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Old June 18, 2011, 03:46 PM   #1
payden
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Unique powder

Can I use Unique powder to load .357 Magnum using Hornady 158 grain XTP? Has anyone used it? I would love to find out.
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Old June 18, 2011, 04:09 PM   #2
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Alliants website lists 7.7gr for a Speer 158gr bullet.
I've used 7gr and Hornady's 158 XTP bullet. Not the fastest load, but I don't like to shoot full house loads in my M-19 anymore.
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Old June 18, 2011, 04:10 PM   #3
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Alliant's 2004 load book says the max load is 7.8 grains @ 1280 fps and 33.2 kpsi. I haven't tried it but it looks good on paper.

I really like Herco in .357 Magnum, which similar to Unique but a little slower-burning, or AA#7 which is similar to Blue Dot but with less drama.
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Old June 18, 2011, 07:00 PM   #4
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I prefer Universal Clays.

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Old June 18, 2011, 07:23 PM   #5
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I had extraction issues when using 6.5 Gr of Unique with XTPs so I ended up switching to H110 for the jacketed bullets. The 6.0 Gr loads are fine with 158 Gr hard-cast semi wadcutters though.
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Old June 18, 2011, 08:35 PM   #6
Loader9
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Before the lawyers bought Hercules, the original maker of Unique, I shot 8.4 grs under a Speer 146 half jacket SWC HP. I've shot groups in competition with some of my factory tuned Pythons that you could cover with a nickel at 25 yds. Hercules no longer makes the powder and the Unique that Alliant sells is not the same formula. Speer also doesn't make that bullet. But I did manage to wear out a Colt Trooper using Unique powder years back. I'm not certain just how many rounds went thru that gun but it finally wouldn't group anymore and I sent it back to Colt to fix. I got a call from one of the techs who said the gun was completely worn out and wanted to know how many rounds had gone thru it. I told I had no clue but I shot between 1000-1500 rounds a week and I probably had the gun 20 years. Colt sent me a new one in the box. It's still in the box. Unique will work in a 357 mag but it's not going to give you maximum velocities.
Just so you are aware. The SAAMI pressure limit for the 357 mag when it first came out was 47500CUPs. Few guns of the day were capable of absorbing the beatings. The Smith and Wesson revolvers just couldn't hold up but the Colts did. Pressure was reduced to 45000CUPs and everything was fine. Then the imports came in, mostly Taurus, and they were not able to withstand the beating. SAAMI decided that there were enough of the crappy guns out there and decided to reduce pressure to 35000. The 357 mag data you see is a result of folks buying cheap guns.
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Old June 18, 2011, 10:11 PM   #7
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My very first loads were with Unique in a .357 longer ago than I'd like to remember. Gave good performance, but spiked pressure easily. For the heavies, go with a slower powder.
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Old June 18, 2011, 11:00 PM   #8
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So, the general conscious is wait and get a better powder. That is correct?
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Old June 18, 2011, 11:08 PM   #9
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Unique is a great powder for target to mid-range loads. It is my go-to powder for most pistol and revolver laods. It will not always give the highest velocity, but it fills the case and is generally accurate. I highly recommend it unless you like hot loads, in which case I recommend 296.
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Old June 19, 2011, 01:53 AM   #10
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"...Alliants website lists 7.7gr..." That being the max load. Reduce by 10% and work up. Doesn't matter that Alliant's site gives the data for a Speer bullet either. Load for the bullet weight. Only matters that the data is for a jacketed bullet.
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Old June 19, 2011, 05:23 AM   #11
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Quote:
So, the general conscious is wait and get a better powder. That is correct?
No, that's not correct. Unique is a great powder in that caliber for mid-range and target loads and I find that I shoot lots more mid-range and target loads than I do full-house loads. For the heavy loads I use 2400 or Lil Gun and I find that I buy 5 lbs of Unique for every pound of the other powders.

The .357 magnum is too versatile to assign one powder that will cover the range of the cartridge. You can load it mild to wild and one powder isn't going to do everything you might want to do. Unique is truly a great powder for lots of things.
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Old June 19, 2011, 08:00 AM   #12
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What I discovered was that Unique is actually a very nice cast/plated bullet powder, but not so much so with jacketed bullets like the XTP. To me that says its a compatibility issue, not a quality issue the bullet & powder just don't seem to work well together even though they both work fine separately.
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Old June 19, 2011, 11:06 AM   #13
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Quote:
So, the general conscious is wait and get a better powder. That is correct?
I too have to say no. Within intended applications, Unique is one of the best powders there is for .357. For low to mid power plinking loads you cannot beat it for it's accuracy and cost. It is tho, a poor choice for true magnum loads. You cannot beat H110/W296, IMR4227 or 2400 for that application. Lil' Gun, due to it's well known forcing cone erosion, is no longer in my repertoire for reloading for revolvers.

7.5 gr of Unique under a 158gr Remmie, Zero or MG bulk JHP, is my favorite plinkin' load outta my 686s and lever carbines.
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Old June 19, 2011, 06:01 PM   #14
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I have probably gone through a 55 gallon drum of Unique in various 38 and 357s since I started rolling my own ammo. I use 7.0 and a 158 cast lead SWC. If you want maximum velocity, use 296/H110. FWIW, I just bought a sealed caddy of Hercules mfg. Unique from a shotgunner for $35.00. I gave him another $10 for a pound of Bullseye and a pound of H414. Net cost of $45.00 for 6 pounds of powder. Happy Father's day to all. CB.
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Old June 19, 2011, 07:42 PM   #15
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Loader9, now that was an interesting answer. Thanks for the info on why the pressures were going down.
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