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Thread: Pistol and Shotgun Powders in Trapdoors?

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy PBSmith's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014

    Pistol and Shotgun Powders in Trapdoors?

    I've noticed that several users here have mentioned the application.

    Often I've seen 10.0 grs Unique suggested as a favorite Trapdoor load with 405-410 grain cast. In fact, I tried it myself and was rewarded with decent groups, no apparent problems.

    A vague recollection brings up Bulleye in the Trapdoor for very light loads. That one took me by surprise.

    The loads referenced in these applications seem to mesh with low-end data given in

    Those data are for Marlin lever guns if I'm not mistaken.

    So I find myself wondering if anyone has experimented (and tested) light loads in Trapdoors with other pistol and shotgun powders that GMDR tried in lever guns? Thinking here of the Hercules Dots, 700X, HS-6, W231, etc.

    Before anyone has a major coronary, yes, I know a Marlin lever is not a Trapdoor.

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    over the hill, out in the woods and far away
    I can state from experience that a double-charge of 24 grains of W231 with a 385-grain #457124 in a sound and well;-fitted up 1884 trapdoor will not blow up the gun, but WILL ring the chamber such that it requires a 2-lb. lead hammer and 7/16" drill rod to pound the case out, after which your grand shooter-grade gun which will still look OK to exterior visual inspection, then becomes a wall-hanger. I sold mine to a Civil War themed country inn and resturant near Middlleburg, VA where it is to this day.

    BTW, the 12 grain 231 load was very accurate at 200 yards while it lasted. 11 grains of 700-X or Red Dot was nearly as good, as was 10 grains of Bullseye, but I learned the error of my ways...

    In a black powder gun you want a smokeless charge which is bulky enough that a double-charge overflows the case and is obvious to visual inspection.

    THAT is what Trail Boss is for, but about 35-36 grs. of IMR3031 with Dacron filler also safely satisfies the requirement.
    The ENEMY is listening.
    HE wants to know what YOU know.
    Keep it to yourself.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
    RedlegEd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Collierville, TN
    Hi. I shoot Larry Gibson’s load of 8.0 gr Bullseye under an Accurate Moulds Rapine 275 clone with great success to 200 yds (no filler.) As Outpost75 points out, there is a very real danger in double charging a case, so I only charge, then seat one case at a time. Using a loading block with huge cases and small charges can get you in big trouble.
    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is totally optional!

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master

    Larry Gibson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Lake Havasu City, Arizona
    I shoot a lot of the load RedlegEd mentioned in my TDs and also the Rapine 460-210-HB over 6 gr Bullseye. I also used Unique with 300 - 350 gr bullets.

    Yes, a double charge of powder can definitely wreck havoc with TDs so one must be extra careful. My golden rule never broken is a case in a loading block has powder in it. I do not put cases in a loading block and then put powder in them or for any other reason. CASES IN LOADING BLOCKS HAVE POWDER IN THEM. Cases are kept loose in small containers then charged with a thrower [usually a Lyman 55], visually inspected and then placed in the loading block. Another visual of the cases in the loading block is done with a small flashlight before putting a filler in {if it is a load a filler is used in...the Bullseye loads do not use a filler] and/or seating a bullet in the cases.
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Midland/Center Point, Texas
    I was just going to say, it depends on how you use the loading block. I don't think I've loaded anything slower than blue dot in a rifle case in 20 years. I use loading blocks always. My primed cases lay flat on the work bench top, one is picked up and powder thrown, weighed and dumped into the case. case then goes to the loading block that at full arms length from the powder measure. When the block is full, cases are checked visually and often with a marked dowel stick. Bullets then seated. I keep the bench pretty orderly and NEVER have anything it I'm not using for that load. Powder is NEVER left in the hopper when I'm done.

    As to the original question, I use a mild load of red dot in the 45-70 with lee 405 grain bullet but I shoot in a BOLT ACTION rifle. I have a nice trapdoor but I have never fired it. Someday I need to so it's with that thought in mind that I'm following this post!

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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