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Lyman Shotshell Handbook.

* The publication of a new shotshell reloading handbook is hardly an everyday event, so the appearance of two such volumes within a few months of each other is cause for celebration. The first has a familiar name to most shotshell loaders with any time-in-grade; the second does not. Each has its stronger and weaker points. Each has its distinctive point of view. Both are good; neither is perfect.

Earning first mention on the strength of tradition is the third edition of the Lyman Shortshell Handbook, edited by C. Kenneth Ramage. With more than 300 8-1/2x11-inch pages in soft cover, this new volume is exactly what one expects from Lyman--a lot of solid, conservative data wrapped aound a bit of not-unwarranted puffery for the Lyman company and a good deal of reference material lifted from earlier editions, with a soupcon of sound reloading information from two respected authors in the shotshell field, Don Zutz and Tom Roster.

Since Lyman no longer manufactures shotshell loading tools, I was somewhat surprised to find 23 pages devoted to a historical treatment of Lyman products. I cannot say, however, that the inclusion isn't legitimate; after all, almost every reloading handbook is published at least partly to promote the publisher's other products, and Lyman could probably claim, with some justice, that this is one of the few printed simply to serve the handloader, the company having no products in this field to promote. The section on reloading press operation deals with the MEC 600, Jr.--probably the most popular single-stage shotshell press in the world today--and the Hornady 366 Auto, a typical, high-quality progressive tool.

Lyman pioneered the idea of a full-color section on identification of cases in the first edition of this volume, back in 1969, thus performing a valuable service to handloaders. The new version continues this service. Remington, Peters, Winchester-Western, Federal, and a few Canadian (IVI "Canuck") hulls are illustrated via graphically-clear artwork, and even a novice reloader should be able to figure out which kind of tube he's working with after studying this section. That's important, since we have learned (only in the last dozen years or so) that shotshell loading recipes should replicate exactly in every detail, with no substitutions of components, authoritative reccommendations for safety and satisfactory performance.

Wads are also illustrated, in black and white, From Ballistic Products, Butler, Farmer Bros., Federal, R-K Ballistics, Hornady, Remington, and Winchester.

Zutz has contributed two sound, basic articles, one on "The Vagaries of Shotshell Performance" and the other on "The Importance of Pellet Quality to Performance." Roster's piece on "Advanced 12 and 20 Gauge Hunting Loads" is one of the better such articles I've read recently--maybe not "worth the price of the book," but close! Roster, reloading editor of "The American Shotgunner," is probably the best and most technically advanced writer in this field today.

The actual loading data is organized in the standard Lyman fashion, and is as complete as one is likely to find in a single book these days, offering dope on all gauges for every appropriate kind of shooting, including a special section of slug and buckshot loads for 10, 12, 16, and 20 gauges. Some of this data is warmed over from earlier editions (if it was good then, it's good now), but there seems to be quite a lot of new data in these pages, too. Something more than 2,000 separate loading formulas are included. It's unlikely that a shotgun or a shooting purpose exists for which a safe, smooth-performing load cannot be winnowed out of these 177 pages of load data.

The indispensible parts of all reloading books (including mine!) are all here--sections on safety, why reload?, getting started, choosing a load, chamber pressures, and so on and so forth; and a quite comprehensive listing of powder-bushing capacities for Hornady (Pacific), Lee, MEC, Ponsness-Warren, Texan, and Redding-Hunter tools is included.

Altogether, an invaluable reference source, especially for the new shortshell stuffer. Even if you have an extensive library on this subject, you'll find enough new material here to make the third edition of the Lyman Shotshell Handbook extremely worthwhile.
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Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Wiitters, John
Publication:Guns & Ammo
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 1, 1985
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