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Boomstick Bruce

inconsistant loads with TB powder

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so my standard 45colt load for trailboss is 5.5gn with a 200gn bullet, federal large magnum pistol primers. this year i have had the most inconsistent loads i can imagine... one round will be a pop, the next is a boom... so far i have not had many that sounded or felt like the previous... i.e., nearly no two are alike... i ran this same load for the last 2 previous years without this problem... it doesn't matter what guns i fire them through, they all do this... i know TB is inherently inconsistent but this is ridiculous! i have installed a fish tank pump on my powder drop and that has not helped, i stepped my charge up to 6grains and im still getting "light loads"! seriously, you can almost count the time from the muzzle to the target! im at my wits end here trying to figure this out! the only thing i have changed is bullets (im now using Missouri bullets' "cowboy #4 Brinell 12 , i was using stateline bullets 9-10 BHN )

 

any ideas?

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How much of the case does ~6 grains take up? 

 

Also, do you notice the variation in cooler temperatures only or all the time? 

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First verify that your scales are weighing correctly. If you don't already have them, you need to get a set of calibration weights.

 

Once you have verified that your scales are accurate, verify that your powder measure is dropping consistent loads. Check 10 to 20 consecutive charges and verify that all are the same weight.

 

Let us know what you find.

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Looking at 2019 Hodgdon annual reloading manual, 5.8 grains of TB with a CCI 300 primer under a 250 grain LSWC averages 638 fps from a Colt SAA with 7 1/2" barrel. 

 

Like SD says above, verify scale and thrown charges. 

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Got to agree with Sedalia Dave, about check your powder drop. Had same problem years ago with inconsistent ammo.( had to be my son's ammo, not mine)   Found a small piece of clear plastic -dime sized-   below the powder slide on top of powder funnel.   Would let some or all the powder thru depending on how it laid.   Never figured out where it came from or what it was BUT glad its gone,       GW

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In my case the inside of the drop tube on my shot shell press rusted. Had to disassemble way to many suspected bad shells. 

Now before every loading session I visually inspect the drop tubes on my Dillon as well as my MEC press.

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16 minutes ago, Sedalia Dave said:

In my case the inside of the drop tube on my shot shell press rusted. Had to disassemble way to many suspected bad shells. 

Now before every loading session I visually inspect the drop tubes on my Dillon as well as my MEC press.

 

APP will do that if you don't keep the tubes clean.

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Skip all that other stuff.  I don't like Trail Boss.  Never have.  Put it somewhere safe, like on the Garden and find a different powder.  Like TightGroup.  And, if, you're looking to load light for 45 Colt, skip 45 Colt cases and switch to C45S cases.  Less case volume will give you much more consistent performance.

 

I doubt I've provided the OP any assistance, so just go ahead and ignore this missive.  I won't be insulted at all.

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4 minutes ago, Colorado Coffinmaker said:

 

Skip all that other stuff.  I don't like Trail Boss.  Never have.  Put it somewhere safe, like on the Garden and find a different powder.  Like TightGroup.  And, if, you're looking to load light for 45 Colt, skip 45 Colt cases and switch to C45S cases.  Less case volume will give you much more consistent performance.

 

I doubt I've provided the OP any assistance, so just go ahead and ignore this missive.  I won't be insulted at all.

 +1

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I am not asking this to change the direction of this post, maybe I'm about to learn something....

 

Trail Boss is a fast-burning powder  so why are you using a magnum primer?

 

I've used Trail Boss for probably eight years in 45 Colt and get along just fine with regular primers..........

Edited by Fence Cutter
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I use 5.2 TB Federal Large pistol primer and all are very consistent, also using a 200gr. I would weight the powder in a few to see what is going on. Obviously you are getting different amounts of powder.

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5.5 is not a really light load by any stretch so this is more likely a powder drop that isn't dropping it consistently. I like TB but I hate how inconsistent it's been known to be out of powder drops. If you don't already have a powder checker die, get the hornady one. It doesn't lock out the press but if you set it up right you can catch .1gr variation in powder pretty easily.

 

 

 

P.S. for the person asking about magnum primers, on light loads in big cases, the magnum primer flame gives more consistent ignition and less position sensitivity

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To rule out a problem with the powder, I would load 40 or 50 cartridges with WEIGHED charges, and test fire them for consistency.  If still inconsistent, it's a powder (or primer) problem.  If weighing charges corrects it, then powder AMOUNT is the problem.  Check the powder drop fixes described above. 

To check primers, borrow some from a friend and again test fire 50 or so rounds.  If problems continue even with the changed primers, you've probably ruled out primers as the cause.   Old primers kept for a long time (as in hoarding during short supply) in widely varying thermal and moisture conditions can become inconsistent, but that is pretty rare.   Check powder AMOUNT first.  Check that powder measure and be sure the powder isn't clumped or the flow otherwise obstructed. 

Edited by Dusty Devil Dale
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1 hour ago, Flash said:

I use 5.2 TB Federal Large pistol primer and all are very consistent, also using a 200gr. I would weight the powder in a few to see what is going on. Obviously you are getting different amounts of powder.

Never a problem using trail boss for many thousands of rounds in rifle and pistol, also using federal non magnum primers. Inherently inconsistent is a joke.

Edited by Doc Flimshaw Sass# 73310
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For all of you saying stop using TrailBoss. I am pretty sure that the issue he is having is not powder related.  The OP has loaded TB before without issues and now he has a serious problem. Help diagnose the problem rather than tell him to throw away powder.  Quit bashing his powder choice just because YOU don't like it. It is not really helping.

 

BTW I have loaded 10 pounds of Trailboss through a Dillon SDB and NEVER had charges that inconsistent. Never used a air pump or any other voodoo. Just spent time getting everything correct BEFORE I started loading cartridges

 

I also load 700X. It is even more finicky than TB yet it can be done.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Boomstick Bruce said:

so my standard 45colt load for trailboss is 5.5gn with a 200gn bullet, federal large magnum pistol primers. this year i have had the most inconsistent loads i can imagine... one round will be a pop, the next is a boom... so far i have not had many that sounded or felt like the previous... i.e., nearly no two are alike... i ran this same load for the last 2 previous years without this problem... it doesn't matter what guns i fire them through, they all do this... i know TB is inherently inconsistent but this is ridiculous! i have installed a fish tank pump on my powder drop and that has not helped, i stepped my charge up to 6grains and im still getting "light loads"! seriously, you can almost count the time from the muzzle to the target! im at my wits end here trying to figure this out! the only thing i have changed is bullets (im now using Missouri bullets' "cowboy #4 Brinell 12 , i was using stateline bullets 9-10 BHN )

 

any ideas?

Maybe I missed it, if so sorry. But what are you using to drop the powder?

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21 minutes ago, Sedalia Dave said:

For all of you saying stop using TrailBoss. I am pretty sure that the issue he is having is not powder related.  The OP has loaded TB before without issues and now he has a serious problem. Help diagnose the problem rather than tell him to throw away powder.  Quit bashing his powder choice just because YOU don't like it. It is not really helping.

 

BTW I have loaded 10 pounds of Trailboss through a Dillon SDB and NEVER had charges that inconsistent. Never used a air pump or any other voodoo. Just spent time getting everything correct BEFORE I started loading cartridges

 

I also load 700X. It is even more finicky than TB yet it can be done.

 

 

 

Yep. I to have loaded gallons of Trail Boss into 38 and 45 Colt without any problems through a Dillon press.

 

A lot of people use the powder so that should eliminate Trail Boss being the problem and move the focus to the amount of powder...........

 

I load 3.6 and 6 grains respectively, use regular primers and get consistent loads weither weighted every 5 rounds or 500.

 

How is your consistency?

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Howdy-

 When I was loading TB for my .45s, I  found inconsistency with charge weights from my Hornady powder measure due to the fact that TB "bridges" so badly. The4 result was, of course, the classic varied report from one round of ammo to the next, and sub-par accuracy.  The Hornady powder measure I use comes with two  different rotors which can be used - one for big charges of rifle powders ( often extruded powders ) and another for the small charges of powder for ( most ) handgun use. There ARE exceptions for everything. A BIG charge of w296 for a .454 Casull will need the "Rifle" rotor in the measure, for the extra capacity.  In my measure, I found that for ANY charge of Trail Boss, I got best results with the "rifle" rotor, as the bore of that rotor is of large enough diameter to prevent the large, doughnut like "flakes" of that powder from bridging the way they do across the far smaller bore of the "pistol" rotor.  best RESULTS ( that is, most consistent charge weights ) where obtained with this powder using the large-bore "rifle rotor" , AND  fixing a vibratory device ( mine is a "bug" used to soothe fussy infants )to the powder measure.  Yes it IS harder to "dial in" the desired charge wt. for a pistol using the bigger rotor .  Of course, cleanliness is next to Godliness . The result was worth the extra effort.   Also found small charges of TB worked FAR better for me in Schofield brass, which worked fine in my original Vaqueros. Far more consistent- though NOT with bare minimum loads.  ALWAYS did better with a charge closer to middle of specified range, on up.  Just my personal experience, for what it's worth.

 

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It appears that the problem is not the powder, but likely the powder measure.

What measure are you using?

 

If Dillon, are you using the correct set-up.  (I don't recall, but it has at least a couple different parts for different loads or types of powder.

 

Find some sort of colander and dump all your powder to see if there is something mixed in that is messing up the measure.  I also had that trouble for a while and found part of the plastic seal from a bottle had gotten into my measure and really messed me up.

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1 hour ago, M.T Chambers, SASS#76185 said:

 ... or Bullseye:wub:

I stopped using BE because of its temperature sensitivity. 

OLG

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There is nothing wrong with TB. Been using it for over 10 years, NEVER had a load pop, or fart because of the powder, that's nonsense.

Never cleaned out the slide or thrower.

Your problem is with what ever loader you are using and the powder measure.

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Have you checked for static buildup while running your press?   We have run tb for the last seven years this is the first year for some reason we started to get issues with static.  

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Hi Boomstick Bruce,

 

I am sorry that youre having this issue.  Obviously, the cause could be a number of things, or, a combination of things.  I think it is important that you isolate and identify  the problem, rather than take a “shotgun” approach, find the problem gone and just move on.

 

CONSIDER THIS:

—-—  Contaminated brass (media damp, insects, rodents, etc., causing clumping or sludge).   Inspect 100 pieces with a metal probe or a piece of soft wire, over a sheet of white paper, to see if they are “gunked up”. 

 

In the past, I’ve seen this as a problem causing failures to fire and inconsistencies you describe.

 

Cat Brules

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Boomstick, 

I had this problem once is 10 years of using TB on a Lee 1000 with their powder disk drop.  (I check powder level on each case with a high tech stick and sharpie mark, very scientific) and was getting inconsistent, and light drops, drove me nuts.  Found out after disassembly of the drop that a spider had built a nest of eggs in the one spot on the disk I use....    

Luckily I found them early cause of the "Stick"   

I pull one out 100 cases and measure the powder just to confirm the drop is correct and my stick hasn't gone out of calibration.  So far so good for 10 plus years and may thousands for 45 Colt. 

I use 5.4 TB with 200g bullets from a variety of manufactures, Federal primers only, no magnum or match.  

One squib in 10 years, must have been a good song on the radio or something that day. 

 

It's frustrating when something that otherwise has worked flawlessly starts to go wrong.  Also that's some of the fun of loading your own.  

 

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Thanks for all the replies!!!

 

Ok, to answer a few questions. 

 

I use a Hornet AP press with the Hornady powder drop.

 

I buy primers by the 1000, bullets by the 1000, prefer by the jug and load 500 at a time. Sometimes.

 

I also load 45acp, 5.0 gn tb and use the same bullet and same primers but a taper crimp instead of roll crimp. Very consistent and have never had a "pop". This problem is only with the 45colt.

 

I don't know what funnel is in my powder drop. I bought it used about 3 years ago and it just started with this problem this year. I can post a picture if that would help.

 

I have measured my drops and calibrated my digital scale.

 

I'm thinking of buying a powder cop... Or buying 45acp cylinders but that won't elevate the problem in my rifle...

 

I do leave my powder in the drop with the lid on it when I'm done loading and refill it as needed... But I've always done this... Like I said, the only thing I've changed is my bullets, I like routine and consistency...

 

 

 

 

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Trailboss requires a large, regular shaped aperture to avoid bridging. For example, I use a standard insert instead of pistol in my Hornady measure. On a Lee I use a round hole in an auto disk instead of a auto Charge bar with a mouth-shaped aperture.

 

I cured the bridging in the measures by removing the baffles.

 

TB is very susceptible to static electricity. Try some of the tricks for reducing flyaway powder granules and sticking in the measure.

 

Lastly, seat bullets in a way that gives you a clear view of the powder charge or you can use a powder charge check station. If you were going to see a seriously low charge, you should be able to judge that you need to stop and check it out.

 

I am loading Trailboss in 45 Colt, currently no lighter than the Lyman minimum, and believe I have the powder charge consistency under control.

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2 minutes ago, Boomstick Bruce said:

Thanks for all the replies!!!

 

Ok, to answer a few questions. 

 

I use a Hornet AP press with the Hornady powder drop.

 

I buy primers by the 1000, bullets by the 1000, prefer by the jug and load 500 at a time. Sometimes.

 

I also load 45acp, 5.0 gn tb and use the same bullet and same primers but a taper crimp instead of roll crimp. Very consistent and have never had a "pop". This problem is only with the 45colt.

 

I don't know what funnel is in my powder drop. I bought it used about 3 years ago and it just started with this problem this year. I can post a picture if that would help.

 

I have measured my drops and calibrated my digital scale.

 

I'm thinking of buying a powder cop... Or buying 45acp cylinders but that won't elevate the problem in my rifle...

 

I do leave my powder in the drop with the lid on it when I'm done loading and refill it as needed... But I've always done this... Like I said, the only thing I've changed is my bullets, I like routine and consistency...

 

 

 

 

Right there, I would make sure the Hornady measure is using the standard rotor and insert rather than the pistol.

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10 hours ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

Stop using TB.

Give Unique or WW231 a try.

OLG

 

10 hours ago, M.T Chambers, SASS#76185 said:

 ... or Bullseye:wub:

 

Well, there you go, recommendations for  three very different burn rate powders. 

 

10 hours ago, Sedalia Dave said:

For all of you saying stop using TrailBoss. I am pretty sure that the issue he is having is not powder related.  The OP has loaded TB before without issues and now he has a serious problem. Help diagnose the problem rather than tell him to throw away powder.  Quit bashing his powder choice just because YOU don't like it. It is not really helping.

 

BTW I have loaded 10 pounds of Trailboss through a Dillon SDB and NEVER had charges that inconsistent. Never used a air pump or any other voodoo. Just spent time getting everything correct BEFORE I started loading cartridges

 

I also load 700X. It is even more finicky than TB yet it can be done.

 

 

 

I've loaded over 50,000 rounds of .38spl with 700x.  Never had any powder drop inconsistency with my SDB.  

 

When I tried TB, I had less consistent powder drops so I've avoided it except in certain applications. 

 

 

 

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Been loading 45 Colt for ten plus years using only TB and have never had an issue with the powder. 5.4 to 5.8 grains under primarily 200 grain lead (250 on occasion). Perfect cowboy load, shooting duelist.  Lee Classic Turret Press. Nothing fancy going on here.

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Have been using it 11 years with out a problem,  38's ,45 colt, 44 Special, and 44 Russian.  

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2 hours ago, Cat Brules said:

Hi Boomstick Bruce,

 

I am sorry that youre having this issue.  Obviously, the cause could be a number of things, or, a combination of things.  I think it is important that you isolate and identify  the problem, rather than take a “shotgun” approach, find the problem gone and just move on.

 

CONSIDER THIS:

—-—  Contaminated brass (media damp, insects, rodents, etc., causing clumping or sludge).   Inspect 100 pieces with a metal probe or a piece of soft wire, over a sheet of white paper, to see if they are “gunked up”. 

 

In the past, I’ve seen this as a problem causing failures to fire and inconsistencies you describe.

 

Cat Brules

 

This is where I would look next.

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1 hour ago, Boomstick Bruce said:

I do leave my powder in the drop with the lid on it when I'm done loading and refill it as needed... But I've always done this... Like I said, the only thing I've changed is my bullets, I like routine and consistency...

 

This is a likely culpret.  Even if you have gotten away with this in the past the amount and duration of humidity varies widely from month to month and year to year. 

 

You should never leave powder in the hopper between loading sessions. Besides adsorbing moisture the powder can attack the plastics in your powder hopper. I know it is hard to do with TB as its shape is very distinctive but you leave yourself open to the posibility that you could misidentify the powder in your hopper and bad things will happen.

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