Conflicting Hodgdon info? What am I missing here?


Sep 21, 2012
Hodgdon has a formula for using Trail Boss for reduced loads AND has some listed on their website load data charts.
Trail Boss has a rep of usable reduced loads with still enough powder so one can NOT double charge a round accidently however........there is a problem with all of this.

The "fomula" given to use Trail Boss is :
1) Find where the base of the bullet to be loaded is located in the case and make a mark on the outside of the case at this location.
Then fill the case to that mark with Trail Boss, pour into the scale pan and weigh. This is your maximum load. Pressures will
be below the maximum allowed for this cartridge and perfectly safe to use!
2) Take 70% of this powder charge weight (multiply the maximum load from step 1 by .7), and that is your starting load.
3) Start with this beginning load and work up to your maximum charge, all the while searching for the most accurate reduced load.

BUT.......the webside shows 4 grains as MAXIMUM for the 223 using what has to be the dumbest bullet I can possibly think of to use in a 223 reduced load.....but that's MY opinion. Others ....I dont care what they use. A boattail FMJ and subsonic velocity is flat retarded in all areas.

A. It says a case capacity to the bullet FULL is maximum (not a powder you want to all) then
B. it turns around and says FOUR grains is MAXIMUM for the 223 Rem

Use your own 223 data to calculate what 70 percent of powder capacity and show me HOW you can even get a MINIMUM charge of 4 grains using their formula.

An overflow weight of one of MY empty cases is 9.9 grains. 8.6 grains (conservatively) to the bullet (.75 inch bullet, 2.2" COAL) .
70 percent of that is SIX grains for a "starting load" per their instructions.

FOUR is LESS THAN HALF the powder capacity of a loaded round. Doubling 4 grains would not be an issue.

To be clear
I'm not looking for what you use. Your loads are your loads for your rifle. Not mine

I'm not looking for advice on what powder to use (or bullet). I have Trail Boss and want to use it.

I am looking for information showing me how both these Hodgdon given "facts" can both apply.

God bless
My head is swimming. Just fill it to the base of the bullet and shoot it.

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I agree on filling it is safe.
I plan to start high and work DOWN closely watching for wide swings of velocity on the Chrony till I get to my desired velocity but I tell you what......I'm finding so much on the Hodgdon load data pages that goes from highly illogical to flat WRONG I have less faith in it than any others.

And I dont have a lot of faith in the others lol

God Bless
I haven't worked out any formulas as it relates directly to what you're using, but I'll just say this, those kind of things are guidelines to keep people from coloring too far outside the lines to keep them out of serious trouble, not an across the board infallible math formula that works out exactly in all cases.

You run into the same thing with regular powder and loads. Industry standard is to reduce maximum loads by 10% for your starting load. Industry standard also says not to go below the recommended starting load, particularly with slower burning powders. Plenty of instances where those 2 standards don't line up. Reducing maximum by 10% would put you well below recommended starting loads.

For regular loads if I don't know a starting load, I reduce maximum by 5%.
I’ve used the base of the bullet method with TB in .308 rifle for subsonic loads (almost Hollywood quiet with suppressor), .38 and .357. Also in .45 Colt behind a 230gr cast HP meant for .45 ACP that is probably the most accurate pistol round I’ve ever concocted. It is really neat stuff for general shooting.
Im not sure I'm following, Shadetree
This is working out a subsonic load......going down. It's not related to starting at 10 percent low and going up.....I dont think. Correct me if I misunderstand

My point is Hodgon's OWN load data is "outside the guidelines"......4 grains is 66 percent of what their equation calculates to for MINIMUM........and the load data calls 4 grains MAXIMUM.

I'm going to start at 7.5 grain and shoot a few today to get some kind of idea of what's what if weather permits. If a day or too.

There is enough posts online of others saying their 4 grain loads end up in the area indicated so I'm half expecting the same.....but it isnt any kind of MAX load as the data page shows it.
There is another couple pages on another site with several discussing 8-8.5 grain loads for slow but not subsonic (roughly 2000 fps) plinking loads.

If there is any interest I can record velocities working down and post them but all things NOT being would be a shotgun approach to compare it to another rifle for much more than a guess. Not something I normally share.

God Bless
Okay I'm getting what you're saying now. Using their calculations your starting load should be 6 grains, and their load data shows 4 grains as maximum? Agreed, quite a polar opposite discrepancy. Could be a typo, would not be the first time it happened in load data.

My original point was that using mathematical calculations, it doesn't always hold out to what powder companies tell you that you should do, using their powder and their recommendations. But in your case, that is quite a difference.
Ya know - before I loaded - I think I'd give Hodgdon a call or shoot 'em an e-mail.

They've answered questions of mine in the past.

A quick phone call would likely resolve the issue. There may be a reason they recommend a max of 4 grains. Who knows?

And I can see a subsonic fmj round, for minimal damage to say a turkey, or a pelt. But in truth, I'd probably just use a 22 long rifle if I wanted a subsonic 22 caliber rifle.

Eh.......I'll figure it out
AS for the FMJ.......I guess I didnt give thought to other states having different regs.

In Indiana, it's illegal to shoot ANYTHING living with FMJ bullets. Not even predators or varmints. (but yeah, some Ive heard still do) A target/plinking bullet only.

The lack of expansion plus the extra length added by the boattail that shoots stability in the butt for anything other than 10 twist or faster just wouldnt ever be my choice for a subsonic load even though I have a 9 twist.
A 55 grain .75 inch boattail at less than 1100 fps shows flat UNstable, not just marginally so, for a 12 twist and this 223 is the first 9T 22 CF Ive even seen in my area but I'm sure there are some. 90 percent are 12T. I just find it an odd bullet choice for Hodgdon's reduced loads meant for all rifles of that caliber out there in use.
Yeah, they might till "work" (but how well?) if legal but I cannot imagine deliberately loading something I know is completely unstable in flight...........for anything.

I AM shooting just that bullet for these tests but it is stable in my 9T's the only dang bullets I have in 224 diameter till something shows up that was ordered weeks ago. This is just playing around. Not serious load work I dont care if these shoot 5 inch groups.......I'm not going to use them. Finding ANYTHING for loading 223 Rem locally.......bahahaha...... Dream~! I called every store in 3 counties and most laughed when I asked if they had anything.
(and Yes.......I know.......there exists stability calculators that show that this combo is "marginally stable". No matter what stats one gives there exists another calculator showing something different. It's not open for debate. Use what you believe in.'s unstable ENOUGH that I wouldnt use it for actual hunting even if legal. Just my opinion.)

I thought I better clarify that.

Thanks to all for the info
God Bless