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Old June 10, 2012, 09:58 AM   #1
Sergeant
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Alliant Unique Powder - Label Change

Started reloading again a year ago. Picked Unique because it seemed a good all round powder, similar to Universal I used back in caveman times. Last two trips to pick up a new supply, everyone was out of stock. Then I realized they changed the label from orange (new cleaner) to grey with an old look.

What gives? Is this the same formula, do I need to redo my new custom load data?
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Old June 10, 2012, 10:11 AM   #2
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Unique load data has never changed. Even real old "dirty" formula has same properties as current production. It is "cleaner", especially if loaded mid to mid-high levels.
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Old June 10, 2012, 10:12 AM   #3
Jim Watson
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They have changed the label more than once over the years, the powder formulation remains the same.
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Old June 10, 2012, 10:20 AM   #4
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Tnx, that is good to know.
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Old June 10, 2012, 03:06 PM   #5
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I've a couple of big jugs of Unique less than a year old; both have orange labels. And yes, the formula hasn't changed except for "cleaner." Use the same load data.
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Old June 11, 2012, 08:50 AM   #6
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They changed the label to make me look like an idiot. I pawed all through the powder section then ask the clerk, who promply pointed to several cans that I had been moving around trying to find unique.
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Old June 11, 2012, 09:34 PM   #7
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Good to know I'm not the only one to get thrown for a loop. I had to of moved it looking for the big orange label too. Probably twice.
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Old June 11, 2012, 10:03 PM   #8
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Seargeant,

The only thing that puzzled me about your first post is the "caveman days" comment. Unique is one of the oldest powders available, having been, by some accounts, introduced as early as 1890 by Laflin and Rand as their "Infallible" powder, the name later having been changed either by DuPont, who bought L&R, or by Hercules, the company that resulted from DuPont's divestiture of that business. Universal, on the other hand, is actually rebranded AP70N from ADI in Australia, and is the more modern and cleaner burning powder. Many have gone in the opposite direction you have, and switched to Universal in place of Unique to avoid Unique's well-known tendency to meter irregularly in some measures because of its large flake size. Alliant changed the Unique manufacturing process in the 1990's to reduce it's fouling, so the fouling improvement is not so great now as it was originally, but the flakes are still fairly large.
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Old June 11, 2012, 10:41 PM   #9
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Just had a way too long thread on the metering issue. For many, myself included, it is a non-issue.
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Old June 13, 2012, 09:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
Alliant changed the Unique manufacturing process in the 1990's to reduce it's fouling, so the fouling improvement is not so great now as it was originally, but the flakes are still fairly large.
Alliant said the main thing they did to clean up Unique was to tighten the screen size specs and eliminate the fines. So what they are doing is to be sure what you get IS the large flakes. They said they did not change the chemistry.
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Old June 13, 2012, 11:38 AM   #11
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My mind is probably playing tricks on me, but I thought the flakes looked different. May just be my imagination, though. Been a few years since the last old can was gone. If they just cleaned out the finings, my guess is a lot of loose graphite went with it. That certainly spreads around a good bit.
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Old June 13, 2012, 07:12 PM   #12
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Since Universal is similar to Unique. Maybe I will buy some to play with next time. Even pull out my old "reload by hammer" kit.
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Old June 15, 2012, 10:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Since Universal is similar to Unique. Maybe I will buy some to play with next time.
That maybe my next Unique powder replacement
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Old June 17, 2012, 11:12 AM   #14
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Some of us did not get better accuracy with universal which is why we switched back to Unique. I admit universal is more consistent measurement but on paper Unique worked better "for me" with lead in many calibers.
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Old June 18, 2012, 09:40 PM   #15
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Quote:
I admit universal is more consistent measurement but on paper Unique worked better "for me" with lead in many calibers.
Thanks that's good to know. I have been using AA#5 instead of Unique and found it to be excellent for 45acp, 44spl, warm 38spl and 9x18 Mak so I may stick #5 for now, but I would also like to try Ramshot's True Blue for a Unique replacement.
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Old June 19, 2012, 10:41 AM   #16
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Quote:
Some of us did not get better accuracy with universal which is why we switched back to Unique. I admit universal is more consistent measurement but on paper Unique worked better "for me" with lead in many calibers.

Excellent answer!

I have been using Unique and Bullseye for more than 20 years. I have measured the velocity, examined the extreme spreads and standard deviations, compared with other powders, such as the ball powder AA#5, and found no improvement in accuracy or velocity spreads with the "better" throwing powders.

Delusional thinking extends to reloading. People think that better metering means better accuracy. That makes sense, better control of a variable must mean better control of the process, right?. Unfortunately, it does not. You have to shoot the load and measure the accuracy and velocity and often you will find that you are controlling a variable that makes no difference on paper.
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Old June 19, 2012, 10:49 AM   #17
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A gun showing preference for a particular powder is not at all uncommon. Many times it is tied to particular bullets and load levels, but sometimes it's across the board. Unfortunately, the only way to find out if your gun has such a preference is to try different powders. I've had good luck with Universal, but I can't say I've seen any accuracy difference between it and Unique in mid-range to +P level loads for the 1911; nor in the .44 Special. I've not compared them in any of the various thirty-six caliber handguns I have.
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Old June 20, 2012, 08:33 PM   #18
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My cavemen days meant when I was reloading way back when with an hand kit and hammer. Could not afford much back then.

I think trying universal or another powder with the bullets and guns one shoots is a good idea. Although Unique seems to work good with everything I shoot, does not mean that there may be a more optimal powder for a certain gun bullet combination.

Thanks for all the great input.
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Old June 21, 2012, 07:34 PM   #19
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Just had a way too long thread on the metering issue. "[For many, myself included, it is a non-issue.]"

Same here No Problems
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Old June 22, 2012, 09:29 PM   #20
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I would easily get a .2gr + or - variation with Unique, one charge maybe 5.2 and the next would be 5.6gr. when 5.4gr is the max load this variation would bother me. I can throw AA#5 with no detectable variation so I use that instead.
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