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Thread: Anyone using Trail Boss powder in their .43 Spanish?

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub stuffy25thia's Avatar
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    Anyone using Trail Boss powder in their .43 Spanish?

    I have a very nice .43 Spanish that I shoot paper patched bullets in, I breech seat my bullets, then load the cartridge, have been using IMR 3031 powder, but want to try Trail Boss, anyone have any load data for it?

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    That advice is NOT for a BP rolling block !

    There are published loads for Cowboy Action 45-70 loads. Use them with same boolit weight and dacron to hold the powder in place.

    Works just fine.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master


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    for modern rollers like those from pedersoli, tb is no problemo.

    for the old real deal ones, not for me, but to each their own.

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    Any safe cartridge rifle that is safe w/black is safe w/TB.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    trail boss doesn't have the same pressure curve or buildup as black powder does.

    Dreyse discovered that the entire charge of bp burned in the entire barrel length, thus when he ignited the powder charge column from the front, and let it stay burning in the breech section as the bullet went down the barrel, he could up the pressure a tad and increase the velocity by a slightly larger tad amount.

    Trail boss is position insensitive for the most part until compressed, but has the same sharp and steep and sudden pressure curve of more common pistol powders. 2400 and unique I believe have very similar curves.
    Not exactly something id use in a gun this old.

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    As you wish. 1000s of loads have been fired in old guns with this powder. No reports of explosions.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    That advice is NOT for a BP rolling block !
    The Hodgdon charging instructions 1 -2 -3 are for ANY CALIBER and if you don't believe so - Call Hodgdon Technical Support
    Regards
    John

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    for the old real deal ones, not for me, but to each their own.
    Have used TB in 44-40 powder charges in an 1887 JM Marlin Ballard cast iron action with no issues
    Regards
    John

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    There are tested safe loads for any older cartridge (or a close match) published in free Hodgdon loading book.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    TrailBoss, while giving low velocities, is actually a high pressure fast burning powder. In his book Shooting British Double Rifles, Graeme Wright speaks of locking up a high quality British double rifle using the prescribed formula for TB.

  12. #12
    Boolit Bub stuffy25thia's Avatar
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    Went ahead and loaded TB in my .43 roller, worked just great, nice mild kick, and point of aim was the same as the IMR 3130 load that I have been using. As stated before, I breach seat my PP bullet, then the loaded case, works great.

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    Boolit Master Nobade's Avatar
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    Won't catch me using TB in my rolling blocks any more. I all but wrecked my #4 rifle, 32 long, with one shot using TB. That's after hundreds of rounds of bp ammo and no problem.

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    If you don't use Hodgden data from the FREE manual ---- bad things can happen (with any powder)

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    I haven't "explored" very far with Trail Boss. Most of my loads have been in the 90%-of-capacity realm, and I REALLY like these loads in 357 and 44 Magnum revolvers with #358429 and #429421--950 FPS and stellar accuracy. With 95% density in 38/55 and the Lee 250 grain flatnose plain-base, velocity runs 1275-1300 FPS (20" Win M-94) and decent accuracy. I am not a CAS shooter, so the docile ballistics given by 70%-density loads don't interest me much--reliable ignition with uber-light loadings might be the powder's most valuable trait.
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

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    Use 3 grains of Trail Boss with a 125 grain bullet in 38 Special, minimum load, very little recoil and my wife shoots this load in a light 5 shot revolver. Use 10 grains in 308 Win with 120 grain cast bullet that is powder coated, my 9 year old grand son shoots this in a small ring Mauser I put together.

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    I think the issue with trail boss is its "safe" until its compressed. If your loading to max per hodgdons data/instructions if you compress it the pressure will spike quickly. I shot a lot of trsil boss when the powder ran dry a few years ago. None of my loads 30-06,8mm,762x54rc 303britc 7.7 jap performed well near max... I never shot any round that I felt like or did a see any high pressure signs.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master Nobade's Avatar
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    The issue is the rise time and pressure peak. It is absolutely not a problem with modern guns. But large cased black powder guns are another matter. You can get enough trail boss in a 43 Spanish case to spike pressure easily double what a black powder service load can generate, even though the muzzle velocity is considerably lower. If you absolutely must shoot a black powder rifle with smokeless powder, stick to 4198 or 3031 and duplicate the muzzle velocity of the original loads. You will be safe there most of the time.

  19. #19
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    why fool around with a gun design meant for black powder loads and heavy alloy bullets? just shoot the damn black powder and be done with it. you can radically reduce the recoil/load with dry wads - been there, done that, it works to the point of winning matches and the recoil is so slight that my 11yo granddaughter has no problem firing it off all day long . fouling control during shooting is no big chore for greaser or ppb alike - blow tube or wipe or both. after shoot cleanup is also about the same as with smokeless loads. ditto's for bp burnt black brass.

    if you *must* go the smokeless way, use aa5744 - it was meant as a large case bp powder simulator, is not case location sensitive, and requires no fillers or wadding.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nobade View Post
    The issue is the rise time and pressure peak. It is absolutely not a problem with modern guns. But large cased black powder guns are another matter. You can get enough trail boss in a 43 Spanish case to spike pressure easily double what a black powder service load can generate, even though the muzzle velocity is considerably lower. If you absolutely must shoot a black powder rifle with smokeless powder, stick to 4198 or 3031 and duplicate the muzzle velocity of the original loads. You will be safe there most of the time.
    Duly noted, sir.

    I do a lot more "black powder-to-smokeless" replication with IMR 4198 than with Trail Boss in my Old School calibers. I use Ross Seyfried's "formula" of nominal BP charge weight in grains X 0.4 = duplication of BP ballistics. In 25/20, 32/20, 38/55, 44/40, and 45/70 bullets of standard weight get pretty close to BP velocities. Notably, my 1897-made Win 73 got its best-ever accuracy using SAECO #446 atop 16.0 grains of 4198--shading an inch/5 shots at 50 yards, and 2.25"-2.5" at 100 yards. This borders on an epiphany, given the casual condition of its bore and the age of my eyes using open irons. Needless to say, this load using Bruce B Soft Points will be going along this year to harvest venison. This same load in the Uberti Cattleman x 4-3/4" in 44/40 left a few kernels of unburned powder in the bore and chambers, but so does 14.0 grains of 2400. It shot well, and right to the sights--velocity was just a bit over 1100 FPS in the carbine and 10 FPS either side of 800 FPS in the sideiron. Not quite up to BP speeds, but the deer or the target paper won't know the difference.

    Someone above mentioned 'Just use The Holy Black and call it good', or words to that effect. There is a whole lot of sense in that. As the late Frank Barnes wrote many years ago, some of these hyphenated Winchester calibers did not make a very graceful transition from black powder to smokeless analogs. At the times most of these calibers were rolled out, black powder was at its peak of development and refinement. One would think that modern technology could at least meet the standard of 125 years ago, and it probably can--but seldom does. Good black powder is scarce--some lots of Goex are basically Flaming Dirt, the BPCR folks probably could counsel us about what works best and where to get it. All this to say that BP is (for me) too much trouble to locate and manage in this North Korea offsite I live within, so I adapt by using substitutes and accept slightly diminished performance as a cost of doing business in this odious place.

    ETA--See also W30WCF's posts concerning use of 100%-density loads of Alliant RL-7 in the old calibers as BP substitute that also gives bullet support against "telescoping" via powder column like BP did back in the day.
    Last edited by 9.3X62AL; 10-04-2017 at 11:33 AM.
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check