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Old January 13, 2019, 04:25 PM   #1
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Join Date: March 21, 2013
Location: Taxifornia
Posts: 5,012
Used the last of my Unique. Not getting more.

Yesterday, I loaded 314 rounds of 357 range fodder. 158 X-treme (plated) SWC; under 7.0 grains of Unique (runs 1115 f/s 4"; and 1065 f/s 3"). That left me with about a Tablespoon of Unique remaining. I used it for an evening mini light show in my backyard.

That it. I'm out of Unique. Can't say it'll be missed. I first bought Unique when I first started loading. As a small point of historical amusement, when I first started loading (1984), I wasn't sure what powders to use, and the store where I was stocked almost entirely Hercules propellants. So I bought the "spectrum": Bullseye; Red Dot; Green Dot; Blue Dot; Unique; & Herco. So I tried them all. Getting off-topic, sorry. Point is, I had past experience with Unique. I believe I even bought more after the original purchase. But as my loading matured, Unique fell out of favor - as did everything that wasn't wide-open-throttle magnum propellants (by then, I learned of W296). Save for W231 for 45 ACP and 38 target shooters.

By the mid-90's, life was happening for me and I didn't do nearly as much loading/shooting. Come October 2012, my life slowed down enough to where I decided to get back into these hobbies (loading/shooting). I bought a few components to get some stock back up, but no intermediate burn rate powders (I had a little bit of HS-6). Then the horrific event of December '12 occurred that precipitated the great component shortage. I was caught flat footed. That, coupled with the fact that my shooting style changed and the big booming magnums weren't so much my thing any more. I needed intermediate powders. I got lucky enough to cross paths with Unique (twice, actually) and bought a total of 4#'s. At the time, this pleased me. I also got ahold of HS-6, AA#5, and Power Pistol. All of which I prefer over Unique.

So Unique sat in my inventory and collected dust. After the shortage, I resolved to pare down my powder inventory selection - I had 11 or 12 different powders. Unique easily made the cut list. So the last 18 months or so, anything that could be loaded with Unique, was. It's gone now.

I'd say "to make a long story short," but it's way too late for that So what is it about Unique that I don't like? Well, the biggie is that it meters slightly better than corn flakes. Per someone's advice here on TFL, I did learn the "double tap" method of dispensing with more consistency, but it still throws wonky and inconsistent at that. Getting the powder hopper set to a given charge weight is an exercise in frustration. That really won't be missed.

I also found it hard to make good ammo with it. Light bullets virtually guarantee huge Standard Deviations. Can't get it to do anything right in 38 Special. The only places where it seems to settle down into a good consistent running powder is with jacketed 230's pumped up to full-throttle in 45 ACP; midrange plated 158's in 357 magnum (as in above), and jacketed 158's loaded up good and firm (but if I'm gonna run a jacketed 158, I'm going full throttle with 2400). I can't tell you how much time I spent trying to get 125's (357) to settle down and run right. Velocities were good; but SD's were atrocious at any charge weight. I repeated my tests multiple times. I tried harder to get 125's to work than sanity permitted.

Power Pistol is my intermediate propellant of choice. All others are on the cut list. PP makes great high power ammo (save full magnum loads) in virtually every caliber; and still behaves well when you turn it down a little - unlike Unique; which gets sooty with unburnt flakes everywhere, etc.

I still have AA#5 and do plan on phasing it out. But I like it a heck of a lot more than Unique. I'm in no hurry to move it out of inventory; and will likely reserve it for 180gn plated 10mm basic range ammo - which is where it really shines with amazing consistency and accuracy. But I don't shoot 10mm much at all.

So good riddance to Unique. Thanks for listening. Feel free to comment on your experiences with it, and/or what you use instead as an intermediate burn rate powder.
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