Trail Boss ... under-appreciated ugly stepchild ??

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 05 January 2019

i am out of unique ... i need to visit scheels ... i will steel myself and only take 3 twenties in my pocket ...  i have already decided to try some of that strange Trail Boss in my plinker loads ... 30 cal to 45-70 ....

i gotta try Trail Boss ...  in working on the FS index, i keep reading about success with Trail Boss ....  

why aren't more people using Trail Boss ? ... there aren't exactly tons of loading dope online ...  it appears that it will cover a wide range of reduced loads.

if we had 3 or 6 reports here with trailboss, that would be more than the entire base of loads available anywhere ...  experiences and comments welcome ...

ken

 

 

 

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RicinYakima posted this 05 January 2019

It is hard to work with; it is light and fluffy so floats off if there is air-conditioning in the room. It will meter fairly accurately because it takes up a large volume per grain weight. However, most powder measure get it caught between the housing and the rotor. I had best luck just using dippers. It doesn't do anything Bullseye, Unique or WW231 does just as well for less money. IMHO, Ric

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.22-10-45 posted this 05 January 2019

I have tried TB in some revolver ctgs...38 Spec., .44 & .45long Colt..so far accuracy not up to par with Bullseye or Tightgroup...but I need more work to be sure.  Where I really am sure is with an 1895 Winchester-Lee 6mm (.236 Lee-Navy) straight-pull sporting rifle.  I started out at 50yds on account of the open buckhorn rear & german silver blade front sights.  Using 10.0grs. H4227 gave 3/4" groups that shot to sights...however, case necks were left blackened.  Working up with TB, interestingly..10.0grs. also gave 3/4" groups with case necks left clean.  Moving back to 100yds, gave 11/4" groups.  I was using an Ideal #243498 100gr. mould and range-scrap alloy.  I plan on trying this powder in other rifles in the future.  When I opened the bottle of TB, I noticed grains were shaped like little doughnuts and a light gray color....I was instantly transported back to 1972 when my dad had found an old cardboard box in an abandoned house that was in a freeway right of way awaiting demolishing.  At the time, I didn't know what a .32-40 Winchester was..but those old cases were loaded with Ideal #31949,  and when I pulled one, out spilled a grayish colored powder with doughnut shaped grains...I re-inserted bullet and forgot about them until I opened that bottle of TB.  I called Hodgdon & told them my story...and asked if they hadn't re-introduced the old Lightning or Sharpshooter?  There was a very long silence..so long in fact I thought the tech. had rung off....Then he replied with a drawn out..".maybe."..but quickly added..."Ours is better!"  I told him that was pretty neat..history has come full circle in about 100 years.

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onondaga posted this 05 January 2019

TrailBoss works. I stand against it because it is a fast pistol powder and lacks the relatively smooth pressure curve that cast bullets are most accurate with. It slams cast bullets with pressure and distorts accuracy potential. If you are shooting cast bullets well with TrailBoss, it is a surprise and not the reputation of the powder. 4198 does better as does H 4895 in their recommended loads, The H4895 is also recommended for reduced loads to 1/2 caseful down to 100 pound child recoil level gallery loads  and up to Elephant loads A very lightweight filler like BPI Original in reduced loads also protects the bullet base as well as a gas check and lowers Extreme Spread of velocity. Mildly compressed reduced loads with BPI Original also force H4895 to burn completely and leave no kernel trail in the bore. To me that makes the other choices garbage powder with no real advantage for cast bullets.

Plus if you need another reason to hate TrailBoss, just look at it. It looks like miniature racist Cheerios Cerialcoffee.

Gary

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BigMan54 posted this 05 January 2019

I've got a 9oz "can" that I used to load 50rds of .44 Russian for a buddy from about 10yrs ago. It metered pretty easy in my Little Dandy. But My Friend felt different recoil levels in his Vaquero. I checked every 5th round. 

With a range of min-3.2grs to max-3.4grs, it doesn't give you much wiggle room. We never loaded another round with it.

But I'm thinking about trying some reduced loads in .45-70 & .38-55.

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun.

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SavvyJack posted this 06 January 2019

Ken, for plinkers it is just fine.

I use it for my 44-40 plinkers because it fills the case enough to where a double charge would overflow. 

Accuracy is not important because I use it for my plinking loads.

Power is not important because I use it for my plinking loads

Velocity is not important because I use it for my plinking loads.

It is great for plinking loads because that is what it was designed for.

Cowboy Action Shooting is nothing more than plinking and who is was designed for!!

It is a fast burning pistol powder

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Gregor posted this 06 January 2019

Bought some to try a light load in my .500 S&W Magnum revolver.  Poor accuracy and low velocity compared to the Unique loads.  

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Scearcy posted this 06 January 2019

I tried Trail Boss in my 3006 during last springs Groundhog shoot. I don't think I will bother again. We have many proven powders that provide more flexibility. 

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SavvyJack posted this 06 January 2019

Bought some to try a light load in my .500 S&W Magnum revolver.  Poor accuracy and low velocity compared to the Unique loads.  

 

Trailboss was designed for cowboy action shooting as a bulk powder. It was not designed for accuracy or velocity and is why it sucks when used in that application..

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SavvyJack posted this 06 January 2019

I tried Trail Boss in my 3006 during last springs Groundhog shoot. I don't think I will bother again. We have many proven powders that provide more flexibility. 

 

Trailboss was designed for cowboy action shooting as a bulk powder. It was not designed for accuracy or velocity and is why it sucks when used in that application..

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SavvyJack posted this 06 January 2019

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max503 posted this 06 January 2019

Plus if you need another reason to hate TrailBoss, just look at it. It looks like miniature racist Cheerios Cerialcoffee.

Gary

******

Dude.  You just ain't right.dizzy    wink

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OU812 posted this 06 January 2019

I briefly tried it in the 223 Remington, followed instructions by filling case to near maximum capacity. Velocity was lower than expected.

I wonder if compressed loads would work better. Maybe?

More powder, more fouling?

Needs more testing to rule out.

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SavvyJack posted this 07 January 2019

I briefly tried it in the 223 Remington, followed instructions by filling case to near maximum capacity. Velocity was lower than expected. I wonder if compressed loads would work better. Maybe? More powder, more fouling? Needs more testing to rule out.

Trailboss was designed for cowboy action shooting as a bulk powder. It was not designed for accuracy or velocity and is why it sucks when used in that application..

Crush it and pressures will go out of the roof!!!

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Scearcy posted this 07 January 2019

+1: Don't compress this stuff. It can get real ugly.

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tony1960 posted this 07 January 2019

I will echo the "DO NOT COMPRESS" the pressure spike is wild. I have played with it in a 38SPL and what was a normal load slowly increasing, as soon as the powder got to capacity things got ugly, primers flattened and flowing. I think what everyone is saying is correct, if you are looking for a not so accurate load to play with then it fits the bill, just the fact that you need to be in a draught free zone is a pain as this stuff will just dissapear out of your pan. Velocities are also so-so, I would have liked to be able to predict that they would show some promise.

As an example 2.5 g of the following powders behind a 100gr SWC in my 38spl

Bullseye - 760 fps av
WST - 800 fps av
AS30 - 967 fps av (Clays)
TB - 739 fps av

 

all about the same group size with BE edging out AS30 to WST, TB brought up a woeful last. All out of 231 or that would have been in there too.

 

The powder may be OK for a rifle and the average person shooting some shopbought cast pills but not for what we are looking for.

 

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SavvyJack posted this 07 January 2019

Trailboss was designed to be a plinking powder and nothing more.

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Lee posted this 07 January 2019

"I briefly tried it in the 223 Remington, followed instructions by filling case to near maximum capacity. Velocity was lower than expected.

I wonder if compressed loads would work better. Maybe?

More powder, more fouling?"

So did I. With cast bullets. Did not work well.  Velocity way to slow accuracy poor. Can't get enough into the case without compressing it, and Trail Boss does not like to be compressed. I'll stick with Cowboy loads.

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John Alexander posted this 07 January 2019

I tried Trail Boss with light CB loads in a 223 and got the lowest variation in muzzle velocity I have ever seen with any other powder both ES and SD, and I have chronographed a lot of loads.  However, I couldn't make it shoot nearly as well as other fast pistol powders or slower powders for that matter.  Something to think about for those who look for uniform MV in trying to find accuracy loads.

The arbitrary advice above that fast pistol powders are no good for reduced CB rifle loads flies in the face of decades of CB shooters finding the opposite.  I have been shooting such loads in CBA competition for thirty years and have no complaints.  

The logical sounding theory that the steep pressure curve distorts the CB is often used to support this belief -- not actual shooting trials.

Another theory might be that the higher initial pressure of fast powders upsets (expands) the soft bullet sooner forming a more perfect fit to the throat before it has traveled very far.

Both theories may be just BS since we don't know. But the actual successful performance of pistol powders (as well as medium fast rifle powders) we do know. The results can be seen in CBA match reports which  should be more convincing to anybody with an open mind than any theory -- no matter how logical the theory sounds.

What the powder maker intended the powder to be used for is entirely irrelevant to finding the best accuracy and shouldn't restrict the search for the best powder for your application.

John

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Ed Harris posted this 07 January 2019

I'm with Ric.

I don't like fast-burning powders having a large particle size which I cannot measure within +/- 0.1 grain in small cases like the .32 ACP.

My all-time favorite is Bullseye.  Tied equally for second place are TiteGroup, 452AA and WST. Just as good.

Where I need a slower pistol powder than these, I found AutoComp measures uniformly and can use Unique data as a start load in most calibers for standard pressure (not +P) loads.    

Since I used the last of my #2400, I have been using IMR4227 as my "magnum" handgun powder.

All of these work in my handgun and mostly plainbased rifle loads from .32-20 to .44-40 and .30-'06.

When my current 1990 caddy of Bullseye is gone, I'll switch entirely over to a caddy of 452AA made about the same time, because it is approaching 30 years old, still good, but I want to shoot it tp rather than using it to fertilize Roma tomatoes, Roma II flat-pod green beans and red Serano peppers.

My remaining unopened 2008 Obama-panic-buy 8 lb. caddy of Bullseye will be the last to go if I live that long.

 

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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SavvyJack posted this 07 January 2019

Ed I am basically doing the same thing. I picked up 5 bottles of IMR-4227 about six years ago. I have shot up all my 2400, TiteGroup and good Black Powders. All I have left is one 1/2 bottle of Reloder 7, one 1/2 bottle of Unique and four bottles of 4227. 

For plinking I still have a good supply of Trail Boss from my CAS days.

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M3 Mitch posted this 07 January 2019

Are you guys having problems getting Unique and 2400?  Around here, the local Bi-Mart has both in stock.  I'm not real pleased at the price, but, it's fresh new inventory and on the shelf right now.  They have TiteGroup and Trail Boss as well. 

I think it's a good point though that Bullseye is damn hard to beat for an accurate load in any non-magnum pistol or revolver caliber - or magnums as well so long as you are not wanting magnum velocity levels. As I understand it, Bullseye is the oldest smokeless powder in continuous production, "it got there for good reason".

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RicinYakima posted this 07 January 2019

 

John Alexander posted this 4 hours ago

I tried Trail Boss with light CB loads in a 223 and got the lowest variation in muzzle velocity I have ever seen with any other powder both ES and SD, and I have chronographed a lot of loads.  However, I couldn't make it shoot nearly as well as other fast pistol powders or slower powders for that matter.  Something to think about for those who look for uniform MV in trying to find accuracy loads.

John your first paragraph says it all. Many CBA shooters have tried this for what it wasn't made to do. It's very good at doing what it was made for, especially not being able to double charge cases. However many many people have tried to make this one a accuracy powder, which is ain't and never going to be for rifle cases. They would be better off reading old issues of the Fouling Shot and building on the work of others than beating this dead horse. IMHO, Ric

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 08 January 2019

thanks guys for all the inputs !! .....

it seems to be that Trail Boss is really good at being Trail Boss .... but a little " IFFY " at being a universal powder for highly reliable shot placement .

**************

but, i keep thinking that we can learn more from BAD results than Good results ....  so:  in the example from johna of consistent velocity .... how could it give bad groups ? ...     ?bad fouling? .... 

.... maybe TB is a cousin of using corn meal fillers ... " just something slightly wrong with it " ... heh ...

thanks again for the inputs ......  i will probably still pick up a small can ... 

ken

 

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Tom Acheson posted this 08 January 2019

Ken,

Have you tried PB powder? 

About 35-years I was loading PB for a S&W Model 19 .357 and a Model 25 in .45 Auto Rim. Jacketed bullets at the time. My memory (lost any notes I had) says that PB shot pretty good for 25-yards in both guns. I don't see PB mentioned as a potential candidate today for the two cartridges. I think it might still be in production.

Tom

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 08 January 2019

hi tom ... used to load PB in shotshells loads ... great .....  so probably would be good to try in 308 800-1400 fps cast loads ...  

burn rate suggestions attached.

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GP Idaho posted this 09 January 2019

I understand that PB is also on the discontinued  list. I don't know why such a good shotgun-pistol powder was cut but that's what seems to be happening.. Gp

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BigMan54 posted this 09 January 2019

Sometimes I think they discontinue old powders to force us to buy the new ones.  It seems whenever they introduce a new powder, it stays around for a few years. And just as you get loads developed using it, they discontinue it.

I'm thinking all the Winchester Powders from the 1970's thru the 1990's. 

As long as Bullseye, Unique, 2400 are still here I'll be happy for Handgun.

IMR4350, IMR4227 & H4895 & maybe H335. I'll be OK for most Rifle & IMR3031.

I can't shoot hot loads anymore, so Win296, IMR7828 and some of the other hot new powders are not in my future. 

But I'll bet there are a least 3 times as many powders available as there were 50years ago.

I'm confused.   

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun.

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Scearcy posted this 09 January 2019

I think cast bullet shooters by our very nature think fondly of the good old days. Unfortunately our old favorite powders continue to dwindle away. Not being much of a conspiracy guy I suspect it is pure economics. Personally I am totally ignorant when it comes to the attributes of various powders. We have members here who seem to be very knowledgable, however.

We now know that Tite Group is a useful CB powder as is Trail Boss. There have to be others. Sadly 4756, 4759, the original 2400, you pick em probably aren't coming back.

This probably  should be a separate thread. If there is enough interest I'll start one but----- are there attributes in the new powders that make them problematic or should we be test a half dozen new powders?

Jim

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Eutectic posted this 10 January 2019

Trail Boss was designed for a specific application. Low velocity loads in big cases with cast bullets. The very low density coupled with a medium burn rate fills over half the case, this makes double charges improbable. Even a case-full will not blow up a pistol or pistol caliber carbine. THIS is the important feature!  

The large grains do not measure precisely in small charges, it was not meant for loading 32 ACP.
38 Special target loads are not as accurate as Bullseye, It was not meant for this.

I think it is like little inner tubes. Cheerios? No way does not smell nearly as good.

Gary you have caught the racist sickness, you should work for CNN. Don't diss my favorite cereal.

Steve

 

 

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Dukem posted this 11 January 2019

I used Trail Boss for the ground hog shoot. I shot the RCBS 30-150-CM and I'll stand by my scores. I used 6.0 gr in mil-surp cases from a 03 and a 03A3.

Duke

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SavvyJack posted this 18 January 2019

https://castbulletassoc.org/forum/thread/blown-guns-at-sass-matches/

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barra posted this 20 January 2019

I haven’t tried Trailboss because I’m to tight to use twice as much powder that cost twice as much .

but my real beef is if you look at the pressure it develops it is quite high for what it supposed to do compared with other fast burning powders.

Here is no way I would use it in an old gun as reduced load which some people  here think it’s made  for.

reduced velocity not pressure.

 

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SavvyJack posted this yesterday

but my real beef is if you look at the pressure it develops it is quite high for what it supposed to do compared with other fast burning powders.

It was designed for two purposes...

1. To fill the case enough to aid in the prevention of a double charge of powder.

2. Maintain velocities to remain inline with CAS rules.

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Squid Boy posted this yesterday

I tried Trail Boss in several cartridges. In 38-40 Cowboy load it was fine but ran a little dirty compared to others. In a BSA Martini Cadet in 32-20 it out shot everything to my great surprise. With a custom 130 grained heeled CBE it would shoot 3/4" five shot groups at fifty yards which is all I can do with iron sights. I tried it in a 12.7x44R Cape rifle and it was OK but others out shot it  because it was slow and didn't shoot to the sights. However, it really looses out when you try to go faster because it has a nasty habit of spiking pressures rapidly with small additions of powder and almost no velocity gain. It is still an interesting powder and there may be something that it will really shine in. What that is could be anyone's guess. Thanks, Squid

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gemihur posted this yesterday

Just had a successful range session with my 30 Herrett barrel and some light plinking loads using Trail Boss.

My load was 7.5 gr. Trail Boss under 125 gr. .308 spitzers @ 1477 FPS but consistent enough to hold a tight group at 75 yds.

Mild and pleasant to shoot, unlike most of my beastie-killin' calibers in the little gun... a JDJ it ain't but I like it!

I shoot, therefore I am

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M3 Mitch posted this yesterday

I think in another thread Ed mentioned that Trail Boss was actually made primarily for line-throwing guns, whaling harpoons, and explosive bolts on rockets.  Those are the applications that make it financially worth manufacturing, we are just a side-show.  Someone figured out it might be useful for "Cowboy" loads so Hodgdon started selling it in canisters for that purpose. 

Sad to say, if we cast bullet shooters were worth catering to, as a business proposition, SR 4759, for example, would still be on the market, because we all like it.  Well, nearly all.  I have not read any posts against it.

I wonder what it's called when sold for commercial applications.  Probably not "Trail Boss". 

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JeffinNZ posted this yesterday

Ed commented it was originally for 40mm grenade rounds.  TB was not designed for us.  It was repurposed for us.

Cheers from New Zealand

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