Trail Boss Qualitative Observations

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Oct 2, 2003

I shot some of my plinker .357mag reloads (Rucker 158gr LSWC, 4.0gr TB, SPM primer, taper crimp).

I ran them through my S&W 686 4" and my Taurus 651 Total Ti 2" snubby.

1. They were pretty soft-shooting. Not target wadcutter soft, but soft.
2. Pretty darned accurate, offhand. 25 yard headshots on IPSC & IDPA cardboard targets were no problem with 686 or snubby.
3. Clean-shooting (in the bbl) & easyeasyeasy cleanup. Granted, I start with a light coat of oil on the steel surfaces. My 686 cleaned up in a jiffy. I used a brush only in the forcing cone/top strap area. The rest of the powder residue wiped off clean with a paper towel damp with lemon oil. A bore snake through bore & chambers finished it off. The bore & chambers were free of unburned powder residue and the bbl looked pretty darned clean after 35 shots.

I did have one problem: I either did not seat some of the primers well enough, or a taper crimp for this handload is inappropriate. About 1/10 rounds did not fire the first time 'round (all fired on a second strike). I was not happy.

I only shot 1/2 of my reloads. I will apply a heavy roll crimp on the remaining cartridges to see if this is the problem. If not, I will assume my priming technique (RCBS hand primer) is faulty & reload some, making sure the primers are good & seated.
I've loaded up some .38 spl loads using TrailBoss with LSWC and LRN bullets and like the powder for mild target loads. I really like TB for target loads in the .41 Mag and find it accurate and a nice clean powder with any residue left cleaning up easily using only a rag. Best thing about it is that even with light loads it is bulky enough to almost fill the case so a double charge will spill over. In the .41 magnum I've been using about 5.7grs of TB with a 215gr LSWC wich just happens to be the same volumetric setting on my powder measure as 13.8 grs of Blue Dot.

Thanks for the report.

The taper crimp would not affect whether or not the primer ignites - and it only ignites once - so the misfires have to be attributed to something else.
Regarding the misfires, since you still have some of the rounds left, check them for fully seated primers. For proper seating the primers should be just below flush. You can check them by running a straight edge over the base of the case, if it catches on the primer at all they are too high. With a little practice you can feel a high primer with your fingertip.
"you can feel a high primer with your finger tip" [Griz]...I would hope so as we humans can feel the difference of .001" difference with our finger tips. Even mechanics with calased fingers. My money is on a high primer also...If the primer is just slightly short of being seated it will cause the hammer to seat the primer on the first blow and fire it on the second hammer strike.:uhoh:
How much flash does Trailboss produce?

I was thinking about trying it for a defensive load but want low flash in case I have to fire at night.
your case seats on the rim on a .357 not the mouth of the case like a rimless case so your crimp cannot effect their fireing, if your primer pocket is not even (too deap on some cases) you may have the primers in deep enough to not see any differance with a straight edge and still not have them seated all the way, I would keep track of the next one that does it and measure the depth of the primer pocket to see, also having a priming tool that you can feel the pressure on the primer is a good idea (I am not familiar with the RCBS hand priming tool) I prefer the lee autoprimer but that is just my personal preforance
also make sure you do not crush the primer when you install them
Thanks for all the tips.

I will check out if my primers are too high & go from there.

Flash was not noticeable, but I was shooting mid-morning.

What, approximately, were your groups like in the Taurus?

My girlfiend (no mis-spelling...she tore through all my 38 spec. plinking loads for my TC...all in her Taurus she got from her dad...) has got me looking for good "range-loads" for her and since I have fell in love with trailboss was hoping to use some of it for loading. She isn't as recoil sensitive as I thought she might be, so its all good.

Jfruser, what brand of primers were you useing ? Did your FTF's happen with both revolvers ? The reason I ask is on my S&W 696 I have set the main spring tension set on the light side and load with Federal primers these seem to be softer than others. I use CCI primers for my .45 acp loads, CCI seems to use a harder cup material.

I loaded some 158 LRNFP useing WSP and Trail Boss in .357 mag, I tried 4.2,4.5,4.8grn loadings the 4.5 grn shot the best from a 4" Colt Trooper .357, none of the TB loads were more accurate than 6.2 grn of W-231 with all things being equall. The recoil of TB is soft and easy to shoot, but it does smell funny .

PLEASE NOTE , my Trail Boss loads are not recomended by IMR, or supported by any valid reloading data
What, approximately, were your groups like in the Taurus?
Hey, I said, "Qualitative Observations." ;)

I have shot for groups with the book min to max my SW686. 4.0gr was the most accurate in my 686, the test revolver I used. I did not shoot for accuracy in my snubby, however, I had no problem keeping tham all on the head portion of IPSC/IDPA cardboard targets at 10-15 yards.

IOW, decently accurate. I did most my shooting, after the initial rounds, one handed & weak handed with the snubby. Not as easy to make the head shots, but 12" diam steel plates feared for their lives at 15 yards.

Jfruser, what brand of primers were you useing ? Did your FTF's happen with both revolvers ?
I'll have to go take a look, but they are silver, rather than gold colored. The misfires happend with both revolvers.

The more I think about it, the more I suspect high primers, as all would get go off the second time. This presumes the initial strike better seated the primers & the second strike lit them off.
But is the powder worth $13.00 + tax for a 9oz. can? That's about $25.00 per pound. Considering that many of my favorite powders can still be found for $15 + tax per can, I see a significant increase in my per round costs.
The big problem I had with Trail Boss is that the powder would bridge in my Redding #3 with a micro pistol meter throwing a 1/4 to 1/2 charge :eek: this happend about 15 % of the charges thown. I had to use the stock meter.
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