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Old March 13, 2014, 05:53 AM   #1
Magnum Wheel Man
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Duplex loads... predictable or no ???

so a bit of info 1st... I'm loading for an antique 44 Bulldog, that I own, which was purchased as unfired... ( this would have been a black powder cartridge ) I typically use a Trailboss load, as I haven't started loading black powder cartridges yet...

I bought ( actually traded for ) a "lot" of 250 rounds of hand load ammo from a forum member here, that are cut down 44 Special cases, with the rims thinned, & a soft lead heel bullet, these were loaded with black powder...

so 1st... the gun has never had black powder in it, so I think I want to keep it that way, & 2nd... they are handloads, which I'm always skeptical of ( I don't think these were loaded by said forum member )...

so... I'm pulling the bullets, dumping / scraping out the black, with the intention of putting my Trailboss load in & reseating the soft lead bullets...


... what I'm concerned with, is several of the cases, either had been fired with black powder before, or had sizing lube residue left in the cases, as I'm having trouble removing "all" of the black powder... do I scrape them out pretty good, & charge them with my Trailboss load ( in effect making a duplex load ) or do I waste the primers, & wet tumble them like I would normally & start from scratch... or reduce my Trailboss load by 1/4 or 1/2 a grain, & load them up???

just don't know what to expect, with a pinch of black in the Trailboss charge???

Thoughts ???
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Old March 13, 2014, 06:31 AM   #2
Driftwood Johnson
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Howdy

First of all, Trailboss is not a Black Powder substitute. It is a Smokeless powder and has pressure curves like other Smokeless powders. If it was my antique gun I would be loading it with Black Powder loads, period. I guess I should ask, how old is the gun? I am not familiar with Bulldogs, so I don't know when they transitioned to being safe for Smokeless loads.

Second, what would be the point of adding 'a pinch' of Black Powder to your Trailboss loads? The point of Duplex loads was to use the easily ignitable Black Powder to help ignition with some of the very early Smokeless powders. Modern Smokeless powders do not need such an initiator, they ignite fine all by themselves. Of course I have to ask, where are you getting your data for Trailboss loads in your ammo?
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Old March 13, 2014, 06:33 AM   #3
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I would say your good the way they are. They will just smoke a little more.
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Old March 13, 2014, 06:55 AM   #4
Magnum Wheel Man
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DRIFTWOOD... I'm very familiar with Trailboss ( I've loaded 1000's of rounds of 32 S&W, & 38 S&W, for antique guns, as well as many 1000's of rounds of cowboy loads in 38 / 357 & 45 Colt )

I collect antique pocket guns, & have loads using Trailboss for all of them even have a load for each cartridge, using a soft lead round ball, for checking out new guns, that time out OK ( I've found it to be safe in any gun that functions correctly )

this Bull Dog ( American ) is old enough, that it used a heel seated bullet, I don't remember the age off the top of my head, but it is right around the switch over period... it is a solid frame ( not top break ) the chamber walls are reasonably thick, & there is absolutely no pitting anywhere...

I'm not the least bit concerned about Trailboss in the 44 Bull Dog loads... just mildly concerned about a weak duplex load

BTW... it's good for people to be concerned about shooting these old guns, bores & chambers varied a lot, often on the same gun... pitted barrels & hard cast bullets, can increase pressures ( & would even with black powder ) I'm going out on a limb here though, I think any cartridge gun safe to shoot can be safely shot with a Trailboss load, & the right charge & right projectile choice

I don't have a very good picture, but this is the gun...

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Old March 13, 2014, 07:01 AM   #5
Magnum Wheel Man
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ROADDOG... I assume you are right... I'm getting as much out of the case as practical, by scraping them out with a dental pick & small screw driver... however some of the cases ( for what ever reason ) have quite a bit of residue in them, either carbon from a previous load, or black powder stuck to sizing lube film ??? I'm pretty anal when it comes to loading, & the stainless pin wet tumbling has really spoiled me... I'm used to looking inside cases that all look like new
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Old March 13, 2014, 07:15 AM   #6
mehavey
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Consider the primers to be toast.

Dump the cases into a covered tupperware container of water & dishsoap,
let them soak overnite, shake vigorously in the morning, and let sit
overnite again.

Use a shotgun/410 mop soaked in the dishsoap solution to clean out the
inside of the cases, rinse, and dry.

Because of all the blackpowder residue in solution the cases will now all be
the color of ancient bronze, so tumble if you want. (BPCR shooters go through
this all the time)

Moderate Trailboss loads wouldn't bother me after that.
Keep to original velocities & pressures.




postscript: Trailboss "with a residual pinch" of black is unlikely to do anything
significantly adverse pressurewise. What it will do is ensure that you have
to clean the gun thoroughly afterwards as though the entire load was black.

Either go classic all-black (cool factor ),
or go low-pressure smokless (practical factor )

Last edited by mehavey; March 13, 2014 at 07:33 AM.
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Old March 13, 2014, 08:10 AM   #7
maillemaker
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I'd go with what Mehavey said.

I've never fooled with black powder cartridges, nor Trailboss. So I have no comments on using Trailboss.

But if I was going to go to the trouble of breaking down BP handloads I would deprime them and tumble the brass clean again, then reload.

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Old March 13, 2014, 08:29 AM   #8
zxcvbob
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I would pull one or two to make sure they were really BP, and I would shoot the rest. (Then reload them however I wanted.) If they were smokeless reloads I would be less trusting.
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Old March 13, 2014, 08:33 AM   #9
Magnum Wheel Man
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actually I pulled 50 of them last night, & ran into 5 or so that had smokeless powder ( maybe Unique ??? ) the cases are mixed head stamp, & all the smokeless loads were in Starline cases, however not all the Starline cases had smokeless, so I'm inclined to pull all of them, just for safety sake...

I hate to waste 250 primers ( I do have quite a few on hand though ) but will likely do so, just so I have my bright shiny cases & no powder mixture..
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Old March 13, 2014, 09:02 AM   #10
maillemaker
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Quote:
actually I pulled 50 of them last night, & ran into 5 or so that had smokeless powder


Yup, you did the right thing. Render into components and reload them yourself.

Steve
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Old March 13, 2014, 09:06 AM   #11
zxcvbob
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Quote:
ran into 5 or so that had smokeless powder
That changes everything. But I'd still reload the primed cases (perhaps some with pulled BP) rather than clean them and waste the primers. I'm cheap like that.
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Old March 13, 2014, 09:22 AM   #12
Magnum Wheel Man
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that's why I was actually hoping someone that shoots duplex rifle loads might chime in on pressures or unexpected things that can happen with that type of load... 250 primers seems like a pretty big waste, but not if it were to destroy a pristine antique... just trying to talk myself into a decision

I could probably do extremely light loads, however at 250, that's perhaps a lifetime supply through that gun... I'd rather have my preferred load in that many cases...

... & just so you guys know... the smokeless loads were not a full case, like the black... I didn't throw one on the scale, but maybe 2-4 grains is all, of whatever it was... didn't want anyone to think whomever loaded them filled the case with smokeless like was done with the black... still having them intermixed in boxes of 50, is not how I do things, so I'm happy I'm pulling them
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Old March 13, 2014, 09:36 AM   #13
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Also... any idea if ( lets say, for example ) there is a 1/4 grain of black powder residue in the case, are there enough corrosive salts in that small an amount, that if firing loads loaded with Trailboss & this amount of residue, that I'd have to worry about cleaning it like a black powder gun, or just solvent & oil afterwards like a smokeless load...

I guess that's my main concern...
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Old March 13, 2014, 09:48 AM   #14
mehavey
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I would clean as though it were a full BP load. It may not be much, and the
smokeless will cause it to burn a lot hotter/cleaner, but the fouling residue
will still attract moisture* over the next several days.

Simple soap and water cleans it off incredibly easily/quickly. Wash, dry, oil.
No need to go bananas at all.





*The residue itself is not so much "corrosive" as it is hy[g]roscopic.
Water held close to steel is not your friend.

Last edited by mehavey; March 13, 2014 at 12:14 PM.
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Old March 13, 2014, 09:57 AM   #15
zxcvbob
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You're obsessing too much about the cleaning; it's not that hard to do. The old girl was designed for black powder, she deserves to shoot a few again before you go all smokeless on her.

That said, I don't shoot my BP guns much. I'm as lazy as I am cheap. But YOU should shoot yours
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Old March 13, 2014, 12:14 PM   #16
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I suppose you could mount one of those bore mop things in a Dremel tool and just run it in and out of the case, dry, to clean them.

Steve
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Old March 17, 2014, 08:04 AM   #17
Magnum Wheel Man
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Just an FYI... I knocked out the primers ( I'm saving them for a buddy that shoots plastic bullets in 45 Colt for practice over the winter ) & wet tumbled the 100 cases I had pulled, over the weekend... 1st time through gave the cases a bronze color, I then changed the water, added 1/2 as much soap, & another dose of citric, & they came out yellow & nice again... so I think I'll do that for the other 150...

will probably have to use the powder for fertilizer, since I just dumped all the powder into the same container, & there were those 7-8 smokeless loads, in that 1st 100 rounds...

right now I'm finishing up loading the last of 650 rounds of 38 S&W, then will pull down the last 150 of the 44 Bulldog
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Old March 19, 2014, 06:38 AM   #18
Magnum Wheel Man
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Finished up my 38 S&W loading & put those tools away... pulled another 50 bullets of the black powder 44 Bulldog last night, haven't run into anymore smokeless loads so far, but have 100 more to go...

right now I'm working out what my charge will be... my general use 38 S&W load was 2.5 grains of Trailboss... was thinking double that for the bigger case, however 5 grains filled the case full to the mouth, ( these 44 Bulldog cases were trimmed to 38 S&W length, when I got them... the handfull I made were about a 1/4" longer... I'll probably shorten the ones I made to match the bigger quantity ) so... best guess right now will be 4 grains, maybe a touch more with the heel seated bullets... will be curious what they Chrony after enough snow melts & it dries up enough to get out to my range
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Old March 19, 2014, 09:48 AM   #19
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Without reading your thread top to bottom. My understanding of duplex loading was to increase ignition speed under large amount of much slower burning powders.

As far as Black being scaled and used as a main powder charge preference._ Your brass shells like a any muzzle loader using Black require no gap left between its powder and projectile. And that rule applies to both rifle and pistol. Saying that I'm sure a brass cartridge case is governed by the same Rule. Filled near being a soft compressed loading if not a hard compressed loading when Black is the powder of choice. Average duplex charge for quicker ignition on rifle was like 3-5 grs of Black I think. Pistol I'm guessing 1-2 grs if any. As I don't believe larger kernels of black were used in pistol applications similar to what was used in many large or over bore rifle reloading's of now obsolete calibers. Only a few of those large bore calibers still exist today that were often reloaded with all Black and then purposely charged using a duplex priming grade. 45-70-405--40-65-50-70.

If still intending to use Black for what appears to be a little Iver Johnson pictured consider 3-FFF would be my suggestion.
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