It seems a lot of people aren't aware of how easy Trail Boss is to use for reduced loads. So I thought I'd make this public service announcement.
Trail Boss powder is virtually idiot proof. It may be used for any smokeless powder cartridge. Yes, any. Pistol or rifle. And it may be used with both jacketed and lead bullets. All you need to do is determine where the base of the bullet sits in the case. Then determine how much Trail Boss it takes to fill the case to that point. That's your max load. This is true for every cartridge. In other words, to get into trouble with Trail Boss you have to compress it.
Pretty convenient, eh?
If that sounds like a bunch of malarkey, it's because the simplicity and universality of it rubs contrary to the caution all wisdom has taught us to use at the bench. So I've added this link from IMR to enhance credulity: http://www.imrpowder.com/PDF/Trail-Boss-data.pdf
To work up a load of Trail Boss take your max load and multiply by 0.7. In other words, 70% of maximum is the minimum load. So you can fill any cartridge, pistol or rifle, with between 70% and 100% load density of Trail Boss without exceeding the maximum pressure for said cartridge.
Lastly, filling the case with powder up to the base of the bullet (100% load density) is important because when the case is full, the powder can't move around, get away from the primer or spread out from itself. That means it will burn more consistently and create more consistent velocities/pressure. Having said that, many loads are created at less than 100% load density because other considerations have taken priority. In such instances it is prudent to use a chronograph to measure variations in velocity, thus ensuring that the consistency of the load is acceptable. The variation in velocity in some cartridges loaded to less than 100% load density can be huge: 500 fps huge.
Last edited by lever101; 01-07-2012 at 10:42 PM.
I love Trail Boss, i use it for several calibers. I know it cost a little more, but hard to blow a gun up with it..
"A gun is a tool, Marion, no better or no worse than any other tool, an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that." - Shane
-Team 45/70 Member #170
Thanks lever 101 thats great information. I dont currently use trail boss but now that I have this info maybe I should consider it.
My load data would suggest otherwise. The cases on a 32-40 will hold much more than the max loading of 6 grains of trail boss. The starting load is 5 gr at ~12.5k cup, with 6 gr at ~25k cup. The SAAMI limit is 30k. So, it seems like 7 gr would put it way over the top. I think the case could hold 9-10 grains.
I have tried it in several calibers, from 38spl, to 45 colt...in 32 spl...30-30, and have shot it in 32-40 caliber...i'm resonably sure the load was 7 grains in the 32-40, with no visable signs of any pressure, the rifle had low recoil, and was quite comfortable to shoot, but to be sure, i'll ask Steve what he used.. It is a nice choice for reduced loads, and in my 45 LC rifle...really shoots well....I dont see how you can get into trouble with the powder, perhaps compressed charges like the OP stated...
I use trail box in my 45 Colt loads, with excellent results. It seems to work great in all pistol calibers. I used Trail Boss in my Dutch Beaumont with good results, but I notice the brass had expanded more than I previously seen with 4198 and 5744. Trail Boss is a very fast powder, and I think it might be a little "spiky" in large bottleneck BP cartridges. I don't think it was anywhere near being dangerous, but it made me a little nervous. It works well in my 45-70 and I didn't see any case expansion.
My information can be found in the Lee manual, 2nd edition, and on the Hodgdon website under loading data. Both places list the same loads. I don't KNOW anything about it. I merely have this information posted in the OP and the information posted in their own load listings which seem to conflict one another.
The Lee # 2 manual makes No mention of Trailboss in the .32-40