IMR Trailboss


December 5, 2006, 10:57 AM
A pleasant surprise yesterday, my first five shots from 15 yards measured 6/10 of one inch [one hole]. Gun was a S&W model 629, 4 inch barrel. Ammo, 44 mag loaded with 6.0 grains of IMR Trail boss, behind a Speer 240 grain LSWC.
Following that was loads with 6.7 grains and 7.3 grains of the same powder. Groups were almost as good as the first five rounds-- but a little larger. Trail Boss is meant to be used in slower loadings, and it meters good, is fast burning, and fills the case better than other fast powders. Low flash, low recoit. Trail Boss is a keeper.

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December 5, 2006, 11:17 AM
I purchased the small 9 oz. container and experimented with loads in 45 colt, 44 Special and 38 Special.
I like it - light recoil, very little smoke!
On my next trip to the store I will purchase the 5lb container.

December 5, 2006, 11:20 AM
I bought some Trail Boss to try in the .44 Spl. Have been using 700X with good results but wanted to try TB. What kinds of loads did you come up with.

December 6, 2006, 09:51 AM
I started using Trail Boss for a .45 Colt rifle load that I use in competition. I got a more accurate and lighter load than I had been getting from the 4227 loads that I had been using previously. My Dillon powder measure doesn't like Trail Boss much though. Those minature doughnuts end up all over the place.

December 6, 2006, 11:37 AM
I tried out 3.2 gr. with a 125 gr conical fn bullet and a 160 gr. SWC and both loads were very sweet out of my GF's revolver...38 special is a fun caliber to load for with the Cherrios :)


December 6, 2006, 11:41 AM
A guy i shoot with told me last night he had started experimenting with Trail Boss and was having very good results.

December 7, 2006, 04:40 AM
We're using it here in .45LC and 45/70. I really like the cleanup after shooting as it seems alot cleaner than some other powders I was using . . ..more like burnt ash then powder residue.

My buddy had been shooting quite a few of our 45/70 loads and was enjoying them and then pulled out some of the stout hunting loads (405 grain jacketed bullet from buffalo bore). It was really funny to see the look on his face when he touched one off . . . . I guess next time he'll remember to hold the stock firmly against his shoulder. :)

Gotta love TB for fun easy shooting that doesn't wear you out.

Plastic Cowboy
December 8, 2006, 11:52 AM
I've been using Trail Boss behind Berry's Plated bullets to make light target loads for my 500 S&W and it works great. Low recoil, muzzle flash, and smoke. It leaves a little soot on the gun but it is easily wiped off. Accuracy is dead on too!! Several rounds in the same hole at 25 feet using open sights.

One interesting thing, this powder has a very strong ammonia smell when it burns. Not a real problem but I do notice it.

One of the best things about this extremely bulky powder is that it is virtually impossible to double charge a round. You simply cannot fit an overcharge into the case.

I would highly recommend Trail Boss to anyone who wants to tame down a hand cannon for some light plinking or target shooting!!!


Peter M. Eick
January 9, 2007, 06:20 AM
Another trail boss fan here. TB is the first powder I bought a large jug of. I will basically replace all of my fast powders with TB for 38 special and 357 magnum for plinkers. I have not worked up a 45acp load yet, but it is coming.

Great powder. I love the bulkiness for progressives.

Now if they could make a really fluffy Unique speed powder we would have a lot of the double charge problem licked.

January 10, 2007, 08:16 AM
I started using it in my 44 with 200 rnfp @ 6.7gr with great results. Also love it in 45 70, .357 and .38 special. Also had problem in a Dillon with it. Have to stick with a single stage when loading it.

January 10, 2007, 10:00 AM
3.1 grains behind a Berry's 158 plated round nose comes out of my wife's four-inch Diamondback at around 600fps or so, and keeps her happy and not complaining about recoil.
The velocity variation while not small is acceptable. I have not done an actual benchrest check of accuracy, but it seems to hit what it's pointed at.

January 10, 2007, 01:49 PM
Love that TB for plinker .357mag & .44mag.

I am in the process of cooking up a mild .45ACP load with TB & Remington's 255gr swaged LRN .454" bullet for my Webley MKIV.

Plastic Cowboy
January 10, 2007, 02:17 PM
I've created a great indoor load for my S&W 500 magnum by putting a Berry's 350gr plated bullet over 13gr of Trail Boss. Sub-sonic load with very low noise and almost no recoil. I can actually shoot this load one handed as it is milder than a .44 special.

I've actually gone down as low as 8gr. of Trail Boss but I prefer 13gr. because it nearly fills the case and I get a little flatter trajectory. From a safety standpoint it is impossible to overload the .500 magnum with Trail Boss because you simply cannot stuff enough of those little dougnuts into the case to overpressure it!!

Another bonus is how clean it burns. Very little soot on my gun even after 100 rounds the other night. My full house loads of Lil' Gun on the other hand get the gun filthy after about 10 shots (which is more than enough by the way!! Damn I need to get some good shooting gloves!! :what: )

***One thing, has anyone noticed that Trail Boss smells very strong like ammonia when it burns?? As I shoot my big 500 at the indoor range the shooting lane starts to reek of ammonia, not a big deal but quite noticable!!!***

Peter M. Eick
January 10, 2007, 03:59 PM
I would not have said ammonia, but there is a definate odor to Trailboss when you shoot it. It is somewhat of a bite to it, very different from say bullseye or unique.

Anyone have a description of it or a better nose?

Master Blaster
January 12, 2007, 10:40 AM
I am currently loading trailboss, for all of my lead bullets in .38 Spl, .44 magnum, .45ACP, .45 Colt, .357 magnum.

I love trailboss, excellent accuracy, a full case, so no danger of overcharges with target loads, as can happen with titegroup, N310, bullseye etc.

There is little to no smoke on the indoor range, it makes my old Unique loads look like blackpowder by comparison!!

And best of all No leading even with cheap cast and swaged bullets.

Its limitation is that its for low/moderate velocity target loads with lead bullets.

It is the bees knees. anyone want to buy the rest of the 4lb jug of unique I have????:)

I have been loading all of these rounds on my Dillon 550, the only problem I have encountered with the powder measure (I only have one measure and move it from tool head to tool head with a preset powder die in each tool head) is that I need to use the rifle bar for charges over 6.7 grains in .44 mag.
My Dillon measure meters it very accurately, and it does not leak!!!

What is happening for you folks who think you have a leak, is that when the case is very full, a few grains are sticking to your powder funnel, and jumping off onto the bench when you lower the ram. You may also be jiggling the grains out of a full case when you advance the shellplate as well.

The smell it produces varies a bit depending on the bullet lube IMHE, but it is sort of a plastic smell.

as far as the burn rate goes I thought it was a fast powder as well, but hodgdon shows that its right around the same burn rate as Unique. When I spoke to the tech at Hodgdon a few months ago, he told me that they cant get higher velocity from it because a larger charge becomes a compressed load, and can give erratic performance if compressed too much.

January 12, 2007, 10:51 AM
Its limitation is that its for low/moderate velocity target loads with lead bullets.

Did it not work at low velocities with Plated bullets?

January 12, 2007, 10:57 AM
the Lee Auto-Disk set up?

How's it working out for you?

Master Blaster
January 12, 2007, 11:50 AM
Did it not work at low velocities with Plated bullets?

No reason it wouldnt work I can think of, heck I'm sure you could use it for jacketed bullets too. Give it a try and let us know.

Peter M. Eick
January 12, 2007, 12:22 PM
That fits with what I was told also. DON'T compress TB! If you break the powder donuts down, then the powder does not burn the same way and you can get pressure spikes big time!

I was told by the Tech the same story.

January 12, 2007, 05:52 PM
Works fine with plated bullets. I use 4.2 gr in a .38 special with a 158 gr plated round nose.

January 12, 2007, 09:33 PM
I use Trail Boss in my autodisk to load 44 special and 45 colt at around 5 grains. That works just fine. Nice and consistent although it does leak a little. I had problems going with too light a load. I was trying to load 44 russians with 1.5 grains which makes a very nice light load which you don't really need ear muffs with. but that didn't work too good in the auto disk. I got the same problem you get trying to load flake powders like red dot. It did not drop consistent charges cause the large donuts hang up in the small holes in the disk. I was able to get my dillon to load the 1.5 grains consistently with the xsmall bar.

January 12, 2007, 10:42 PM
I've used it in the Auto-Disk with no problems with leaking. Actually, I can't imagine how it could possible leak considering the size of the granules. I think it meters as well or better than anything I have ever used. Accuracy is also excellent with Trailboss. It's a keeper for sure.



Doc Rizzi
February 2, 2007, 01:06 AM
It is a pain because it does not go through my CH powder measure with any degree of reliability. I have to throw every charge on the scale to verify. I get maybe 6 good throws out of 10 and that is off enough for me to check every measure. I only have this problem with regards to .45 colt. I only use trailboss for this particular caliber because it does a fine job of filling the large case. It takes time though, so if anyone has any ideas, I am open.

February 2, 2007, 01:40 AM
The last I heard from IMR is Trail boss should NOT be used with plated bullets, they did not give a reason :confused:
It is a pain because it does not go through my CH powder measure with any degree of reliability.
I have the same trouble with TB it bridges in my Redding powder through with the micro pistol meter :( anywhere from a 1/4 to 1/2 charge :eek:

February 2, 2007, 06:57 AM
I tried some TB with plated bullets in the .45 a couple of weeks ago and it was average accurate and it stunk.

February 2, 2007, 07:33 AM
I need to do a run of 2500 .38's before spring hits. Loading will be with Laser cast wadcutters for plinking and whistlepigs. I am seriously considering trail boss. I will be using an RCBS Pro 2000. Anyone know what I can expect for metering?

February 2, 2007, 10:06 AM
TB goes through my Uniflow like greased owl sheet through a tin horn.

Ray P
March 28, 2007, 07:12 AM
Good info here on TrailBoss! Anyone try it yet in 32 H&R magnum?

Also, has anyone tried it in a digital scale/trickler like a ChargeMaster? I'm curious to here how well that large granule dispenses.

March 28, 2007, 09:38 AM
That trail boss is the best powder out there for light loads. amazing stuff.

30-30 winchester

i used 165 grn National bullet. Lead cast.

8 grns of trail boss.

wow very light recoil. Projectile shot very straight and level very nice groups. highly recomend that powder. i currently have loads ready to go in 7 grains and 9 grains. i was very happy with 8 though. amazing. i bought the 9oz bottle from lock stock and barrel for 14.75. i will continue to be a huge consumer of that product.

its a very clean burning powder too

Ray P
April 16, 2007, 06:33 PM
Trail Boss provided very smooth loading (RCBS ChargeMaster), and consistent performance at all charge levels recommended for 90 gr .312 LRN.

Unfortunately, the consistent performance was lousy 2" groups at all loads between 2.4 and 2.8 grains. The TiteGroup gave much better performance at 2.7gr behind the same bullets in the same gun (SP101 w/ 4" bbl). Best 5-shot group with Titegroup was 3/8".

I doubt I'll use Trail Boss for 45-70 loads in my 1895 Marlin Guide Gun, as I prefer JHP or JFPs as bullets in that gun.

Guess I'll see what's available for trades at the gun club this weekend. I've only used 150 grains out of the jar.

November 6, 2007, 11:57 PM
Trail Boss Range results:

Ray P
November 7, 2007, 10:30 PM
You're using Trailboss in a smoke-pole?

Major paradigm shift!

So why is Trailboss better in a percussion gun than say, pellets or 777?

November 1, 2008, 01:43 AM
Time to revive this thread. I just picked up some TB for my 45lc Vaquero. I loaded using a lee classic turret press with an auto disk. It meters excellently. I used the 1.26 disk and got consistent 5.8 grain loads. I'm using 250gr RNFP lead bullets.

I loaded 25 tonight as a test batch. I'll let you know how they shoot, but from what I'm hearing I think I'll like it.

I paid 12.50 for a 9oz can locally.

November 1, 2008, 12:40 PM
Another Satisfied customer of Trail Boss.

I use it mainly in these two calibers:

38 Spcl - 125 gr lrnfp w/TB 3.7 gr.

30-30 Win - 165 lfp w/ TB 7.8 gr.

I have made rounds in a few other calibers as well but I stay with my pet loads for those.

* * I am about to start developing a load for my 375 Winchester lever gun. I will be using a 250 lfp bullet that I cast. Wish me luck because that would be the cats meow if it works out.



November 2, 2008, 03:20 AM
I've been using 4.5 grains of Trail Boss in a Schofield case with 200 rnfp for my SASS Vaquero Bisley loads. Very accurate with some recoil, which I like.

November 2, 2008, 05:22 AM
One interesting thing, this powder has a very strong ammonia smell when it burns. Not a real problem but I do notice it.

Could it be ether?, rarther than ammonia, your picking up on. As ether is used extensively in the production of ADI powders, as with many other powders, but I often notice a distinct ether smell with ADI powders.

But, +1 for TB's suitability as a lightweight load for lead bullets in large calibres, as that's what it was intended for.

I even thought about TB's possibility to use in light 12ga target loadings, considering, it's ADI designation 'AS25BP' suggests, it started out being developed as a shotgun powder.
Mmm, I think I need to do some testing.

November 2, 2008, 04:32 PM
Well I managed to get to the range today to try my TB rounds and I really like them. They've got a little kick to them to let you know you're shooting a big bore gun, but it's really light compared to factory loads.

The smell... Yeah, it has an ammonia like smell. Not sure what ether smells like, so I can't say if that's more accurate.

November 3, 2008, 12:22 AM
anyone try shooting roundball outta 45 colt with 5.8g of trailboss behind it? gotta few loaded up but was curious if anyone else has tried that load or has another suggestion for rb, pretty great stuff the cheerios are lol

November 3, 2008, 01:04 AM
I'm using 250gr lead RNFP... Don't know if that's close enough for you. You're talking about FMJ right?

I really liked it. Good kick, but not too bad. Supposed to be around 775fps or so. I've used unique with loads ranging from around 800-950fps based on standard load specs in Lee's book and from Alliant's site and above 850-900 it's a little brutish to shoot. Fun, but you don't want to spend all day shooting them. When I go to the range I like to run hundreds of rounds though my various guns so I want something that's not going to beat me up....

November 3, 2008, 07:38 AM
i was talking about rounder balls than that 144grain ROUND balls.... i only have the lyman 47th which doesnt list trailboss, and the imr pamphlet doesnt list a load under a 160g bullet.:confused:

November 5, 2008, 07:48 AM
1858rem, roundball loads are great for ultralight plinkers at close ranges.
If they are fully coated with lube and not pushed too hard, ya shouldn't have any trouble with leading.

And darn cheap shooting, if ya cast them yourself.

November 20, 2008, 09:10 PM
Well I'm tired of the smoke and soot from my .45 ACP loaded with 5 grains of Unique, behind a 200 grain LRN Moly Coated Billy Bullet. It (my STI) shoots straight and goes bang every time, but I'm seriously tired of having to clean it so much. Anybody worked up a good Trail Boss load for a 1911? That's with the LRN @ 200 grains.

November 20, 2008, 09:47 PM
Remember, NO compressed loads with this powder ("don't crush the donuts")!

In the .38 Special, 3.8gr of TB (.88cc cavity) gave about 670 fps from my 4" S&W Model 65 with a Missouri Bullet 158gr LSWC. The .95cc cavity throws 4.1gr for me, with a velocity of 725 fps. Hodgdon says the max for this combo is 4.2gr.

Very accurate and comfortable shooting. I've used the 3.8gr load in the past to introduce very recoil-shy people to the joys of center-fire revolvers. And the energy level of the 4.1gr load rivals factory .380 Auto...

In .44 Special, I've loaded up some Oregon Trail 200gr LRNFP bullets with 5.6gr (1.26cc) and 6.0gr (1.36cc) of TB (Hornady says 6.3gr max). Will let you know what the target and chronograph say.

March 18, 2009, 09:56 PM
I use Trailboss in the 45acp and it is super clean...and impossible to over fill the case, it's super fluffy..It's 14 bucks for 9oz...and its 18.99 for 16oz of Clays..about the same...The ammonia smell you get is from your primer, not the burns that clean!!...anybody looking for 45acp loads, send me a message and I'll share them...wonderful powder-puff loads.

March 19, 2009, 07:16 PM
I've loaded lead 200 gr RN w/ 6 gr Trailboss and it's pretty mild.

I've loaded 7.1 gr w/ 225 lead truncated cone. This load charts about at the SAAMI limits. My Uberti SAA shot the load w/o problems. The Blackhawk laughs at this load.

March 19, 2009, 08:39 PM
I use Trail Boss (6.0gr and a 250gr bullet) for .45 Colt loads for my USFA Rodeos and have put quite a few of the same load through the Marlin 1894. It's definitely an accurate powder giving good results (2" groups at 25 yards from the Rodeos) in both the SAAs and the 1894. Recoil is non-existent, in fact, I'd happily place the butt of the rifle on the end of my nose and pull the trigger ... it's that light.

As for metering with the RCBS ChargeMaster .... EXCELLENT!!

Trail Boss comes in 9oz containers (3938 grains), but at only 6.0gr per load, that's good for more than 650 loads.


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