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Old August 25, 2012, 12:40 PM   #1
Nathan
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Unique vs Power Pistol

HELP!

For a low pressure cast or plated powder in 38 spcl, 357 mag, 40 S&W, 45 ACP, and 45 Colt(possibly), which is better, in your opinion?

I'm trying to get a replacement for AA #5 at a slightly better price.

. . .or is there something else??

My gut says Unique!!
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Old August 25, 2012, 02:50 PM   #2
rg1
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I'd agree that I'd rather use Unique for the calibers you mention rather than Power Pistol if you only want to use one powder for all. Power Pistol would be better for maximum top velocities with some of your loads. I've settled on buying different powders for most calibers. I like Accurate Arms #2 for .38 special, Winchester Super Field WSF for 40 S&W, Unique and AA#5 for 45 ACP, and I only load jacketed loads in .357 Mag and AA#9 is the best I've used for magnum loads. Unique is unique in that it will load all the calibers you mentioned rather well. Some say Unique burns dirty at low pressure ranges and some don't like how it meters thru their powder measures.
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Old August 25, 2012, 02:54 PM   #3
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Unique works well in the mid-to-high range. Not position sensitive. Good choice. Some/many will prefer Universal but I'll stay with Unique and my powder dippers.
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Old August 25, 2012, 03:13 PM   #4
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See a doctor about your gut

Unique is a very mediocre choice. Universal is a better choice. Powder is about the smallest cost of the reloading process, so I'm not quite sure what "economical" means.

If you want high-performance loads then Power Pistol is a good choice if you don't mind the flash. AA#5 is better because of very low flash. Ramshot Silhouette is low flash and you use just a touch less of it to hit the same high velocities as AA#5.

Lot of options, lots of choices. No reason to be stuck with Unique.
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Old August 25, 2012, 03:52 PM   #5
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"Unique is a very mediocre choice"
Detractors might say unique is "mediocre" but it is not "very mediocre." At the same pressure Unique is more efficient and will get a higher velocity than Universal. Nothing personal, but this thread dated 4-5-2011 from Castboolits.com is one of the best discussions I have seen, and nothing personal, I'll trust them over a "very mediocre" respose on this thread. http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?t=112708
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Old August 25, 2012, 04:43 PM   #6
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I've used Unique for 40 years and keep a couple of pounds on hand. I've recently purchased some Power Pistol after reading an article by Brian Pearce on 45 Colt loads. They both give amazing performance.
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Old August 25, 2012, 05:04 PM   #7
arch308
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I'm a big Unique fan as a do all powder. I also like the bulkiness of it. It does a good job of filling the case, even with 45 Colt loads. I don't have any metering problems to speak of and with mid to high power loads it burns clean enough.
I use it for most of my target/practice loads and of all my powders it is the only one that I keep a pound or two in reserve.
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Old August 25, 2012, 05:06 PM   #8
TimW77
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"...so I'm not quite sure what economical means."

And by calling Unique "mediocre" it is obvious you don't know what that means either!

You might want to look up and review these words along with VERSATILE and try to understand what the words actually mean...

T.
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Old August 25, 2012, 05:15 PM   #9
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One thing to keep in mind:
Unique will be quite dirty in low pressure loads.
From a cleanliness standpoint, alone, it is probably the worst choice.
(Even though Alliant Unique is much cleaner than the old Hercules Unique.)

I like Unique, but it's a dirty powder unless you get the pressures up.
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Old August 25, 2012, 05:25 PM   #10
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My first choice for those loads would be Universal.

Unique leaves a greasy gray residue on my guns in low pressure loads. Universal is much better in that regard and meters much better for me.
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Old August 25, 2012, 05:33 PM   #11
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And let's not snipe at each other's opinions. Given the right bullet weights and cartridges and factors like powder metering and fouling, all the expressed opinions can turn out to be true in one case or another. Just depends what you are going for and specifics of the bullets and guns involved.

In the OP the biggest issue presented is reconciling .357 Mag and 45 Colt as the pressure tolerance extremes. Nothing will be a best performance powder in both. I think at this point if Nathan could come back with some bullet weights and target velocities for them, we could come up with other recommendations. A less often used choice like Autocomp might be a good compromise if the .357 bullets are light and the 45 Colt bullets heavy and he wants more performance than, say, Universal (though I like this powder for cleanliness, too).
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Old August 25, 2012, 06:57 PM   #12
Nathan
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OK, here is where I think I need to clarify my needs and issues some. . .

I want clean burning because in a match fitted auto, unburnt powder gets everywhere and is big enough to slow the gun down and jam.. For my typical near max load, is this an issue with Unique? It is not an issue with AA#5. I get the link. Most of those guys are revolver shooters and the like. Clean is less important outside of the semi-auto discussion.

Universal looks OK, but is not a good velocity performer in most of my loads and a little less "universal" than Unique!

The best point I've seen so far is that even though Unique can be had for $15 /lb and the AA#5 is $17 /lb. $2 over ~ 1000 rounds of pistol ammo, just isn't that much!

I know AA#5 meters very well, is accurate in my guns and gives good velocities in accurate loads. Oh yea and no more load development!

For all you Unique lovers, I too agree that this is a great powder. If I started there, I wouldn't be changing either! This is a good discussion though.

As requested. . .I'm interested in this response:

38 spcl - 130gr SWC, 125gr JHP max to +P velocities
357 mag - 125 gr JHP, 158gr JHP mid - high velocities, but not super important
40 S&W - 135gr JHP, 155gr JHP, 155 gr SWC mid - high velocities
45 ACP - 230gr JHP, 230gr LRN mid - high velocities
45 Colt - 265 gr SWC at 900 - 1100 fps

I say higher velocities, but for max loads, I also have some Longshot loads which are working out well.

Last edited by Nathan; August 25, 2012 at 07:05 PM.
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Old August 25, 2012, 11:57 PM   #13
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Most of those I would not rate as low pressure.
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Old August 26, 2012, 08:03 AM   #14
Nathan
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To my way of thinking 45 Colt is a 30000 psi round. I have a Ruger. Compared to thee 35,000 psi of the 357 mag, this is similar.

38 spcl is 17000 or 20000 psi at the high end.

40 S&W is 35000 psi at the top end.

So, most of the loads I'm shooting for are back off these max numbers a bit to moderate the recoil. A 35,000 psi 155gr 40 load is much more punishing than a 30,000 psi load.
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Old August 26, 2012, 10:51 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathan

As requested. . .I'm interested in this response:

38 spcl - 130gr SWC, 125gr JHP max to +P velocities
357 mag - 125 gr JHP, 158gr JHP mid - high velocities, but not super important
40 S&W - 135gr JHP, 155gr JHP, 155 gr SWC mid - high velocities
45 ACP - 230gr JHP, 230gr LRN mid - high velocities
45 Colt - 265 gr SWC at 900 - 1100 fps
So what is the problem using the optimum powder for each cartridge? I see 2400, (AA#5, Silhouette, Power Pistol) and maybe Universal applications in your list. Sure you can just use one powder for all of them, but why?

40 years ago there wasn't the selection available. And 40 years ago I couldn't buy a Honda Civic either. Times have changed and there's no reason to still be driving that Ford Pinto.

Part of the joy I get from reloading is using the optimum recipe for a cartridge.
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Old August 26, 2012, 12:45 PM   #16
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i use unique for .38 and pp for 9mm just because of metering fluctuations here and there. Unique is a good universal powder its just i dont like the smell. I shoot 100 rounds of 38 with the wind blowing back at me and im about ready to puke.
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Old August 27, 2012, 10:11 AM   #17
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I keep at least twenty handgun powders on hand, because what I want and what happens are different.

To answer the question: Power Pistol.
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Old August 28, 2012, 09:05 AM   #18
GeauxTide
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One of my favorite 45LC loads is a 275 LFN Hard Cast under 10gr of Unique with CCI300 primers. Haven't chrony'd, but it will be over 1050. Shoots clean.
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Old August 28, 2012, 09:12 AM   #19
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I used a LOT of Unique over the years; now I use Universal Clays - similar burn rate, burns a LOT cleaner, cost about the same; works well in 20 and 28 gauge shotgun ammo as well
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