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Old November 22, 2009, 02:04 AM   #1
Field
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HS-6(?) Universal? Unique?

For those that have used these 3 powders with a particular caliber, please rate them from best to worst. Which powder would you use first?

Please compare these powders (when loaded for X power factor or velocity) in terms of smoke, muzzle flash, felt recoil, different characteristics, ect.

My particular situation is i am about out of HS-6 and was going to either use universal or unique next. I am loading for 9mm in the neighborhood of 136pf or 1100fps with 124g jhp rounds.

thanks
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Old November 22, 2009, 07:09 AM   #2
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A month ago I bought a lb. of Universal because I was out of my medium range powder which had been Unique. I had read that it's metering was superior to Unique and that it burned a little cleaner. In my experience, I found both to be true. As far as loads go you can get reliable information on the net with on line manuals from Alliance and Hodgdon for comparisons.
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Old November 22, 2009, 07:42 AM   #3
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Ditto the above. Universal usually will substitute for Unique by reducing the Unique charge 5%. That's just a rule of thumb, though. In some circumstances they seem to interchange grain for grain. The burning rates are quite close. HS-6 is another matter. It is slower than either of those powders, and thus is suitable for higher power loads. It will tend to give you more velocity at a given peak pressure, but it is harder to light and will require a heavier charge to make the same peak pressure. Because it is harder to light it doesn't work efficiently at lower pressures and is better at near maximum loads.

I don't know your gun's barrel length, but at 5" you would end up with around 4.4 or 4.5 grains of Universal, I think, to make 1100 fps? For a 4" tube you'll be closer to Hodgdon's listed maximum of 4.9 grains. Maybe 4.7 grains or 4.8 grains will be enough? 6.4 grains of HS-6 gets to the same velocity with about 10% less pressure, but more wasted powder, muzzle flash, and recoil. I've used Universal in .45 ACP with good success, and I think you'll like it in the 9 mm.
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Old November 22, 2009, 11:27 AM   #4
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FIELD:
Of the three powder choices you have listed, I have recently become addicted to HS6. Although I am a fan of Unique, I find it does not meter well
from my powder measures. I can't say much for Universal, as it is difficult to find in my area.
HS6 measures extremely well for me, and is easy to find locally. Due to its ease of use and availability, I am now using it in 9mm, 38 sup, 44 spl, & 45 clt.
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Old November 22, 2009, 12:40 PM   #5
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I've found that Universal and Unique are pretty darn similar in regards to burn rate, but Universal is cleaner burning, and it meters better than Unique. I still use both powders extensively when loading mid-range to upper mid-range loads for 357 Magnum and 44 Special. I haven't used either powder extensively in semi autos, but the few times that I have, the results looked promising (accurate, relatively clean).

Being that the OP is out of HS-6, I'd recommend Universal as the substitute, although I'm not sure if 1100fps will be obtainable.
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Old November 22, 2009, 12:54 PM   #6
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thank you guys for the responses. others please add in if possible.
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Old November 22, 2009, 01:21 PM   #7
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About Unique

Unique remains an excellent choice for .45 Colt in standard to mildly +P loads. There are powders that may be just as good; but in it's velocity range there are none better. But I'm referring only to .45 Colt with standard weight cast lead bullets. For 9mm I doubt it would be such a perfect match.
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Old November 22, 2009, 11:07 PM   #8
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basically 9mm is too small for the proper pressure levels to develope or for unique to burn properly and you need to wear a gas mask because of the excess smoke
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Old November 23, 2009, 10:37 AM   #9
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Universal meters a tad better than Unique for me. I really like it in .40.

Unique is hard to beat for medium loads in .357, .44 Mag & full loads in .45 Colt. Better than Universal in that application in my limited tries.

HS-6 is slower than either of the others, harder to ignite, as posted, and needs the pressure to be higher to burn clean. It does meter great of course, being a small ball powder. Quite useful in 9MM, and should work well in .40, but I have not HS-6 in much. It is a popular powder though, just like the other two.
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Old November 23, 2009, 11:43 AM   #10
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one thing i noticed when i bumped the powder charge up to 6.4g with 124g jhp you start to get some pretty nice muzzle flash. i was using HS-6 in this video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dzndeew12PY
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Old November 23, 2009, 02:36 PM   #11
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After testing with several powders including HS6 and Unique, I like Universal for 9x19mm for the reasons given above: uniform results, clean burning and good metering.

You should have no problem getting 1100 fps in a 5" barrel.

My SDB is set up for 4.6 Universal with a 125 gr Hornady JRN and an OAL of 1.150.
This delivers ~1150 fps in a 5" CZ85 and just under 1100 from a ~4" HK P7.
It is not a max load in these guns.

As always, check several sources to verify load data, start low and work up carefully.

Be safe and have fun !

-steve
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Old November 23, 2009, 03:59 PM   #12
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Another strong vote for the Universal here. Nice and clean powder, works great in many calibers.
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Old November 23, 2009, 04:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
My SDB is set up for 4.6 Universal with a 125 gr Hornady JRN and an OAL of 1.150.
This delivers ~1150 fps in a 5" CZ85 and just under 1100 from a ~4" HK P7.
It is not a max load in these guns.
That is a good load, but even though you are right - it is not the max load, be careful should you decide to approach the max. By personal experience I found out that some brass (Win, specifically), would not hold 4.9 grain charge. My recommendation is to stay below 4.8, for sure, with WIN brass.
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Old November 24, 2009, 11:01 AM   #14
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Foxbat's advice is right on target.

I load with mixed brass and the 4.6 gr load gives me a safety margin.
1100 fps is plenty for my use.

My testing went beyond this using new Starline brass, but the additional speed does not punch the paper or ring the steel any better.

Be safe and have fun !
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Old November 24, 2009, 11:37 AM   #15
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i wanted to try them all out side by side next time i went shooting but i am kind of confused as to where to load for unique because different sources give different numbers
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Old November 24, 2009, 05:08 PM   #16
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funny i actually liked unique the most out of the 3, it seemed to have the nicest up/down consistent recoil, while universal for some reason gave me a bit of sideways junk could have been how i was holding the gun but you never know
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Old November 24, 2009, 05:39 PM   #17
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I would rate them like this:

HS6- Very good
Universal- Not too Bad
Unique- I would not use it in 9mm at all I think of Unique as a Mid range lead bullet load in Revolvers. It does not meter well in my progressive so its on the back burner with me now.

I like AA# 2 and #5 in the 9MM and 45 ACP. It flows like water and is a very good powder for what you want, Its uniform and fills the case well.

MY 2cents
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Old November 24, 2009, 11:00 PM   #18
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I also do not recommend Unique for 9mm loads. It burns dirty and incomplete. Accuracy can therefor be inconsistent. There are better powders for 9mm than any of the three mentioned. Look in the manuals.

Unique is excellent in large pistol calibers. It is my choice for 45 Colt and mid-range 44 mag loads.
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Old November 25, 2009, 02:30 AM   #19
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made a little video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DP8d-UYokZk
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Old November 25, 2009, 02:31 AM   #20
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Quote:
There are better powders for 9mm than any of the three mentioned. Look in the manuals.
yeah i know but these were the ones i had
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Old November 26, 2009, 09:51 PM   #21
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Metering Unique for a 9mm would be in my redding powder dump. In the large
chamber @??? from memory 8.0grs had a 0.9grs swing. Itwas better with the small pistol chamber-from memory about 0.5grs.
Unique IMO needs larger charges to get accurate throws.
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