We all have dreams of being a cowboy right?
I have a lever action 30-30 and I was hoping to come up with a very light recoiling "play" load for it. Something to shoot steel, milk jugs, etc. this summer at ranges of about 50 yards. I know some manufacturers make "reduced recoil" loads but I wanted something even lighter. I did some research, including some old manuals, and came up with options to use pistol powers (with inert filler) but I just wasn't happy with the data I found.
Now, introduce Hodgdon (IMR) Trail Boss. It is a very light fluffy flake powder with a hole in the middle. They look like little donuts. According to the mfg, you can load a full (non-compressed) case load in just about any rifle cartage and be within the safe pressure ranges. The powder is used in some cowboy action shooting, mostly for pistols and lead bullets but the data said it can be used in rifles and with jacketed bullets. I'm just not sure I want to get into casting yet.
I picked up some once fired brass and got to work. Brass was sorted, sized, trimmed, and chamfered.
The first test bullets would be some leftover Speer 100gn half jacket plinkers my buddy had. I'll try others later but these seemed like a good starting point.
Per Hodgdon's data sheet, I filled a fired (not resized, so that the bullet would just slip in) case with powder until the bullet resting on top of the power was at the COL I wanted. I poured the powder out and weighed it at 12 grains, this would be my max load. Hodgdon says a minimum load in this case is calculated at 70% of the max, or 8.4 grains. This WILL vary with different length bullets. For reference, most others rifle powder charges for 30-30 are going to be in the 30 grain range. This stuff is extremely voluminous, so much so that only 9oz fits in a standard 1lb container.
I loaded up 5 rounds with a mid charge and headed out the door to see what they would do. I referred to them as "short buss" loads. PERFECT! This is a 100 grain bullet going around the same speed as a 22lr. Recoil is very minimal and the everything cycled well. I can't say anything about accuracy, but they crush water filled milk jugs at 30 yards just fine. That's really what I was looking for anyway.
I have a few more batches loaded up with different charges. I will test these for "reasonable" accuracy and probably shoot them over the chronograph to see what velocities I am getting.
I see myself shooting a LOT of these this summer. I will also be working up a hunting load with the likes of 150 grain InterLocks and BL-C(2).
One caution about using Trail Boss, don't cough, sneeze, breathe heavy, or otherwise when you have a dipper full of it in your hand. It is entirely possible to blow a scoop of that light fluffy stuff all over the bench.