Trail Boss powder, Mike Venturino’s article in GUNS magazine


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Onty
July 30, 2006, 09:29 AM
When did GUNS magazine printed article about Trial Boss powder, written by Mike Venturino? I was looking on their website, but couldn’t find anything. Unfortunately, “political correctness” among the stores in my area is in total control, just few hunting magazines disguised as outdoors ones, no shooting magazines whatsoever. Thanks.

If you enjoyed reading about "Trail Boss powder, Mike Venturino’s article in GUNS magazine" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
ScottsGT
July 30, 2006, 01:27 PM
I'll have to watch this thread, I just bought some Trail Boss yesterday for .45 LC.
I think this is it. Just gound it on a Google search....

IMR trail boss powder: finally, a powder to fill those capacious cases.(MONTANA MUSINGS)


Guns Magazine; 10/1/2005; Venturino, Mike



Search for more information on HighBeam Research for IMR Trail Boss reviews.

When Editorial Director. Roy Huntington, asked me to Sign on here, he promised me that I wouldn't be pushed into writing thinly veiled publicity releases for new products. With that information, you can now be positive that I volunteered for--and was eager to write up--this new product.

That's because I think the new IMR Trail Boss smokeless propellant is the first truly significant improvement in smokeless handgun powders in about a century. It is that radical. Also, I will go out on a limb here and predict Trail Boss will make all other fast burning smokeless powders obsolete for use in large capacity cartridges originally designed for black powder. It will also be the best smokeless propellant for reduced loads in large capacity magnum handgun cartridges like .357, .41, and .44 Magnums.

What makes Trail Boss so special? It's fluffy. In case you start thinking I'm talking about fabric softeners or poodles let me explain.

When used with safe charges most relatively fast burning smokeless pistol powders can only be used in small charges in large capacity cartridges. Let's use the Speer Rifle & Pistol Reloading Manual No. 13 for some examples. In it, the top charge for Winchester 231 powder for .45 Colt with a 255-grain cast bullet is 7.0 grains. With a 230-grain bullet and Bullseye powder the maximum is 6.0 grains. With 200-grain bullets in the .44-40 Speer's manual raises those charges precisely 1/10 of a grain for maximum.

Such charges take up very little space in the huge .45 Colt and .44-40 cases, which were designed around 40-grain charges of black powder. In fact, the above smokeless powder charges float around so loosely they can cause problems. If the gun is tilted so the powder charge is up against the bullet, velocities will usually be lower, lf the gun is tilted so the powder is back against the primer, velocities will usually be higher. In cases where bullets aren't held tightly by the case, there is even the possibility of misfires. I've seen all of the above happen. Usually the best case scenario is that the .45 Colt or .44-40 ammunition will function OK, but a chronograph will show fairly high extreme spreads in a test sample. The worst case scenario is that some reloader loses concentration briefly and gets two of those tiny charges inside a case. They are so small it is hard to notice such a double charge. It happens all too often with the usual result a ruined revolver and occasionally injuries to the shooter and/or bystanders.

Now we get back to Trail Boss powder. It's fluffy, I said that. With great big cases such as the .44-40 and .45 Colt it will fill up 50 to 75 percent of the case capacity considering the proper weight of bullet is seated correctly. That's right. With most cases, if a double charge of Trail Boss is inadvertently dumped in, the powder will spill over. Even if two charges are put in a case and fired IMR's press releases say that pressures won't reach proof load limits.

Is that because we can use much more in terms of charge weight of the new Trail Boss powder'? No way. IMR's load data says that a maximum .45 Colt charge with 250-grain lead bullet is only 5.8 grains. They say maximum with .44-40 and 200-grain bullets is 6.5 grains. The trick is that these charges take up considerably more capacity than 5.8 or 6.5 grains of any other smokeless propellant now in existence. This is a break-through as never seen in the hand loading world before.

IMR's press release says this new propellant technology has been in the works for six years. I'd say it has been needed for much longer. How can Trail Boss powder take up so much room? Like I said twice above--it's fluffy. A plastic bottle that normally holds one pound of any other smokeless propellant can only accommodate nine ounces of Trail Boss. And never fear you might visually mistake this new powder for some other one you have in your reloading area. No other powder looks like it. In fact it looks just like a bunch of miniature Krispy Kreme donuts. I'm not kidding!

When I first saw what this new powder looked like I thought, "Oh brother, I bet this stuff won't powder measure worth a hoot!" I was wrong. It flows right out of a measure hardly varying a tenth of a grain or so. The only powder measure problem reloaders might encounter is that some pistol powder measures and charge bars won't adjust large enough to hold more than 6.0 grains of Trail Boss. For my first reloading of Trail Boss I had to use the Redding BR30 Rifle Measure instead of their pistol one.

And, here's one more first. Trail Boss is a "lead bullet" propellant. That's not to say that it is dangerous to use with jacketed bullets, but the ballisticians at Hodgdon's lab told me accuracy is much better with lead alloy bullets. That suits me just fine. My initial shooting with Trail Boss has been in about a dozen different handguns chambered for .38-40, .44 Special, .44-40, and .45 Colt. The velocities received are in the accompanying chart. I'm not going to yank your chain and tell you that all groups gotten with Trail Boss were wonderful. Some were. Some were mediocre. One 12-shot group from machine rest with a Colt SAA .38-40 with 5 1/2" barrel was a mere 1". Some five shot groups with five different Smith & Wesson .44 Special revolvers of various vintages ran from 1 1/2" to 3". On the other hand one of my favorite Colt SAA .44-40s grouped 12 shots into about 4", which isn't near as good as it will do with some other loads. Juggling powder charges, bullet temper and size, as well as primers will likely improve that some. Just remember these were the very first loads of Trail Boss I tried in any of these handguns.

One thing I expected to see with this new propellant was unburned powder left in the revolvers. After all there has to be something in there to make it "fluffy." Right? Whatever it is, if anything, it's consumed on firing. This is clean burning stuff.

So there's my introduction to IMR Trail Boss. Ride with it, if you want. I'm going to continue working with it and will let you know what I learn.

Trail Boss powder (left) looks like Krispy Kreme donuts, though it burns clean in the pipe.


TRAIL BOSS POWDER

CALIBER HANDGUN BULLET CHARGE VELOCITY
(BARREL (WEIGHT (GRAINS, & SO
LENGTH) & STYLE) WEIGHT) (FPS)

.38-40 Colt SAA 5 1/2" 180 RNFP 5.5 806 & 40
.44 Spl. S&W TRR 4" * 248 RN 5 689 & 41
.44-40 Colt SAA 7 1/2" 214 RNFP 6 746 & 44
.45 Colt Colt SAA 5 1/2" 250 RNFP 5.8 662 & 30

* TRR means Thunder Ranch Revolver or S&W Model 21-4. Velocities are
for 10-shot strings taken with PACT Professional Model chronograph
with start screen at approximately 6'. RN = Roundnose; RNFP = Roundnose
Flatpoint.
COPYRIGHT 2005 Publishers' Development Corporation

gwalchmai
July 30, 2006, 04:53 PM
Like I said twice above--it's fluffy. A plastic bottle that normally holds one pound of any other smokeless propellant can only accommodate nine ounces of Trail Boss.That's nice, unless 9oz of TB costs the same as a pound of the other powders. That was the unsettling surprise I got from Clays. Titegroup (since I seem destined to accidentally leave out that "e", couldn't we just agree to call it Titgroup? ;)) however, is cheap and not position sensitive, and I can check for double charges pretty easy.

Cosmoline
July 30, 2006, 05:01 PM
I've been thinking about trying it with .30-30 cast bullet loads.

IMR has its own data up here:

http://www.imrpowder.com/trailboss.html

444
July 30, 2006, 06:21 PM
I have been using Trail Boss in subsonic loads.

Ultima-Ratio
July 30, 2006, 06:31 PM
And what's wrong with Unique? Need a fancy designer powder? Why not 4227? VV-N110?
Nuttin fluffy for my guns thankyaverymuch!
Mike (THE DUKE????) Venturino needs a lot less fluff IMO!:evil:

Car Knocker
July 30, 2006, 07:03 PM
Everybody is entitled to their opinion.

ScottsGT
July 30, 2006, 07:04 PM
And what's wrong with Unique? Need a fancy designer powder? Why not 4227? VV-N110?
Nuttin fluffy for my guns thankyaverymuch!
Mike (THE DUKE????) Venturino needs a lot less fluff IMO!

Basically, from what I am reading about it, it fills up larger shell casings for the older designs back during the black powder era. If you load 3 or 4 grains of something more potent and you are tilting the gun at a downward angle
( as you do while cowboy shooting steel plate targets) The powder can fall forward in the shell and not get a 100% burn and lower velocities. With the case full, no chance of that happening.

Go back and read the area I italicized.

Cosmoline
July 30, 2006, 08:05 PM
Plenty is wrong with using the standard smokeless pistol powders as replacements for black. They're different in every respect from black powder, and can even be exceedingly dangerous if a double charge is used. For the past century people have been trying to figure out how to substitute smokless for black with cast bullets without losing accuracy or increasing pressure too much.

444
July 30, 2006, 08:12 PM
I think he was kidding.

ScottsGT
July 30, 2006, 08:46 PM
Well I think I'm personally going to like it 'cause it little donuts.

Mmmmmm....Donuts.......

Car Knocker
July 31, 2006, 12:06 AM
You a cop? :)

Rem700
July 31, 2006, 12:46 AM
It doesnt meter very well in progressive presses
Its dirtier then other powders
Its expensive if figured by the pound a normal size one pound bottle only holds 9oz of Trail Boss powder and cost the same per bottle as many other powders.
If your worried about double charges or under charged cases buy a Dillon powder check die or the RCBS lock out die.
If you still want to use Trail Boss check into the 4-5 pounnd bottles and the price comes down to equal most other powders.

SASS#23149
July 31, 2006, 02:26 AM
Not here anyway.It runs about 9.50 a jug.NO other powder is under 14.00 hereabouts..per 'jug' that is.
It measures very well in my Dillon,using the large powder bar.And no dirtier than Uique when I shoot it.
ymmv,of course.
I'll pay the little bit extra for the added safety facto built in.ANYBODY can have a double charge in their loading lifetime.I just hope I don't.:banghead: :cuss:

ezypikns
July 31, 2006, 08:53 AM
It does a great job. I believe it is a little more expensive, but it does seem to fill the cases volumewise. And it meters very consistently in my Dillon.

ScottsGT
July 31, 2006, 09:19 AM
You a cop?
__________________


Oh no, just the "round in the middle section" type like Homer Simpson. :D

Sistema1927
July 31, 2006, 10:40 AM
It throws very well in a Lee Auto Disk or Perfect Powder measure. Weighed charges don't vary by .1 grain.

I shoot 5 grains Trail Boss with a 250 or 255 grain lead bullet for .45 Colt. Very consistent results for such a mild load. I am going to start loading a similar charge for a 200 grain bullet (just as soon as Northeastern delivers my order.)

Trail Boss runs $6 less per small jar than other powders around here, so the cost isn't prohibitive. I will probably start buying it in the larger container.

roo_ster
July 31, 2006, 12:08 PM
TB is my powder of choice for reduced/plinker loads in .357mag & .44mag.

It measures well in my RCBS Uniflow measure.

I am pretty happy with it.

dmftoy1
July 31, 2006, 09:11 PM
I"m not quite sure where you get that it's more dirty than other powders? Have you tried it? My experience has been that it's alot less dirty than say bullseye. (in pistols). We just used a bunch to load up some 45/70 plinking rounds and it's pretty cool. You can visually detect a double charge, and the rounds are nice soft shooting in a Guide Gun.

Just my .02

Regards,
Dave

B36
August 1, 2006, 08:00 PM
Have you actually used this powder?:scrutiny:

I have loaded several hundred rounds of 44 Special with Trail Boss, and had none of the problem cited in your post.:uhoh:

It is the cleanest powder I have ever used in a handgun, with 0 residue to find it's way under the star. Meters perfectly in my Dillon 550. Max variation was one tenth grain over 200 drops.

Better ignition than powders that occupy less than half of case.

Cost--yes it does cost more, but considering the benefits, I am willing to pay the extra. :)

Rem700
August 2, 2006, 12:53 AM
Well as a matter of fact I have tried the powder and I much prefer VV N320:neener: I generally shoot about 5-6 matches permonth. And yes if you want to compare it to other dirty powders it about on par with them. Around these parts the price is appx $16 per 9oz bottle. It does a good job of doing what it was intended filling large cases with small charge weights of powder.
Worried about dbls or low charges use a powder check die you use one any way dont you?
Cartridges
gr. Vol.
H-in.
W-in.
notes
Hi
Lo
ES
MV
SD

Winchester Factory

2.00
1.25
250 gr. Bullets
655
580
75
635
36

Trail Boss

1.50
1.50
5.5 gr. (w) 215 gr. Bullet
710
691
19
699
8

joneb
August 2, 2006, 01:37 AM
I find IMR Trail Boss is less accurate than Unique and W-231 when loaded at the upper end. TB does not meter well for me with my Redding mod. 3 powder through using the micro-pistol meter, when I tried TB with the rifle meter TB did not through accurately, I realize the margin of error is different.
Nice try IMR but I will stick to what works.
I have not tried TB at the lower end, I seek to to find the most accurate load with the most velocity, I guess TB is not for me.

ScottsGT
August 2, 2006, 09:22 AM
I have not tried TB at the lower end, I seek to to find the most accurate load with the most velocity, I guess TB is not for me.

I think the lower end is what it was designed for. Basically, big lead slugs at low speed to hit steel plates in Cowboy action shooting.

Master Blaster
August 2, 2006, 10:39 AM
It doesnt meter very well in progressive presses
Its dirtier then other powders
Its expensive if figured by the pound a normal size one pound bottle only holds 9oz of Trail Boss powder and cost the same per bottle as many other powders.
If your worried about double charges or under charged cases buy a Dillon powder check die or the RCBS lock out die.
If you still want to use Trail Boss check into the 4-5 pounnd bottles and the price comes down to equal most other powders.

Rem 700 I have loaded about 5lbs of it in the last year and a half. It sells for $11.25 per 9 oz and $105 per 5lbs caddy around here. Where are you getting those 4lb bottles of it????, hodgdon seems to think they only make 5lb and 9oz bottles. As far as expensive goes VVn320 is $28 a lb around here, now thats expensive.

I love this powder with cast bullets.

It meters perfectly out of my Lyman orange, Redding BR and Dillon measures.
I just loaded 1000 rounds on my dillon 550b in .45 acp last week.

It is the cleanest powder with cast bullets that I have ever used.
No smoke, no powder residue and No leading.

Your own data shows that it has a lower SD than 231, and a much lower ES.

I have had excellent results accuracy wise in .45ACP, .45Colt, .38spl, .357 magnum and .44 magnum.

Its now my .45 acp powder of choice replacing N310, solo1000, and Unique, it beats them all in every category that counts, accuracy, cleanness, leading, and smoke. Excellent accuracy out of every 1911 and revolver I own.

Its not the powder to use for jacketed bullets and maximum velocity though its best for target velocity.

But hey dont use it, more for me.

ScottsGT
August 2, 2006, 11:09 AM
OK, I've got to ask this...
What difference does it make if you are using this powder for a jacketed bullet or cast? All the powder is doing is just pushing the bullet, correct? Someone edumicate me on this aspect!

Master Blaster
August 2, 2006, 02:28 PM
Different powders /different bullets are optimum for different purposes.

For my reloading and shooting purposes:

Cast bullets are for target shooting and cowboy action/ steel plates.

Jacketed bullets are for self defense and hunting, and high velocity applications like high power rifle target shooting.

Trail boss does not give you maximum velocity for rifle or for hunting/defense pistol loads, other powders are better for jacketed bullet applications because they give you a much higher maximum velocity for the safe pressure level in your firearm.

Trail boss is the Bees Knees for cast bullet applications like target shooting.

Rem700
August 2, 2006, 03:43 PM
Never did buy the larger bottles couldnt remember if they where 4 or 5 lbs
But when figured per pound they compared equally to other powders, Never got past loading 2-9oz bottles. VV N320 runs me $21 a pound

mothernatureson
August 2, 2006, 04:37 PM
I would like to try this in 30-30 win. Currently I cast 115 grain lead. The IMR guide shows only a 160 gr lead. I'm thinking that my bullet would be safe in loadings if I kept to the low side or below max? Any comments? thanks

ScottsGT
August 3, 2006, 02:39 PM
Just got back from the range and shot 13 rds. of Trail Boss and 50 of Georgia Arms Cowboy loads. The GA ammo had a lot of really cool looking smoke with it, almost like black powder, but not as much. The Trail Boss was much cleaner as far as the smoke goes. But the gun is dirty, but 13 rds. could not be enough to do that. Had to be from the GA laods. I like it!

mec
August 6, 2006, 11:20 AM
The worst case scenario is that some reloader loses concentration briefly and gets two of those tiny charges inside a case.

Reason enough for its existence right there. some of the guys have been using it for low-end loads in their 500 Linebaughs with good results.

BigCheese
August 12, 2006, 09:47 PM
Master Blaster, you say Trail Boss is $11.25 for 9 oz. If my math is right, 16/9 X 11.25 = $20 per pound. Buying 5 pounds in 9 oz cans would be $100. What a bargain to buy the 5 pound caddy at $105. Is that the giant economy size? Or is the large plastic bottle worth $5?:rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Peter M. Eick
August 13, 2006, 05:41 PM
Lets see.

My last 38/44 Outdoorsman set me back just shy of $1900 for a very nice pre-war with the box. One split second of distraction with some bullseye could turn that fine gun into a $200 box and a lot of spare parts. Trailboss is made just for guys like me who want to avoid the issues/risk of shooting fine collectible handguns but don't want to harm them. The additional costs are trivial in the grand scheme of things to me.

Besides, Trailboss can be quite accurate:

http://pages.sbcglobal.net/eickpm/python_tb.jpg

Here is 50 shots of 158 grn lasercasts SWC with trailboss at 15 yards. Darn good accuracy in my opinion for me.

ScottsGT
August 14, 2006, 08:57 AM
Peter, that is one suhweet Python! That's the one gun that has been itching me for years and I won't be happy until I scratch that itch....
I think I know what I'm getting next.

Sistema1927
August 14, 2006, 10:48 AM
I shot Cowboy over the weekend using Trail Boss, and it performed as usual, great.

Only problem I encountered was with my 1892 just back from Steve Young. Not a problem with his work, since it is slick as can be, but I discovered that it doesn't like CCI primers. Oh well, that 500 rounds that I just loaded can be used up in the pistols, and I will buy some Federal primers for the rest of my Cowboy reloading.

I also loaded up some .30-30 last night with Trail Boss, and I expect to get 1100-1200 fps with 6.9 grains behind a hardcast 165 flat point. Should make a fine plinking round.

joneb
August 15, 2006, 01:02 AM
I don't mean to beat a dead horse here, but Trail Boss will bridge with some powder meters. Throughing a 1/4 to 2/3 charge, Peter what could this do to your Python :confused: if a slug got stuck in the tube ?

ScottsGT
August 15, 2006, 09:25 AM
I don't mean to beat a dead horse here, but Trail Boss will bridge with some powder meters.

Bridge? Are you saying that you can get a partial charge? Is this due to its light weight or physical size on the grains? I've had no problems with my Lee perfect measure.

joneb
August 15, 2006, 11:50 AM
The micro pistol meter for the Redding mod. 3 has a hole dia. of .3" this is not anough for Trail Boss. The standard meter provides a 3/4" hole which solves the problem, but does not meter as accurately. I would need to find a meter with a cylinder dia. of .4"-.5" when useing TB.

Peter M. Eick
August 19, 2006, 08:36 AM
Jibjab,

I use an RCBS Uniflow powder measure and I have never had a bridged charge. I guess it could happen, but I am not 100% sure how with my pro2000. I do a visual check when seating the bullet on my Pro2000 and with TB I can see the powder and look for over/unders/missed charges. With powders like 231/Titegroup, you can never see the powder down a 357 mag casing. Thus I think a squib is unlikely.

What would happen? Well, If I missed the powder charge and if I fired the round and if I did not realize the bullet did not leave the barrel and if I were dumb enough to pull the trigger again, then I would probably have buldged the barrel.

To me though, that is too many if's in a row to really worry about. By using TB, I solved the first 2 if's.

Bull Jones
August 21, 2006, 07:30 AM
I've found Trail Boss to be the answer in both my Ruger New Vaquero -and- my Winchester '94 Trapper. Both are .45 Colt. I drop 6.0 grains of powder, top with a Hornady swaged 255gr. Cowboy, and then tear the centers out of any target in front of me. Good stuff!

Now if I want to blast a swamp pig I'll load with another powder. Maybe 38grains of Goex fffG. That will get the job done in style! :evil:

With Trail Boss I've personally had no issues with it metering.

Bull, out.

ScottsGT
August 21, 2006, 08:56 AM
Went out again Saturday and used up some of my Trail Boss. I was shooting a dirt berm at about 50 yards with the 7 1/2" barrel New Vaquero. I was quite satisfied with the results. WOuld have shot a lot more if it wasn't 95 degrees out and I had just finished working out in the woods hanging a feeder.
Overall, the gun was fairly clean after 30 rds. A lot cleaner than after the Georgia Arms ammo.

wanderinwalker
August 21, 2006, 10:29 PM
'Nother happy Trail Boss user here. I load it in .44 Magnum cases with a 200gr RNFP (Northeast Precision Bullets is the brand, I think). Makes a great practice load for my Marlin and Smith. I can shoot until I can't squeeze a trigger any longer and not develop the bad habits that can accompany high-volume shooting of the big-boomers!

And it helps me shoot the big ones better because I have a good grip on my fundamentals. Sight alignment, breath control, trigger squeeze, POP! Also works if it is a BOOM! instead! ;)

Can't say enough good about the stuff. If you want full-house rip-snortin' maggie-numbs, switch to H110 or WW296 and get your kicks. If you wanna practice with something potent enough to put holes in paper and irrate groundhogs, take a look at Trail Boss.

If you enjoyed reading about "Trail Boss powder, Mike Venturino’s article in GUNS magazine" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!