View Full Version : Blue Dot Reduced Loads

10-31-2010, 02:12 PM
Want to try some reduced loads for .221 fireball. Have good detailed data from reloaders nest using 35-55 grain bullets all with Blue Dot and .223.

Calhoon's .223 reduced load data says to use two grains less powder for the .221fb, that sound right?

10-31-2010, 04:41 PM
As of late I have been scaring people with my Remington 588 converted to 17Mach IV antics.

NOW you are scaring me ! This site has many good people that are concerned about our well being. Those that caution me have my best interest at heart.

There are more than a few instances where people have hurt their weapons and or themselves with the Blue Dot reduced loads. I would be very cautious about such activities.

One always wonders if it were a double charge - in which case damage would be expected.

There are some powders, normal rifle powders, that have shown tolerance to light charges but as you know Blue Dot is more of a shotgun and pistol powder.

I would just caution you about this idea. Others will come along soon and give their ideas.


10-31-2010, 05:04 PM
Take a look at James Calhoon's Blue Dot info and see what you think. jamescalhoon, to bee or .223

I'm about to try some Blue Dot loads in both a CZ .221fb and a Savage .223.
I am more concerned with too lightly charged loads building too much pressure than accidently double charging a case.

10-31-2010, 05:39 PM
In my post I meant Remington 580 not 588 - got that fixed.

I hear you and understand your point but something strange has been know to happen using reduced loads with Blue Dot powder in the past.

Through concentration and attention to detail one should be able to avoid the double charge. For many years I have loaded 38 Special with 2.7 to 3.0 grains of Bullseye and there is plenty of room in there and many have done it with disastrous results.

You are going to extrapolate between the 223 and the 221 even more complicated.

Be carefull.


10-31-2010, 07:31 PM
Just my opinion, but I think Hodgdon's reduced charge recomendations using Trail Boss or H4895 would be the safest data around.

Chuck Miller
10-31-2010, 10:28 PM
I can't speak for the 221FB reduced load, frankly have never heard anyone here mention anything other than the 223 with Blue Dot. I hae shot a lot of the reduced loads in the 223 without incident. One thing is obvious though, you can double charge the 223 with Blue Dot if you aren't paying attention. I use an electronic powder thrower when doing mine and seat right after charging each individual case. I'm not familiar with Calhouns recommendation for loading the 221FB with a reduced load.

10-31-2010, 10:49 PM
From everything I have read, the Blue Dot loads are a reduced velocity, but not necessarily a reduced PEAK pressure load. I have a buddy who disassemble a M77 Ruger in 223 with a 'reduced' Blue Dot load. Please be careful. Blue Dot changes pressure quickly with changes in charge.

11-01-2010, 03:39 AM
I too...would go with trail boss or 4895. good luck, and keep your eyes!


11-01-2010, 04:37 PM

1983 Hercules reloading data.....why it is no longer listed in newer manuals is up for speculation.

11-01-2010, 06:30 PM
Well there it is in print from a powder manufacturer and preasures published to boot.

11-01-2010, 09:23 PM
I am more concerned with too lightly charged loads building too much pressure than accidently double charging a case.

Really? :rolleyes:

What velocity are you looking for? I see starting loads in loading manuals for 55gr. bullets in the .221 Fireball that are around 2250 fps. Look at the Speer and Accurate Arms data.

Are you trying to duplicate one of the .22 rimfire cartridges or make a subsonic load?

11-02-2010, 02:52 AM
Loaded some 221fb 55's today. Also working with blue dot .223 loads. Mulerider's data is consistant with data from reloadersnest and Calhoon's.

Something different to try, change from larger calibers. 22 mag cartridges are $30+/100 here.

11-02-2010, 04:43 AM
James Calhoon's BlueDot data is a good starting point for small bore centerfire cartridges.

I have shot thousands of ground squirrels with 1.0cc of BlueDot (~11.6 grains) in the 22 PPC using bullets weighing 35 - 45 grains.

Next season I will be using 1.3 - 1.6 cc of Alliant Steel. Steel is slower powder than BlueDot and less sensitive to pressure rise with an increase in powder quantity.

11-03-2010, 08:26 AM
Bluedot was a good choice in the old days when there weren't better options. For fourty years I used it, and a number of other powders to make reduced velocity loads, and shot thousands of rounds. It does work and doen right it works quite well.

With the selection of powders available today, Trail boss is a far superior choice and it is impossible to blow up a 221 FB, even with a compressed load of the stuff. No fear of accidental double charges and you can make loads anywhere from 800 fps to 3000 fps, they have lower SDs on velocity, since the case is fuull or close, position of the powder in the case isn't an issue (no more tilting the brrel up before firing) and it cleans up well. TB will deliver very quiet loads that shoot under half an ich at 100 yards, and zero pressure issues.

I am not saying to never use Blue Dot, but be VERY careful you don't give one a double charge, you won't like the outcome.

Chuck Miller
11-03-2010, 10:47 PM
How about some load data using Trailboss in a 223? I went to Hodgdons site and all they had was a single load shooting a 55 FMJ at about 1000fps. I currently use 12grs of Bluedot and a 50gr HP for about 2200fps out of a 223. Makes a great 100-200yd load for feathered varmints and feral pigs close in and as for accuracy I wish some of my full power loads shot as well. If Trailboss can replicate it I'm up for buying a pound and giving it a whirl.

11-05-2010, 12:48 PM
I have only played a little bit with TB in a 223. 8 grains with a 50 grain Horn SPSX is doing about 1400 fps. Nice and quiet and very accurate in mine. TB is easy to play with, from full to the top to as low as still gets the bullet out the barrel it is very safe to experiment with. Basically you just have to decide what velocity you want, work to that, then play a little with OAL and powder charge around that speed to get real tight groups.

12-02-2010, 06:27 PM
Call Ben Amonnette the head technician at Alliant who makes Blue Dot, ask him what he thinks a safe load would be :D. Let us know what he says.
Anyone still have those pictures of Randy Merta's eye surgery?

Chuck Miller
12-02-2010, 06:55 PM
Doug, what were the details with Randy's accident? I know it was with a 17 Rem but when he was asked for details he didn't respond.

12-02-2010, 07:35 PM

Just some of the story. Adam

12-02-2010, 07:56 PM
I'm was one of those Blue Dot users, I switched to Trail Boss because its much safer...

12-02-2010, 07:57 PM
I leave the man alone, don't think it's a thing he wants to remember much or talk about at all. Hope he's doing well.
I had heard it was a Blue Dot load but that's vicious gossip, rumor and hearsay cause my memory has gone the way of the passenger pigeon :o and that was years ago. I do have a vivid recollection of the photos of his eye.
All this happened before the great crash of 2006 :(. The info was all in the archives before that.

12-02-2010, 08:48 PM


Chuck Miller
12-02-2010, 09:24 PM
Here's a paste from the link, he say's he wasn't using safety glasses and this was a theory as to what might have happened.

( The bullet on the reduced loads were seated way out. When I went to load a live round in the rifle the gun barrel was pointed at the ground. The powder in the shell will shift towards the bullet clogging up in the neck. When the Thompson Center is closed the powder is stil in the front of the shell leaving air space infront of the primer. What I have been told was that when the gun is fired it creates a detination instead of a ignition. Does that sound right? What is your thought on what happened? Thanks again. Randy)

I've always wandered about this "detonation" as I've read thoughts on it from guys in the powder industry that say it's bunk. I've also wandered why you don't have this detonation with pistol loads as a light load is about 30-40% of case capacity?

12-03-2010, 08:54 AM
Whatever the circumstances and especially in light of how many better propellants there are out there Blue Dots off my dance card. I have called Ben Amonette his response? "DON"T DO IT"!!! Good enough for me :).
If I need a reduced load for a .221 I grab a .22K-Hornet or a plain .22 Hornet or whatever. I've gotten cautions in my old age :D.

wally bennett
12-03-2010, 02:27 PM
Whatever the circumstances and especially in light of how many better propellants there are out there Blue Dots off my dance card. I have called Ben Amonette his response? "DON"T DO IT"!!! Good enough for me :).
If I need a reduced load for a .221 I grab a .22K-Hornet or a plain .22 Hornet or whatever. I've gotten cautions in my old age :D.

When I require a reduced load I use a slower burning powder that fills the case at least 90% and if possable 100% at the moment I am experimenting with
H4831 full to start of sholder with no pressure signes or soot on the sholder orcase walls in a 17Ackly Hornet and getting just over 2000ft/sec , accuracy is fine but I have not tried it on rabbits with the 20gr v/max but I would expect it to kill instantly at the 120yds that I expect to use it and yes I know my Anschuz 22LR will do the job perfectly along with the music of the ricochet singing away through the sheep in the meadow, My Ruger 77/17HMR is also a contender but dammit I like using the Ruger 77/22Hornet with the 17Ackly barrel fitted and with HMR ammo at 28 per 100 and I load for the 17 ackly at 29 per 100 with my own cases once used by myself or friends 22 hornets.
At the moment it is fitted with a 4-16 X 50 Ill ret M T C Viper 30 mll tube and its the best optics i have had which is another reason to stick with the Ackly.
Wally bennett;)

12-03-2010, 05:04 PM
Here's a great article as a guideline or for cross-referencing:

12-03-2010, 05:05 PM
That sounds like a real sensible way of doing it Wally. :)

12-06-2010, 04:50 PM
I was enjoying the thread...
Years I ago I built reduced loads for a 22-250Ackley using 700x with dacron filler and a 45 gr. Hornet bullet. The accuracy was so-so , 1"-2" @ 100 yds. Shot a few coyotes under 100 yds at calling stands and dispatched wounded animals. The recipe came from an article by a reputable author.

TRAIL BOSS has been discussed which might be the safe option for reduced loads. Seems to produce extra slow velocities and accuracy is poor.

From what I've read, Blue Dot seems to provide the best accuracy along with better variety of velocities.

I've read that Magnum primers are recommended for these very fast powders along with heavy bullets for any particular calibre.

12-06-2010, 10:59 PM

I have had very good luck getting accurate loads with TB in the 223, 221 and 17 FB, as well as 308, 338 Federal, 300 Win Mag, 375 Ruger and 45-70. Cast bullets about an inch at 75 yrds in the 308 and up, some of the jacketed ones in the 17 FB, under 1/2" at 100. Which ones were you finding inaccurate? Cast or jacketed?

12-19-2010, 08:52 PM
I found some Trail Boss at a local gun shop and did some load testing with a
factory SAKO 6PPC sporter loaded up with 58 gr. Vmax
It was a coolish day with a miserable cross-wind.
The shooting was done from inside my garage - with increased noise level.
Results were very accurate loads with no recoil.
The velocity node was 9.0 gr. powder with an average of 1850 fps
I would have liked to be at 2000 fps ...but with 9.0 gr. the excellent accuracy made-up for it all.
I was skeptical to begin with but am extremely pleased with todays results.
Will be experimenting with some other calibres.


12-19-2010, 09:46 PM
JTF this info might be of help. Not Blue Dot but gives low velocity loads.


12-20-2010, 11:42 AM

Nice results and great shooting. Ever since I found Trail Boss about 5 years ago I have been addicted to the stuff for low pressure, low noise rounds. I have yet to find a roound that I couldn't work up an accurate load with it.

Nice shooting setup. How many yards can you shoot out he back?

12-20-2010, 02:16 PM
I was shooting from inside the garage because it was snowing with gusting winds but was anxious to see if TRAIL BOSS had any potential for the future.
The loud noise echo inside a building doesn't make for fun shooting.
I don't plan to do any future shooting from the garage.

Over the years, I've shot many coyotes from 25-75 yards that come into a call without hesitation and get killed with large exit wounds being created.
At times I've had to "finish-off" an injured animal...
The 6PPC is loaded with BERGERS for maximum shooting results but will load Vmax for reduced loads. It'll be very easy to identify the 2 different loads in one carry-box or stock-shell-holder.
I'll be anxious to experiment with all other calibres.

TRAIL BOSS has got to be the most unusual looking powder. It's almost as light as air and each kernel is rounded - like a donut. It flowed really well into the 6mm case but I'm sure it'll hang up in smaller calibres. I didnt try putting it through a powder dispenser ...hmmm not sure how that'll work.

07-15-2011, 10:56 PM
Didn't know about trailboss, now I have an un-opened can of bludot. Working loads with imr 4198 and rl7 they are bug-holing in the new sinarms barrel, but, still want to try a reduced load. Getting edgy reading about bluedot.


07-16-2011, 01:08 AM
I have used TB on the very small cartridges and it takes a bit of experimenting with bullets and grs to come with an accurate load. I love the Powder and its a heck of a lot safe than Blue Dot

07-16-2011, 02:24 PM
Didn't know about trailboss, now I have an un-opened can of bludot.

I like blue dot for some things....44 mag being one of them. Heavy shotgun loads is another. But TB is neat. 308 win cast loads and pistol loads are just plan fun. Am gonna try it in the 17 one of these days.


Iowa Fox
07-16-2011, 07:06 PM
If you choose to load Blue Dot you really need to pay attention to detail.

Check brass trim to length every sizing. I hate expander balls.
Be carefull of Loaded OAL

I have been shooting them in 223 since the article in the Varmint Hunter about 1995 or so. Rocky Raab had an article on his website about using it in the Hornet so I did and still do.

Trail Boss is the next thing to try in my quest for lower noise in our ever shrinking shooting countryside.

07-18-2011, 12:03 AM
I have been using TrailBoss in a CZ .223 with Sierra 40g BK.
It is more accurate (1/2") with these reduced loads than full power loads, and much quieter of course. Why is my Oehler Printer double printing some lines?http://i1226.photobucket.com/albums/ee415/john300exc/Scan_Pic0015.jpg?t=1310943497

07-18-2011, 12:58 PM
With the printer, if the paper doesn't move right and it prints over a line it will try to reprint that string once.

That is good velocity out of the 8 and 8.5 grain loads. Right in the 22 mag range and much better accuracy than the 22 mag. Quieter than the mag too.

07-18-2011, 02:44 PM
I took the printer apart but everything seems to be in order to my old eyes. It is an intermittent fault. With different loads my .223 can be a 22 lr, 22 mag, 22 Hornet, 221 fireball, or heck even a .223. I enjoy the quiet reduced loads more than full power. This rifle shoots full loads like a shotgun and reduced loads like this:http://i1226.photobucket.com/albums/ee415/john300exc/Scan_Pic0016.jpg?t=1310996603