Connecting The
(Alliant) Dots

Red, Blue, Green — Pick Your Powder
; .

Alliant Dot powders performed well in the 4" pre-29 and the 4" stainless
steel .45 Auto Rim and .45 Colt. Custom stocks are by BluMagnum.

When I was a very young boy learning my numbers, my grandmother bought me a Connect-The-Dots book. If a straight line was drawn from number to number in the correct order, a picture emerged. It was very helpful for not only learning numbers but also using a pencil correctly.


John connects the dots with these three Alliant Dot powders
for standard loads in .44 Special, .44 Magnum and .45 Colt.


This was a long, long time ago. However, today I’m still connecting the dots only instead of pencil and paper, I’m using cans of Alliant Powder. Alliant — formerly Hercules — offers three Dot powders, namely Red Dot, Green Dot and Blue Dot. Just as their names imply each of these Dot powders is color-coded by having the regular powder flakes interspersed with flakes dyed with the correct color. This is one series of powder that is easily identified just by looking at them.

All of these powders are double-based, with a nitroglycerin content of about 20%. Red Dot originally dates back to 1932, Green Dot to 1965 and Blue Dot to 1972. All three of these were originally designated as shotgun powders, however, they all have excellent applications for handguns, especially sixguns for all three, and semi-automatics for both Red Dot and Green Dot. Over the years, first Hercules and now Alliant both improved these powders and just recently both Red Dot and Green Dot have been changed to be cleaner burning.

On the Propellant Relative Burn Rate Chart in the latest Speer Handloading Manual #15, looking at the lineup of Alliant powders Red Dot is faster than Bullseye while Green Dot is slower than Bullseye; Blue Dot is slightly faster than #2400. Hornady’s latest Manual #7 lists all manufacturers’ powders in numerical order as to burn rate. Bullseye is number two, Red Dot is number 6 and Green Dot is ranked at number 15. Blue Dot is ranked one notch below #2400 at number 49. Burn rates cannot be used to interpolate powders. This tells us Red Dot and Green Dot are for standard or lighter loads while Blue Dot is often used for heavier loads. It is especially good for heavy loads in .44 Special and .44 Magnum sixguns.


Both the .44 Special and .44 Magnum loads were assembled with
Accurate Molds #43-249 while the .45 Colt uses the Lyman #452424.

Tone It Down

At this stage of my life, for most of my reloads with big bore, .44 and .45 sixgun cartridges I mostly stay in the same neighborhood as .45 ACP Hardball — a 230-grain bullet at 820 fps. For anything short of big-game hunting these loads will do it all.

For the .44 Special and .44 Magnum loads I have been using a new (to me) bullet, namely the Accurate Molds #43-249. This is truly a wide flat-nosed bullet and at 250 grains, smacks with great authority. In the .44 Special loads with this bullet, 5.0 grains of Red Dot are right at 780 fps; 5.5 grains of Green Dot, right on the .45 ACP button at 820 fps; and 9.0 grains of Blue Dot virtually duplicates the Red Dot load. In all of my loads for the .44 Special, Red Dot proved to be the most accurate while Blue Dot was just slightly shaded by Green Dot.

Switching to the .44 Magnum and using the same bullet in a 7-1/2″ Super Blackhawk, 6.0 grains of Red Dot is at 850 fps; 7.0 Green Dot, 980 fps; and Blue Dot with 11.5 grains is just 20 fps behind the Green Dot. Accuracy-wise, everything was backwards with the Blue Dot loads giving the best groups. I was particularly impressed with the Red Dot and Green Dot loads in a 4″ Smith & Wesson Pre-29. Muzzle velocity was 775 and 875 fps respectively with groups right in the 1″ neighborhood. Both of these loads make an excellent choice for everyday packin’ of this Perfect Packin’ Pistol.


Alliant Dot powders performed well in this pair of Smith & Wesson
.45 Auto Rim sixguns. Custom stocks are by BluMagnum.

.45 Colt

For the .45 Colt, I went with Lyman’s latest iteration of the Keith bullet, the 250-grain #452424. With this bullet, 6.0 grains of Red Dot are at 850 fps, 7.0 grains of Green Dot give 880 fps, while 11.5 grains of Blue Dot are only 735 fps. The low velocity is overshadowed by its excellent accuracy and easy-shooting qualities. Switching to a 4″ S&W M625 with the same loads gave muzzle velocities of just under 800 fps for Red Dot and Green Dot loads making this also an excellent choice for everyday carry.

My final experiments were using Red Dot and Green Dot in .45 Auto Rim sixguns. One of my regular .45 ACP bullets, namely Oregon Trail’s 225-grain flat-nose hard cast was loaded over 5.0 grains of Red Dot and 6.0 grains of Green Dot. Results were excellent especially in a 4″ S&W stainless steel Springfield Armory Commemorative, which is basically a specially-marked Mountain Gun. These two loads gave very respectable muzzle velocities of 875 fps and 865 fps while shooting exceptionally accurate.

Four-inch double-action sixguns are especially known for their easy carrying qualities and these experiments gave me excellent loads for the 4″ .44 Magnum, .45 Colt and .45 Auto Rim Perfect Packin’ Pistols. My next experiments will be with .44 Specials in this easy carrying barrel length and I expect the Alliant Dots will connect very well.

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