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Old November 19, 2011, 12:40 AM   #1
dabluesguy
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Trail Boss 38 loads

I like to use 158 gr. swc in my 38 special SAA for plinking. Been using 3 gr. of Trail Boss and it's nice but how low can I go for a real "powder puff" load? I'd just like to try it on 10 yard steel plates. What do you SASS guys do?
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Old November 19, 2011, 01:10 AM   #2
WyomingWhitetail
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With trail boss you can figure out max and min loads pretty easy. For max you figure out where the bottom of the bullet will sit in the case and max is the amount that fills the case up to that level. Then for min you take a percentage of the max load i think it's like 70 percent but to be sure you can look it up on the trail boss web site.
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Old November 19, 2011, 01:39 AM   #3
briandg
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I could be way off base on this, but IIRC, you could take bullseye all the way down to 2.5-3 grains.

Bullseye has better ignition characteristics, I believe, than most ball powders.


I'd be really reluctant to pursue loads with any powder down below 3 grains, personally, unless you were using dewc. the 158 swc leaves a pretty big combustion space for a tiny little charge, and you could have a bad ignition leave a squib in the barrel.



Someone smarter than I am needs to finish this one out. i'm just reporting what I used to read in the articles by the old timers, who experimented and got rounds that went out at slingshot velocities.
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Old November 19, 2011, 01:43 AM   #4
dabluesguy
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I'm just wondering how guys get 4-500 fps rounds that function properly. I don't want any squibs.
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Old November 19, 2011, 03:51 PM   #5
twobit
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I've been loading 148 grain DEWC .38 special using 2.7 ~ 2.8 grains on trailboss.
I use a Lee Turret press and the auto disc powder charger using hole number .61 . It does not come all the way up to the botton of the bullet so it is not a maximum for trailboss. Makes a nice target load for a Ruger LCR.
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Old November 19, 2011, 04:32 PM   #6
briandg
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as I said, I don't know how. Low velocity loads are hard to achieve. Even the old .38 S&W is in the 700 fps range with 158 grain and larger bullets.

The problem is the combustion chamber size.

Again, going back to old school techniques, a writer experimented with cutting off .38 special brass, thus reducing the combustion chamber to a minimal size, then loading standard bullets over bare minimal charges.

The .38 short colt is in the 700 fps range, and I believe that it can be fired in .38 special handguns. It maybe can be downloaded to 500

You can, very easily, find .38 short colt ammunition and brass.
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Old November 19, 2011, 08:58 PM   #7
ZVP
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I wanted to try some .38 short Colt loads fin my Cobre Derringer just to see what the recoil would be like? I did find ONE box of the Colt loads but it was really old and they wanted $29 for it( 50 rds). I figgured it was too high just for plinking ammo and passed the deal up.
I never got to read the box to see what weight the bullets are.
A friend loaded some 90gr .38 Special Squibs for me and in the derringer, they are perfect! Hardly any recoil and very consistant. I haven't tried to Chrony them yet but I'd guess them at maybe 450-500fps. They stick the bullet in a 4x4 but don't make full penetration on even a 2x4. I am making the guess against a ..22 with CCI CB Caps. They hit about the same speed as the .22's fired out of a Davis Derringer.
Please keep us abreast of your efforts with these Light Loads of yours because there's a lot of us wondering about these Loads.
Thanks,
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Old November 19, 2011, 10:06 PM   #8
rdstrain49
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Bullseye can detonate as opposed to ignite in very light loads. I have personally seen a Colt Python and a S&W Mod 19 blown to bits by light loads of bullseye. And no they were not double or triple charges. Stress failure analysis proved that.
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Old November 19, 2011, 10:37 PM   #9
briandg
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powder cannot detonate. Nothing in the world can make powder burn at the rate necessary for "detonation." Detonation, as technically defined, is when a substance destabilizes (explodes) as the shock wave travels through it; generally stated as destabilizing at a rate faster than the speed of sound. Detonation cord fires at the rate of appr 7k fps, 20 times the speed of sound.

The research is out there, The information is out there, you don't have to believe me because you can see it for yourself.

The explanation for all of the mysterious explosions is not detonation.

this is taken directly from SAAMI

Quote:
Smokeless powder does not detonate like high explosives as it has
a controlled rate of burn and differs considerably in its burning characteristics
from common “black powder.” Black powder burns at
essentially the same rate out in the open (unconfined) as when in a
gun.
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Old November 20, 2011, 12:40 AM   #10
rdstrain49
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right,
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Last edited by rdstrain49; November 20, 2011 at 01:05 AM.
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Old November 20, 2011, 10:02 AM   #11
Crunchy Frog
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Check out Hodgdon's published data for cowboy loads; you are just above the published minimum for a 158 grain LSWC already.

I found that Trail Boss burned cleaner when I used a charge that was towards the middle of the cowboy load data. A friend was using your load and his brass was much dirtier than mine.

Call me conservative but I stick with published data. I don't exceed minimum or maximum.
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Old November 20, 2011, 06:58 PM   #12
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If you're looking for pleasant to shoot, you might load a cap-and-ball load in a .38 special case. A .360 round ball seated on top of about 10-15 grains of FFFg. A .360 RB only weighs 70 grains.
I have used Blackhorn 209 instead of black powder with good results. The only problem is this light projectile will shoot low so you will need adjustable sights.

I imagine a light load of TB or Bullseye might work also. I tried .433 roundball loads in a .44 magnum with Trail Boss but the velocities were all over the place. With BH209, it was as if the chronograph was stuck. Velocities within 10 fps of each other.
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Old November 20, 2011, 09:37 PM   #13
rclark
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Well if I wanted a real powder puff load, then I'd move to 125g lead bullets rather than 158s. I load 5g of TB under mine and I feel I have a real accurate 'puff' load. No more recoil than a .22.
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Old November 20, 2011, 11:35 PM   #14
briandg
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It is a near certainty that if you cut the bullet weight, your recoil will probably be diminished more effectivly than by using a heavier bullet and trying to reduce velocity
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Old November 21, 2011, 12:03 AM   #15
B.L.E.
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The only problem with cutting bullet weight is that it usually lowers your point of impact on the target, less barrel jump before the bullet leaves the barrel. No problem if you have adjustable sights.

But yes, lighter bullets reduce recoil more than slowing down heavy bullets does.
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