The other day at Pintos I picked up some .361-caliber 150gr. LSWCs and a bottle of Trail Boss powder for a project-gun (which will be a whole other series of posts.)  Naturally I needed a new load for the 150gr. bullets in the .38 S&W.  Why not try the Trail Boss?

How about because there is no published load data for Trail Boss in this caliber? Hmmm… Researching around there was a fellow who spoke highly of 2.7gr. of Trail Boss for this bullet. OK, we’ll try that and see how it goes.

Off to Champion arms to try that out. How it goes is both good and bad. The load is great- they’ve got some real pop, recoil is reasonable and accuracy is good- though honestly I was testing the load more than going for precision. Seven yards fired at a brisk pace-


That’s the good- the bad is that most of the rounds wouldn’t chamber fully. I use .38 Special/.357 Magnum dies to reload this cartridge, and with the .361 bullets it tends to push up a ring of lead at the lip of the cartridge which catches the inside of the chamber and doesn’t allow the bullet to seat properly in the chamber. It wasn’t much of a hassle to scrape them off with a thumbnail and get them to work, but who wants to do that at the range? I need to get proper .38 S&W dies.  Thumbs up to Trail Boss, thumbs down to my reloading.

The other thing that I wanted to test was The Outlaw .45. I installed a gated Kirst Konverter the other week and the breech ring did not fit precisely and would occasionally jam the mechanism up, particularly on loading. Not blaming Kirst; this is an older gun and specs change over the years. It wasn’t a big gap, so I took a piece of razor-blade and soldered it to the base of the breech-ring. That took out the slop and seemed to cure the problem. But would it hold up to firing? Yes. Yes it would.

As far as firing The Outlaw went it was good news/bad news again. Nicely accurate, but shooting very high. At seven yards, fired at a brisk place-


Pretty happy with that, so I decided to try it at 25 yards. This meant I had to aim well below the target, so consistency was problematic-


The two shots I pulled off to the left were totally my fault. That sucks because I was looking at a pretty good group there otherwise! I need to adjust the sights and get some practice in since this might be my ‘pucker-brush gun’ this deer season. I’ve got a private property locked down for opening weekend, and a lot of it is dense brush where 5-15 yard shots are the norm.  I’m quite sure my load will be adequate for the local Black-tails; they aren’t very large.

The loads used today-

.38 S&W: 150gr. LSWC over 2.7gr. Trail Boss with a CCI500 primer. This load has some pop to it- I would hesitate to use it in a lesser quality gun. I’m considering backing it off to 2.5gr.

.45 Colt: 200gr. LRNFP over 9.0gr. of Unique with a CCI300 primer. This is my tried-and-true .45 Colt load. It’s been great in everything I have shot it in- reasonable recoil, accurate and reliable.

So, a good productive morning at the range and directions to proceed. Fun too of course.

Michael Tinker Pearce, 01 September 17

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