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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  CAS TOPICS  |  The Powder Room - CAS reloading (Moderator: Professor Marvel)  |  Topic: Trail Boss in .38 S&W (not Special) for pocket pistols 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Trail Boss in .38 S&W (not Special) for pocket pistols  (Read 997 times)
Tuolumne Lawman
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« on: May 17, 2017, 09:58:27 pm »


I have a 1890s vintage .38 S&W top break Pocket pistol given to me by an elderly friend about 30 years ago.  It was her father's and he was a constable.  It is still in excellent 95%+ shape.  It handles factory loads well, but reloading with smokeless has left me lacking.  Even loads with HP38/WW231 from LEE just seem too stiff for the top latch (I have replaced it once already).  I load my .45 Schofields and 44-40s with Trail Boss, and love it.

Anyone  have any experience loading .38 S&W with Trail Boss?  Hodgdon's does not list reloads for .38 S&W on their data sheets.   I have a bunch of brass and 145 grain .359-.360" slugs.  I thought of using the generic Trail Boss method of powder to the bottom of the bullet with no compression being maximum, and reduce a bit from there.  Trail Boss is designed for calibers that were originally black powder, and the .38 S&W and .38 Short colt were BP calibers.

Thanks in advance.   Grin
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TUOLUMNE LAWMAN
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Drydock
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« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2017, 10:10:56 pm »

Trail boss is not meant to be a BP substitute, though it is designed to be used in large capacity cases.  But it is a very fast powder that delivers a high quick pressure spike.  Really designed for CAS loads in modern guns.  Not really the best for something this old.  I would stick to BP, or I always keep some Unique around for these old calibers.

http://www.reloadammo.com/38sw.htm
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Tuolumne Lawman
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« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2017, 10:16:28 pm »

Thanks, I realize it is not a BP sub, but rather a smokeless that is "fluffy" to fill cases with low weight volume.  I believe the end game was partially to prevent double charges and primarily eliminate position sensitivity of low volume smokeless in large volume cases.  This was a particular problem in .45 Colt and .44-40.  I know my 7 grains of Unique in a 44-40 is very position sensitive.  Now I use 7 grains of TB in the 44-40, and the loads are very consistent.  I do still prefer 9.0 grains Unique in 44-40 rifles, but it really max for pistols and toggle links.  I use it in a 92.
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TUOLUMNE LAWMAN
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« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2017, 09:17:29 pm »

 Hey,,Tuolumne  I to am now trying TB in my "92"----1990 something model,,,did the math for TB ,,based on fill case to bottom of bullet,,weigh load x .7== start load. But !!! 5.7 seamed just to low for a rifle. I am starting at 6.8gn. this max for pistol,, My 44/40 case held 8.1( did it 3 times),I feel this will be a safe  load to start.(6.Cool






 Smok'm if ya' got'm Hootmix.
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Tuolumne Lawman
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« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2017, 09:50:41 pm »

I used loads with 7 grains of Trail Boss in my 1892 Rossi and my nickel 1873 Uberti 4.75" in 44 WCF.  PERFECT load.  as you say, well below the 8 grains or so that would be "Maximum" using the case full method.  Flat shooting, and not at all harsh even in the 4.75" pistol. It did feel identical to my 7.0 grains of Unique, and performed as well.
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TUOLUMNE LAWMAN
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« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2017, 05:25:15 am »

I know you've shifted gears to your Rossi in this thread ...

in you original question you asked "... Anyone  have any experience loading .38 S&W with Trail Boss?

Hodgdon's does not list reloads for .38 S&W on their data sheets.

IMHO  ...No I have not  and here is why  ...Hodgdon's does not list reloads for .38 S&W on their data sheets and

as Drydock said ..."Trail boss is not meant to be a BP substitute"

it was 1907 - 09 before the top breaks produced by  Iver Johnson, Harrington & Richardson and Smith & Wesson were proofed
for smokeless ....
I have several of these .....I use BLACK POWDER period ....

I have Trail Boss ( took forever to even find some for sale here in the Gunshine State ) paid dearly for it too !
cause I read such glowing testimonials ( Fluffy, better case filling etc. )

I'd never risk using it in my old Iver Johnson, Harrington & Richardson and Smith & Wesson's from pre or post 07-09...
with respect it is the smart play....






  




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Tuolumne Lawman
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« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2017, 09:07:40 am »

Thanks pard,

My H&R is from around 1900, or so.  any way to tell what year from serial number?  I have been using the weak Remington factory loads in it for 30 years., though probably not more than 200 rounds in that time.
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TUOLUMNE LAWMAN
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« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2017, 09:55:01 am »

S&W was the Johnny come lately to warrant Smokeless 1909  H&R And IJ did so in 07

I have a serial number list for H&R  PM the SS# and I'll trace it for you 
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