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Old December 12, 2008, 09:01 PM   #1
INGunGuy
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Hercules Unique Powder

I recently aquired a bunch of Hercules Unique powder. This powder is in the 35-40 year old range. It has never had the seal broken, and was stored in military dry ammo cans. Here is what I am loading:

.40 S/W
Started loading with this recipe:

165gr TCFM Magnus bullet
CCI Small Pistol Primer #500
5.0gr Bullseye powder

All worked great, shot great, not too hot, good groups. I ran out of the Bullseye powder and opened a can of the Hercules Unique powder.

New Recipe

165gr TCFM Magnus Bullet
CCI Small Pistol Primer #500
5.5gr Hercules Unique powder

Well as soon as I threw the first charge something did not look correct. The case was just about full of powder. I use a RCBS auto powder measure and I had the weight EXACTLY 5.5gr I threw 10 charges and weighed all 10 and they were all EXACTLY 5.5gr if I try and seat the bullet, it looks like it will be a compressed powder charge. Now maybe I am just being overly-cautious, but something doesnt look correct .

Well I guess I need to know if the OLD Hercules Unique powder and the new Allient Unique powder use the same charges?

Just to make sure my scales were functioning correctly I pulled the bullet from a round that had the Bullseye powder and the case was maybe 1/3 full and I weighed the charge and it was 5.0gr on the nose.

Can someone enlighten me as I dont want to have to give up all this wonderful powder I just came into...

INGunGuy
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Old December 12, 2008, 09:05 PM   #2
WESHOOT2
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I'm away from my data at this moment

send me an e-mail; remind me what this is about.
I have Hercules Unique, and maybe even some Hercules data.

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Old December 12, 2008, 10:09 PM   #3
amamnn
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You most definitely want to use the old load data for powder that old.
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Old December 12, 2008, 10:38 PM   #4
INGunGuy
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The problem is there is no published data for .40 S/W in the old Lyman manuals I have.

INGunGuy
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Old December 12, 2008, 10:56 PM   #5
Loader9
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Here's another problem for you, I have one of the last Hercules manuals and the 40 SW isn't in it...at all. I can tell you that Alliant turned up the heat on the current Unique powder so you should be good using current data for the old Unique. But you can't use the old data for the new Unique because it would be too hot at max loads. Got it?
Your load at 5.5 grs is not a max load and should be fine. I've loaded old Unique a lot heavier than your load from old data and it works fine.
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Old December 13, 2008, 12:51 AM   #6
INGunGuy
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It just looks almost like it is going to be a compressed load. Since I am loading from a new Lyman manual, using old powder and since my old Lyman manual doesnt have .40 S/W I am going to use the new information with the old powder.

INGunGuy
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Old December 13, 2008, 02:22 AM   #7
rg1
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I chronographed some loads with 1982 Hercules Unique and 2007 Alliant Unique and got nearly identical velocity. Within 10 fps in 9mm ammo and the new Unique was faster but only 10 fps. I think that's pretty close to being the same speed.
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Old December 13, 2008, 02:47 AM   #8
INGunGuy
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Looks like it is time for me to purchase a chronograph. Any suggestions?

INGunGuy
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Old December 13, 2008, 02:54 AM   #9
tom234
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The 1992 Hercules Reloader's Guide for .40 S&W lists 8.0 gr Unique for 150 JHP and 6.7 gr Unique 170 XTP. The same data is listed in the 1995 & 1996 Hercules Reloader's Guide.
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Old December 13, 2008, 12:19 PM   #10
WESHOOT2
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chrono-brain

I recommend most highly a chronograph with its brains separate from its skyscreens, for when you shoot it.

I have had great success with my PACT 1 for over twelve years.
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Old December 14, 2008, 01:31 AM   #11
Grump
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You've just learned that Unique is a bit "fluffy". Not as light-for-volume as Trail Boss, but it takes up far more space than most cut flake, and especially spherical, powders.

I've read multiple reports AND run my own reloads with both old and new Unique and they really *do* shoot the same, by charge weight.

You have also learned that Unique "not metering well" is mostly internet myth. It's also very forgiving if charges vary by +/- .2 grains (.4 spread). Accuracy does not always require weighing every charge.
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