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Are Clays and Clay Dot interchangable?


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I used to use Hodgdon's clays for most of my handgun and shotshell loads.  However, it wasn't available for quite some time and now it's back on the market, but scarce as hen's teeth.  However, I was able to purchase some Clay Dot awhile back and stocked up.  Anyway, I know that it is supposed to be made to duplicate the ballistics of Clays.  However, Alliant does not recommend it's use in cartridge reloading and does not publish any load data for anything but shot shells.  I'm pretty sure others have used this powder for pistol and rifle cartridges and I am wondering what their experiences might have been doing so.  Can one use the Clays load data or is it pretty much go at your own risk developing cartridge loads with Clay Dot?  I don't think we are supposed to publish load data here, but any input on using Clay Dot in rifle and pistol cartridges (.38, .357, .44 Special) would be appreciated.  PM me with data if you like, but just hearing here how it compares to Clays and that it's been successfully and safely used in cartridge loads would be okay by me.  Good luck and good shooting to all.  

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For general consumption:  NO two powders are "interchangeable."  Powders ALL react differently.

 

When there is NO load data available . . . and the manufacturer does NOT recommend for cartridge loading, Successfully and Safely become Oxymoron.  Without scientific pressure test equipment, you're flying blind.

 

I would suggest, you only use scientifically derived data from established loading manuals.  To do otherwise is to invite disaster.

 

Stay Safe Out There

 

 

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FWIW--- I have used both interchangeably by weight. If I remember right Clay-Dot was fluffier so a different bushing in the shot shell loader. In cartridges still going by weight I saw no real difference except the Clay dot was less temp. sensitive and a tad cleaner. I still use Clays in my cartridges and the Clay-Dot in SG until I run out of Clays which unfortunately will be soon. JMHO

 

As stated above, you should follow the books.  There have been some other threads on this recently, maybe you can find them in a search.

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I have safely used Clay Dot in cowboy level loads for years.  When loaded to just slightly more weight (5 to 10%) than the same Clays load in .38 and .45 Colt lead bullet low pressure cowboy loads, I get the same muzzle velocity and pressure signs on primers as I do with Clays.  I do have the experience to read for safe pressures by checking primers on straight wall pistol cartridges..  I would not recommend loading past the mid-range Clays data that you can find published.  

 

Am I flying blind?  No, I know what pressures are safe and I know how to read them from primer and case deformation during firing.  I know about some of the conditions that can cause detonations rather than normal combustion.  I feel my loads are very safe for my usage.  Your mileage may vary.

 

These two powders are not perfectly interchangeable.  They are functionally VERY VERY similar.  Your common sense about loading low pressure pistol cartridge loads with Clay Dot will be an important piece of the puzzle.  

 

good luck, GJ

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3 hours ago, Bison Bud said:

I don't think we are supposed to publish load data here,

 

That restriction was removed several years ago, and from the data published here since that, I've seen only safe loads submitted.

 

good luck, GJ

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Also have used clays and clay dot in cas .45 cartridges and shotshells with a little tweeking without any issues. Couldn't get clays and was offered a keg of clay dot. Lasted me through the last powder drought. Close enough for gov’ment work imo. 

Edited by Baltimore Ed
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Wow, I have been away for awhile, but glad to know that posting load data is now okay on the Wire!  In the past, I too have been a stickler about following published load data.  However, times are tough out here and Clay Dot was all I could get at least for now.  Since the two powders are made to be very similar in burn rate and ballistics, I'd expect that Clay Dot could be used safely with Clays data using normal cautions used to work up a load with any powder and careful monitoring of pressure signs.  Besides, I'm shooting .38 Special in .357 Magnum revolvers and .44 Specials in .44 Magnum revolvers and although I have a .38 Special 73 rifle, I also have a Marlin .357 I can shoot if there is any concerns.  I feel like that gives me a bit of headroom as well and I'm certainly not loading any max loads.  Anyway, at this point it's either load Clay Dot or do without shooting much of anything.  I'm about to finish up my last bottle of Unique and the Winchester 231 I like in my 9mm loads has been gone for quite awhile now.  So, it's time to work up some loads, get out my chronograph, and find some suitable loads with Clay Dot all the time hoping to purchase more Clays whenever it becomes available.  Good luck and good shooting to all.     

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burn_rates.pdf

 

This will give you an idea of what the comparable burn rates are.

 

As previously said this doesnt necessarily equate to load data.

Edited by Major Crimes
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From someone who has had a Glock blow up in my hand from someone else's reloads, I am TOTALLY anal about reloading safely. Please, please use only published loads.

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And if you can find even 20% of cowboy shooters using PUBLISHED, PROFESSIONALLY DEVELOPED  loads, I will be very surprised.  We are working OFF THE BOTTOM END of most loading data ranges.   If we were at the high end of loading data ranges, and everyone was loading monstrous pressures, then I would agree with your concerns.   But considering what we load and shoot, our main concern is preventing squibs caused by going TOO LOW in pressure.  Load so your cowboy loads are reliable and consistent, and you normally will not have to be concerned.

 

good luck, GJ

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708
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I had been using Clays for only the shotgun until it disappeared years back. I had adjusted that powder initially in my progressive by going down in measurement until the barrels got a little dirty and then back up a little until they were "firing" consistently clean (about 14 grains I believe though it's been awhile). After I was forced to switch to Cay Dot I did not make any changes in powder measurement, there was no difference in the feel of the recoil, and the barrels have always been clean so I've been a happy camper since. Just my experience with Clay Dot.

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I load 3.0gr. Clays behind a 125gr. .38 bullet. When I tried Clay Dot (in December) with the same charge it wasn't consistently reseating the primers enough to keep from locking up the cylinder.  I increased the Clay Dot load to 3.2gr and didn't have any more issues.  I couldn't really tell any difference in my 12ga. shot shells (MEC 27 bushing).

 

Randy

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I use Clays load data for both pistol and rifle (any pistol caliber), with either Clays, Clay Dot, or Red Dot. Published minimum load in pistols, a little less than mid range in rifle.

 

Rotator cuff surgery in 2018, returned to CAS late 2018.

AA or STS hulls, Remington or Winchester 209 primers, 7/8 oz. shot, WAA12L grey wads.

MEC 9000 #25 bushing, measured 13.4 gr. Red Dot...but also Clays or Clay Dot without changing bushing. Shoulder was happy.

Also loaded IMR Red with same bushing, measured 14.4 gr. Shot that with 13.4 Red Dot, for comparison at several matches. Vender had a clearance sale on IMR Red that I couldn't pass on.

 

Shot 13.4 gr. Red Dot left barrel and 14.4 gr. IMR Red right barrel in my S x S 12 g., 6 stages (loaded all with #25 bushing). Maybe an occasional slight smidge more umpf sound in right barrel, but not noticeable on my repaired shoulder. Supposedly, IMR Red (denser) was comparable sub for Red Dot, but for same volume it is about 1 gr. heavier in my shotgun reloads. Do not use same substitutions in heavier loads, semi-auto pistols, or rifle calibers. 

 

RRR

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RRR -

 

Couple of important points about IMR Red.

 

IMR Red was made to load to the same WEIGHT of powder as Red Dot.  IMR knew the density was different, and knew that the same BUSHING would not work to give the same performance in the loads.  So, using same WEIGHT of either powder is going to be really close to the same performance.

 

IMR Red has been discontinued (as well as Green and Blue) by IMR.   So if you find another sale on any remaining Red, you'd better jump on it.   I really like it for shotgun loads, but I won't be trying to build any cartridge loads now that I know my existing supply will all have to go for another year or two of shotgun shells.

 

Just another case of IMR discontinuing really good powders that they just did not know how to sell. 

 

good luck, GJ

 

 

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3 hours ago, Randy Saint Eagle, SASS # 64903 said:

I load 3.0gr. Clays behind a 125gr. .38 bullet. When I tried Clay Dot (in December) with the same charge it wasn't consistently reseating the primers enough to keep from locking up the cylinder.  I increased the Clay Dot load to 3.2gr and didn't have any more issues.  I couldn't really tell any difference in my 12ga. shot shells (MEC 27 bushing).

 

Randy

When Clays was available (and cheap) I used 3.2 grains with a 125 grain 38 special. Clays is still what I use in my shotgun shells keeping in mind my limited supply. When it got short and ClayDot was available (and cheap) I used it at the same loading (3.2 grains with a 125 grain 38 special). I currently use TiteGroup at 3.2 grains with a 125 grain 38 special (even cheaper) :D and until recently titegroup was fairly available. 
YMMV

:FlagAm:  :FlagAm:  :FlagAm:

Gateway Kid

Edited by Gateway Kid SASS# 70038 Life
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