I have, it seems, become a collector of handloading manuals. Oh, it didn't start out that way, but over the years it seems that's what I've become. I don't go to the handloading manual collectors meetings anymore but I still collect them. I collect them and they collect dust.
Well this seems to be the year to gain ground and gather a few more. I have a spiral bound Speer manual without a number on it from way back when and the picture of Vernon Speer is of a young man. Just this past week I purchased Speer loading manual #14. This is the thickest such book I've ever owned. Over a thousand pages of loading instruction, tips and data. Most of the most recent additions to our line of cartridges are covered as well as many of the old caliber and formalized wildcats. With good data using the newest powders and cartridges. This one is definately worth a look.
A few weeks ago I obtained a copy of the latest Hornady manual, #7 it is, and it also is a heavy weight with many calibers not covered by others. Lots of older calibers for which Hornady makes brass, are covered with the newer powders. Another nice addition to the loading bench book shelf.
I am also promised a copy of the long awaited Nosler #6 manual, soon to be delivered. It is slated to have data for the Accubond bullets and the newer calibers as well. I may need a new book shelf.
The very first new manual I ever bought was the Speer number 3, back in the 1960's, before I needed to fill out paper work at the hardware store to buy a gun. Well those days are gone now but I still have that old tattered and torn, dog-eared book. In it is my notes on loading my very first cartridge....the 244 Remington. This was an old Remington model 722, with a cheap birch stock, I wish I still had that one. I began loading because of this old rifle.
I had worked for a local farmer, hauling his hay out of the field and into the barn ahead of a summer thunder storm and when we stopped for lunch he caught me eyeballing this rifle hanging on the wall. "Heck of a deer gun" he claimed, and he was anxious to interest me in the rifle. Well at the end of the day, when the hay was in the barn and the rains came, I stopped by the house to settle up with the old farmer. I had two friends helping with the hay and I settled for enough money to pay them, a tank of gas for the old International hay truck and that old Remington. So for a hard Saturdays work I got a pretty dern good rifle. Well he threw in the last of his box of 244 Remington "Express" ammo which I quickly exhausted. I then began my search for more ammo at the various hardware stores in neighboring towns. I was told that it wasn't made any more. "There's just no way to get ammo for it", I was told by one store owner. I even looked through the ammo on the shelves at different stores, pawing past the 243 Winchester and 6mm Remington ammo. There was lots of 257 Roberts and 30-30 but no 244 Remington. Well, I could use it to prop the barn door open.
Then Jim Carmichael came to my rescue. In an article, I believe, in Outdoor Life magazine he talked of handloading for a caliber I don't even remember but the idea of making my own ammo really tripped my trigger. There was a mail order company back then called Herters and another called Gander mountain. I think my original order for equipment went to Herters and components were purchased from Gander. I still have somewhere that old two die set of Herters reloading dies marked 244 Remington. My first box of bullets were Speer 100 grain round nose or actually were a semi-spitzer, as is noted in their older manuals. The yellow box with Speer in big red letters was cardboard with metal rivets in the corners. The powder was IMR and I think it was 4064, but don't really recall. There were many boxes of bullets sent through that old rifle barrel as well as others, as my handloading expanded to other calibers. I think I had loaded for two handgun and six rifle calibers before I was out of high school. All of this because I was too stupid to know that 244 Remington and 6mm Remington were the same caliber! This just one of many Remington name changes in an attempt increase sales in it's various calibers. Thanks Remington, you made my shooting a lot more fun!