I love this question as it gives me the chance to push one of my favorite reloading manuals.
I have been reloading since 1969 and have been collecting reloading manuals and books since 1980. I have crates of them -all of which I have read. The best book for the reloader that I have found is "Modern Reloading, Volume II" by Richard Lee. If you are a novice it will take you through all the theory and steps involved, as well as provide reams of useful information on powders and pressures. For the experienced reloaders there are charts of powder volumes and pressure calculations that will be found very valuable. If you read the first 60 pages of the book you will have a very good grasp on the science of reloading.
The reloading books I find the least value in are those produced by bullet manufacturers. You do not need a Sierra manual to load a Sierra bullet. Any (for instance) 150 grain, 30 caliber bullet from a .308 will use so many grains of "X-type" powder. Physics is Physics.
In that light, powder makers manuals are the most valuable. They just take into account weight of the bullet and weight of the charge. It is simply physics and internal ballistics. Lee produced his book with the assistance of Hodgdon's laboratories. (Which now umbrella IMR and Winchester powders) You will find a large variety of bullet weights per caliber, but no mention of bullet brands. This is because, again, bullet makers publish no "secret recipes" for their bullets; only pressure and velocities.
Remember, NO ONE can come up with the best load for your rifle. You need to experiment to find the good loads. Lee's book will teach you how to look at case capacities, powder densities, and velocities and come up with a good powder and starting load. From there it will guide you towards refinement. It is a very good book, indeed.
Now, later on, dig up a copy of "Principles and Practice of Loading Ammunition" by Earl Naramore. It is a 950 page treatise on all aspects of producing ammo, internal and external ballistics, pressure curves, and other related ammunition matters. It was printed in 1954 and is somewhat hard to find. (Though I know of at least one copy in the UK.) I believe that -tho I am not sure-it was Rick Jamison of Shooting Times Magazine that once said that it was the Bible of Reloading that all reloaders should be required to read. I whole heartedly agree.~Muir
I want to learn more about reloading and wonder if there is any books that are worth a look at to set me on the right path.
I think that on the face of it, a harmless enough question, but then various things get highlighted as pointed out by TJ when it come to actual loads. I think this is more of a follow up subject, or a support act and comes in the form of load development, and should be kept separate and treated differently. Muir pointed out that no one can find the best load for your rifle, you have to experiment.
So, if you want to learn about reloading then Modern Reloading vol II, is a good one lots of people agree on that, but keep away from the load section! just read about loading. Read any of the manuals about reloading, but keep your nose out of the load section. That is another animal altogether.
I have a copy of Earl Narromore's Principles and Practice of Loading Ammunition, it is a good read, a long read, a book that you can pick up time and time again and always seem to find something new. But grasp the basics first, and grasp them well.
Did I mention. when developing a load a little book called "Ken Water's Pet Loads", that's a good one all 1040 A4 size pages of it
I have a varied selection of reloading manuals but the one that I have found most informative is the Nobel reloading manual. It only gives information on Vectan loads, but the reference sections are simply the best and worth the cost of the book alone.
Peter Lawman is presently selling off this manual at a reduced price.
Be careful as reloading manuals can become adictive and before you know it you will have started a collection of your own.
Lee has had a tendency to reduce VV loads due to some energetic loads they (VV) published when they first hit the market. They also like to reduce loads for the .308 knowing full well that folks will load thicker, military brass with no regard to the reduced case capacity that is often encountered in mil-surp brass. Lee makes no bones about the fact that they lean towards conservative loads.
I agree that it is a good thing to do to have several loading books, but it is unwise to start with the heaviest charge you find listed for a powder. When in doubt, always go with the lesser charge weight. You can always work up.~Muir