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Trail Boss in 44 Magnum - Sooty case problem

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Six, Sep 12, 2009.

  1. Six

    Six Well-Known Member

    I recently bought some .430 165gr TCFP from Missouri Bullet thinking it'd be a nice plinker in our .44 guns with Trail Boss.

    Unfortunately, I'm getting a ton of soot down the side of the cases in a Marlin 1894, less in the revolvers. I tested loads from 6-8gr and there wasn't any significant difference between loads.

    I'm going to change bullets for the next order for a heavier and slower round, and I could always use this in the revolvers, but I'd like to hear any thoughts or suggestions to try to reduce the soot.

  2. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Well-Known Member

    You're using Starline brass aren't you? It's strong brass, and lever guns have generous chambers, and your light load is not enough to expand the brass. Try using Remington brass (or more powder; that's an awfully light load and even Remington might not expand enough to seal)
  3. Six

    Six Well-Known Member

    Hah, good call, yes, it's Starline (Originally from Georgia arms reloads)

    And I suspected that the pressure was too low to expand the brass sufficiently, which is why I moved the load up to the Max 8gr. I think it helped some, but still didn't clear it up.

    Do you think changing brass would solve the problem, or is 44 Magnum and and Trail Boss just a bad combination?

    I'm looking at the load data for trail boss, and it looks like the pressure would also go up some with the heavier bullets, from 18,800 PSI to 21,000. That might be worth trying as well.
  4. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Well-Known Member

    Look for some .45 Colt load data (*not* "Ruger Only" or "+P") and you should have better luck finding something, although that's an awfully light bullet so I dunno. Do you have any other powders? Unique maybe? or Red Dot? Trail Boss should be OK, but I can't imagine 8gn being a max load in .44 Mag with such a light bullet.
  5. Six

    Six Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I've got Unique, Bullseye, and 2400 on hand, but I haven't seen any load data for a 165 gr bullet with them.

    Thanks for the input.
  6. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Well-Known Member

    Try 10 grains of Bullseye as a starting point and go up/down from there (max is somewhere between 12.5 and 13 grains) until you find what you like.
  7. bluetopper

    bluetopper Well-Known Member

    I use 7.5gr Bullseye in my target loads for a 240gr cast bullet in 44 Mag.

    That's as light a bullet as I've tried.

    I don't think Trail Boss and 44 Mag would be good match. Not enough pressure build up as you discovered. 44 Mag brass is thick and tough.
  8. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    For what it's worth:

    Last year I fired something near 10,000 .44 Specials through my 629, of 6.9 gr. Trailboss under a 200 gr. LRN. No undue sooting, no leading, good accuracy.

    Getting right around 850 fps.

    Never tried it in .44 Mag brass. Might not be a good match.

  9. .38 Special

    .38 Special Well-Known Member

    I'm surprised that Trail Boss produces soot at any velocity.

    At any rate, you already know what the problem is: not enough pressure to seal off the chamber. According to a fellow I talked to at Hodgdon, you can fill the case to the bottom of the bullet, as long as the bullet is lead. I have never heard of a smokeless powder that can be loaded volumetrically, so am still leery of it, but there you go. Call them to verify (913-362-9455) but a full case of powder should solve the problem.
  10. counterclockwise

    counterclockwise Well-Known Member

    I go supersonic in my 44 mag 20" carbine, so do not use the TB there. TB is a fast burn powder, with very low weight density (looks like little washers, cheerios, or doughnuts).

    For my cowboy 44 mag six shooter 4 3/4 bbl loads I use the TB, Magnum Primer, and 6.2 grains of TB under a roll crimped HDY 240 gr. LSWCHP, 1.28 trim, 1.53 OAL. No soot problems there. 885FPS Chrony.
  11. PADutchman

    PADutchman Member

    I use 8.0 grains of Trail Boss under a 240 grain LSWC as my plinking load. Shoots great for me out to 50 yards.
  12. db_tanker

    db_tanker Well-Known Member

    use hornady or federal brass for this issue. Both are much softer than even Remmy brass. I have issues with TB sometimes in my 45-70 loads and don't want to put a super heavy crimp on the brass as it tends to shorten the life.

    Also you can vary the primers used...different brand perhaps.
  13. Ranger J

    Ranger J Well-Known Member

    I use TB in both my .44 mag and 45/70 cast loads and both have 'smoked' cases although the .44s are much the worst. It sure shoots good though.

  14. navaide

    navaide Member

    I'm going to try TB in my .338/378, pushing a 180 gr. GCFP. Going to start at 75% volume. I,ll be watching the chrony though. I didn't know it was a fast burner!

  15. Six

    Six Well-Known Member

    I got some new bullets from Missouri Bullet a few days ago and repeated my test with much more success. Again, I'm shooting for a light cowboy/plinking load here so I'm loading for as low velocities as I can get.

    Following the loads from here: http://www.imrpowder.com/data/handgun/trailboss-feb2005.php I found that

    240gr RNFP had no soot to speak of at any load within the range, so I'm going to go with the lower end of Trail Boss for this load.

    200gr RNFP had some soot, but not nearly as bad as the 165gr loads.

    It seems that the bullet has much more effect than the powder load does as there was little variation for a given bullet.

    For comparison I also loaded two sets with Alliants starting loads for Unique and Bullseye.

    Bullseye produced very sooty cases that almost looked burned, Unique on the other hand was the cleanest burning of the lot and will by used for the 200gr bullets.
  16. Deavis

    Deavis Well-Known Member

    Are you suprised by that observation?
  17. Six

    Six Well-Known Member

    No, it's about what I expected.

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