Ed Harris or other RKI's -- Powder Question, please?

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John F. posted this 09 November 2023

Today, I was asked by a younger shooter for a recommendation for a powder to shoot 180-190 gr

Jacketed bullets subsonic in a ..308 bolt action.  His problem is that the go-to choice for this --

Trail Boss -- has been unavailable for years, and from my quick research, it doesn't look like it will

be back within the next year.  The shooter has special, machined copper projectiles very similar in

concept to LeHigh Defense models, designed to expand at subsonic velocities (woods ranges),

and he wants to shoot them suppressed.  The cast bullet data i checked didn't start anywhere near 

below ~1050 fps,  and given the higher engraving forces of jacketed bullets, etc., I'm reluctant to give recommendations in an area in which I have no experience. 

How feasible is his idea, given the normal powders one might choose, and does anyone have any

experience-based or well researched powders and possible starting charges they can recommend?

My thought was to have him start supersonic and lower the powder charges while chronographing

to get to the desired velocity with minimum risk of sticking a bullet in the bore. 

Any suggestions other than "shoot supersonic" are welcome -- this young man is well aware of the

issues surrounding subsonic and hunting, has his twist rate/stability worked out, and wants to give it a try. 

For what it's worth, he is a highly ranked national level competitive shooter, so accurate bullet placement

shouldn't be an issue.

Thanks to all in advance for your consideration!

Sincerely,

John

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RicinYakima posted this 09 November 2023

Trail boss is a poor choice. Start with Unique, available almost everywhere. Start at 9.0 grains and work his way up, with a chronograph, to his 1050 F/S.

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MarkinEllensburg posted this 09 November 2023

40 years ago when I bought my first rifle I used 17 grains of 4198 for a plinking load in a .270 with 130 gr speer bullets. Anything close to that would be a good place to start. Adjust as needed to get velocity required and reasonable groups. Other option would be pistol powders if available. Red dot or Unique. I am sure there are other ones but those two have worked for me with cast loads, All three have been proven to give accuracy with reduced loads. Finding published sources for such loads will be near impossible. Perhaps in really old loading manuals you will find gallery rifle loads. I have never looked that hard and have based what I know and do on what I learned form my father and some in various magazine articles of times long gone. I know Ed has penned a number of posts here and elsewhere about light loads. Subsonic might not be exactly what he posted, I don't recall.

 

RKI? Not familiar with that one.

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Wilderness posted this 09 November 2023

With lead bullets in .30-30, 5.5 gns Unique is just subsonic with 165 gn bullet (the only firm fact in this post) - add a grain or so for .308, and another grain for heavier bullet, and a bit more again for copper bullet - could be just about bang on your 9 gns Rick. Maybe even work down from 9. But have a good strong cleaning rod and mallet handy. The copper is the unknown re bullet sticking.

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Eutectic posted this 09 November 2023

I would start with Red Dot. Used by the trap and skeet guys, so available everywhere. See Ed's 'The Load - 13 grains of Red Dot' article. 13 grains is supersonic, I would start at 10 grains and work down.  

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MarkinEllensburg posted this 09 November 2023

With lead bullets in .30-30, 5.5 gns Unique is just subsonic with 165 gn bullet (the only firm fact in this REPLY) - add a grain or so for .308, and another grain for heavier bullet, and a bit more again for copper bullet - could be just about bang on your 9 gns Rick. Maybe even work down from 9. But have a good strong cleaning rod and mallet handy. The copper is the unknown re bullet sticking.

FIFY. 

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9.3X62AL posted this 09 November 2023

Low-node/subsonic loads in rifles aren't a venue i have traded within.  Most of my loading has to do with defensive practice or hunting prep.  My J-word loads tend toward full-value in a given caliber; my castings in handguns span the 650-1500 FPS realm, rifles seldom exceed 1800 FPS.  

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John F. posted this 10 November 2023

Thanks, all!  Still kinda hoping Ed might saunter by with wome relatively hard data, but thanks again

for your thoughts! 

**RKI -- oops, stands for Really Knowledgeable Individual

All the best,

John

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MarkinEllensburg posted this 10 November 2023

Thanks, all!  Still kinda hoping Ed might saunter by with wome relatively hard data, but thanks again

for your thoughts! 

**RKI -- oops, stands for Really Knowledgeable Individual

All the best,

John

 

You could always try the PM function. That might generate an email to him. In case he doesn't check the forum daily.

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Ed Harris posted this 10 November 2023

Firing in a suppressed M14 a charge of 8 grains of Unique, 6 grains of Red Dot or Bullseye would exit the barrel reliably, when the spindle valve was turned off, loading 174-grain Ball M1, Match M72, M118 or cal. .30 APM2 pulls. In a longer barrel like an M40 you will need to bump the charge a grain or so for reliable bore exit under all conditions.

These data were worked up for Standard Metro atmosphere, so below freezing you will also need to bump charge. HIGHLY recommend lightly oiling a CLEAN bore with VVL800 or mineral oil USP and removing excess oil from bore and chamber with two dry patches before start. Jacketed bullets we used left the Black Lucas sealant on the bullet as waterproofing and as lubricant. If shooting solid, screw-machined bronze or gilding metal bullets a VERY light lubing of 1 part LLA to four parts of Stoddard Solvent, giving only a light wash, should be used.

Arsenal primed cases were used. No filler was used.  Below freezing a 5% by weight "booster" of 3Fg black, evenly mixed, was blended with the smokeless to aid ignition. Normal cleaning with Mil C-372B afterward was adequate.

In the cal. .50 BMG, single fired, a charge of 55 grains of IMR4895 and ten grains of 3Fg black, blended. Would exit the barrel of an M2HB firing an APIT M20 projectile. Trajectory was a good match for the M48 spotting rifle used with the 106mm recoilless.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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John F. posted this 11 November 2023

Hi, Ed,

THANKS!!   Awesome, as always, and I'm sure this fellow will appreciate it greatly!!  I sure appreciate

your time and thoughtfulness in answering this!   Hope you are well and enjoying life!

All the best,

John F.

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Tom Acheson posted this 12 November 2023

I was sakes trained never to use an achronym without explaining it.

So my "guess"...RKI....Respected Knowledgeable Individual?

Tom

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Tom Acheson posted this 12 November 2023

Sales....not...sakes....darned I-pad!


The reason....it makes the listener feel uncomfortable as if he isn't a member of the "all knowing club". Those familiar with the definition often overlook the need to clarify the definition to new people hearing it for the first time. And I thought I retired.....5-years ago......

Tom

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Lloyd Smale posted this 22 November 2023

id do 5 grains of bullseye or red dot. i shoot my blackout bolt with a 130 rcbs spitzer gas check with 5 grains of unique so maybe 7-9 grains of it. but if you want quiet faster burning powders are better

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delmarskid posted this 22 November 2023

I bet 45acp data would fill the bill.

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linoww posted this 24 November 2023

Ric- why do you consider Trailboss a poor choice?What poor results have you had with it?

I've  had success in.308 and 7.2x54 with it with heavy plainbase bullets.I don't think it's better than Unique, or Red Dot but it's accuracy is similar.Trailboss also does well in the 416 Rigby and 375 H&H.its just not as economical as Unique  RD or BE.Now it's on production hiatus so it's moot anyhow I guess?

I have quite a supply so I'm using it as well as my 2 jugs of 4759!

 

"if it was easy we'd let women do it" don't tell my wife I said that!

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RicinYakima posted this 24 November 2023

Trailboss is hard to use when the air conditioner or heat pump kicks on, flies all over the place. Even my Harrell's Brothers powder measures choke on it. No matter what M.L. McPherson wrote about 30 years ago, having full volume in a case is a solution looking for a problem. 

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linoww posted this 24 November 2023

next I'm  time in Yakima I'll give you some lessons in successful metering of Trailboss.The old Hollywood meters it well as does the Pacific that operates somewhat like the B&M but with bigger cylinder.

I'm curious what problem  you assume Trailboss poses with   close to full case charges?

I've burned 10-15 bottles of the stuff and my experience doesn't seem to back up your opinion.

 

My go to fixed ammo plainbase powder is CFE Pistol lately.The uniformity and accuracy is quite nice.

 

"if it was easy we'd let women do it" don't tell my wife I said that!

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Larry Gibson posted this 24 November 2023

I use 8 gr of Unique in 308W/7.62 bolt guns or gas guns [of course it doesn't function the action] with no filler under 165 - 180 gr commercial jacketed bullets for subsonic use.  Out of my suppressed M1A and several bolt actions including my current suppressed M98, that runs 1050 -just under 100 fps depending on bullet and barrel length.  given a 250m/300 yard zero it required a 600 yard sight setting for a 100 yard zero with the suppressed load.  

I preferred the FP 170 gr 30-30 bullets for hunting because the flat point (meplat) increased the terminal effect.

I'm using a Lyman 311041 HP cast of 30-1 alloy sized .311, Hornady GC and 2500+ lube loaded over 6.2 gr of Bullseye in LC 93 match prepped cases with the flash holes drilled (#28) using CCI 200 primers.  Velocity runs 1050 fps with excellent accuracy out of the 24" barreled M98 with suppressor.

LMG

Concealment is not cover.........

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OU812 posted this 24 November 2023

I have no experience with TiteGroup in the 308 case, but I will bet it would outperform all the above mentioned powders at subsonic velocity. It meters far better and will have the lowest velocity spread.

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Tom Acheson posted this 24 November 2023

While not a .308 size case, one of our forum members has had excellent results with Tite Group in a .223 case. I will be trying that powder in a 6 BR case, necked down to .22 caliber. I did use Tite Group in a         .45 ACP 1911, which worked well.

Tom

 

 

 

 

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Lloyd Smale posted this 04 January 2024

6 grais of unique or 4 grains of either bullseye or red dot

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