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Old May 19, 2019, 02:12 PM   #1
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Blue Dot and 38 Special - Your experience?

There is another thread talking about clean burning powders for 38 Special using wad lead cutter bullets. Interesting thread.

I've been using Blue Dot with Hornady 140 grain XTP Hollow Points with good success.

Any opinions or pearls of wisdom you can share?
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Old May 19, 2019, 02:48 PM   #2
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Alliant lists one 38 Special +P loads for the 146 grain Speer bullet. It's too slow to burn well at low pressures. In handgun loads, it is usually associated with magnum loads and others running over 20,000 psi. I don't use it, but have used another Alliant flake that is magnum-popular, 2400, and found lower pressure loads made of it just leave a lot of unburned powder everywhere it can find to go. I once tried loading it way down in .44 Special and actually jammed cylinder operation with all the unburned powder packed into the barrel/cylinder gap. Blue Dot is close in burn rate to 2400 on the charts.
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Old May 19, 2019, 04:14 PM   #3
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As Unclenick said, Blue Dot (and nearly all the other "slow" handgun/shotgun powders) in 38 Special is a wash and waste of my time.

Believe me, I have tried almost all at one time or another looking for that odd load.

They are messy and not worth the trouble, at least in my opinion.

As he also mentioned, it is taking the powders outside of their design range. They just ain't made for it.

I once tried H4227 in the 38 Spec. with 150 gr. SWC because I found a load in a book for it. I cussed myself the whole time I was cleaning all the crap out of the gun.
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Old May 19, 2019, 04:28 PM   #4
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It might be an acceptable powder for hotter +P loads. For any normal loads there’s probably a more economical option that’ll be more appropriate.

I’ve used Blue Dot for some hot 45 ACP loads when trying for top velocity. The biggest issue was large velocity spreads.
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Old May 19, 2019, 10:39 PM   #5
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I believe Blue Dot is the worse choice of powder for .38 Special that has printed data. Too slow, wide velocity spreads, can even cause blooper loads or stuck bullets in barrels. Only good, not great, in shotgun loads. I've seen a friend try Blue Dot in .38 Special and the velocity spreads was so great you could actually see the bullet in the air, some dropped to the ground just yards downrange, and he did have a stuck bullet in his pistol barrel. Combination of slow Blue Dot and low bullet tension in the case.
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Old May 20, 2019, 10:14 AM   #6
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Early in my reloading I experimented with Blue Dot in my 38 Specials. I used it OK in my 44 Magnums and 357 Magnums and was satisfied with the results. But my 38 loads, even when loaded heavy would spew unburned/partially burned powder and was filthy (the dirty burning doesn't bother me as long as the round is accurate and consistent). Shooting my Blue Dot/Special loads in my 3" 38 and my 4" 357 these loads were like shooting a sandblaster...
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Old May 20, 2019, 05:02 PM   #7
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I believe Blue Dot is the worse choice of powder for .38 Special that has printed data.
That is my experience as well. After I used up my single can of BlueDot, I've never bought another. I consider Unique about as slow as I would want to go in .38SPC.

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Old May 20, 2019, 08:05 PM   #8
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Speer Manual #9 (1974, 1975, 1976) had 38 special, Blue Dot data for every JHP bullet Speer made , 110 , 125 , 140, 146 , 158 and 160 grain bullets , but a lot more powders have come on the market .
The 2013 Speer Manual #14 has a few in +P 38 special JHP loads but in the normal pressure 38 special loads...not one load is listed with Blue Dot. None Nada zip !

Evidently Speer didn't think Blue Dot was a good fit and omitted it altogether .

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Old May 21, 2019, 07:22 AM   #9
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I tried Blue Dot with 110 JHP in a short barrel 38. As I approached max, velocities spread increased. I did get what I was looking for. I am getting 1100 fps by crony. If pressure is truly safe as the manual says, then it sort of works. I would give up a few fps and use unique next time.

Velocities were so varied that I wondered about pressure. I even moved the crony back in case the shock wave was affecting the readings.

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Old May 21, 2019, 04:31 PM   #10
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Blue Dot needs high pressure and a lot of crimp to burn well in a handgun. I have only seen good results in 44 Magnum and 357 Magnum. 45 ACP, 38 Special, 9mm Luger all gave really poor results Never had any squibs with it, usually some lower pressure pistol rounds would be noticeably louder than others and accuracy was awful. For 38 Special, 9mm, 45, etc, I use Unique of Win 231.
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Old May 21, 2019, 04:43 PM   #11
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BlueDot is a shotgun powder and is designed for pressures in the 8,000 to 11,000 psi pressure range. This is well within the .38 Special pressure envelope. That does not mean it is the best powder for that chambering, but it is appropriate.

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Old May 21, 2019, 08:48 PM   #12
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My experience is that Blue Dot simply isn't a good choice for .38 Special. It will work, but it is better at other things.

My plinker load "standard" .38 Spl is a 158gr SWC and Red Dot, for approx. 850fps. Accurate, but not terribly clean, I use it because I got a keg of it a long time ago, part of a package deal, and have several pounds left to use up.
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
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Old May 23, 2019, 05:51 AM   #13
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Same with 9mm, was gifted some Blue Dot, tried it, will never use that stuff in a non magnum caliber again.
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Old May 24, 2019, 07:07 AM   #14
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Tried it once. Results scared me. It was very erratic with weighed charges using the same head stamp brass that weighed within half a grain of each other. It works great in 10mm.
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Old May 25, 2019, 08:57 AM   #15
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I like and use Blue Dot in my .44 mag with medium heavy cast bullet loads. Very clean burning and consistent, But BullsEye, HP 38-Win 231, or Unique are my .38 Spl powders. hdbiker
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Old May 25, 2019, 10:00 AM   #16
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I've just taken to using BD in 20 ga. shot shells. Once I use it up, I probably won't buy more since there are other powders I go to for uses that BD is okay for, just not great.
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Old May 26, 2019, 10:03 AM   #17
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Power pistol works good with 38 spcl
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