richard and Peter.


With the invention of the famous Lee Loader for shotgun shells in 1958, the Lee reloading business was launched in Hartford, WI. Incorporated in 1973, the first edition of Modern Reloading was published in 1996. Having sold 120,000 copies of the original work, this second edition adds enough new information to warrant its purchase. In 2012, Richard Lee passed the day-to-day business responsibilities to his son John and other family members.

In 2017, Modern Reloading Second Edition was published in revised form, adding popular cartridges such as 6.5 Creedmoor, .338 Lapua and .500 S&W Mag., among many others. You can purchase this revised edition at MidwayUSA for $27.

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