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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What does anybody know about IMR trailboss? I have a little pressure tested data that was given to me in confidence so I don't feel at liberty to reveal the source. Hodgdons doesn't recommend using it in shotguns yet it has been done & is still being done successfully. My info. shows it yields good velocity (1200 fps +/-) with modest pressure. Its main application (in shotguns) is with older guns that need low to moderate pressure & in using all brass hulls. I tested it in my nitro. proofed SXS LC Smith (not damascus) & it worked great. Moderate to low recoil & good patterns & penetration. My chronograph is broken. My main question is powder charge. I will have to dig my records for the load I tested out of my archives, which are stored in a different location than where I live. I think it was 38 gr. of Trailboss & 1.25 oz. lead shot loaded in a brass 10 ga. hull with card & fiber filler wads. The hull was machined brass & the primer was a win. 209. I believe that Trailboss is about equil to blackpowder on a volume basis. Hodgdons says you can fill any smoakless cartridge to the top, leaving enough room to seat the bullet, & pressure will be below max for that cartridge. Please verify that with Hodgdon before loading anything as my memory can be less than perfect. Anyway, it appears that "X" grains of Trailboss is approximately equil to a dram of black powder so if you load your shotgun using a black powder equivalent load (DE) of "X" times the equivalent number of drams in the BP load you are trying to duplicat, pressure will be below SAMMI max. Anybody know about this?
 

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Trailboss does look interesting, and it works very well in blackpowder rifles and hand guns.I have heard of shotshell loads but none from Hogdon. I would not take loads from anyone though without pressure testing. Go from low to high drops and several batches. Shotguns don't have the extra meat in them to weather higher pressures safely like even blackpowder guns have I have to wonder why Hodgdon would leave a good sized market for their powder if there was not a reason.
 

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I have used IMR Trailboss with 45LC and frankly, do not recommend it.

I had nothing but trouble getting it to meter through the powder thrower. The flakes are huge and didn't feed through the narrow pistol cylinder. So I switched to the larger rifle one and had terrible accuracy with the larger orifice diameter.

The size of the flakes were a major factor in going through the powder funnel once I decided to hand-weigh each charge.

Accuracy was comparable to my loads with Unique, so...why bother with the stuff?

But, this isn't shotgun loading, so you may do a lot better than I did with my application. Given the above, that can is going to sit on the shelf for a long time.
 

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Interesting. I load trailboss in 44/40 and 45 colt because of the ease and accuracy that it loads through the uniflow on my pro2000. I figure the ease and precision of the dumps along with the no way you can double charge the case over rules the expense of the stuff.

I found accuracy about the same as unique also.
 

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I have a very different view of Trail Boss used in metalic loadings, primarily for Cowboy Action Shooting. The only cartridge I like loading with Trail Boss is the 44-40. In this cartridge it works quite well because of it's very thin cartridge case. In the 45 LC it is too slow burning and the pressure curve is not steep enough, or of high enough pressure, to obturate the shell case enough to prevent blowback around the shell case. This is true of most pistol calibers used in Cowboy Action Shooting

I have far better luck with Clays in 38/357, 44 Spl. and 44 Mag, and 45 LC, as well as reduced velocity 12 ga. shotshell loads.

So, Trail Boss is simply NOT a favorite with me. Additionally it is much higher priced also.

DLM
 

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Two 16 GA loads:

*1 oz. 1200 Trail Boss 23gr. 1 opc, 2cw, 1osc 2 3/4 dram equiv.
*1 1/8 oz. 1240 Trail Boss 25gr. 1 opc, 2cw, 1osc 3 dram equiv
opc= over powder card aka nitro card
cw=cushion wad
osc=over shot card
I use these loads in all brass hulls for pheasant hunting. They pattern well and my Chronograph indicates 1219 and 1238 respectively for a 5 shot average.

*Per Tom Armbruster via telephone:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the info. all. I will have to agree that Trailboss isn't the ticket for every application. I never considered it for most applications where data for other smoakless powder was at hand. I tried it in my .44 Ruger Old Army & it worked fine except you have to prime it with a little 4f BP to get it lit. Might as well use Clean Shot (is that right?) or whatever or plain BP (BP works better anyway). I have thought of using it in my .300 Win. for reduced loads with cast bullets. The thought on using it in my 10 ga. Elsey is that there is no data that I know of for smoakless powder & machined brass hulls. Trailboss is smoakless (non-corrosive) & combines low/ moderate pressure & good ballistics comparable to BP.
38 grains works out to be equivalent to about 4.5 drams using wyobirds data which is about right for a 10 ga. & 1.25 to 1 5/8 oz. shot. I also have data for the regular smoakless numbers like blue dot but not in brass hulls. The comments pretty much confirm what I thought but it is always great to get other opinions.
 

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D L Marcum said:
I have a very different view of Trail Boss used in metalic loadings, primarily for Cowboy Action Shooting. The only cartridge I like loading with Trail Boss is the 44-40. In this cartridge it works quite well because of it's very thin cartridge case. In the 45 LC it is too slow burning and the pressure curve is not steep enough, or of high enough pressure, to obturate the shell case enough to prevent blowback around the shell case. This is true of most pistol calibers used in Cowboy Action Shooting

I have far better luck with Clays in 38/357, 44 Spl. and 44 Mag, and 45 LC, as well as reduced velocity 12 ga. shotshell loads.

So, Trail Boss is simply NOT a favorite with me. Additionally it is much higher priced also.

DLM
Now that you mention it, the brass was filthy, especially around the case mouth.

Given the problems and not seeing any clear advantage of TB, I'm sticking with the Alliant Powders.
 

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I used it in 44 Colt and 44 special for CAS and 1872 Open Top revolvers.
I found it metered consistently through an RCBS Uniflow.
Haven't even considered it for shotshell, though. I used
International for my light 2.5" 16 gauge loads.
 

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I have a 4 or 5 lb keg of Trail Boss I bought to load .45 colt with but after shooting 2 or 300 rds I went back to 231, just to dirty for me, I have to leave the cases in my tumbler way longer than with 231. I am sure that it will be just as dirty in shotgun shell as pistol cases.
 

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geometric said:
I have thought of using it in my .300 Win. for reduced loads with cast bullets.
I've used it for "plinking" loads in my 300WSM. As I recall, accuracy was pretty decent. I measured it using the little Lee dippers. Weighing some occasionally indicated pretty good uniformity, but I can see where the donut shaped flakes wouldn't meter well through something narrow.
 

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tic-toc said:
I have a 4 or 5 lb keg of Trail Boss I bought to load .45 colt with but after shooting 2 or 300 rds I went back to 231, just to dirty for me, I have to leave the cases in my tumbler way longer than with 231. I am sure that it will be just as dirty in shotgun shell as pistol cases.
I have not tried 231 in 45LC. Obviously, you're having good results with it. I have a lot of Unique and Red Dot laying around, and that's prime for that load. But I'm always interested in broadening my horizons....

What bullet are you loading?

I'm hoping Christmas brings a new RCBS mold for 45LC. The 255gr RCBS KT bullet I was using wasn't feeding well in the Henry. That and it fell into the pot and warped :(^

But with my luck I'll probably get yet another knife sharpener.

TB is probably too fast for any of the rifles I got laying around.
 

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I have had the same issues with TB that many of you report. It doesn't meter well through my Dillon 550. It's expensive, since the small container is 9 oz and it takes a lot to fill the case.
The only advantage is that fact its impossible to double charge the big .45 Colt case with it.
 

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chairman said:
Wyobirds, do you have the pressure on those loads?
No, I don't. in addition to the posted data Tom sent 2 3/4 & 3 drams equivalent which equates to 1200 & 1220 fps. velocity. If you call Tom at 815 385-0037 I'm sure he will give you pressure data.
 
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