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Thread: Anyone loading 38 Special and Red Dot?

  1. #21
    Boolit Master 358429's Avatar
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    I shot a bunch of 148 grain flush wadcutters with two grains of red dot and

    a bunch of 158 grain bevel base semiwadcutters with 3.5 grains of red dot,

    nice and mild, shot to the sights in my snubby inside 20-30 yards.

  2. #22
    Boolit Master 358429's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rintinglen View Post
    I burned up 32 pounds of Red dot in 38 special loads, 2.8 grains at a time with 148 WC's. I also shot a fair few 358-432's over 4.0 grains for a plus p load. you could do a lot worse,
    Wow I bet the mass of all those spent primers would sag the springs on a car if you filled the trunk.

    Would they all fit in the trunk??

  3. #23
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by 358429 View Post
    Wow I bet the mass of all those spent primers would sag the springs on a car if you filled the trunk.

    Would they all fit in the trunk??
    Nope...80k primers. Maybe 80 lbs.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  4. #24
    Boolit Master
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    The first thing I would recommend is to get some cast bullets, both light (120 - 130) and traditional (150 - 160).

    If you do not have molds yet, trying out a commercial product first is worth considering. If you buy, I recommend a coated bullet.

    Load a ladder of each. Start around 0.6 gr below book max. Alliant 2004 data has book max for Red Dot and a 125 gr at 3.9 gr. It has book max for 158 gr is 3.1 gr. Other sources may go a little higher, but I would only do so in a +P or otherwise heavy duty gun. With a 38 Sp, you can be way over the SAAMI rating with no "pressure signs".

    Because the gun does not have adjustable sights, finding a load or two that shoot close to point of aim is important.

    The above should matter to him more than getting an extra 50 fps with a more optimum powder. A 4" gun with Red Dot should do better than a 2" snub with Bullseye or Unique.

    Once a cast bullet load that works is found, it can be duplicated with something similar in a jacket bullet if desired.

    I load a lot of handgun ammo. More loads are with Promo (bulk version of Red Dot) than anything else. A lot of these are a tumble lubed 120 gr cast in 357 cases at 38 Sp power level and are fired in a 4" gun.
    Last edited by P Flados; 12-17-2021 at 12:00 AM.

  5. #25
    Boolit Grand Master tazman's Avatar
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    This is good advice^^^^^^^^^^

  6. #26
    Boolit Master
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    I know(knew) Bullseye shooters who use(d) 3.0/Red Dot/148 gr. HBWC through their pistols by the BATHTUB-ful, so it has the potential for superb accuracy is certainly there.
    3.5/RedDot/158 gr. LSWC gives standard pressures, and 750 - 800 f/s from a 4" Police Service Six. 3.8/Red Dot/158 gr. was their +P load, and gave something like 785 - 830 f.s. All loads were fr forar more accurate than needed. They shot well enough that for a while, I'D load NOTHING else for .380 or .38 Special. I think Unique or Power Pistol are better for "VERY +P" .38 Special loads, but Red Dot can be "carefully worked up" to 1000 f/s in a modern S&W J-frame.
    For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow. Ecclesiastes 1:18
    He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool become servant to the wise of heart. Proverbs 11:29
    ...Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Matthew 25:40


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  7. #27
    Boolit Grand Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    I don't shoot many .38spcl, but the rounds I have loaded are all Red Dot 3.5 gr and the Lee 158 gr round nose cast boolit.

    Works good in my RIA snub nose that lives by my bedside table.
    I truly believe we need to get back to basics.

    Get right with the Lord.
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    May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you
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    praise glorious!

  8. #28
    Boolit Buddy
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    3.9 grains of Red Dot with a 125 cast bullet is extremely accurate in all my .38s but will not shoot to the sights in my fixed sight revolvers. 3.5 grains of Red Dot with a 158 cast bullet is not quite as accurate but shoots to the sights of my fixed sight revolvers.

    Even though Red Dot does not meter well in most of my powder measures, occasionally as much as plus or minus .3 grains variation, you will not be able to see the difference on paper. I do not use it for loads approaching +P for that reason.

    Gus Youmans

  9. #29
    Boolit Buddy Low Budget Shooter's Avatar
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    3.6 grains Red Dot with 150-ish grain bullet has been excellent for me.
    A box of premium carry ammo is too expensive at about $30, so I've spent $1,000 on molds, lead, lube, primers, and powder over the past 10 years to make some that's cheaper!

  10. #30
    Boolit Master bedbugbilly's Avatar
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    Red Dot is always on my shelf of powders - works great in so many different applications.

    Since you asked specifically about 38 Special - I use it in 38 Colt Short, 38 Colt Long, 38 Special and 357. In 38 Special, I've used it with a variety of 120 ish grain lead boolits and 158 grain boolits. Should be published loading data out there - like anything else - work your load up to the revolver's sweet spot and keep within published data.

  11. #31
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    Good luck finding it these days...
    Any technology not understood, can seem like Magic!!!

    I will love the Lord with all my heart, all my soul, and all my mind.

  12. #32
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    I went through an older Lyman handbook once. Red dot is the most listed powder by cartridge in both rifle and pistol.
    [The Montana Gianni] Front sight and squeeze

  13. #33
    Boolit Master

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    3 grs of red dot & 125 gr lee= good all around load plinking & cow boy.
    Gun control 1ST ROUND ON TARGET.

  14. #34
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    During the 2012 shortage I was looking for handgun powder (Bullseye & Unique ) and there was nothing on the shelf but 3 - 1 lb canisters of Red Dot ... having recently read the NRA published article... " The Load or: What You Can Do With 13 grains of Red Dot " I bought all three .
    I had a 1903A3 Springfield , a 303 British No4 MK I Lee-Enfield and 7.5 Swiss K11 Schmidt-Ruben that I had never shot with boolits and decided to give it a go ...The article by C. E. Harris + the 3 pounds of Red Dot got me interested in shooting them .
    Also discovered Red Dot is an excellent stand in for Bullseye ... Lots of proved Red Dot data in the books too . Red Dot has become a favorite !
    Gary
    Certified Cajun
    Proud Member of The Basket of Deplorables
    " Let's Go Brandon !"

  15. #35
    Boolit Master
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    If red dot is not available unique , green dot , or herco even promo will cover many of your needs , the only shortcoming is measuring , I suppose that's why everyone loves bullseye .

  16. #36
    Boolit Grand Master
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    I have over 15 powders including RD and I have used them all in 38's. RD works just fine. Just follow the in-kind loading data published.

  17. #37
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have tried most of the popular 158gr 38 Spl powders. I keep going back to Red Dotfor it, as well as for reduced loads in many other rifle/pistol loads.

  18. #38
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    A good friend gave me a new pound of Red Dot today and I gave him some .25auto and .32auto factory fmj ammo- and a hug. And I hugged the bottle of Red Dot as well.
    I told you that I would

    Sent from my SM-A716U using Tapatalk

  19. #39
    Boolit Buddy

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    I second the 3.0 grains of Red Dot with a 148gr. Wadcutter.

  20. #40
    Boolit Master waco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rintinglen View Post
    I burned up 32 pounds of Red dot in 38 special loads, 2.8 grains at a time with 148 WC's. I also shot a fair few 358-432's over 4.0 grains for a plus p load. you could do a lot worse,
    80,000 rounds! That's a lot of shooting!
    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
    Proverbs 1:7

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check