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Old May 25, 2012, 11:22 PM   #1
dacaur
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Metering unique.... I didnt believe it.... now I do...

Well shoot, I guess I should have listened to you guys sooner....

I started out loading unique in my 9mm loads, and was happy (plinking). Soon I started to read about how badly unique metered... I always thought it was fine, I figured with the lee (non-pro) auto disk +/- .2gr (.3-4gr total spread) was about as good as I could expect, so didnt see a problem with how unique metered.....

Well, I just bought some power pistol, and boy was I amazed when the auto disk gives 5.3-5.4gr EVERY time... with 90% of throws being 5.3.... wow... The powder doesnt look much different to me, and the power pistol actualy sticks to the sides of the auto disk hopper more than unique when I pour it back into the canister......

No real point here, just a testimonial to how badly unique meters, lol.
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Old May 25, 2012, 11:27 PM   #2
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I don't have any problem believing that.
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Old May 25, 2012, 11:55 PM   #3
Don H
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Do the rounds loaded with Power Pistol shoot markedly better, more accurately, than rounds loaded with Unique?
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Old May 26, 2012, 12:08 AM   #4
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dont know yet, I have got 200 loaded, but have not got out to shoot them yet... I imagine just the +/-.05gr vs +/-.2gr will make a difference, the question is if I will see it... I have two 9mm pistols and a carbine.... next time I go out I plan to take some of each and punch some paper with the carbine..... It only has peep sights so the groups wont be tiny, but It will be interesting to see if there is a difference in the size of say, a 30 round group of each powder since neither is tuned for the gun, just a randomly chosen mid power load, well, not completly random, I was shooting for 1000-1050fps with both powders so chose a load out of the hornady manual accordingly........
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Old May 26, 2012, 07:52 AM   #5
m&p45acp10+1
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I have as of yet to use Unique. Though I have used Hi-Skor 800x which is very close to Unique in metering dysfunction. It works in the loads I used it in. Though to get the consitancy I have to hand weigh each load. I guess that is why most of the pound is still on the shelf 2 years later. It is the only can that has made it that long. Lately I like Trail Boss for a lot of different loads.
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Last edited by m&p45acp10+1; May 27, 2012 at 06:58 PM.
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Old May 26, 2012, 08:01 AM   #6
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Sprinkle some powdered graphite in the hopper & shake it around to cover everything it`ll kill the static kling .

In Handloading since 82`-83 I`ve never used a whole # of Unique , I`d get frustrated & give it away or fertilize the rose bushes with it !!

Now if ya lookin for Unique performance in a powder aot use Hodgdons Clays Universal .
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Old May 26, 2012, 08:14 AM   #7
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I've got a top of the line, cast iron and steel, micrometer head, powder measure and I can't get Unique to measure worth a hoot. I've tried double tapping it, soft tapping it, leaving the handle up between charges, still, I'll get a lot of +/- .2 charges, sometimes +/- .3 grains. I've even made some nice brass scoops and they have the same swings. Not a big deal if you're blasting up close and personal, but when you're after top accuracy at 50 yards and beyond, it doesn't cut it.
Universal is my powder of choice now. Meters like a dream, shoots clean - no soot - my revolvers stay clean inside and out. No need to clean after every range session even when shooting lead.
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Old May 26, 2012, 08:23 AM   #8
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"Do the rounds loaded with Power Pistol shoot markedly better, more accurately, than rounds loaded with Unique? "
I doubt it.
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Old May 26, 2012, 10:05 AM   #9
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I have never been a big fan of Unique, for target loads I like 231 better for the negative reason all of you pointed out about Unique.
But about 2 months ago a friend passed away and his wife gave me all the powder he had. 4 one pound cans of Unique.
I have an RCBS Uniflow and a Redding 3BR Match grade measure. For scales I have an electronic and a very high end balance scale and calibrated weights.
I was trying for a 4.3 gr load for a 38 SP. I first tried the RCBS and set played with it till I got single loads of 4.3 then threw 10 loads on the scale to get an average. I didn’t write it down so I can’t give you real numbers but I tried setting the measure numerous times and 10 load averages went from something like 41.5 or so to mid 44’s. I pulled out my Redding and got the same thing.
With 231 I know that on 10 loads I can average less than several 10’s of a GR so 3 GR or greater for 10 loads is what I consider very poor.
But did it really matter?
I shot 100 rounds with 147 GR wad cutters last weekend and although I had nothing to compare it to, out of a Colt Official Police it held 4 inches at 15 yards off hand. That was good enough for me. My only concern would be using it for max loads. That I would never do without measuring each one.
So I have 4 pounds of Unique that will be shot in plinking loads.
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Old May 26, 2012, 10:29 AM   #10
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I've found Unique is one of those powders that consistent accuracy comes more from consistent volume than consistent weight. That's why many that use dippers prefer it.
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Old May 26, 2012, 01:04 PM   #11
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^ same here
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Old May 26, 2012, 01:09 PM   #12
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definitely something to be said for consistent volume.... I dont usually measure my groups when doing pistol ammo, but in my .308 I have tried using the powder measure only and also weighing each charge when loading, both methods will give sub moa groups consistently out of my savage edge...

I have heard that many bench rest shooters demanding supreme accuracy dont always weigh every charge, instead relying on volume from their high end powder measures....

One of these days I'm going to shoot a few groups and see for myself, but for now, I think I will stick with power pistol, because even if the .2gr spread doesnt actualy matter, a .05gr spread makes me feel better.
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Old May 26, 2012, 01:26 PM   #13
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Not trying to pick a fight but if you are getting 3-4 tenths of a grain variation with Unique in 9mm charge weights your technique STINKS. I have used Lee autodisk measures for years and consider + or - a single tenth acceptable and easily achievable.Keep the hopper more than 1/4th filled. Snug ther hopper screws but don't make them tight. Operate the press with a consistent pattern and level of force and charges are boringly consistent with Unique, Red Dot etc. .800 x is a little more variable than the Alliant flakes but it still will hold charges within 2%.
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Old May 26, 2012, 01:34 PM   #14
Don P
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Lee's web sight states that Unique "does not meter well". I would have to say that this is a true statement other wise they could not print it, now could they. I tried Unique 8 lbs. worth and never again. Weigh each and every round loaded.
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Old May 26, 2012, 02:11 PM   #15
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Not trying to pick a fight but if you are getting 3-4 tenths of a grain variation with Unique in 9mm charge weights your technique STINKS.

Well that fine, but you did read what the OP said “Well, I just bought some power pistol, and boy was I amazed when the auto disk gives 5.3-5.4gr EVERY time”
Sounds like the same issue that I had. When one powder has that much variation and another does not, it doesn’t sound like a technique STINKS
Don’t mean to pick a fight but you need to read all of someone’s comments.
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Old May 26, 2012, 03:24 PM   #16
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Guys, Yes I read the whole post. Fine flake and ball powders do, by their nature, flow and meter with great consistency. Not to be rude but Power Pistol doesn't even vary a tenth with good technique. So Lee says Unique doesn't meter well. Lee can't very well say-"Many of our customers are too inattentive and inconsistent to successfully meter Unique and similar flake powders." It easier for Lee and every 3rd internet "expert" to blame the powder (Unique, Red Dot or esp. 800x) is some sort of horrible driveway gravel substitute. It grows tiresome because many new loaders avoid effective and available propellants because they read some posts on the web saying X, Y or Z meters horribly. Others use the coarser powders but never even try to discover better techniques.

I will readily concede that some propellants are easier to be consistent with but I have yet to encounter the unmeasurable pistol powder that requires a powder trickler, 3 elves and a trained golden retriever to get consistent charges.
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Old May 26, 2012, 04:02 PM   #17
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It may not be the most smoothest powder out there but for most of my pistol powder it is what I'm reaching for! I love Unique.
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Old May 26, 2012, 04:18 PM   #18
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I've never had a problem with Unique in either Duo Measure (w/added powder hopper baffle) using the small cavity. I weigh every tenth charge, and variance is =/-.1 grain. Try metering some SR4759 or Trailboss if you really want to have to change your technique.
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Old May 26, 2012, 06:50 PM   #19
dacaur
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Quote:
Not trying to pick a fight but if you are getting 3-4 tenths of a grain variation with Unique in 9mm charge weights your technique STINKS.
If my technique works great for power pistol, and not for unique, and its the same story over and over with many different people, perhaps the powder IS a little to blame, hmmmmm? My experience and that of countless others proves unique is a difficult to meter powder, so what exactly would we be fighting about? Or are you actualy saying its easy to get consistent charges so anyone that cant obviously just sucks?


Quote:
It grows tiresome because many new loaders avoid effective and available propellants because they read some posts on the web saying X, Y or Z meters horribly.
And thats a bad thing why? I dont see a problem with it. Isn't it better to keep new reloaders away from the difficult to meter powders until they get some experience? I doubt there is anything unique can do that an easier to meter powder cannot. If someone absolutely HAS to use unique, then they can spend the time to learn the "technique" thats obviously required to use it.

I'm sure that when you have been doing it for years and years you have a feel for it and have the perfect technique down to make unique work, then it works fine, but someone relatively new doesnt need the frustration of trying to make it flow right. I just settled on a mid power load so that the heavier charges were still safe....

I know that I sure wish I had seen some of the warnings about unique before I went out and bought some. Everything I read about it was hunky dory about how great it was until after I bought and started using it, then after having trouble, an internet search turned up plenty of others having trouble metering it.... No such problems arise with power pistol.....

So yea, the problem is in fact that the powder is difficult to meter, and if a newb sees this and decides to get something else, all the better for them, some people have all the luck!
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Old May 26, 2012, 08:01 PM   #20
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I load 4 pistol calibers and 12 and 20 guage shotshells with Unique. I started with it as a newb and have never had a problem with metering. I use an RCBS powder throw for the pistols and an adjustable bushing system on MEC loaders for the shotshells. The shotshell loaders lack a little to be desired but the RCBS throw works extremely well. When I was just starting out I would set the throw up for about 2 tenths light and trickle the rest, measuring with a RCBS 505. After a while at this I noticed I was trickling pretty much the same amount of powder every time, so I set the throw up for the desired weight and checked every throw for a while. After a time of getting variances of 1 tenth or less I now check about 10th or 20th load. I know opinions are like rosets but as long as they sell Unique it will be my powder of choice for shotshells and light to med loads for 357, 41, and 44 mag and all loads for 9mm. I think some equipment meters it better than others.
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Old May 27, 2012, 07:56 AM   #21
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If some of you guys are getting .4 extreme spread with Unique, then, yes, it is your technique (or perhaps equipment?). I started with Unique when I began reloading back in the early 80s and it's still one of my fav powders.

Every time I open a new can of powder I weigh 10 charges and avg/es and tape that info to the can for reference. Here's what I'm getting with my open can of Unique and my RCBS powder measure.

Target weight 4.0 gr
1) 4.1
2) 4.1
3) 4.1
4) 4.1
5) 4.0
6) 4.0
7) 4.0
8) 4.0
9) 4.0
10) 3.9

So thats 4.0 AVG / .05 AVG DEV / .2 ES

If some of us can do it, why can't you guys? Hmmm?
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Old May 27, 2012, 04:56 PM   #22
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I guess I learned the wrong way or something too, my Uniflow drops about as close as what has been posted here. I grew up tossing charges of several different flake powders for my shot shells, and when I moved into handgun loads I didn't bat an eye. I kept the same slap slap motion on the Uniflow as I did on my shot shell press and it settled the powder about the same way every time.

I can't argue with the groups I get either, if the charge is off a bit I don't care,
Offhand at 25yds with the 45 Colt and two different boolit weights,


The biggest thing about using the flake type powders is technique as has been mentioned. I also don't feel that it is overly tiresome for new loaders to actually LEARN techniques, as it will definitely benefit them down the road. Not only will they learn how to actually utilize the equipment they spent the money on, but they will open them selves up to more of a variety.

In today's society however, this is becoming more and more lost on the newer generations. "If it don't work for me now, and I can't get it right then it must not be worth the time or effort." That is what I come away from in a lot of these topics. Just because it might take time to learn something doesn't mean it isn't worth the effort, just because something else it quicker to gratify. Also just because it is quicker to learn to use or easier to use, it doesn't make it better, just makes it easier.

And as has been mentioned as well, yes the noob SHOULD learn to use technique in their loads and procedures. If they did there would be a LOT more post on, "look how well my loads work," than there are about, "what am I doing wrong, or hey got a load for this, or that." If the NOOB would READ the books, practice what they say, then use the knowledge to build on, then they would be MUCH better off. Forums like this are a GREAT place to ask "A"
question or two, but do the homework first then you might not need to ask the question in the first place.

Handloading is full of technique and for the most part beginning to be a lost art. With the advent of the internet everyone is an expert, and if it isn't the latest wiz bang this or that it is crap. Well Unique has been around for longer than I have and for a good reason, it's good over a VERY wide range of loads in both rifle and handgun, and with both cast and jacketed bullets. I cannot say the same about some of the other powders mentioned here that are all the rave, but hey if ya like it and it works for ya by all means have at it.

Just don't come around cryin about how bad Unique or similar powders measure, if your not willing to put in the time and effort to use them in the first place.

Sorry for the rant but dang it I get a belly full sometimes and it just gets too me.

This said, dacaur, I don't know you from the kid down the street. I didn't post the above to offend or anger you. I posted it from the point of view of someone who has been asked time and time again about the loading of many different calibers and the hows and whys of handloading, only to see these same folks go out and listen to what the other fellow said, and guess what it's easier than my way. Yes they make their ammo, using just what the other guy said, and it shoots, and they smile, but what did they "LEARN" from it? Not that I am the GRAND WIZARD of HANDLOADING, but in some 40+years of putting together my own ammo I am pretty up on what it takes to do so.

I'm a 48yr old father with three grandkids, and guess what, they have to LEARN how to do stuff when they are with me. I TEACH them how to do it the right way first, then they are free to make their own decisions about how to do it on their own from then on out. I don't take short cuts and don't give freebies out either. I have been called rough on them, tough on them, and several other things which are probably not warranted here, but guess what, they are smart, know how to fix things, solve problems and are confident in doing so.

The point is, and I dearly hope the "NOOB" reads this, there is more than one way to do everything, some are even the right, way only gone about in a different manner, but there is no substitute for experience or knowledge, and yes you CAN have one without the other. Neither however, is is worth the paper it's printed on, without first putting in the time and effort, regardless of what it is, to get the job done right in the first place.
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Old May 27, 2012, 10:07 PM   #23
dacaur
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Well, if going for the easier to meter powder means I am taking the easy way out, so be it, I just dont get why thats a problem. I use Lee factory crimp dies on all my loads too and get great accuracy. Amazingly there is no shortage of people on here telling me its "obviously" because of my sloppy loading technique, even though they also dont know me from the kid down the street....

Dont think I didnt actualy try to get unique to meter right, but with a press mounted powder measure, there is only so much you can do, and I did it all. I guess I could try a bench mounted powder measure, but really, why? When its not working right, I can change my method, or I can change my powder and end up with the exact same results, why am I looked down on for choosing the latter?

I'm not opposed to learning and doing things the right way. I love doing things the right way, and contrary to what a lot of people apparently think, I actualy do it quite often. If for some reason I needed to use unique, I would certainly take the time to learn the jedi techniques needed to meter it. But since power pistol is tolerant of my apparently poor loading skills, (I guess you imagine me pulling the handle like an epileptic monkey with turrets ....) I think I'll stick with it for a while.
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Old May 27, 2012, 10:40 PM   #24
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My powder throw will not meter Unique well, but it will meter AA#5 with no detectable variation even to the the last full drop.
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Old May 27, 2012, 11:09 PM   #25
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Tried Unique years ago when my friend and I started out reloading. Ran some through the measure mounted on his Hornady progressive. Couldn't get it to dial in. Found that there was a lot of variation; we were checking EVERY 10 rounds like the book said to. Also found that the ammo's consistency at the range was not like the hype in all of the glossy gun rags. We used up the last of that pound on the single stage because we were both a bit nervous of the pops and bangs we got from some of the rounds loaded on the Hornady. The two of us also found out that the stuff really was flaming dirt.

Next powder tried was W231......I haven't looked back.

A while back, I was given a pound of the reformulated Unique. Not as dirty as before but still meters like gravel. I am using up the last of some old formula Herco.....they're still kissing cousins in the residue and metering departments. It's not so bad if you use scoops or an electric dispensing scale but who wants to do that with a progressive or turret?
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