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Old May 29, 2012, 10:59 PM   #51
serf 'rett
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Another nature vs. nurture debate. Is it the powder's nature (flakey) which causes the problem or its nurture; ie; environment; ie, equipment and/or operator?

As a greenhorn, a barely 18 month old round constructor, this has been an interesting read. Bought a pound of Unique, before my equipment was delivered via Santa. Much was the cussing and poopooing of the stinking unfriendly-to-meter Unique. Weights covered more ground than a hungry free range chicken. Much was the rejoicing when I got Power Pistol followed by W-231. Unique was parked and became the butt of rude comments.

Roughly 5000 rounds later, I was reviewing the 100+ test targets and took note that the orphaned Unique actually produced some good groups back in the dark ages of my early reloading days. So the Unique was brought into the light and about 500 9mm rounds were made. Funny thing...the powder drops via the same Uniflow, were much more consistent this time around.
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Old May 29, 2012, 11:33 PM   #52
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Hi dacaur,

I've also run a lee (non-pro) auto disk with the adjustable charge bar with unique. It does a poor job in metering and make no mistake with over 30 years of practice on the press it still is not a powder to meter. It does a much better job out of some of the other powder measures I have but NOT the lee auto disk.

That's not to say it can't be made to work on an acceptable level. I tried tapping and wracking and everything I could think of to get a better metering. I ended up at radio shack one day and found they have a little vibrator motor, project box, battery holder and switch all for around ten bucks. I attached it to the hopper with a rubber band and the drops improved significantly. It actually helped all of the flake powers do a better job. That little thing and two fresh batteries will run for hours.

The problem with Unique and other flake powders seems to be much more acute with lighter loads. Any load under about 5 grains it seems to be much worse with load consistency. I've loaded both Unique and BlueDot down this low and both meter almost identically. For me the 380 auto was the worst, 9mm did do slightly better.

So with the only thing changing in the process being the project box I am reasonably confident that this is a hardware powder combination problem. Depending on how much you are willing to do or how much you want to use flake powder will go a long way in improving the powder drops.

I saw someone here mentioned 231 and Clays Universial. Both of these from my experience will meter much better from your set up. You can go and get you own project box and that will also help if you want to keep using Unique or other flake powders.

Hope this helps,

rtpzwms
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Old May 30, 2012, 06:43 AM   #53
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And FYI, I had the same issues with another Hercules flake powder, Red Dot, when I tried using it for .38 Special loads.

I've used a lot of Red Dot over the years for shotguns, and thought I'd try it in .38.

I could deal with the weight variations in those loads, though, because I had a LOT more wiggle room; in other words, I wasn't worried that a charge that was .2 grains heavy was going to run the risk of damaging my gun.

After I shot about 250 rounds loaded with Red Dot, two other things became evident: even with the charge weight variations the rounds were amazingly accurate, and they were so filthy that it looked like my gun had been dipped in a sludge tank.
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Old May 30, 2012, 06:45 AM   #54
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After reading a post about using dippers for Unique rather than a powder thrower I made one out of a 9mm case for a 5.2 grain .40 charge I run. I was surprised to find the dipper throws +/- 0.1 grain all day long. I now have dippers for a number of my favorite pistol loads with Clays, AA#7, Unique, and Universal.

No need to run ten drops to settle the powder. No chance of something bridging in the drop tube. Dip one is just as accurate as dip 100.

The powder thrower doesn't come out very often.

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Old May 30, 2012, 06:46 AM   #55
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It's the scooping action that seems to make dippers meter more consistently with the flake powders. I've noticed the same thing with Red Dot.

My guess is that pushing the dipper through the powder makes it pack a lot more consistently.
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Old May 30, 2012, 07:12 AM   #56
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What Mike said in post #49 except I can't hop on 1 foot, bad knees
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Old May 30, 2012, 05:54 PM   #57
dacaur
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Hwy rtpzwms, thats a cool idea... Im loving the power pistol for now, but I'f I ever decide I need to use unique, Ill have to remember that....
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Old May 30, 2012, 06:24 PM   #58
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Ok ok, I give up! I guess I am a Jedi.

Sure there are other easier to meter powders, but we were just talking about Unique is all. Point of fact, my 550 is dialed in for 5.5 gr 231 right now. WW-231 flows to .1 ES for me. I mostly use Unique in big bore plinking ammo, all mid range. Loaded single stage and dropped with the UniFlow.

Good luck with whatever powder you choose. I hope no one got offended by my defense of Unique, it was all in fun and I used smileys throughout so no one should have.

Besides! This is a great day! Mike figured out the exact dance ritual needed to make Lee equipment function as well as his high dollar equipment! I step down to that, that's talent for you!
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Old May 30, 2012, 06:51 PM   #59
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"Mike figured out the exact dance ritual needed to make Lee equipment function..."

You know, I could swear that I mentioned a few of the other powder measures that I've used with Unique over the years...

RCBS Uniflow

Belding and Mull

Lyman

Maybe it wasn't in this thread?

As for my Lee Pro Auto Disk, a few years ago I decided to see just how accurate it was.

I threw something like 50 straight loads, each of which was weighed. I finally quit because not a single one of those powder drops varied - ever drop was the exact same weight.

Because of that, these days once I get the powder charge dialed in to what I want, I don't even bother to weigh any subsequent loads.
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Old May 30, 2012, 07:06 PM   #60
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Now I'm starting to see the light here. All along I was thinking it was the powder, or the measure being used, and even the technique, man was I wrong, all along it's been those little pop gun calibers your trying to load with it.



Sorry I simply couldn't help it.

I had mentioned to dacaur in a PM that I have loaded for quite a while and from a VERY young age. I have used more than my share of flake powders in varied ammo. Mostly it has been shotshells, but I have also crammed plenty into revolver and semi auto ammo. Thing is, nothing I load is under a 38 SPL, so, like was mentioned by Mike, I really don't have to sweat the small differences. This said, I can still get very decent and repeatable charge weights from either my bench mounted or my progressive mounted Uniflow.

I agree that there are powders available nowadays which are suited for just as many different applications as what Unique is. However there aren't many "single" powders which can span the spectrum that it can.

I also admit that everyone does things the way it is best for them, or best suites the need they are after, and if your results are what your looking for then who am I to disagree.
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Old May 30, 2012, 07:10 PM   #61
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Have alot of trouble using unique with small powder charges in a uniflow (below 4 grains if memory serves), as below a certain charge weight with standard cylinder, it gets worse. Happens with most powders, although certainly much less with the finer cylinder or ball powders.

Situation takes a 180 with larger powder volumes, when .2-.4 grain variation does not matter as much as a fuller case volume for mid-range loads used in 45 acp. 38 special, 44 special and 44 mag.

Now have Redding BR powder measure with pistol cylinder for the smaller cartridges down to 32 acp. This helps significantly, as my 32 acp likes green dot.

While unique is a fine powder for 9mm, it needs compressed to get the upper charges for medium to heavier bullets. Could be a problem in a progressive.

just an opinion
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Old May 31, 2012, 11:37 AM   #62
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Quote:
...as well as his high dollar equipment!
I noted about your better equipment Mike. My point was that any measure can only meter as well as the design of the flake, and you did make the cheaper measure throw just as consistent as the upgrade unit. Talent no matter how you look at it. Especially in the face of all the I can't do it in this thread!

It's a good point and illustrates exactly what I've been trying to say. If one wants to use cheaper equipment, one must have more skill to (hopefully) get the throws consistent. Or you can get a better measure to achieve your consistent throws.

The fact that Mike can achieve consistency with Lee equipment sets the board standard for what is possible with it. Now you other guys go do as well with your equip as Mike does with his!
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Old May 31, 2012, 02:30 PM   #63
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I dont agree with that assessment at all. I use no additional special techniques to get my Lee Pro Disk to throw charges as consistent (or inconsistent, depending on the powder) as my more expensive B&M or RCBS.

What you have continued to deny through this entire thread is that inexpensive IS NOT analagous to badly made or of overall poor quality and unfit for the job at hand.

That is the same attitude that people were willing, almost desperate, in many cases to embrace when confronted with the Glock. Why its plastic and only costs half as much as a smith or colt. It MUST be total crap....

To reinforce the point that sheer dollar cost is not a true indicator of overall quality or servicability i give you AMT.

The most expensive bad handguns made for many years.
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Old May 31, 2012, 06:31 PM   #64
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In many cases you get what you pay for, but in the gun industry I have found this to be FAR from the truth. Look at ruger and kel-tec, budget price, great american made guns. Perhaps some brands are little more refined, but not 2-3x the price more...

Same thing in reloading, looking at lee vs other brands, you are often paying 2-3x the price for a paint job. The lee equipment makes ammo just as good, (and sometimes better), than other brands, but due to the low price many people assume its junk. Its amazing how often you see people refering to lee presses as junk (get anything but lee!, they say) and then it turns out they have never touched a lee press in their life....

Quote:
It's a good point and illustrates exactly what I've been trying to say. If one wants to use cheaper equipment, one must have more skill to (hopefully) get the throws consistent. Or you can get a better measure to achieve your consistent throws.
Or just use a powder thats easier to meter consistantly.... Honestly, the thought that higher priced equipment is always easier to use is just laughable....
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Old May 31, 2012, 09:25 PM   #65
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Nobody's setting any world records with ammo loaded on Lee equipment.
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Old May 31, 2012, 09:50 PM   #66
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Oh? What equipment are the ones setting world records using then?
Personally, I am just enjoying the hobby, silly me I thought thats what it was all about ..... My lee press makes ammo more accurate than anything I can buy in the store, not sure how much better I need than that....
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Old June 1, 2012, 04:57 AM   #67
Mike / Tx
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Well they aren't world records, but close enough for me,

All loaded using Lee equipment,

.243 @ 100yds, two bottom left groups final load, two high shots results of barrel heating and new stock. After free floating the barrel they all cluster together.



.270 Allen Mag @ 500yds, two cold clean bore shots. The spot is 2.5" in dia.


Couple more @ 500yds,


25-06 @ 250yds, bottom shot clean bore fouler, two for group,



(I know two shots don't really qualify in most folks mind as consistent, but for this particular rifle it is. It's been doing it for close to 20 years.)

454 Casull @ 25yds. Poured in Lee .452-300 RF 6 cavity mold, loaded using Lee press and dies, shot offhand at 25yds,




Nothing wrong with Lee equipment, it will load ammo just as accurate as some of the rest. However, just like the rest, the equipment used is no better or worse than the person using it. There are many who use MUCH higher priced equipment to load ammo which doesn't compete with what others are loading using the cheaper stuff.

It don't mean your a "race car driver", just because you drive a race car. You have to have the skill set to go with it, for it to mean anything.
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Old June 1, 2012, 05:42 AM   #68
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I wanna play

I would point out that Power Pistol can be found in the cases of numerous Bullseye competitors using the 9x19.

There are many choices for powders that offer similar performance/economy of Unique without its metering woes.

That said, I still have a can of Unique under my bench (but, oddly?, I have Universal in 8lb jugs).
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Old June 1, 2012, 08:21 AM   #69
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I've got a set of Lee .223 dies, that were essentially given to me, which have produced several 3/4" 200 yard groups from an old skinny barrel Savage 110. If I had a set of dies that made better ammo than that, I'd never be able to tell it.
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Old June 1, 2012, 10:55 AM   #70
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You guys wreck the curve. I knew I'd draw you out as soon as I clicked submit.

Quote:
It don't mean your a "race car driver", just because you drive a race car. You have to have the skill set to go with it, for it to mean anything.
Sort of my point throughout. I bet I could make some peoples equipment work better than they can make it work. I'm no race car driver either but if you folks don't think that good tools make a job easier than cheap tools...you've never used good tools! Is your home & auto tools Chinese? ANd I don't consider RCBS or Dillon race cars, and it's not that muchmore then Lee.

Dacaur,
I know at least one long range rifle championship was won with ammo loaded on a Dillon 550B. I must ask though, if you are so content with your ammo you load, why get on here and complain about Unique?!
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Old June 1, 2012, 01:58 PM   #71
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Quote:
Edward429451 wrote: Nobody's setting any world records with ammo loaded on Lee equipment.
Hate to burst your bubble but: False Advertising???

Last edited by SHR970; June 1, 2012 at 02:05 PM.
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Old June 1, 2012, 02:17 PM   #72
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Quote:
Dacaur,
I know at least one long range rifle championship was won with ammo loaded on a Dillon 550B. I must ask though, if you are so content with your ammo you load, why get on here and complain about Unique?!
#1, winning a long range championship is not a "world record".

#2, As for why get on and post about the woes of unique, I thought that was obvious, so that newbs looking for a powder have all the info they need, which is basicaly that unique is a pretty versatile powder, but can be difficult to meter consistently.... Had I seen a thread like this before I started loading 9mm, this thread wouldn't exist, because I would have gone with power pistol from the start, instead all I read was how versatile unique was, which is only half the story it turns out....
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Old June 1, 2012, 03:26 PM   #73
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If I do occasional preventive maintance on the pro auto disk , I typically get + - .1 grain repeatability .

I use Unique in several calibers .

God bless
wyr
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Old June 2, 2012, 06:16 PM   #74
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I am fairly new to reloading and had heard nothing about it other than it was cheap. I load it through a RCBS powder measure that I got used off ebay. Even in my progressive it loads with consistency. I measure every round for the first 20 or so to make sure, then after that 1 in 10 or 20 but with my Pacific beam scale I have yet to see it very at all. Not sure what I am doing wrong but I take my time and make sure that I am consistent and deliberate when I load.
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Old June 2, 2012, 06:24 PM   #75
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what caliber are you loading>?
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