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Old 03-30-2011, 04:46 PM
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Default Any Problems With Light Loads in 45 Colt

In the past, I have loaded a 200 gr cast swc over 7.0 of Unique. A fellow emailed me he thought that was too little powder in such a large case. I have also seen loads listed with 7.0 of 231. I want to reload some light loads and was wondering if I should stick to 7.0, increase it to 8.0 or maybe use 231?
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Old 03-30-2011, 04:57 PM
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I recently reloaded 300 .45 Colts with 5g of Clay's using 200g SWC's. Shot about 130 at a recent IDPA match with no problems whatsoever.
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Old 03-30-2011, 05:21 PM
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If filling the case is what you want to do, use TrailBoss. It was designed to do just that. Six grains is a nice load with most cast bullets, I cut mine back to 5.5 gr. to tame the recoil some. Loading data is on Hodgdons web site. Bob!!!
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Old 03-30-2011, 05:56 PM
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My last batch of 200 gr cast bullets I loaded at 9.0 grs of Unique (Lyman lists 8.6 to 9.6) I liked shooting them at that load, Fairly stout but not overwhelming at all.

The New Hornady Manuel lists their 200 gr bullet (which I think is a soft swagged) at 5.8 to 8.6 gr Unique. Based on that you should be fine with 7.0 grs but think 8.0 would give better performance and not a lot of recoil.

Hp 38/231 is going to give about the same FPS using just a tad less powder.
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Old 03-30-2011, 06:42 PM
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I was shooting some .45 colt this afternoon.

5.2 gr Trail Boss under 250 gr lrn

5.6 gr Trail Boss under 200 gr lswc.

The chrono at the club was down, but my guess is these are SLOW.

Very accurate, very mild recoil. Cases were not too black, in fact the 250 gr rounds had no black on them at all.
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Old 03-30-2011, 08:31 PM
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Oh boy here we go.

A cowboy load that I used in 2000 was/is 4.2 gr American Select with a 160 gr rnfp.
You need wrist braces and someone to stand behind you just in case.

I have graduated to a 105 gr 38 with 3.2 gr American Select.
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Old 03-31-2011, 01:01 AM
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My favorite plinking load for my 625 Mountain Gun is the 175 gr SAECO # 451 SWC bullet and 8.6 grs of Win 231. I tried 7.9 grs and it wasn't quite as accurate. That SAECO bulet is very accurate; it's made for serious bullseye competition with the 45 ACP.
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Old 03-31-2011, 03:48 AM
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There is no problem with light loads.

The "Cat Sneeze" load for my lever and pump 45LC rifles is a pair of 140 grain lead balls over 3 grains of 231.

I used to use Unique, but the 231 burns much cleaner and more compleatly at these low pressures.

I was just demonstrating how quiet this load is on Tuesday
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Old 03-31-2011, 06:04 AM
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Some powders are better suited to reduced loading than others but Unique is very versatile, hence the name, and you should have no problem with your load. Lyman #47 lists a load of 6.5 gr. Unique under a lead round ball which would have more empty space than yours.
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Old 03-31-2011, 07:24 AM
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Ex cowboy shooter here, Trail boss and tite group were designed for and work well for light loads. 231 works well also. My 44 mag cowboy loads were 4.0g of tite group with a 180-200, LFN bullet. about 650fps from 4 5/8 barrel.
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Old 04-01-2011, 12:10 AM
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You can safely go as low as 6.0gr W231 with a 200gr Cast bullet in the .45 Colt. A 7.0gr load will be a middle of the road load since the recommended Max charge from Hodgdon is 8.0gr under a 200gr LRNFP bullet. I don't use Unique because it's a little slower of a powder than I'm looking for in light loads and it doesn't meter well at all. W231/HP-38 meters great since it's a ball powder.

Trail Boss isn't a bad choice either since it was developed to fill the old Black Powder cases that are so large. It's perfect for Cowboy Action velocities.
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Old 04-01-2011, 08:18 AM
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max:

The problem with light loads in 45 Colt is that with such a large case you may not achieve a good powder burn. I'll bet you are experiencing a lot of soot on your cases. If so, that is because the load is not developing enough pressure to expand the case fully and seal the chamber. It's not really a problem, but that's what happens with 45 Colt and light loads. That is exactly what Trailboss was developed for, to take up more space with light loads in large cartridges like 45 Colt.

Just for fun I opened up my Speer manual, 13th edition. For 200 grain lead bullets it lists 8.0 grains of Unique as the recommended starting load and 9.5 grains as the Max. So if you want to stay with Unique, you may want to bump your charge up to 8.0 grains. It is still a relatively light load.

For what it's worth, my own standard Smokeless load for 45 Colt is 7.5 grains of Unique under a 250 grain lead Round Nosed bullet. Not exactly a light load, but not a barn burner either. And even with this load I still get a little bit of soot on the cases.
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Old 04-01-2011, 11:01 AM
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At the risk of offending (not my intent) a real "cowboy" would laugh at the loads most cowboy action shooters use in the venerable 45 Colt. The original (black powder) was a 255g bullet at 900 fps.

I've never understood why 44 Special shooters all seem to want to make a Magnum out of the Special but a lot of 45 Colt shooters strive to eliminate as much recoil as possible. Somethin' wrong with this picture! (smile)

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Old 04-01-2011, 12:50 PM
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Not everyone is a big fan of Trail Boss. I think it's main purpose is so people that reload only because they have to won't blow their guns up. For most light loads that I use there are usually better choices for powders.

Dave, I've seen people that want to "magnumize" everything and others that want to make everything go "poof" instead of "bang". It all depends on what the popular fad is at the time.
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Old 04-01-2011, 02:04 PM
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Trail Boss was really developed for cowboy shooting. The one pound containers only weigh 9oz. so it's a bit more expensive than standard powders, but burns well at low pressures. Reducing recoil as much as possible is a primary concern to cowboy shooters not only to get back on target fast but also because the steel is so close you get a lot of bounce back. So much so in fact it's difficult to be competitive with anything but the 38/357. Trying really light loads using 231 results in lots of unburnt powder and occasional misfires. Titegroup isn't so sensitive to it's position in big cases and seems more reliable for this type of use. Trail boss is a big improvement with it's high volume and maximum exposed surface for easy ignition. Trail boss also works well in rifles for subsonic loads along the lines of the 300 whisper and is popular with the "snipers".
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Old 04-01-2011, 03:50 PM
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Titegroups, Trail Boss was designed for cowboy shooters, no argument there, but it was to prevent double charges of fast burning powders. The problem with it is that it delivers lower velocities with higher pressures, sometimes much higher than other powders that are listed for a given purpose. It is not nearly as versatile as the old standby powders or some their newer contenders that can be reduced a lot more than most loading manuals will tell you, even if they do list specific cowboy action loading data. With most powders you will get unburned powder with reduced loads because they need pressure to achieve best combustion and reducing the load reduces the pressure. With Trail Boss's low velocity at high pressures you won't see much unburned powder, but that isn't a plus in my book.
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Old 04-01-2011, 03:52 PM
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And the cost per pound is strike two.
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:19 PM
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The only bullet I ever got stuck in the barrel of one of my .45 Colt revolvers was the old Speer 200 gr. Flying Ashtray with what I believe was a published load using Winchester 296. I don't remember which manual it was, but I know it was during my younger days when I believed everything I read.

Dave Sinko
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Old 04-01-2011, 07:34 PM
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All I'm saying is Trail Boss is a one trick pony. Not intended for more than cowboy shooting. One of the problems you run into in with cowboy shooting is lack of case expansion and seal. When firing lever rifles with the bolt exposed at the rear the gases travel back through the machined groves in the receiver and into your eyes as you fire, safety glasses needed, so the pressure spike would help to expand the brass and better the seal. Becomes more of a problem as the cases work harden after many reloadings and don't expand quite so easily under low pressures. Not that I have had any experience with that or anything. If I weren't shooting cowboy I'd just not buy the stuff.
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Old 04-01-2011, 11:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jellybean View Post
And the cost per pound is strike two.
I don't know where you guys are buying your powders but my local dealers don't charge the same for 9oz of Trail boss as they do for 16oz of W231. The last jug of Trail Boss I bought cost me $13.95 while the W231 was $22.95.

Any dealer charging the same for Trail Boss as other full weight powder is either unaware it's actually cheaper and just putting the same price on all the handgun powders or they are ripping you off.
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Old 04-02-2011, 09:25 AM
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Right, Trail Boss is for the cowboy shooters. They are more into it for the thrill of being someone else or reliving their youths as they are for the shooting. Otherwise they would have found a safer course of fire than using metal targets at extremely close ranges.

In the old days if you wanted a mouse flatulance load with higher pressure the answer would have been, "use a filler". But since that is too much trouble for most cowboy reloaders they created a market that didn't exist before. They need to either get rid of the metal targets or get rid of the lead bullets before someone loses an eye.

I joined the SASS a long time ago, so long in fact that there were no matches even within reason of driving to. After several years I left, still never shooting in a match, but it was because I got sick of the whining and bellyaching and the fact that it wasn't all that much about shooting but rather the fact that some children never can grow up. I hope it's changed from then.

I dug out my bottle of Trail Boss but it doesn't have a price sticker on it. I do remember looking at it after I bought it and doing the math on the cost/lb and thought how stupid I was for not looking at it before I bought it. I fell for the advertising about how great it was and couldn't wait to try it, what can I say? Other than I'll never waste a dime on it again.

Edited to add: I've been working on a project where I'm shooting a 45 gr. roundball at a measly 345 fps. Believe me, I won't be shooting it at anything that has any chance of bouncing it back at me.

Last edited by Jellybean; 04-02-2011 at 02:56 PM.
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Old 04-02-2011, 09:54 AM
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I don't shoot cowboy action, although it is very popular at my club. I have been buying, shooting and reloading for .45 Colt for the past year. I have a 25 Classic, 25-7 and 25-13, a 4 5/8" Blackhawk, a 5" Stainless Blackhawk and a 20" 1892 Puma.

I've read a few articles on .45 colt, and have loaded up some pretty stout loads. I've used Unique, Red Dot, Blue dot, Universal Clays, 2400, H110 and Trail Boss.

I just bought 5 pounds of Trail Boss from Natchez as part of a larger order. 8 pounds of Clays and Bullseye, 4 pounds of 2400 and Universal. With shipping and Hazmet the Trail Boss comes to $20.21 per pound.

I like Trail boss for light loads.

I shot 100 250 gr lrnfp over 5.2 Trail boss, 100 rounds of 200 gr lswc over 5.6 Trail Boss, 100 200 gr lswc over 6.0 Red dot and 100 250 gr lrnfp over 7.0 231 yesterday. The Red Dot was slightly hotter than the Trail Boss, the 231 was hotter yet.

The Trail Boss loads showed little if any soot on the cases. The Red dot was filthy.

Accuracy with the Trail Boss was quite good, but accuracy with the Red Dot and 231 was good as well.

I don't think Trail Boss is a miracle powder. It is not good for anything but light loads. It works good for the intended purpose.
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bullseye, colt, hornady, idpa, model 625, mountain gun, natchez, sass, subsonic, universal, winchester

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