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  #1  
Old 09-25-2005, 09:06 AM
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IMR-Trail Boss Powder in 45-70


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On my way back from a gun show yesterday stopped at gun store I visit whenever traveling through that town. Low and behold they had some of the new IMR Trail Boss powder in stock so bought a few bottles (their 9oz in weight--not a full pound). Also picked up a IMR powder loading handbook 2005 revised edition. Not much data for 45-70 just 14.0 gr. start & 16.5 gr. max charge for 300 gr. cast lead flat point bullets. This is the cowboy long range rifle loading by their manual.

October 2005 No.237 issue of Handloader contains an article on Trail Boss with virtually same loading (why does that not supprise me--everyone covering there collective rears). Has anyone out there had any experience with this new powder yet or know of articles or someone who has experimented with the powder?

Will try some loads this week at the range.
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  #2  
Old 12-22-2005, 09:35 PM
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Can't find it here in Portland yet but I'm eager to try it in my two .45 SAA clones, a Cabela Millenium and a Taurus Gaucho. Let's hear a follow up on how you like it..
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  #3  
Old 11-04-2007, 12:21 PM
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Interesting experiment. I gather TB's purpose is to be able to fill all black powder cases without causing excess pressure. I have found it to be extremely clean. I fired it in some new .45 ACP brass, and the insides of those fired cases were remarkably clean. Your comment on its performance being below black powder performance is a bit of a surprise. I would have expected them to make it track better, but perhaps they couldn't do that without raising peak chamber pressure?
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  #4  
Old 11-07-2007, 01:31 AM
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Trail Boss

Hi folks

http://www.adi-limited.com/handloaders-guide/index.asp

this link will take you to the ADI load data site, they developed TRAIL BOSS here in Australia aparantly but we have only just got it on the shelves.

It has load data for 45/70 reproduction rifles and for Cowboy Loads, I am using it in my .45 and .357 Vaqueros. At near the listed minimums it has worked well so far, but I haven't played around with the loads yet.

I have tried some in my 45/70 Uberti 1885 replica but they were just middle weight loads, I have loaded up some more to the heavier end of the load data and will give them a go this weekend.

I have found that this powder does burn nice and clean and doesn't leave anything like as much soot on the cases as AS30 which I was using previously in my handguns (could have been due to the light cowboy loads and not a lot of powder in the cases)

Will be interested to see what sort of loads this powder is capable of though

Cheers

Lazy Dave
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  #5  
Old 11-07-2007, 11:27 AM
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Larry,

I think all of Hodgdon's Extreme line is also produced by ADI. You can check out the equivalents chart in the downloadable ADI manual or on the site link you gave.

Lane,

Your measurements are close to mine. That is, the bulk density of Trail Boss you found to be .33 grams/cc. I measured 0.32 gm/cc in the cannister I bought. Those numbers are close enough that lot variation would account for it. If we split the difference we get about 5 grains per cubic centimeter (0.324 gm/cc is 5 gr/cc, almost exactly).
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  #6  
Old 12-09-2007, 06:33 PM
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I think we got that the first two times you put it up in your November 6 post. What happened since then that you were motivated to billboard a third go around at this time? Any new information?

If I understand the upshot of your statement, it is that it is unsafe to employ a volumetric measure that throws safe doses of black powder to measure Trail Boss. You will need something smaller. Certainly any powder that is not actual black powder or one of the equivalents developed for compatibility with black powder measures will not be safe to use for the purpose either.

Another issue with muzzle loaders is that, unlike a cartridge, the projectile and any patch employed are pushed down on the powder so there is never excess chamber capacity as their will be with reduced loads in a cartridge firearm. That will mean that reducing a charge will not reduce peak chamber pressure as much as doing it in a cartridge gun of the same bore with a straight case will do. I suppose you could experiment with chasing a smaller powder charge with an inverted shotgun wad or some other means of ensuring some extra powder space? I think I would rather just get a .45-70 or one of its cousins at that point.
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  #7  
Old 12-09-2007, 08:12 PM
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I've used TB for two years now, both for my .45 LC and .44 mag. cowboy loads. I find that it works great, is decently accurate and burns pretty clean.
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  #8  
Old 12-09-2007, 09:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lane View Post
The pressure spike generated by 100gv/33gw of TrailBoss pushing a 300grain saboted bullet, equals the spike generated by 150bv load of Pyrodex. . . The whole idea behind TrailBoss is to do away with or reduce the amount of empty space between cartridge case powder charge and projectile. . .


I think what confused me was the gv unit. You actually mean the volume of 100 grains of something with a density of 1gm/cc, such as water comes close to at about 39 degrees. Most powders don't have quite that much bulk density, though a few, like Accurate #5 actually have more.

Trail Boss is, indeed, bulky, as we both measured, and the safety factor of limiting overcharging is a good bonus from that. But I think the main idea was to provide the Cowboy Action Shooters with something that filled an old black powder pistol cartridge case to black powder levels while producing similar pressures and exterior ballistics. It is, however, not black powder, and so, once you change the circumstances far enough from that of those old-time pistol cartridge dimensions and traditional bullet weights, you can find its pressures getting higher than an equivalent volume of black powder. That was my point, and I think your strain gauge measurements have verified that your muzzle loader is such a case.

Incidentally, several of us here are using the RSI Pressure Trace strain gauge instrument. It has proven to be a very useful tool. Ranch Dog is the other moderator who has one.

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Last edited by unclenick; 12-09-2007 at 09:09 PM. Reason: Typo correction
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  #9  
Old 12-10-2007, 12:51 PM
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Related question for Trail Boss uses

Folks,

I've got a question about using Trail Boss.
How fast does its pressure curve jump up??
I'm thinking of a "reduced" 454 Casull load that
uses a heavy slug to shoot to near point of aim for
my more stout loadings.

The question really pertains to how well will it expand
the thicker, stronger, brass of the 454 cartridge .vs.
the more flexible 45LC case. I use full length 454 cases
for all my loadings, just to keep the powder & lead ridge
to a minimum.

Several threads have mentioned the sooty cases, wide
velocity range, and the reliance on heavy crimp to get
reasonable accuracy with reduced loadings of "normal"
powders.
Does Trail Boss effectively address this type of issue?

I'd really like to have a double charge proof, heavy slug safe,
"plinking" load

Cheers
Big Mike G
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  #10  
Old 12-12-2007, 12:27 AM
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Trail Boss is fairly quick, being intended for revolver ammunition. The loads listed by IMR for the .45-70 using this powder can be matched by equal weights of Bullseye sometimes and Unique other times. Plenty quick enough for heavy slugs in any event. You don't need to worry about it expanding the case enough to seal the chamber.

Trail Boss is, perhaps, the cleanest modern powder I've run into. I had occasion to fire it in some new .45 ACP brass, and there was very little soot or anything else left in the case. Very clean. It also proved too bulky for the little ACP case and I couldn't get enough into the case to produce adequate velocity for the experimental extra-heavy cast boattail bullet I was using (see my avatar). Still haven't tried it with my usual 185 or 200 grain cast bullets. I still had a lot of Bullseye in the powder hopper. There may be enough room for that to work out OK? I will definitely be trying it out in the .44 Special next spring.
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  #11  
Old 01-12-2008, 03:00 PM
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A Warning

Lane,

I have found a possible explanation for why your 150 grains water volume (gV) load behaved differently. On another forum, former American Rifleman associate editor, Mike Irwin, reported he had asked IMR why they only published lead bullet loads for Trail Boss? They told him:

Quote:
Originally Posted by IMR
"Trail Boss was designed for use with lead bullets only. It does not like jacketed bullets and performs poorly with them. We have no plans to offer jacketed bullet data because of the poor performance."
Mr. Irwin further wrote:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Irwin
Between you, me, and everyone else, and while I can't confirm this, I have heard reports that the "poor performance" with jacketed bullets includes SEVERE pressure excursions at various, and rather random, points in the load development process, the kind of pressure excursions that will go from a safe load in a revolver to a half a cylinder and chunk of top strap stuck in the ceiling with absolutely no intermediate step.
He goes on to say this is anecdotal, but that he has it from two different sources he trusts. When something happens that abruptly it is likely to be inconsistent. It suggests more that one combustion mode may be involved at different pressures? So, you may have found that 125-175 gW is actually a range within which the difference in combustion behavior becomes possible, but not certain?
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Last edited by unclenick; 01-13-2008 at 05:45 AM.
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  #12  
Old 01-13-2008, 07:01 AM
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Lane,

I think, based on Mike Irwin's information, I would not be anxious to have my face near a muzzle loader using this stuff just yet. If his reports of erratic performance are correct, the cause of them needs to be clearly identified before the stuff can be said to be safe in anything but the old straight wall cartridges firing lead bullets. The plastic sabots are not going to cause the kind of start pressures bullet jackets do, but if you keep adding the mass of more bullets, eventually you will get enough so inertia alone will cause the same high start pressures.

I gather from a few things you've said that your initial experiments were a remote firing exercise? Your early post didn't spell that out one way or the other? I assumed that you had the gun in a machine rest and behind sandbags or other fragment shielding and were firing it remotely? I would be doing at least that as you keep upping the projectile count.


BigMikeG,

I took a look at the Trail Boss MSDS. Unlike other single-base smokeless powders, it contains potassium nitrate (saltpeter). I realized that's why they call it a new powder technology. Even though saltpeter is normally a black powder ingredient, it is apparently being used here to oxidize the graphite and smokeless powder carbon residue into gas. That's why you get so little soot or other residue even at low pressure. With regular smokeless powders, minimum pressure levels are required for the burn temperature and pressure to get high enough to limit residue. This stuff kind of cleans up after itself.

The presence of that oxidizer, however, may also explain why unpredictable burning could occur under higher start pressure conditions, as swaging jacket metal into rifling can cause. If the the pressure is allowed to rise too rapidly and the nitrocellulose is burning more completely on its own and leaving less residue for the saltpeter to oxidize, it may change which molecules it reacts with? If the result of that is a larger number of simpler molecules, that would increase the total gas volume generated by the weight of the powder, causing a disproportionate pressure rise. That is sheer speculation on my part, but Irwin's report has me wary.
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Last edited by unclenick; 01-13-2008 at 07:06 AM.
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  #13  
Old 04-18-2008, 02:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazy Dave View Post
I have tried some in my 45/70 Uberti 1885 replica but they were just middle weight loads, I have loaded up some more to the heavier end of the load data and will give them a go this weekend.
OK heres an update for the Trail Boss in 45-70 with 350gn lead cast projectile.

Didn't find it satisfactory at all it was spraying 10 to 20 feet @ 350 yards were the same 350gn projectile with ADI 2207 was hitting the gong consistantly.

It's stillill great in the .357 and .45 ruger vaqueros though.

Regards

Lazy Dave
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Old 04-18-2008, 09:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazy Dave View Post
OK heres an update for the Trail Boss in 45-70 with 350gn lead cast projectile.

Didn't find it satisfactory at all it was spraying 10 to 20 feet @ 350 yards were the same 350gn projectile with ADI 2207 was hitting the gong consistantly.

It's stillill great in the .357 and .45 ruger vaqueros though.

Regards

Lazy Dave
It seems that, as they say, your mileage may vary....

Last weekend I shot a bunch of 405gr cast loaded with 12gr of Trailboss through my .45-70 Pedersoli Sharps replica. I wasn't shooting at the same distances as you, only 200 yards, (but the gong was pretty small :-). Seemed to work well enough (although I didn't check for groups on paper though.)

Chris.
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  #15  
Old 04-18-2008, 02:28 PM
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Hi Chrisl,

Yeah I thought it was odd that they would spray like that and thought it could have been something in the way I loaded them.

The lighter powder loads seemed not to give as much spray but the longest range in our comp is 500yrd so thats why I moved up to higher powder loads to try and get some more range as I was running out of elevator at 350 yards.

I recently got some new sights with a bit more height so I might go back and try some 405gn 12.0gn loads like yours.

I simply could have been using too light a projectile for the dynamic of the cartridge/powder/rifle combination.

TO THE BAT CAVE!!!!

Cheers
Lazy Dave

p.s. I don't shoot for groups on paper, maybe I will one day, but till then its hitting gongs and hearing donggggs that tells me its a group. lolol

Last edited by Lazy Dave; 04-18-2008 at 02:31 PM.
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