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30-30 Trail Boss Test

July 9, 2012

In a previous post (, I talked about handloading for my Winchester ’94 30-30 with cast bullets and IMR Trail Boss smokeless powder.  First off, let me tell you that this load is a hoot to shoot. My nephews shot up the first batch I made and I had to load more for testing. It has the potential to become one of my favorite loads. It is a Lee 170 grain flat nose cast lead bullet over 10.5 grains of Trail Boss.


Five shots gave the following velocities:

    • 1224
    • 1288
    • 1296
    • 1286
    • 1271

Average velocity is 1273 fps. Energy works out to 611 ft-lbs (velocity x velocity x bullet weight ÷ 450,240 = ft-lbs).

I used the wrong kind of target to properly sight in a rifle like a 1894 Winchester. Using iron sights, the bullseye was too small and lightly colored to be seen when I focused on the front sight. I was essentially shooting at a blank 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper. Using a spotting scope, I made a couple of sight adjustments and shot a decent 3 round group. I’ll take a 1 1/2 inch group at 50 yards.


These things are just down right sexy. Don’t you think?


This has been a very fun project. At first, I was leery about casting bullets. But I quickly discovered that it is very easy. And it opens up a whole new venue for reloading. I’ll be on the lookout at the next gun show I attend for a “cannon” that someone just had to have and turn it into a “Cast Lead and Trail Boss” gun that is fun, affordable and most importantly, pleasant to shoot.

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