Red Dot powder, .38 SPL, 125 gr

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Mar 26, 2008
Fort Richardson, AK
Hello All,

I am pretty new to reloading. Started out about 1.5 months ago, but have been reading up on it for about 2 years. Deployments and moves kept me from buying a press until recently. I have reloaded about 600 rounds of .45 ACP and am happy with my methods and practices with that caliber, and just recently bought dies (Lyman) to reload for .38 special.

Equipment data:
Lyman T-Mag II press
Lyman 3 die set for .38 special/.357 mag
Lyman #55 powder measure
Digital calipers
Digital and beam scales
Lyman 49th Ed manual

S&W Model 15-2 .38 Special revolver

Component data:

Berry's 125 grain plated Flat Point
Red Dot powder
mixed brass
Federal small pistol primer

Other powders on hand:
Ramshot "Zip"

I have looked around for load data in my manual for the 120 grain FP (using starting charge) and online, and I am aware of using lead data for plated, but I cannot for the life of me find Red Dot data and a 125 grain FP listed together.

I loaded up some rounds from the Lyman data and they fired fine, but the case volume was VERY vacant. I like red dot in .45 ACP because it is almost physically impossible to double charge, as the volume of the powder would fill the case.

Data of loaded and fired rounds:
3.3 grains RD
Federal small pistol primer
Berry's 125 grn FP
1.44" COAL
Mild roll crimp

Results: Did not test for accuracy, just for recoil and ability to clear the barrel. Excessive flash, minimal recoil

My goal is to target shoot, not self defense or anything more than perhaps steel challenge, to test my abilities with it. I have some 158 grain LSWC coming in, but that won't be until January, and I was hoping to do some load workup and use these 200 bullets I have left at the range for fun.

I would really appreciate any help/tips in regards to this issue. Should I just work up in .3 grain increments until I get where I want to be? Change powders, even though the case volume will be an issue (im keeping in mind how the position of the powder effects the burn rate of the powder)? Ditch the bullets and buy some 158 grain for which there seems to be a plethora of data for?

Thank you for the help, High Roaders.

-SSG John V.
Oh, I use Red Dot for about everything that goes "pow".. from .25 acp to 30-06 and have for a very long time.
I'm down in the basement right now loading 9mm and .38.
Alliant 2004 paper manual lists 3.9gr Red Dot as max in a .38SPCL under a 125gr JSP...

Hornady 4th Edition lists 4.2gr max for 125gr XTP's at SAAMI pressure, and 4.5gr Red Dot as +P...
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