Why Not Load Your Own by Townsend Whelen


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This is a facsimile of the 1957 book Why Not Load Your Own by Colonel Townsed Whelen which advises new handloaders on reloading equipment and load data.
From the introduction of the 1957 edition of Why Not Load Your Own:

You save money and you get exactly the loads you want. That’s the profit in handloading and this is the book that tells you how to do it, sold at a price you can afford. For the price of 2 factory cartridges you can handload 15! The easy, step-by-step explainations in this book give you the full information on beating the high cost of shooting.

Right from the start, Townsend Whelen presumes that you don’t know anything about handloading or reloading equipment. He gives you every step in the various operations: decapping, cleaning the primer pocket, chamfering the neck, recapping, neck sizing and expanding, powder measuring, inserting and seating the bullets after you have cast, lubricated and sized them. Not a point is missed.

The kinds of reloading equipment the beginner needs are pictured and described and Whelen doesn’t advocate that you go overboard buying reloading equipment. A full discussion of powders, how to measure, handle and store them is also given. The bullet-making chapter is particularly good.

And best of all, Whelen doesn’t pretend to tell you how to load 8,000 different cartridges. He sticks to some 40 basic loads, the ones beginners are most apt to use, ranging from the .218 Bee to the .45-70 U. S. Government. In fact, the whole book is aimed at the tyro handloader, the man who wants to know how to handload and what reloading equipment he needs.

This fourth edition has been carefully edited and considerably enlarged to include all the new techniques  and reloading equipment resulting from a very considerable increase in handloading during the past five years. The tables of loads for each cartridge give the best loads for all uses for which that cartridge is suitable. Particularly, each load has been tested and found entirely safe in all normal weapons. Helpful hints are given on how to load and obtain the greatest accuracy.

Since 1899, Whelen handloaded thousands of rounds each year, all of which he fired himself in experiment, target shooting, and game shooting. For some years he was Commanding Officer of Frankford Arsenal, which makes all Government small-arms ammunition. He was retired Colonel of the Regular Army. A Distinguished Rifleman, he won the U. S. Army Competitions in 1903, and for many years shot on the Army’s Infantry Rifle Team. He was also an enthusiastic hunter, and bagged over 115 head of big game, including almost all species.

Many of the methods of handloading that Colonel Whelen gives, and many of the loads he recommends, were originated by him, and given to others in his many writings. So far as is known, he is the oldest handloader in the United States, and the next to oldest rifleman still actively shooting.


Why Not Load Your Own is a book originally written for the new handloader and as such it covers topics such as reloading equipment and basic load information for common cartridges.  We recommend that both new and experienced handloaders also take a look at Handbook for Shooters and Reloaders by P. O. Ackley, which provides even more load data and an in-depth look at the science behind reloading.


1. General Information
+Advantages of Handloading
+Scheme of the Book
+Reloading Tools
+Check List of Tools and Reloading Equipment
+Components for Reloading
+Requests for Information
2. Handloading–Step by Step
+Care and Life of Fired Cases
+Chamfering Mouths of Cases
+Decapping and Neck Resizing
+Full Length Resizing
+Trimming for Length
+Smokeless Rifle and Pistol Powders
+Charging Cases with Powder
+Seating Bullets
3. Bullets and Bullet Making
+Lead Alloy Bullets
+Casting Lead Alloy Bullets
+Lubricating and Siing Bullets
+Metal Cased Bullets
+Making Metal Cased Bullets
4.Specefic Cartridge Data and Loads
+Working Up a Safe Charge
+Wildcat Cartridges
+.22 Hornet
+.218 Bee
+.22-3000 Lovell 2R
+.222 Remington
+.219 Donaldson Wasp
+.22-250 Varminter
+.220 Swift
+.243 Winchester
+.244 Winchester
+.25-20 W.C.F.
+.250-300 Savage
+.257 Roberts
+6.5mm Mannlicher-Schoenauer
+.270 Winchester
+7mm Mauser (7×57)
+6x61mm Sharpe & Hart
+.30-30 Winchester
+.300 Savage
+.30-40 Krag
+.308 Winchester
+.30-06 U.S.
+.300 H&H Magnum
+.32 Winchester Special
+8×57 Mauser
+.348 Winchester
+.35 Whelen
+.375 H&H Magnum
+.45-70 U.S. Government
+Revolver and Pistol Cartridges
+.38 S&W Special
+.357 Magnum
+.44 S&W Special
+.44 Magnum Revolver
+.45 Auto Colt Pistol
+.45 Colt Revolver
5. The Proof of the Pudding
+Bench Rest Shooting
+Trajectory and Bullet Drop Tests
+Forming Wildcat Cases
+Obtaining Greatest Accuracy


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