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Old 09-26-2010, 08:49 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Central WA St. near Yakima.
Posts: 22
Tiny little powder charges in great big cartridges!

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Hi folks!! This is my first post on this forum. A long-time shooter, relaoder (first reload in 1971) gunsmith (23 yrs) and in the past three years, a beginner in BPCR. I have a C. Sharps & A recent vintage Winchester High Wall, both in 45-90. Plus a recently acquired Win '94 in 38-55, & 24" octo bbl.

My other favorite cartridges: 250-3000 Ackley, 6.5-06 Ackley, 45-70, 38-55, 6BR, my own 370 MRW (a 9.3mm necked up 325 WSM with the bullet set out in the chamber), and the 45LC, plus my 454 Casull of course. For the bears!

I got info directly from the Trail Boss people on recommended powder charges in 45-70s and -90s. To my astonishment, they were in the 13 - 15 gr of powder range, which, trust me, in a 45-90 case, leaves a whole lot of air.

Now everything I've read about "short charges" in these cases yells "stay away!" if you don't want "unusual" pressure excursions. "I dohn wahnt no pressure excursions, man!"

So what gives? While TB is of course a low density, high volume powder, is this truly safe? The powder could be in any number of positions or distributions within that casing unless I do some yoga-like pre-positioning of my Sharps before touching the round off, but that seems a bit ridiculous, no?

Is this stuff really safe?

Next quick related question: I bought a bunch (≈800) rounds of loaded 45-90 ammo from the once existing PMC Corporation in, I think, Culver City, NV. Smokeless, over a 480gr cast bullet. Problem is, these are apparently loaded at well below "light load" levels, launching the bullets at a snail's ≈650 fps out of my Winchester High-Wall. The muzzle report sounds like a loud hand clap. First round, I was worried that perhaps the bullet lodged in the barrel. As well, it sounds like there's about 10 gr of whatever powder, and I've had about 5% hang-fires/will not fire, even tho' the primer was well struck. I think that uber-low low powder load may simply not ignite if it's badly located in the case when the primer's hit.

Now this organization is out of biz, long gone. Slipped into the night, as they say. I wonder if I shouldn't pull all those bullets and refill with good old Goex Cartridge, yes? Anyone else have any experiences with PMC loads?

Any help will be appreciated, and again, nice to be here!
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Old 09-26-2010, 12:14 PM
Beartooth Regular
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 261
Tell us about the bullets you intend to shoot with trail boss. 13-15 grains sounds about right for a 45-70 but that depends rather your shooting 300gr bullets or 500 grainers. By the way trail-boss is real fluffy and that amount will about fill up a 45-70 case further than you would expect.

Last edited by 243dave; 09-26-2010 at 12:18 PM.
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Old 09-27-2010, 03:12 AM
Beartooth Regular
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Caldwell, ID
Posts: 887

Dave is correct, Trail Boss was designed to be used in small amounts and it is a high volume per grain powder. Is it safe? Of course. As long as the design limits are not exceeded. You are thinking of the pressure issues with light loads of SLOWER burning powders. With faster powders such as Unique, Trail Boss, etc. pressure spikes and detonations are not an issue.

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