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  #1  
Old 10-15-2010, 07:50 PM
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Default Anyone got a good Trail Boss load for .38 S&W?

I've tried Unique in .38 S&W, but have found the small amounts used (3.1 grains) makes it hard to meter through my powder measure, so I figured I would try Trail Boss as it is bulkier. Anyone try Trail Boss in .38 S&W?

I'll be loading 158 grain cast lead bullets, shooting them in my Victory Models and a Colt Police Positive, looking for a mild load around 600-700 FPS, something soft shooting for letting a 13 year old have fun with some old revolvers.
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Old 10-15-2010, 08:17 PM
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I'm gonna guess that you cannot get enough Trail Boss in that little case to reach your targeted velocity, but, hey, I could be wrong!

I can tell you what Hodgdon told me about the 500 S&W Magnum when I was loading Trail Boss in that: "Mark the case where the base of the bullet goes and fill it up to there, no more." I followed that instruction and had some sweat shooting loads from a Handi-Rifle.

May I suggest an answer to your problems? Bullseye or AA#2. It will fit the bill nicely. I suppose, although I personally don't like it, Titegroup will too. Large quantities of Trail Boss meter OK but I would think you would have the same problem as Unique in the lower weights. Just me though.

Hope that youngster appreciates what you are doing for them. If they do, it makes it all the better!
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Old 10-16-2010, 10:55 AM
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I agree with SmithCrazy on the Bullseye or AA#2. You could also try RedDot or any of the faster burning powders.

As big a flake as Trail Boss is I can't imagine it would meter any better than Unique. I have no experience with this though.

All the Best,
Doug White
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Old 10-16-2010, 01:05 PM
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OK, I think I will try Bullseye, I think you are right that the reason I can't find any published loads for Trail Boss is that you can't stuff enough of it into a .38 S&W case to push a bullet fast enough to do anything.

Bullseye, being a finer powder should meter OK, I'll let you know how it works out....

Canoeguy
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Old 10-16-2010, 01:07 PM
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Why wouldn't that same technique apply to the .38 S&W? It mimics loading the case with black powder and the .38 S&W was a black powder round.

I think a 'good Trail Boss load' would be just what Smith Crazy explained: Fill the case to where the bottom of the bullet will be when crimped.

However, this might answer some questions, too:
38 S&W Trail Boss load data needed
http://hodgdon.com/PDF/Trail-Boss-data.pdf

Last edited by cp1969; 10-16-2010 at 01:12 PM.
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Old 10-16-2010, 01:35 PM
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In the "interest of science" I preformed the following test.

One (1)empty 38 SW (Win Super X Nickle) $30 a box

I guesstimated half a case as I did not want to pull a loaded 145 gr heavy crimped LRN

It holds 2-2.1 grs of Trail Boss depending on how many little Doughnuts float away!

I think Bullesye or HP -38 would actually push the bullet out the barrel.

Reminds me of the first time I ripped open a large bag of Splenda thinking it was like sugar. Lost about half of it.
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Old 10-16-2010, 07:21 PM
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I've used Trail Boss in 38 spl with 158 gr SWC's. It is a great cap gun load. What T.B. told me was the max load for 460 S&W mag was to the base of the seated bullet. Do not compress. Minimum load was to reduce 70%. It didn't matter what bullet. On My 460, I have tried 200 gr LRN, 250 gr JHP, 300 gr LRN, and 300 gr JHP with T.B. using that formula, but usually at the upper end. Perhaps 90% loads.

That big doughnut flake meters better than unique. You will end up with less weight than Unique, but more volume. What I'm saying is... You will back off your powder measure screw with T.B. vs. unique.
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Old 10-16-2010, 08:33 PM
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I shoot 38 S&W in a 1935/36 Regulation Police. I cast Ideal 358246 and 360271, RN/SWC, both drop at .361, 147 gr. I size to .360 and load over 2.15 gr. of A#2, yes, you can measure it that closely. It is a ballistic duplicate of Winchester factory ammunition fired in the same gun. And is finely accurate from a very fine old revolver.
I use the Lee powder measure with the .21 micro disc to get my extremely uniform powder drops.
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Old 10-17-2010, 03:31 PM
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I use W231/HP-38 in my .38 S&W ammo. It meters well and it's accurate too.
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Old 10-18-2010, 12:45 AM
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I use 2,4 grains of TB in a .38Sp. Always use a small pistol magnum primer. In combination with an 148 grains lead HBWC is it a great load for target shooting.
I shoot it in a 4" S&W 28model or my 6" 686S&W
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Old 10-18-2010, 10:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Franske View Post
I use 2,4 grains of TB in a .38Sp. Always use a small pistol magnum primer. In combination with an 148 grains lead HBWC is it a great load for target shooting.
I shoot it in a 4" S&W 28model or my 6" 686S&W
38 S&W not 38 Special, Different animal
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Old 10-18-2010, 01:08 PM
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I'm loading 2.8 grains of red dot in my victory model. meters well from lee auto disk, shoots good.
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Old 10-18-2010, 02:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OCD1 View Post
38 S&W not 38 Special, Different animal
Of course...me stupid animal (sorry)
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Old 10-18-2010, 05:16 PM
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You must now send Chocolates to all members.
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Old 10-20-2010, 04:04 PM
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Well, I tested to see how much Trail Boss you can put in a .38 S&W case, utilizing Hodgon's technique of marking the case where the base of the bullet would be, this would be your max load.

With a 158 grain LRN, loading to the base of the bullet would give you 1.0 grains Trail Boss in the case. In .38 Special, 3.2 grains Trail Boss with a 158 grain LRN will give you 700 feet per second, so I'm guessing 1.0 grains Trail Boss with a 158 grain LRN in .38 S&W would be well under 500 FPS, probably too light for safety, too much of a chance of a squib load.....

So, I loaded 40 rounds with 2.2 grains Bullseye which should give 625 FPS, I'll try them tomorrrow and report back.
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Old 10-21-2010, 02:07 AM
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Here is a link to factory loads from the power company:

Cartridge Loads - Hodgdon Reloading Data Center - data.hodgdon.com
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Old 10-21-2010, 02:38 AM
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canoeguy,
I know I use W231/HP-38 for a lot of calibers but I'm telling you, it really does work well in the .38 S&W.

I would start with 2.2gr W231 under that 158gr bullet which should get you ~600 fps from a 4" barrel. I usually charge 2.5gr under a 160gr RNFP bullet.
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Old 10-21-2010, 02:45 AM
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158 GR. CAST LSWC IMR Trail Boss .357" 1.475" 2.7 661 11,400 PSI 4.2 804 13,700 PSI

The cart that I got this from is at the above link - 2.7 grs. Trail Boss = 661fps

Last edited by Bullseye Smith; 10-21-2010 at 02:49 AM.
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Old 10-21-2010, 02:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullseye Smith View Post
158 GR. CAST LSWC IMR Trail Boss .357" 1.475" 2.7 661 11,400 PSI 4.2 804 13,700 PSI

The cart that I got this from is at the above link - 2.7 grs. Trail Boss = 661fps
WARNING!! The above data is for the .38 Special, not the .38 S&W!

Bullseye Smith, please be careful when posting load data. You quoted data for the wrong caliber. If you loaded even the starting charge in a .38 S&W case you would compress the load and compressing Trail Boss is extremely dangerous.
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Old 10-21-2010, 03:28 AM
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Yes I screw up, forgot to write in that it was for the 38 special.
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Old 10-21-2010, 08:28 AM
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2.2 gr Bullseye 148gr HBWC never look back for an outstanding load for the .38 S&W. Seat the bullet out to 1.60" you will be crimping on a driving band.
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Old 10-21-2010, 02:29 PM
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Well, I think we have determined that the reason there is no published load for Trail Boss in .38 S&W is that it just doesn't have the case capacity to work. Here's the results of my Bullseye load, 2.2 grains under a .358 diameter 158 grain lead round nose, published velocity 625 FPS. Shot in an Australian Victory Model and a Colt Police Positive. The Colt comes out the winner as it's sights are well regulated for this load, point of impact, point of aim. The Victory Models sights are regulated for a heavier bullet, 178 or 200 grain, so you have to aim high to get hits in the black.

Colt Police Positive at 15 yards, center hold:



Australian Victory Model, 15 yards, "2 o'clock" hold:



This should work out well for my 13 year old shooting buddy, the son of a good friend of mine. He has mastered a Ruger .22/45, we introduced him to center fire revolver shooting with a Model 10 shooting .38 Special at 700 FPS, but he showed signs of fatigue after 30 rounds or so. Also, the Model 10 was a little big for his hands, the Colt Police Positive should be perfect for him, the frame size is about the same as a "J" frame Smith. This load has little recoil, so it should be a good stepping stone for him to shoot some stouter stuff as he gets older...
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Old 10-21-2010, 03:43 PM
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Talking A good substitute powder for "Trail Boss"

Lyman 358071, 145 grain round nose, .030 card wad, on top of 12 grains of GOEX FFFg, manages about 650 fps and is quite accurate in an 1894 vintage Iver-Johnson Safety Hammerless. It'll knock down "Pepper Poppers" without trouble at 15-20 yards while the flame and smoke bewilder the RO. I haven't fired over a hundred rounds at a time so can't say when fouling becomes a problem.



Same bullet over 2.5 grains of Bullseye is just the ticket in a Colt Banker's Special. It doesn't much care for the "Holy Black."

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Old 10-21-2010, 05:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canoeguy View Post
This should work out well for my 13 year old shooting buddy, the son of a good friend of mine. He has mastered a Ruger .22/45, we introduced him to center fire revolver shooting with a Model 10 shooting .38 Special at 700 FPS, but he showed signs of fatigue after 30 rounds or so. Also, the Model 10 was a little big for his hands, the Colt Police Positive should be perfect for him, the frame size is about the same as a "J" frame Smith. This load has little recoil, so it should be a good stepping stone for him to shoot some stouter stuff as he gets older...
Glad to hear you are bringing the young ones along to shoot. Our sport and the love of shooting needs to be passed on to the next generation so they keep a vigilant watch on our gun rights in the future. Well done Sir...
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